XJTLU’s 2022 Postgraduate Research Symposium took place on 15 and 16 December. It is the ninth consecutive year that the symposium, formerly known as XJTLU Postgraduate Poster Exhibition, has been successfully held.

Professor Zhoulin Ruan, XJTLU’s Associate Vice President for education, says: “As the XJTLU Postgraduate Research Symposium gains popularity, our goal is to make it a flagship platform for exchanges of academic insights. This ambition can be achieved through cooperation between universities in China and abroad.”

PhD students from 30 universities worldwide registered for the 2022 symposium. These include the Chinese universities XJTLU, Zhejiang University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Southeast University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as the University of Edinburgh and the University of Liverpool from the UK.

Over 260 participants from XJTLU and other universities exchanged ideas about their research through posters and online/onsite presentations given in English.

At the opening ceremony of the symposium, Professor Youmin Xi (pictured below), XJTLU’s Executive President, gave a speech on “what makes for successful postgraduate education”. Professor Xi explained the layout of the education at XJTLU and its five-star strategic blueprint. He also shared the case of XJTLU-JITRI Academy of Industrial Technology as a part of XJTLU’s effort to build postgraduate education upon the innovative cooperation between industry and academia.

Professor Xi said: “Amid a globalised world, successful postgraduate education should highlight not only students’ professional attainment but their cross-cultural leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.” Professor Xi advised students to “dare to be ambitious” when choosing their research topics. He hopes that by gathering wisdom distilled from Chinese and Western cultures, students can enhance their thinking, put theories into practice, and be more at ease when facing problems.

Professor Youmin Xi, XJTLU’s Executive President giving a speech at XJTLU's 2022 Postgraduate Research Symposium

“Conducting research is not about staying in a lab or an office grappling with a problem all day long. Good research requires going out, sharing ideas, and gaining inspiration for innovation through mutual learning.” Professor Fei Ma (pictured below), XJTLU’s Associate Vice President for Research, said in his speech. “Throughout history, many important discoveries and innovative inventions are the results of discussion and exchanges of ideas.”

Professor Fei Ma, XJTLU’s Associate Vice President for Research

Yue Zhou (pictured below), a PhD student from the International Business School Suzhou at XJTLU, feels that the symposium allows her to take different advice and hear new ideas from academics from other universities.

Yue Zhou, a PhD student from the International Business School Suzhou at XJTLU

It is the fourth time that Enakshi Ketaki Sivasudhan (pictured below) has attended the XJTLU Postgraduate Research Symposium. She says: “Doing a PhD doesn’t just make you an expert in a particular area of study, but it moulds your personality in a way that helps you become a more independent thinker and an efficient problem solver. As many have said before: ‘It’s a marathon and not a sprint.’ Sivasudhan says that XJTLU serves as a perfect track for the “marathon” she mentions.

Enakshi Ketaki Sivasudhan is doing a PhD in Biological Sciences at XJTLU

Zhelun Liu (pictured below), a PhD student in environmental science from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, signed up for the symposium out of curiosity about Sino-foreign universities. She says that XJTLU’s inclusive environment for research far exceeds her expectations.

“The symposiums I have attended before were gatherings of students from the same discipline, but at the XJTLU Postgraduate Research Symposium, I met researchers from a variety of disciplines. When talking to people outside my field, I need to introduce my research project using plain language. When I exchange ideas with those who do related research, I need to use specialised technical language. Talking with different audiences helps me see my PhD project in a different light,” Liu says.

Zhelun Liu, a PhD student in environmental science from the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Feifei Luo, a PhD student in public health from Xi’an Jiaotong University, did her presentation online. Luo says: “It’s a brand new experience for me as I was asked to introduce my project in English to scholars from all over the world. I really enjoy the openness and inclusiveness of the environment for research. I hope I can attend the symposium onsite next year to feel, in person, the culture of the school.”

Professor Zhoulin Ruan, XJTLU’s associate vice president for education, says: “The symposium is designed to fit the learning needs of PhD students in different years of their programmes. The third-year PhD students give presentations, the second-year students showcase their research in the poster session, and the first-year students learn by being audience members.”

Professor Ruan says that 540 PhD students are currently enrolled at XJTLU and that the number will grow to 1,000 in the next three to five years.

“We will work more closely in the future with our founding partners – Xi’an Jiaotong University and the University of Liverpool. We will learn from their advanced practices of PhD training to facilitate the high-quality development of XJTLU’s PhD education,” says Professor Ruan.


By Luyun Shi, Liu He, and Mohan Zhang

Translated by Xueqi Wang

Edited by Catherine Diamond

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