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【3rd Conference on Talent-related Work】A Systematic Task to Invigorate the University Through Talents


The Third Conference on Talent-related Work of Tianjin University kicked off on April 25 in the Qiushi Hall of Peiyangyuan Campus. Representatives of faculty and students had a lively discussion on how to better cultivate high-level talents such as strategic scientists, basic research talents and excellent engineers in the new era, and build a high-level faculty team. The conference enters into a discussion period of more than two months, and a set of feasible measures for invigorating universities through talents are beckoning.

Liu Congqiang, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Dean of the School of Earth System Science, believed that it was a systematic task to invigorate universities through talents, and that attaching importance to talents required a general consensus and joint efforts of all parties. “How much attention does TJU pay to talent-related work? It can be seen from every detail, and from every person who directly contacts with talents,” said Liu, whose down-to-earth and real feelings triggered laughter and applause from the audience. He offered 3 aspects of understanding and 10 specific suggestions on the talent-related work of TJU with expectations that TJU fully trusts and leverages the role of colleges and schools in the cultivation, introduction and employment of talents, and fully authorizes employing units. He also suggested that it was imperative to stop judging talents solely by their honorary titles, give full play to the ability and the role of talents, and improve the flexibility of talents introduction mechanism. He also noted that national and local policies on talents must be leveraged to build a loose and flexible physical and mental environment for talents to work efficiently and live comfortably. In addition, he pointed out the importance of reforming postdoctoral system and management mechanism, affirming and playing the role of scientific backbone of postdocs. His suggestions sparked thoughts and resonance among the faculty and student representatives.

Academician Liu also expressed his thoughts on talent-related work by sharing his own experience at TJU. “Successful talent-related work requires the unity of knowledge and action to recognize and cherish talents, and nurture and use talents. We must stay committed to the philosophy that talent is the key to development and always stand ready to answer the following questions clearly and firmly: Do you really need talents? Do you really know why the talents come to TJU and your College or School? Can you really tolerate some shortcomings in their work and ability and tap into their strengths?” said him.

“A top university excels with a top development orientation, a top strategic plan for talent development as well as a top strategy for invigorating through talents,” Academician Liu added. He suggested that guidelines and measures put forward at the conference still need to be further discussed and carried out when it comes to specific practice. Therefore, it is necessary to formulate a package of feasible and operable talent policy.

Zhou Heng, a 93-years-old Academician, was concerned about the talent-related work of TJU as always though he was not able to attend the conference. After readingSeveral Measures for the In-depth Implementation of the Strategy of Tianjin University for Invigorating Through Talents in the New Era (Draft), Mr. Zhou hit the nail on the head in his remarks that the core, and the most difficult one, is about improving the talent evaluation and incentive system. In his opinion, the crux of the talent-related issue is how to evaluate talents, which requires careful study and exploration. He also noted, “It should start with the examples of leaders and make an objective evaluation of them. But it is difficult to evaluate the value of the outcomes even if we can list a number of principles. Just like identifying a work of art, a connoisseur can make a judgment relatively easily while it’s hard to make a correct evaluation even if they are told a number of principles or criteria.”

Su Wanhua, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, quoted the words of the former President Wu Yongshi: "To run a university is to create an atmosphere." Invigorating universities through talents hinges on an enabling atmosphere. “A certain atmosphere is a spur to the growth of talents at all levels at Tianjin University. As undergraduates, graduate students, young teachers and backbone researchers need different environment, we must ensure more subdivided and refined measures are available to prepare suitable ground for the growth of different talents,” said him.

According to Academician Su, university is the cradle of engineers and scientists. Student cultivation requires stronger basic education. Backbone researchers should meet the needs of the country to cultivate great scientists. Academician Su also shared his opinion on how to cultivate great scientists. He said: “Less interference, more service. The young backbone should be fully trusted in the process of growth, and they need more services from the backstage administration and less fancy titles. Scientists should be developed in an unobtrusively enabling environment.”

Han Qinghua, Party Secretary and Dean of the School of Civil Engineering, and Director of the Construction and Management Office of the Large-scale Earthquake Engineering Simulation Research Facility, noted three commitments in the light of his own experience. First, we must bear in mind our original aspiration and mission. Second, stay committed to the original aspiration of education. It is imperative to increase the awareness of the decisive significance of education and strive to scale new heights in imparting knowledge and cultivating students. Third, stay committed to the mission of invigorating the country. Scientific and technological innovation orientation must be made clearer to serve the national development strategy in a forward-looking fashion. The three commitments reflect his understanding of talent-related work.

“Vigorous cultivation, active introduction, continuous support, effective motivation, and supporting services.” Han's suggestions for talent-related work are well organized and close-knit. He said, “Talents can adapt to the university’s environment and satisfy the needs by optimizing the internal cultivation environment. Active introduction can draw on the strengths and offset the weaknesses. Long-term and stable support is conducive to huge results. Effective motivation and assessment can boost the efficiency of talent-related work to make greater contributions to the country and mankind.

Liu Xiuyun, a newcomer to the faculty members of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the School of Precision Instrument and Optoelectronics Engineering, who has just joined the School for 10 months, expressed her gratitude to TJU for its concerns to talents. She introduced the special practices of some key universities in talents cultivation from her own study experience, and also talked about her opinions on the measures released by TJU from the perspective of a young teacher. She introduced that UCSF is a research-oriented university with PhD and postdoctoral students as the mainstay. The University conducts two sessions of lecture skills training for postdocs every year. Young scholars who have just transformed from students to independent researchers encounter many difficulties, such as how to set up their own labs, how to communicate with their teams, how to deal with potential conflicts and problems, and how to adapt to the new identity as soon as possible. Therefore, it is beneficial and indispensable to provide research workers management skills training in UCSF.

Liu also introduced the practice of UCSF in its supporting services for talent-related work. “The university has a technology transformation office, which is responsible for the patent application and landing work. Every year, it selects 200 valuable research results of the university and provides whole industrial chain services including background research, patent application, and financing at an early stage. I think it’s a good approach.” said Liu.

By Chen Sihang

Editor: Sun Xiaofang