Battle for the brightest

Updated 2017-05-01 11:01:14 China Daily
An applicant (left) introduces himself to a representative from University of International Business and Economics in Beijing during an overseas job fairs targeting overseas Chinese talents in New York.

An applicant (left) introduces himself to a representative from University of International Business and Economics in Beijing during an overseas job fairs targeting overseas Chinese talents in New York.

Competition among domestic universities to attract talented young faculty members is heating up

The "generosity" a prestigious university exhibited in a recent recruiting notice to attract prospective talented young employees has caught people's attention.

In the notice, the University of Science and Technology of China, located in Hefei, East China's Anhui province, said top science and engineering talents are wanted for crucial teaching and research posts.

Those hired will receive a salary of at least 450, 000 yuan (,000), research funds ranging from 1 million to 3 million yuan, a living stipend of 500,000 yuan and a 160-square-meter apartment.

Applicants are expected to be aged below 40, have generated outstanding research results and have worked more than three years at a prominent higher education institution or research institute overseas.

The university is not alone in seeking young talents, though its offer is particularly generous. In recent years, an increasing number of universities in China have adopted such methods to lure young talents studying or working overseas.

Some, like the university in Hefei, post want ads with tempting incentives while others send recruiting "task forces" overseas in the hope they will be able to sweet-talk talents into signing up.

Tian Guoqiang, director of the School of Economics at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said his university was one of the earliest among higher education institutions in China to start recruiting faculty members from overseas.

Since 2005, Tian has led a team to the United States each year to look for teaching and research staff. More than 100 teachers and researchers with PhDs have been sourced in this way over the past 13 years.

Liang Qi, director of the human resources division at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a leading domestic institution, said almost every visit made by the heads of the university and its schools to institutions overseas has involved recruiting presentations and interviews with talented young people.

And not long ago, the university published want ads in leading international periodicals, such as Science, and Nature, for people who are dedicated to relevant academic research.

National importance

In January, Tian and his colleagues flew to Chicago for the Allied Social Sciences Associations Annual Meeting, where thousands of the best minds in the social sciences gathered to present and celebrate new research achievements.

On the sidelines of the annual meeting, Tian's team interviewed 82 candidates who stood out from 261 applicants, many of whom graduated from the most prestigious universities in the US, including Princeton, Stanford and Columbia.

Twelve were eventually hired.

Tian said the importance of such talents cannot be overstated, not only for the development of a university and a particular discipline, but also the county.

The professor of economics said business education at domestic higher education institutions, for example, was brought back on track in 1990s, when China set the goal of building up a market economy and joining the World Trade Organization.

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