Tsinghua President Qiu Yong Signs Dual Degree Agreement with UC Berkeley

By Rachel Cao Schafer, 5/13/2016

Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong, Vice President Yang Bin, and other key Tsinghua members visited UC Berkeley on May 10, 2016. The occasion was the signing of an agreement between Tsinghua and UC Berkeley to enable the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) to offer the new Dual Degree Program.  The signing was presided over by UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, and was attended by Vice Chancellor of Research Paul Alivisatos, and College of Engineering Dean S. Shankar Sastry.  The new dual degree program, which aims to facilitate economic growth through transdisciplinary and translational research, will be facilitated by TBSI and will start in Fall 2016.  Students will spend 2.5 years at the TBSI Shenzhen Campus and UC Berkeley to obtain both Tsinghua Master of Science and UC Berkeley Master of Engineering degrees.


First row from left to right: UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong. Second row from left to right: Tsinghua University Dean of School of Pharmaceutical Sciences Sheng Ding, Tsinghua Professor and Co-Deputy Director Zhang Lin, Tsinghua University Vice President and Provost Yang Bin, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research Paul Alivisatos, UC Berkeley College of Engineering Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances and TBSI Co-Director Connie Chang-Hasnain, Tsinghua University Dean of International Office Li Jinliang, UC Berkeley College of Engineering Dean S. Shankar Sastry  [Photo by Noah Berger]

UC Berkeley Chancellor Dirks expressed his warm welcome to the Tsinghua delegation and was delighted to see TBSI developing so rapidly. "UC Berkeley values its partnership with Tsinghua University and supports TBSI; this agreement represents yet another major step forward for the collaboration between both institutions and the new joint venture TBSI,” said Chancellor Dirks. “Our collaboration on the dual degree program is the first and the only one with a foreign university. The establishing of this program in TBSI will strengthen the multi-disciplinary research and education collaborations that are important to confronting societal and economic challenges that are global in scale and know no national borders.”

President Qiu commented, “TBSI is one of the most important programs in Tsinghua University’s hundred-year history of international education. It will help the school advance during the process of internationalization.” He explained, “Tsinghua University will see Shenzhen as the main base for international education and encourage faculty to teach across departments through the reform of their personnel system, in order to promote interdisciplinary education and encourage more excellent Tsinghua faculty to work at TBSI."

First row from left to right: UC Berkeley Industry Engineering and Operations Research Professor Shmuel Oren, Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong, UC Berkeley College of Engineering Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances and TBSI Co-Director Connie Chang-Hasnain, UC Berkeley Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Professor Ilan Adler. Second row from left to right: UC Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Scott Moura, Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Slav Hermanowicz, UB BerkeleyMechanical Engineering Professor and TBSI Co-Deputy Director Liwei Lin, Tsinghua University Dean of School of Pharmaceutical Sciences Sheng Ding, Tsinghua Professor and Co-Deputy Director Zhang Lin, Optometry and Vision Science Professor Xiaohua Gong, Physics Professor Feng Wang.  Third row from left to right: Tsinghua University Vice President and Provost Yang Bin, Tsinghua University Assistant Dean of International Office Zhang Jian, UC Berkeley Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Professor Xin Guo, Tsinghua University Dean of International Office Li Jinliang  [Photo by Noah Berger]

Tsinghua University Vice President and Provost Yang Bin emphasized that Shenzhen is determined to invest in higher education and has a pressing need to push local industry to advance. “TBSI is the best platform and timing for Tsinghua and UC Berkeley to collaborate; the two universities should utilize this opportunity to develop their collaboration at a fast speed,” Yang Bin added.

TBSI is a joint research institute between the two schools and will collaborate hand in hand to solve important challenges facing mankind. VCR Paul Alivisatos said, “Based in dynamic Shenzhen with vibrant industries and demands, TBSI will be successful in its missions.” College of Engineering Dean S. Shankar Sastry also said that the College of Engineering will support TBSI’s development and encourage more Berkeley faculty to participate.

