Tsinghua looks to attract overseas scholars

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Tsinghua University is trying to recruit talented overseas professors as it aspires to become one of the highest ranked universities in the world.

The university, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary this month, expects to attract 200 eminent overseas professors and associate professors to join its faculty by 2020, according to the university's publicity department.

By 2010, the university had recruited 50 professors from famous overseas universities or research institutions.

The newcomers will become full-time professors charged with teaching students and conducting research needed for innovative projects at the university.

The university plans to make itself attractive to overseas academics by offering them good salaries (the amounts have not been disclosed) and setting aside money specifically to support their work in the first three years of their employment.

Besides those incentives, the university will offer potential recruits an office and a laboratory containing up to 300 square meters of space.

Those interested in taking one of the positions will be able to submit job applications to the university throughout the year. Tsinghua will review the candidates' resumes and rely on the advice of an expert panel to decide whom it should hire.

Along with attracting overseas academics, the university also intends to select 200 teachers under the age of 40 from the teachers at the campus and offer them special support in their research on certain subjects.

Tsinghua, which started as a school that prepared Chinese students for study in the United States, has long recruited overseas experts.

Since 1998, it has had plans to hire about 100 prominent scholars. And in the ensuing decade, about 70 percent of those hired came from other countries.

By this year, the school had almost 100 full-time overseas teachers on its regular payroll, 13 of whom came from Hong Kong and Taiwan, said a staff member with the division of overseas human resources at the Office of International Cooperation and Exchange, who asked not to be named.

"Most of those foreign professors were from countries such as the United States, Japan and countries in Europe," he said.

With the cooperation of overseas experts, Tsinghua has improved its work in academic research.

Although the university may have difficulty in recruiting a lot of overseas experts into full-time positions, it has begun two special programs giving such experts more opportunities to become visiting fellows, according to Li Yuhong, deputy director at the Office of International Cooperation and Exchange in Tsinghua.

One program, aimed at making Tsinghua attractive to prominent visiting fellows, has brought 40 experts to the campus since 1998, 80 percent of whom have been foreign scholars.

The university has also attracted more than 1,000 overseas experts to work at or visit the campus every year, either for long or short stays.

Chen Xu, deputy Party chief of Tsinghua University, said in an earlier report that Tsinghua has goals of becoming a first-class university in the world by 2020 and of having a leading place among world-class universities by 2050.

Attracting great minds from other countries will bring the university closer to that goal.

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