Since the establishment of the reform and opening-up policy, Tsinghua University has been actively engaging in the transformation of technological results. Carrying out technological collaboration with domestic local regions and providing support for national and regional economic development are an important component of not only Tsinghua’s technology transfer strategy, but also its commitment to providing social service through technology development.
University-region technological collaboration at Tsinghua University was initiated in the 1980s. In recent years, with the national development of western regions, the revitalization of north-east industrial bases, and the economic rise of the central regions, Tsinghua has been reinforcing its in-depth collaboration with these national strategic development regions, and further extending its program of university-region collaboration. The collaboration now includes strategic regional economic and social development, joint-cultivation of innovative talents, development of regional special industries and backbone industries, construction of innovation platforms, joint tackling of scientific and technological problems, and promotion of international collaboration.
Specific Modes of University-Region Collaboration
- 1) Driving industry-university research collaboration through projects
In recent years, the Domestic R&D Management Office has been actively promoting technology transfer of Tsinghua’s key research results to cooperative regions and enterprises. Some successful cases include China’s first independently designed large-scale OLED production line in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province; the large-scale application and commercial operation of Thermal Engineering Department’s “Improvement of alkaline soil through desulfurization of coal” in provinces of Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Hebei and Tianjin; and the implementation of Mechanical Engineering Department’s “Big press machine” by the Northern Heavy Industries Group in Inner Mongolia and Yanliang Aviation Industry Base in Xi’an. In addition, Tsinghua provided many planning support for regional development, such as Environment School’s “Emergency aid system for production safety and environmental pollution outburst in the Tianjin Lingang Industrial Area”, Industrial Engineering Department’s “Logistics development plan for chemical industry in Tianjin Lingang Industrial Area”, School of Economics and Management’s “Functional orientation, architectural scale and development mode research for CBD in Binhai New District” in Tanggu, the core area of Binhai New District. Such transfer of such key scientific research projects provides great scientific and technological support for regional economic development, and has provided great social and economic benefits.
- 2) Establishing university-region scientific and technological collaboration funds
To better serve both national and regional economic development needs,, Tsinghua University has been actively integrating various resources to promote the transformation and industrialization of scientific and technological results by setting up scientific and technological collaboration funds with regional governments in Wuxi, Hebei, Yunnan and Guangdong. In each case, the collaboration fund is tailored to meet specific local requirements and follows the principles of either “led by local government, benefiting enterprises directly” or “co-led by university and local government, benefiting the university and enterprises jointly”. The innovative “fund + base” mode established by Tsinghua University provides an important guarantee for the effective operation of university-region collaboration, of which the basic concept is to use specific funds to support transformation projects, and to facilitate the transfer of scientific and technological results into actual productivity gains. In addition to these funds, Tsinghua has also endeavored to set up several R&D and industrialization bases. As a result, Tsinghua University and regional governments have set up 7 such funds: the Suzhou-Tsinghua Innovative Leading Project, the Hebei-Tsinghua science and technology cooperative development fund, the Yunnan-Tsinghua science and technology collaboration fund, the Anshan-Tsinghua R&D seed money fund, the Wuxi-Tsinghua science and technology results transformation fund, the industry-university-research project fund of the Ministry of Education in Guangdong, and the Tongling-Tsinghua industry-university-research collaboration fund. These efforts have not only supported the industrialization of Tsinghua’s scientific and technological results, but also made a significant contribution to national and social development.
- 3) Jointly establishing “industry-university research collaboration offices” with key regions
In 2003, to further strengthen Tsinghua University’s social service outreach, the Domestic R&D Management Office initiated a new cooperative mode by jointly setting up industry-university-research collaboration offices with regional technological departments.
The goal of these offices is to better utilize Tsinghua and its partner cities’ advantageous resources, to reinforce their technological collaboration, and to accelerate the partner cities innovation and transition development.
The main role of each office is to provide support for regional economic development and to reinforce the region’s independent innovative capacity. Focusing on the specific industrial, technological and economic needs of the partner city, the offices integrate Tsinghua’s scientific and technological resources to provide both general and customized services, and to promote the sustainable development of both sides.
Role of “industry-university research collaboration offices”
- Regularly organize technological events according to the needs of both local governments and local enterprises, and help establishing projects with a strong technological innovation component, a prosperous market vista and a solid industry-university research collaboration foundation.
