The Grand Challenge Scholar Project (GCSP) seminar at Beihang University, hosted by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), was a success. The three-day event (Oct.16-Oct.18) is organized by the School of General Engineering, hosted by Dr. Bindiganavalel Ramakrishna, the GCSP director from NAE. Attendees include more than 30 experts from Toronto University, New York University, Beihang University, Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Beijing Jiaotong University and dozens of students.
On Oct. 16, Prof. Ramakrishna introduced the GCSP in his lecture. The GCSP comes from a new talent cultivation strategy in the engineering field, which was put forward for addressing the “14 Grand Challenges for Engineering”. The 14 challenges, raised by the NAE, are:
Make solar energy affordable.
Provide energy from fusion.
Develop carbon sequestration methods.
Manage the nitrogen cycle.
Provide access to clean water.
Restore and improve urban infrastructure.
Advance health informatics.
Engineer better medicines.
Reverse-engineer the brain.
Prevent nuclear terror.
Enhance virtual reality.
Advance personalized learning.
Engineer the tools for scientific discovery.
The project aims to cultivate outstanding engineers capable to face the 14 grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. Five qualities to be cultivated are innovation, ability to conduct cross-disciplinary research, entrepreneurship, multi-cultural awareness, and social responsibilities. The approach is to the transform engineering talent cultivation pattern by integrating compulsory courses, auxiliary courses, and extracurricular activities. So far more than 50 universities have joined the project.
In the Oct. 17 session, Prof. Ramakrishna analyzed previous GCSP cases for attending teachers and organized a teaching simulation. They held animated discussions on curricular arrangement, project implementation, interdisciplinary research, entrepreneurship programs and how to develop global visions.
Huang Haijun, vice president of BUAA attended the session and delivered a speech. In his speech, Mr. Huang pointed out that the objectives of the GCSP are consistent with the BUAA motto and the 4I cultivation objectives of SGE. This project provides yet another international platform for BUAA to develop entrepreneurship, professional competence, and problem solving abilities in our students. It helps BUAA expand the working logic in internationalizing the engineering education, and strengthens our exchanges and cooperation with elite foreign universities.
On Oct. 18, attending experts visited some teaching labs of the schools of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Aeronautical Science and Engineering and the Peking Center on the Xueyuan Rd. campus. After the tour, they advised on the curricular arrangement of SGE and the conditions necessary for the GCSP, for example, the construction and use of labs.
Prof. Shan Guangcun, a professor from the 1000 Young Talent Program was selected the director of the GCSP in BUAA. Prof. Shan exchanged ideas with experts from the SGE, staff from the
Communist Youth League Committee of China at BUAA, and Dr. Ramakrishna on the report, which include: the vision of BUAA, the framework, students’ researching and hands-on ability, entrepreneurship and global vision, the sense of service, the recruitment of program attendees, guidance and evaluation, and implementation of the program.
The BUAA GCSP Seminar came to a successful end in the afternoon of Oct. 18. The success of this seminar marks yet another firm step on BUAA’s path of engineer education internationalization. It will serve as a valuable theoretical support and practical guidance for future work. Furthermore, it has laid a solid foundation on BUAA’s development of an international mechanism of talent cultivation and in the Double World-Class initiative.