Zhejiang Lab

Appointment Ceremony and First Meeting of Academic Advisory Committee

On the morning of March 31, the Appointment Ceremony and First Meeting of Academic Advisory Committee of Zhejiang Lab was held in Hangzhou. Lu Yongxiang, former vice chairperson of the NPC Standing Committee, former president and current academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences and academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, chaired the meeting and gave a speech. Yuan Jiajun, deputy secretary of CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, governor of Zhejiang Province and chairman of the Supervisory Board of Zhejiang Lab, presented letters of appointment to the advisors.

At the meeting, Zhu Shiqiang, director of Zhejiang Lab, briefed the advisors and the guests on the lab’s progress and development plan. Directors from Zhejiang University and Alibaba introduced their efforts in building the lab.

The Academic Advisory Committee is reported to be the highest academic advisory body of the lab, guiding and adjusting research directions, offering academic counsel and evaluating academic work. The first session of the committee is made up of 32 people including academicians, top-notch scientists and senior specialists from home and abroad. One of the most notable members is Professor Raj Reddy,Turing Award laureate and pioneer of artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University. The committee acts as a think tank that helps the lab decide its direction and develop major equipment. Professor Lu is the director while the deputy directors are Pan Yunhe, former executive vice president and current academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; Wu Hequan, committee member of the Internet Society of China and academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering; Wu Jiangxing, former president of Information Engineering University and current academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and Wu Manqing, deputy general manager of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation and academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering. The first session of the committee consists of 18 Chinese academicians and 12 international experts from Canada, the Royal Academy of Engineering (the UK), and the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg (Germany).

After the appointment ceremony, Mr. Zhu introduced to the guests the latest progress, development plan and the first major research projects of the lab. He said the first six months had seen substantial progress, especially in building a first-rate research team. Currently, the lab has around 190 researchers, including over 40 people who have signed contracts and started their work and another 102 in dual employment projects. Besides, it has reached a preliminary agreement with several international scientists and their teams on cooperation on relevant fields. In terms of major projects and facilities, the feasibility demonstration of the first eight projects selected has been completed.

At the meeting, Yan Jianhua, vice president of Zhejiang University said that Zhejiang University was one of the two cores of the lab and would actively participate in and promote the building of the lab. He hoped that Zhejiang University would make full use of and share with Zhejiang Lab its basic strengths for new research organization models, synergetic development and win-win cooperation. In this way, both parties could fully tap into the facilities, talent and network resources and turn Zhejiang Lab into a pool of talents, a shining example of the disciplines and sources of innovation in terms of network information and artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, he expected that Zhejiang University, through participation in the building of the lab, would make more progress in attracting talent and establishing first-class facilities and disciplines, enhanced its basic, original and disruptive innovation capacity, and become a world-class university.

CTO of Alibaba Zhang Jianfeng gave a speech on behalf of the group. He said that Alibaba efficiently put together a leading group and a project team to support the building of the lab, secured the registered capital and created a high-level communication mechanism. Additionally, the group formed a working group during the early stages of the lab, with professionals from different levels so as to be able to integrate the research strength of different people to help set up several major projects. In the near future, Alibaba would undertake and deliver excellent major facilities like the “urban brain”, explore a cross-system dual employment model and build a closed loop of industry-university-research cooperation to support the digital economy. Alibaba would work with Zhejiang University and offer full support to the building of the lab and expected the lab to help build a future-oriented system for technological innovation for Zhejiang Province and boost the development of new strength of the province.

After that, the advisers present had discussions on the development plan and major projects of the lab and offered constructive counsel on the positioning, talent recruitment and evaluation, specific research directions and project review and assessment.

Director Lu Yongxiang gave an important speech after listening to the reports and discussions. First of all, he appreciated what the lab had done over the past six months and the support from different organizations. The provincial CPC committee and government had been dedicated in supporting the lab with practical measures, and that the lab had worked with passion and clear plans, and partners had helped to create a congenial atmosphere and a solid foundation for the lab. He also emphasized that the lab would continue to make full preparation for further development. To be specific, the landscape should be analyzed to understand the macro environment. The main direction should be specified to develop distinct strength. The role of the “two cores” should be fully utilized and the position of the lab in the industry should be clarified. The innovation mechanism should be established so that institutional safeguards could be put in place. He pointed out that the lab is a part of the one-hundred-year plan for innovation and development of Zhejiang Province, so the facilities building should accentuate the quality and efficiency characteristics of the province.

Professor Lu also shared his expectations and requirements for the committee. As he said, accepting the letters of appointment from the chairperson marks a new beginning of the advisors in the lab. He hoped that everyone would tap into their strength, follow the building and development of the lab and actively provide counsel, contributing their wisdom and power. He suggested that they actively facilitate the development of the lab by clarifying the directions, recommending talents and promoting cooperation.