Summer research projects on show

27 Sep 2019

From doing business in a digital age to revitalisation of rural villages, the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Poster Day held at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University this month showcased the diverse range of research undergraduate students undertook during their summer vacation.

Reflecting on the 82 research projects presented on the day, Dr Fei Ma, dean of Research and Graduate Studies, said he was delighted to see so many research achievements produced during the holidays.

“This is the eighth year we have hosted this programme, which gives our undergraduate students the chance to participate in real-world research projects,” he said.

“The SURF programme provides undergraduate students with research funding and academic guidance and every year, there are a large number of undergraduate students keen to participate.”

The culmination of the hard work carried out over summer is the SURF Poster Day, where winning projects from each University cluster and an overall winner are announced. Students are also on hand on the day to present their projects and answer questions from the University community.

This year’s Overall Winner and Business Cluster Winner was Project Team 51, supervised by Dr Tao Bai from the International Business School Suzhou. The project analysed more than 700 small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to understand how digitalisation fits into their development strategy.

According to Dr Bai, responding to the demands of digitalisation has become an issue that many businesses encounter. He said it can be both a challenge and an opportunity for SMEs.

“Through this summer research project, we hope we can provide some advice to SMEs on how to understand and utilise digitalisation,” he said.

“This might be helpful for them when competing with large companies and could contribute to them succeeding in the digital age.”

Year Four economics student Yue Li, who worked on processing the data used to inform the project, said SURF was a valuable experience.

“The research experience I gained from this programme actually helped me write my graduation thesis. It helped guide my topic selection, paper structure, as well as informing how best to present my findings,” she said.

The Student-nominated Prize went to Project Team 25, under the guidance of Professor Bing Chen from the Department of Urban Planning and Design. Their project explored sustainable planning, design and build strategies for rural revitalisation in Guizhou province, China.

Professor David Goodman, vice president for Academic Affairs, congratulated the students at the close of the event, stating students should be proud of what they had achieved.

The award-winning SURF projects were:

Overall Winner (and The Business Cluster Winner) – ‘How does digitalization impact SMEs’ performance?’ Team members: Chenxi Shan, Junbo Zhao, Yue Li, Shiyi An, Shengxi Yan, Chang Sun, supervised by Dr Tao Bai.

Student-nominated Winner – ‘Sustainable Planning-Design-Build strategies for rural revitalisation in Guizhou Province, China: A case study of Maiweng Buyi Village’ Team members: Yangyang Ding, Zhuo Xu, Yingfei Zhuo, Yechen Fu, Zixuan Liu, supervised by Dr Bing Chen and Dr Cheng Zhang.

Advanced Technology Cluster Winner – ‘A Deep Learning-Based Approach Used in an Indoor Urban Farming System’ Team members: Hanbin Qin, Shuai Chen, Jiahui An, Yuhui Dang, supervised by Professor Feng Zhao, Professor Yong Yue.

Design Cluster Winner – ‘Textile-Composite Self-Shading Module: A Prototype for the Design Building Atrium Skylight’ Team members: Shuyu Ni, Ningzi Xue, Yingying Shen, supervised by Dr Kihong Ku.

Humanities and Social Sciences Cluster Winner – ‘Community Development in Relocated Urban Housing in Suzhou Industrial Park’ Team members: Heyang Liu, Yujing Lu, Ningchen Zhang, Qinyu Zhang, supervised by Dr Keping Wu.

Language Cluster Winner – ‘The impact of accents on evaluation accuracy in Artificial Intelligence Speech Evaluation System’ Team members: Kefei Wei, Lu Sun, Yitong Qi, Xiaoyu Yang, Jiawen Fu, supervised by Dr Bin Zou.

Mathematics Cluster Winner – ‘Mesh generation for electrical impedance tomography’ Team members: Xinzhu Yuan, Yilin Qi, Yifei Huang, supervised by Dr Erfang Ma.

Science Cluster Winner – ‘Bacterial growth inhibition screen: An unrecognised alternative route for basic characterization of protein function?’Team members: Yewei Liu, Fangran Huo, supervised by Dr Ferdinand Kappes.

By Bingyu Chen and Minghao Miao; edited by Bo Kou

Photography by Hang Yang

Translated by Simin Yang

27 Sep 2019