- Organize relevant experts to examine and evaluate the current situation of enterprises and investigate the potential for technological and managerial innovation.
- Utilize Tsinghua’s intellectual resources to provide support for local governments’ planning and decision-making according to local requirements.
- Utilize Tsinghua’s extensive international technological cooperative resources to actively introduce international high-tech projects in targeted regions.
Organizing and attending technology transfer eventsEach year, the Domestic R&D Management Office carries out over 120 activities to introduce and promote technological projects and products.
To speed up the process of converting technological achievements into productive capability, and to enhance support for the enterprise development, the University-Industry Cooperation Committee (UICC) of Tsinghua University was established in 1995, and the overseas-industry branch of this committee was then set up in 1996.
In recent years, UICC has significantly strengthened its collaboration and coordination with its members by further enhancing its services to them. As a result, it has helped to promote collaboration on setting-up key projects and constructing university-industry platforms.
- 1. Function
The main purpose of UICC is to speed up technology transfer, to promote industrialization of technological achievements and to strengthen Tsinghua University’s collaboration with domestic and overseas enterprises. Currently, UICC is jointly managed by Tsinghua University’s Domestic R&D Management Office and Overseas R&D Management Office.
- 2. Target membership
UICC is mainly focused on providing services for overseas enterprises and state-owned conglomerates that are leaders in pillar industries.
- 3. Services
Operating under a membership system, UICC provides services such as technological advice, educational support, and consultation services for its member enterprises.
Objectives of UICC
The goal of UICC is to:
› Strengthen Tsinghua University’s cooperation with enterprises in the areas of technology, working personnel and information exchange by taking advantage of resources within the university.
› Building platforms that integrate industry, education and research to promote the industrialization of high-tech achievements.
› Providing multi-dimensional, diversified services to assist enterprises in solving technological and managerial problems, and strengthening their innovation capability and market competitiveness.
› Serving as a bridge between domestic enterprises and their overseas counterparts to promote the exchanges of technology, working personnel and information.
› Accelerating subject development and talent cultivation within Tsinghua University, and strengthening its independent innovation capability.
Scope of services
Catering to the practical needs of enterprises, UICC provides one-stop, multi-dimensional and tailor-made services by utilizing Tsinghua University’s advantages in the following areas.
- 1. Information services
UICC provides its member enterprises with information about the academic research potential and capability within Tsinghua University, as well as information on development teams, new technology, new achievements, patents, activities in integrating industry, education and research, personnel training, etc.
- 2. Technology services
UICC organizes academicians, experts, professors and other key players in scientific research to provide services for its member enterprises in technology development, technological diagnostics, and technology management.
- 3. Talent services
UICC encourages Tsinghua University graduates to work as employees or interns in its member enterprises. It also provides opportunities for member enterprises’ personnel to conduct training, further education and research work on campus.
- 4. International collaboration
UICC helps keep its member enterprises updated about the latest technological achievements both at home and abroad, and provides assistance for their international collaboration.
- 5. Jointly establishing research institutions
UICC helps its member enterprises to establish joint research centers, institutes and laboratories. It also helps provide other special training programs for enterprises on an ad hoc basis.
- 6. Exchanges and visits
UICC organizes exchanges and visits between Tsinghua and its member enterprises, as well as among the member enterprises.
- 7. Meetings and conferences
UICC organizes annual meetings, academic seminars, symposiums and workshops for its member enterprises.
Member enterprises of the Committee
As of December 2017, UICC had more than 150 domestic and 40 overseas partners. In Mainland China, it includes Baosteel Group, China Telecom, Shanghai Automotive, China Metallurgic Group Corporation, China Huaneng Group Corporation, Shenhua Group, Yalong Hydropower, Huawei, Sichuan Changhong Electric, Dongfang Electric, Guangdong Nuclear Energy Development Group, Juhua Group etc. The overseas partners include Toyota, UTC, P&G, Siemens, Boeing, Hitachi, Toshiba, Samsung, Microsoft, Nissan, Sony, Veolia, KONE, EMC, Eternal etc.
