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[China News] Prof. Wan Buyan: Frivolous Research Should Be Strictly Avoided in Universities and Colleges

“Maritime researchers must go to the ocean,” said Wan Buyan, Deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Professor of Hunan University of Science and Technology (HNUST). He has a principle for his students: Everyone should work with him like a grass-root worker on the ocean.

Before the Two Sessions, Wan, the new deputy, said in an interview that education should always come first. Universities should improve the quality of higher education through strict screening and assessment mechanisms, so as to cultivate qualified talents for the nation.

Wan participated in many projects from leading the development of China’s first deep-seabed drill machine to producing the remarkable “Hainiu II” drill machine which breaks the record of the seabed drilling depth. He develops lots of thinking regarding how to integrate industry and education form his work experience. In his view, only by combining research and industry closely with education can technology really start to make progress.

Besides, Wan put forward that higher education should keep pace with the development of the relevant industries, even be the trendsetter in the field. “Students must meet the demands of enterprises; caging in the lab will only limit their horizon to frivolous research”.

In this regard, Wan suggested that the universities and colleges should optimize methods of discipline setting, talent cultivation, and scientific innovation to further the integration of education, research, and industry and to meet the demands of national strategies progress and regional economic and social development. At the same time, universities should promote optimal allocation and sharing of resources in universities, research institutions, and industrial enterprises to facilitate talent cultivation and industrial innovation.

Wan mentioned that the 20th CPC National Congress for the first time put forward the coordination of education, science, and talent cultivation, which demonstrates their indispensable place in the building of a modern socialist country. Therefore, he will actively advise on the very three aspects during the Two Sessions of 2023.

Wan Buyan said that more than 30 years of research experience let him know that the core technology cannot be bought elsewhere; scientific and technological development depends on ourselves. In the future, he will push forward with his team toward deeper and broader research. “Where the country lags behind is where we will be working on”, he said.

(Translated by LI Lingling, Li Siyang)