At the 13th National Conference on Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Shanghai universities had three of the top 20 academic papers, one of the top 10 startup programs, and two of the top 20 creative programs.

In the 6th “Internet +” innovation and entrepreneurship competition organized by China International College Students, students from Shanghai universities won four gold medals.

This is just one example of the recent achievements Shanghai universities have made in innovation and entrepreneurship education in recent years.

Zhao Lixia, deputy director of the higher education department of the Shanghai Education Commission, said local universities have developed online and offline courses on innovation and entrepreneurship for students.

“There are now more than 1,000 courses developed and about 300 are being shared online for all local students,” said Zhao. “As of 2016, six local universities, including Fudan, Shanghai Jiao Tong and Tongji, have been named as models for innovation and entrepreneurship by the Ministry of Education, while Shanghai Jiao Tong, Fudan and ShanghaiTech have been selected as demonstration foundations for innovation and entrepreneurship. ”

The city has launched an innovation and entrepreneurship training program for students to try their hand at real innovation and startups. Hundreds of thousands of students have participated in the program over the past five years and launched 20,000 innovation programs, of which more than 8,000 have been included in the national curriculum, Zhao said.

She said the city has also set up more than 300 innovation parks, incubators and other practice centers to help students turn their creative ideas into reality. More than 500 innovation associations and clubs have been founded by students from local universities.

Three students work together at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Student Innovation Center.

In the student innovation center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the lights are usually on around the clock.

The center is a one-stop service center for innovations with materials and tools such as 3D printing machines. There are four open laboratories for innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics, information technology and drones. Interdisciplinary cooperation is encouraged.

“Here, students can apply their knowledge and learn more themselves if they feel they haven’t learned enough in their innovation programs,” said Chen Jiangping, director of the center. “We want students to use their brains and hands to develop their own innovations. We also want students from different backgrounds to work together, which enhances their ability to innovate and collaborate. “

He said the center has put together a professional team of 69 full-time innovation tutors and eight full-time entrepreneurship tutors, as well as 1,731 part-time business tutors, to advise the students. It has partnered with companies to create hands-on courses for students to learn from industry experts and increase their aspirations. The center also encourages students to take part in innovation competitions to test their ideas and learn from their peers.

“Students like to work here,” said Chen. “They spend so much time here that sometimes we need to remind them to balance their focus on innovation with their academic studies.”

According to Chen, 300,000 students attended the center last year, compared to 180,000 in 2018.

Third year student Jin Yutao and his team recently won first prize in the National Transportation Science and Technology Competition for Students with a drone they made at the center.

“I like the center,” said Jin. “It brings people from different disciplines together to do things that we think are interesting.”

Zhao said the city’s education and technology authorities, through the Shanghai Technology Entrepreneurship Foundation for Graduates, have invested 100 million yuan ($ 153,374) a year to fund innovation programs and startups founded by students at local universities, or interest-free Provide credit. Each program receives 100,000 to 500,000 yuan.

As of September, the foundation had financially supported more than 3,000 programs, including online grocery supplier Ele.me and publicly traded science company Titan Technology.

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