 President Qiu Yong and TBSI Co-Director Connie Chang-Hasnain [Photo by Noah Berger]

College of Engineering Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances and TBSI Co-Director Connie Chang-Hasnain, the chief architect of the new dual degree program, expressed her aspiration to build a new bridge for the next generation leaders and entrepreneurs that spans across massively diverse disciplines, academia and industry, and vastly different cultures.  “With this program,” she said, “we are making a huge step towards research and education that will transform our world.  Both Berkeley and Tsinghua students believe in the mission of serving the society.  This education program enables us to undertake global scale challenges to benefit the world.”

Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong is shaking hands with UC Berkeley College of Engineering Dean S. Shankar Sastry, with TBSI leaders - Zhang Lin (top left) and Connie Chang-Hasnain (top right), and Tsinghua officials in attendance. [Photo by Noah Berger]

At the TBSI office in downtown Berkeley, President Qiu met with nine Berkeley core-principal investigators (PIs), including Co-Director Connie Chang-Hasnain, Co-Deputy Director Liwei Lin, Industry Engineering and Operations Research professor Shmuel Oren, and Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Slav Hermanowicz.  President Qiu presented appointment letters to the Berkeley faculty to be part of the Tsinghua faculty.  A total of seventeen Berkeley core-PIs is working with the faculty from Tsinghua University to establish the first of 15 TBSI research laboratories, which cover the interdisciplinary areas of Environmental Science & New Energy Technology, Data Science & Information Technology, and Precision Medicine & Healthcare.  

TBSI Berkeley Hosts the 2016 Spring Industry Advisory Board Meeting

by Rachel Cao Schafer, 4/20/2016

The spring 2016 Industry Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting of the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) was held on April 13-14. This successful meeting took place at the Faculty Club at University of California, Berkeley. A total of 15 members from industry and 60 TBSI core Principal Investigators and UC Berkeley faculty and leadership participated in this meeting.

During the meeting, TBSI IAB members heard reports from UC Berkeley and Tsinghua University officials, TBSI Co-directors, faculty, and students. “TBSI’s vision is to build a bridge connecting different disciplines, academia and industry, and researchers from diverse cultures across the Pacific,” said Professor Connie Chang-Hasnain, TBSI Founding Co-Director, “and we are making great strides towards this vision”. Co-Directors Connie Chang-Hasnain, Feiyu Kang, and Co-Deputy Directors, Liwei Lin, and Lin Zhang presented institute overviews and updates on three interdisciplinary research centers on the environment and new energy, information technology, and data science, as well as precision medicine and healthcare. Board members and Principal Investigators enjoyed lively break-out discussions on industry partnership, dual degrees, executive education, and summer teaching plans.  

“Our annual board meeting is a chance to bring the members together to tell them about the latest trends and events at TBSI, to share our goals and aspirations.” Said Connie Chang-Hasnain, TBSI Co-Director.

The Board members also heard remarks from Vice Chancellor for Research Paul Alivisatos and from Dean of College of Engineering S. Shankar Sastry. On the second day, board members toured labs of Profs. Connie Chang-Hasnain and Liwei Lin, visited the new Jacobs Institute of Design and Innovation, and toured Marvell NanoLab donning cleanroom apparel. That afternoon, board members visited Autodesk and Accel Partners to further experience the Bay Area’s innovative maker culture and entrepreneurial spirit.   

“The members of the advisory board are a remarkable group of leaders from a wide variety of industries who offer a diverse set of opinions and insights. Said Dean Sastry, “UC Berkeley and Tsinghua University greatly appreciate that Board members assist TBSI to confirm its strategic direction and chart its future in TBSI’s inaugural year.”

TBSI Board members include alumni of UC Berkeley and executives from different industries in China, and U.S. Members who attended the meeting include Chenming Hu (Professor in the Graduate School of UC Berkeley), Luhua Rao (President of Shenzhen Clou Electronics), Brian Shieh (Corporate VP of Applied Materials), Hong Tian (Chairman & CEO of SAE Magnetics), Juhong Wang (VP of Tencent), Veronica Wu (Co-President of China Science and Merchants Capital), Dongfang Yu (CEO of Shenzhen Waiveguider), Mervin Zhou (Partner of Soft Bank China Venture Capital), and Xiaoxun Zhu (SVP of Siemens China).

