Last month, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University held a graduation ceremony dedicated to the postgraduate class of 2022. Over 1,000 students received their masters and doctoral degrees, ready to embark on their futures.
In his speech, Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU, said: “This marks the inaugural graduation ceremony dedicated to graduate students, showcasing the growing success of our graduate programmes and reminding us how important you have been to the XJTLU experience. May your memories of XJTLU accompany you on your next journey!”
Professor Youmin Xi
Nurturing research environment
One of the graduates at the event was Mingjie Sun, who received his PhD from XJTLU’s School of Advanced Technology (SAT).
He gained his bachelors degree from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a double masters degree from Xidian University and the University of Nottingham.
He chose XJTLU for his doctoral research because the University aligned with his research interests. He also thought Suzhou has many geographical advantages.
Sun’s research focused on artificial intelligence and computer vision, which is what earned him a full PhD scholarship. He says: “XJTLU offered popular research topics that I’ve been interested in. These research areas can lead to positions in university faculties and abundant opportunities to cooperate with the industry.”
Professor Eng Gee Lim, dean of SAT, and Dr Jimin Xiao were Mingjie’s co-supervisors. In addition to group meetings and brainstorming sessions with his lab partners, Sun had one-on-one discussions with his supervisors every week to analyse existing challenges and figure out solutions.
From left to right: Professor Eng Gee Lim, Mingjie Sun, and Dr Jimin Xiao
“My supervisors are active in the front line of scientific research. Professor Lim would steer the course of my work while Dr Xiao focused on details such as the design of experimental methods and how to maximise my strengths and minimise my weaknesses in the research,” says Sun.
“XJTLU’s labs also have the powerful computers necessary to process data and carry out experiments in computer science-related programmes,” adds Sun.
With his outstanding PhD research outcomes, Sun has been accepted by Tongji University as an assistant professor.
Students at the graduation ceremony
Dr Min Chen, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at SAT, says: “XJTLU offers relatively generous scholarships. The half scholarship offers a tuition waiver, while the full scholarship provides additional subsidies on top of that.
“The scholarships are funded by research projects of the University, enterprises and the government. Postgraduate students can also follow the XJTLU-JITRI path to participate in the industry-education-research projects at Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute (JITRI) and enterprises,” she says.
Lin Zhang is one of the first graduates from the XJTLU-JITRI Academy of Industrial Technology, having finished an 18-month MSc Multimedia Telecommunications programme. During the first two semesters, she completed the taught modules and then went to JITRI’s Intelligent Manufacturing Technology Institute for her graduation project.
“At the Institute, I finished a project on lidar, or light detection and ranging, which is a remote sensing method. My research explored complex application scenarios of unmanned disinfection and sanitation vehicles,” says Zhang. “There, I was able to see real, large-scale application scenarios. We used cutting-edge equipment, which gave my thesis new perspectives and a solid hardware foundation.”
The XJTLU-JITRI Academy is the first joint academic venture established by JITRI and a university. Unlike traditional postgraduate education, research topics at the Academy all come from actual technological demand in the market.
Under the guidance of her industrial supervisor, Dr Yu Lu, Director of the Research and Development Centre of the JITRI Institute of Intelligent Manufacturing Technology, and Dr Limin Yu, her XJTLU supervisor, Zhang successfully finished her graduation project, received her masters degree and graduated with distinction.
Lin Zhang (left) and Professor Youmin Xi (right)
Upon graduation, Zhang received multiple interview opportunities. She chose the three that suited her career plans best and received offers from all of them.
She chose the research and development company Tsingyun Intelligence to start her career as an internet product planner.
“Professional background was an important factor in my application,” says Zhang. “It’s also necessary for product planners to have creativity and solid logical thinking. Interviewers also value bilingual ability and communication skills.”
Zhang said that early exposure to the working environment during her masters programme led to an improved understanding of the industry and society.
“At the institute, I got to see the whole lifecycle of a product from setup and development, to delivery, testing and user feedback. I also saw the challenges experienced by the staff, which will help me communicate more efficiently in my current work.”
Her masters programme also gave Zhang increased confidence to make her voice heard: “In the workplace, I need to review product designs and share my thoughts with many people. In XJTLU’s classrooms, I used to share a lot, which made me more comfortable with expressing my ideas at work,” adds Zhang.
By Luyun Shi, Huatian Jin, and Yixiao Zhang
Translated by Xiangyin Han
Edited by Patricia Pieterse