Duke Kunshan, Westlake form strategic partnership for research, talent development | Duke Kunshan University

Duke Kunshan, Westlake form strategic partnership for research, talent development

October 22, 2020

Front from left: Westlake University President Yigong Shi and Duke Kunshan Chancellor Youmei Feng. Back row from left: Westlake Vice President Min Qiu, Westlake Vice President Xiaoyun Zhu, DKU Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Scott MacEachern and DKU Vice Chancellor for Government Relations Xiaolin Chang.

By DKU staff

Duke Kunshan has formed a strategic partnership with Westlake University, a private research-focused institution in eastern China, with the aim to foster innovative talent and make greater contributions to social and economic development.

The partnership will see the two universities collaborate in areas of talent development, research, and faculty and student exchanges, according to the agreement signed by Duke Kunshan Chancellor Youmei Feng and Westlake President Yigong Shi on Oct. 15.

The universities will leverage their advantages, share high-quality resources, and jointly develop key fields of study and curricula, as well as work together to encourage student innovation, explore new training mechanisms, and broaden international opportunities.

Chancellor Feng shares her ideas during the signing ceremony at Westlake University’s campus in Hangzhou, China, on Oct. 15.

“As young research universities, Duke Kunshan and Westlake both aspire to build world-class universities and are firmly committed to student success,” said Chancellor Feng.

“This strategic partnership will see DKU collaborate closely with Westlake to improve educational quality, encourage students to learn from different cultures and perspectives, and develop future leaders who can explore, take on a global perspective, and can address the major challenges facing the world, cross barriers and borders, and serve society with knowledge,” she said.

Duke Kunshan and Westlake have also committed to cross-disciplinary research collaboration in areas of common interest. They will jointly conduct basic and applied research, and research on key technology and applications, as well as organize high-level academic conferences, explore a long-term mechanism for academic dialogue, and construct and share research infrastructure.

In addition, the universities have agreed to work together on talent development by expanding channels for high-level recruitment and maintaining a constructive, well-organized talent management framework.

Westlake President Yigong Shi at the signing ceremony at Westlake.

“Duke Kunshan is a beneficial practice of Sino-U.S. higher education partnership in China, while Westlake is a university rooted in China with distinctive characteristics of international education,” said Shi.

“With the current international environment full of uncertainties, cooperation between our two universities is particularly important,” he said. “In the face of unprecedented challenges and opportunities, we should assume the responsibility and mission of connecting China and the world, convey our voice and values to the international community, and work together to expand the boundaries of knowledge and technology to drive society forward through a more open and inclusive approach.”

Westlake University was established in 2018 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, through a public-private funding initiative. Initially focused on Ph.D. programs and cutting-edge research, the university has three schools – science, life sciences, and engineering – as well as world-leading basic and applied research laboratories.

Through strategic collaboration, Duke Kunshan and Westlake aim to achieve great synergy from their complementary partnership, promote leapfrog development, and develop global talent with the skills to explore, learn independently, and embrace cross-cultural communication and cooperation.

The universities also hope to make greater contributions to regional and national social and economic development, and address the complex challenges facing the world today.

Senior officials from Duke Kunshan and Westlake attend the signing ceremony in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Oct. 15.