The University launches another three convergence research projects

2019-03-06 Global Communications

The University announced last week another batch of convergence research projects under its Innovation 2030 — a university-wide strategic framework to advance the construction of the “Double First-Class” Initiative. Capitalizing on the broad research portfolio of ZJU, Innovation 2030 aims to catalyze greater collaboration among discipline clusters, impelling significant breakthroughs and finding innovative solutions for big questions of tomorrow. The three projects center on quantum computing and sensing, conservation of ecology and environment, and agricultural breeding by design.

In a post-Moore’s law world, quantum science holds great promise to offer new disruptive technologies for complex issues. Through controlling the entanglement and superposition of quantum states, quantum technology is intended to establish a communication network with absolute security, revolutionize the future of computing, and achieve measurement with unprecedented sensitivity. A number of key frontiers will be explored, including quantum computing, quantum sensing, and quantum imaging, in a bid to explore potential applications of quantum technology in bio-sensing, artificial intelligence, and clinical medicine. We aim at building a world-class innovation center to encourage cross-disciplinary discovery in quantum technology.

Ecological and environmental conservation emphasizes harmony between human and nature. Pressing global problems will be addressed such as energy and resource shortage, environmental pollution, and ecosystem degradation. Knowledge, approaches and expertise from natural science and relevant humanities and social sciences will converge to construct two discipline clusters on ecology and environmental sciences, establish innovative research teams, and create a high-profile, state-level think tank with global influence. We aim to work on areas including alleviation of environmental impacts, restoration of natural ecosystems, development of renewable and clean energy, environmental big data analytics, as well as institutional innovations and cultural communications. Breakthroughs in these research areas will greatly drive sustainability and durability, and speed up reform of the system for developing an ecological civilization.

The strategic importance of breeding in the global competition within the agricultural sector has been well recognized worldwide. Against the backdrop of growing world population, global climate change, natural resource constraints and socio-economic development, additional demands are placed on biological breeding to ensure food security and ecological safety, and satisfy the need for health and nutrition. Working collaboratively with leading breeding enterprises, we aim to harness strengths of related disciplines across the university in a smarter way. Huge amount of agricultural biological data will be managed and analyzed, and then exploited by big data analytics platform for targeted breeding. A number of new varieties with high quality and biotic or abiotic resistances will be developed and widely used in agricultural production.

Following the first project on brain research and artificial intelligence (IC) released last September, the University has so far put forward four projects in alignment with the national and regional strategic goals. Two centers within the scope of IC have already been approved by the Ministry of Education – the Frontier Research Center for Brain and Brain-Computer Integration and the Collaborative Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence.