SUSTech hosts 2023 International Advisory Council Meeting


From November 5 to 7, 2023, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) convened its 2023 International Advisory Council (IAC) Meeting. Eleven prestigious presidents and academic leaders from the global higher education sector engaged with SUSTech's leadership and conducted a comprehensive evaluation of SUSTech's endeavors.

Attending IAC members were met by municipal leaders, including Qing CHEN, Vice Mayor of the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government; Lin ZHANG, Director of the Science, Technology and Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality; and Saixian CAO, Director General of the Shenzhen Municipal Foreign Affairs Office.


This marked the fifth IAC meeting since SUSTech's inception and the first since the University embarked on a new development phase in the “Double First-Class” initiative.

Xiang ZHANG, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), assumed the role of this year's IAC chair.

Other attending IAC members included Xinhe BAO, President of the University of Science and Technology of China; Jean-Lou Chameau, President Emeritus of the California Institute of Technology; Tony F. CHAN, President of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Song GAO, President of Sun Yat-sen University; Binglin GU, former President of Tsinghua University; Jianhua LIN, former President of Peking University; Max LU, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey; Eloïc Peyrache, Dean of HEC Paris; Choon Fong SHIH, Professor and former President of the National University of Singapore; and Yonghua SONG, Rector of the University of Macau.

Yiying ZHONG, Deputy Director of the Education Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality, Hai ZHONG, Deputy Director of the Science, Technology and Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality, Hong JIANG, University Council Chairperson of SUSTech, Qikun XUE, President of SUSTech, along with other members of the University's leadership team and heads of related departments also attended the event.


Vice Mayor Qing CHEN welcomed the attending IAC members, and highlighted Shenzhen’s steadfast commitment to a development strategy that emphasizes education and talent-driven growth. This strategy continues to raise the bar for the quality of higher education in Shenzhen, supporting the city's vital role in developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the Shenzhen Pilot Demonstration Zone. He expressed the hope that IAC members would continue to support SUSTech's development and contribute to Shenzhen's leading position in China's modernization efforts.


On the morning of November 6, the 2023 SUSTech IAC Meeting officially commenced, with Yiying ZHONG and IAC Chair Xiang ZHANG delivering opening remarks.

Yiying ZHONG conveyed his gratitude to the IAC members for their invaluable insights into SUSTech's development and higher education in Shenzhen, and emphasized that the Education Bureau would diligently assess and integrate the suggestions and recommendations of the IAC to advance the high-quality development of SUSTech.

HKU President and 2023 IAC Chair Xiang ZHANG expressed his enthusiasm for the remarkable achievements that SUSTech has made over the past decade. He recommended that government authorities at all levels maintain their support for SUSTech in making further contributions to Shenzhen and the GBA.

President Qikun XUE presented a comprehensive report on the progress of the University. The report outlined SUSTech's significant accomplishments over the past five years in areas such as talent cultivation, academic achievements, faculty recruitment, campus construction, and international collaboration. It also delved into the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in the new era.

He stressed that SUSTech has transitioned from rapid growth to a new stage of high-quality development. Guided by the motto of “Virtue, Truth, Advance”, the University remains steadfast in contributing to scientific and technological progress, national prosperity, and global sustainability. It has implemented the “3-3-5” strategy, attracting world-class scholars like Fields Medal winner Efim Zelmanov and establishing major research platforms, including the Quantum Science Center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao GBA and the X-Ray Free-Electron Laser facility.

He added that the University is committed to forging new pathways and methods for the high-quality development of higher education. In the future, it will capitalize on the “Double First-Class” initiative as an opportunity, leveraging the advantages of the Shenzhen Pilot Demonstration Zone to become a world-class research university.

Following the presidential report, IAC members engaged in in-depth discussions with SUSTech's leadership on various topics, including the balance between educational scale and resource allocation, the development of top-tier talent systems for innovation, enhancing teaching quality, fostering humanities and social science disciplines, supporting local economic development, and promoting collaboration between academia and industry.


On the afternoon of November 6, the IAC members held conversations with faculty members and student representatives to gain deeper insights into their perspectives on SUSTech’s development. A closed-door meeting was held to explore and propose strategies.

During the subsequent feedback session, IAC members expressed their recognition of the University's remarkable strides in high-quality development and expressed their expectations for SUSTech to effectively balance resources and efficiency, achieving even greater successes in the future.

On the morning of November 7, accompanied by President Qikun XUE, IAC members visited leading companies in Shenzhen, having extensive dialogues on topics such as basic research, technological development, innovation, and collaboration networks.

SUSTech's IAC is comprised of widely respected academic leaders and scholars in the field of international higher education, and advises the University's leadership team on establishing SUSTech as a world-class research university that cultivates outstanding talents and contributes significantly to scientific and technological advancement.

Following in-person meetings at SUSTech in 2012, 2017, and 2018, the IAC previously convened virtually in 2021. The 2023 meeting is the first on-campus gathering for five years. This year, the IAC introduced five new members from the GBA, including Xiang ZHANG; Yonghua SONG; Song GAO; Rocky S. TUAN, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Jin-Guang TENG, President of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

By: Yang XU & Zixu WANG

Proofread By: Adrian Cremin, Yingying XIA