The colloquium between the Ministry of Education and the Frontier Science Center of Brains and Machines was held at Zhejiang University on May 8th, 2019. Yongjun Wu, Director of Basic Research and Overseas Projects of the Institute of Technology Science of ZJU chaired this event. Runsheng GAO, Director of Department of Science and Technology from the Ministry of Education, was invited to supervise this colloquium. Other attendees were officials of the center and ZJU, including Dr. Shuming DUAN (Academician of the Chinese Academy of Science, Principle Scientist of the center), Dr. Hailan HU (Director of the center), Dr. Yueming WANG (Vice Director of the center), Dr. Liming WANG (Assistant Director of the center), Dr. Wei GONG (Investigator of School of Medicine, Affiliated Second Hospital), Wenli XIA (Dean of Institute of Science and Technology), Chongbo Xie (Vice Director of Basic Research and Overseas Projects of the Institute of Technology Science).
Following the warm welcome and a brief introduction of all participants, Dr. Shuming DUAN introduced the organization of the center, research direction, foundation and scientific achievement. Currently, ten interdisciplinary projects and eight leading-edge projects involving international collaboration are planned by the center. The center is well-funded by government and private donations and is actively recruiting senior and junior scientists.
Attendees pointed out that the center was based on strong research foundation and integrated multidisciplinary resources from ZJU. The university showed full support for the center during this process. However, they also brought up the shortage of Ph.D. students which might limit the future development of the center. Director GAO responded that the Ministry of Education will strengthen direct support and supervision for the center. As for the shortage of Ph.D. students, he brought up a few solutions such as adjusting the number of Ph.D. students according to the future status of centers and eliminating unqualified centers. The ultimate goal is to make the Frontier Science Center an elite institute in the university and highly respected by domestic and international peers.
Director GAO summarized the colloquium and pointed out that the center should fill gaps in basic research in China and become an iconic institute of ZJU. He set up a few standards for the center. First, the center should aim big, building a big platform, organizing a big team, carrying out big projects, and achieving big things. Second, the center should be well organized and recruit young and international force. Third, the center should focus on pioneering, cutting edge, interdisciplinary and revolutionary topics. Fourth, the center should continuously provide supportive policy, keep stainable funding, attract top talent, and cultivate academic leaders.
Director GAO emphasized that the center should focus on interdisciplinary integration and innovation and unify the will of the country, the university and experts. The AI study should promote the development of intelligent machines in order to suit the requirement of upcoming industrialized society and attract economic support from Zhejiang Province. The basic research should also combine with clinical research and develop therapeutic solutions to fight diseases.