Leadership from Tsinghua University also shared their vision of Tsinghua’s growth plans. “In order to prepare our students to be global citizens, Tsinghua University provides their students opportunities to study abroad, and at the same time we would like to develop a global campus in China.” Said Hong Gao, Vice Provost of International Education at Tsinghua University. “TBSI is the most important program within Tsinghua’s expanding international strategy.”

Other participating UC Berkeley and Tsinghua leadership include UC Berkeley Vice Provost of Strategic Academic and Facilities Planning Andrew Szeri and Tsinghua University Vice Provost Xiqin Wang.

Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute inaugurated in China

10/26/2015, by Rachel Cao Schafer

Some 200 guests turned out Tuesday, Oct. 20, for a ceremony to inaugurate the new Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) in Shenzhen, China. The joint research institute provides a platform for innovative research and graduate student education to fuel economic growth, solve global problems and train industry leaders.

With headquarters in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District — the heart of China’s Silicon Valley — TBSI aims to be a world-class transformative research and education institute, combining the skills and expertise of more than 50 faculty and graduate student researchers from Tsinghua University and UC Berkeley as well as industrial partners from more than 40 corporations.  TBSI opened on Oct. 20 at the push of a button. 

Dignitaries launch TBSI

From left: TBSI Co-Director Connie Chang-Hasnain, Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin,
Berkeley Vice Chancellor John Wilton,  Shenzhen Party Secretary Ma Xingrui, 
Tsinghua EVP Cheng Jianping and Tsinghua VP Yang Bin.

The establishment of TBSI builds on a relationship of over 40 years between Berkeley and Tsinghua and was led by the College of Engineering, which has a strong history of individual faculty collaborations with Tsinghua colleagues across engineering disciplines as well as a five-year collaboration in an entrepreneurship education program for Tsinghua graduate engineers developed with the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology.

TBSI officially opened at the push of a button, literally, one each pressed by Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance John Wilton, College of Engineering Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances and TBSI Co-Director Connie Chang-Hasnain, Shenzhen Party Secretary Ma Xingrui, Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin, Tsinghua Executive Vice President Cheng Jianping and Tsinghua Vice President Yang Bin.

“This day represents an incredible milestone marking substantive collaboration between two of the best universities in the world,” said Wilton. “With TBSI, Berkeley and Tsinghua University will be partnering to address societal needs and global challenges, and the new institute will promote a new level of education internationalization.”

The Oct. 20 inauguration included tours of the brand-new, 162,000-square-foot facility. Visitors got a first-hand look at TBSI’s student lounges, faculty offices and exhibition hall. The Shenzhen facility will house research centers in three areas: environment and new energy; information technology and data science; and precision medicine and healthcare. These centers, including 16 laboratories co-led by Berkeley and Tsinghua professors, will address collaboration topics and expand faculty engagement from across both institutions. TBSI will also have offices at Berkeley for program administration and visiting students and industrial fellows, as well as space to host workshops.

A key supporter of this partnership is the Shenzhen municipal government, along with global companies in Shenzhen and the Pearl River Delta region. More than 30 companies have signed up to join the TBSI industrial advisory board. “With the operation of the institute, we could anticipate stronger industry-university research cooperation and a more efficient technology transfer process,” said Chang-Hasnain.

Besides faculty from the two universities, TBSI will also recruit top researchers globally and conduct innovative, cutting-edge research with active participation by graduate students. “I hope we not only can have the strengths from Berkeley and Tsinghua, but also create a research institute with a unique branding,” said Yang Bin, vice president of Tsinghua University and member of TBSI oversight committee. “The new institute will feature 3 I’s: Interdisciplinary, International and Industry-partnership,” said Yang. To complement Yang’s remarks, Chang-Hasnain expressed her own vision for TBSI’s impact on research and education with 3 T’s: Translational, Transdisciplinary and Transformative.

TBSI’s research programs will enable Berkeley and Tsinghua graduate students to spend time at the partner institution for up to one year of research or study. Participating Berkeley graduate students will be able to study at Tsinghua University or hold internships with companies in Shenzhen. Similarly, participating Tsinghua students will benefit from joint research supervision by Berkeley and Tsinghua faculty. The first cohort of 35 Ph.D. students began their first semester of study in September 2015.