1. Domestic collaboration
In recent years, the UICC has worked to establish strategic collaboration between Tsinghua University and national key enterprises. Strategic cooperation collaboration agreements have been signed with a number of key enterprises, which including China Electronics Corporation, COMAC, Sichuan Changhong, China Hydropower Engineering Consultant Group, China Dongfang Electric Corporation, China Huaneng Group, Datang Electric Group, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Hainan Rubber Group, Capital Airport Holding Company, CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Limited, China Three Gorges Corporation, and SICHUAN RAILWAY INCEDTMENT GROUP CO., LTD, . New domestic members of the UICC signing membership agreements include China Telecom, China 22nd Metallurgic Group, Ningxia Pagoda Petrochemical Group, and Hainan Development Holding etc.
2. International Collaboration
Based on partnerships with 110 of companies on the fortune 500 list, a diversified range of cooperation modes has been established, including joint research centers, corporate funds, contract research, technology licensing, and consultation. The overseas UICC family consists of over 40 MNCs, including Toyota, Siemens, P&G, Intel, Microsoft, Hitachi, Samsung, Toshiba, Boeing.
ConferencesUICC emphasizes the importance of holding conferences on a regular basis. Such conferences offer an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs, experts, scholars and government officials to share information and exchange ideas on important scientific, technological and societal issues. These conferences are usually in the form of annual conferences or special forums on selected topics.
Guided by the principles of “complementary advantages, reciprocity, world-class achievements and mutual development”, Tsinghua University has established extensive collaborations with many world leading universities, research institutes, and multinational enterprises. This These forward-thinking and high-level scientific research collaborations and communications takes diversified and flexible forms, including setting up joint research institutes, framework collaboration agreements, commissioned research and development projects, joint research and development projects, joint research funds, and overseas licensing and technology transfer. The goal of all these collaboration modes is to help Tsinghua University improve its scientific research practices and enhance its academic development, as well as to educate talented students with a global vision, thereby further establishing Tsinghua’s international influence and reputation.
Alliance for international science and technology collaborations
By utilizing a joint funding mechanism, Tsinghua University initiated substantial technological collaboration on cutting edge areas with a lot of top level universities, with its goal of becoming an internationally renowned first-class university. The joint collaboration funds can be focused on one or more specific research areas, or they can simply be used to encourage university-wide faculty and student exchanges and to provide seed funding for joint research projects.,
Joint research centers
Joint research centers usually represent long lasting relationships， and are often interdisciplinary in nature. They play an important role in the overseas scientific and research collaborations. Based on mutually beneficial strategic partnerships, Tsinghua University has set up joint research centers with many world-class universities and institutes such as Johns Hopkins University, and the National University of Singapore, and with more than 30 overseas multinational enterprises, including Toyota Motor Corp., Siemens, Boeing Company, Microsoft and Samsung. By actively and effectively utilizing the technological, intellectual and financial resources from both sides, many high impact scientific achievements have been made.
Joint research projects
In some key research areas, Tsinghua University has concentrated efforts in establishing contacts with world-class universities and leading enterprises in the industry to jointly launch research projects. By thoroughly understanding the needs of industry and introducing high-quality research resources from leading international enterprises, Tsinghua University is able to enhance the collaboration between industry and academia, which promotes technological innovation.
Center of Knowledge Interchange with overseas enterprises
Tsinghua is a member of Siemens’ Center of Knowledge Interchange (CKI), which is the highest level of Siemens’ global academic collaboration with educational institutions. It serves as a bridge and platform to deepen and broaden collaborations between Tsinghua and Siemens in scientific research and talent training.
With the support of Siemens, the joint research project between Tsinghua University and UC Berkeley “Green Online Experimental Platform” was established. This project, in the area of intellectual architecture, covers research on information technology, such as green electro-communication, and intellectual network control, with the aim to develop new information and energy technology to reduce energy consumption and to protect the environment. This project pioneered a new cooperative model of University-Industry-University (U-I-U) collaboration.
Over the years, Tsinghua University has established long-term partnerships with many overseas enterprises in the form of commissioned R&D projects. These commissioned R&D projects not only assist the overseas enterprises to solve technological and management problems, but also provide opportunities for scientific research in key areas and help enhance academic development at Tsinghua University. Such projects also provide important information to faculty and students at Tsinghua University regarding new trends in industrial technological development, and help to promote the application of Tsinghua’s scientific research achievements in industry.