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Finals of 10th Tsinghua University President's Innovation Challenge concluded


Challenge participants pose for a group photo.

The 10th Tsinghua University President's Innovation Challenge concluded with the final round on April 30, 2023, which was held at the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM). After the initial selection and semi-final competition, 15 teams of the 127 registered teams advanced to the finals. After four and a half hours of intense competition, the QL Biopharm team emerged as the winner of the gold prize.

QL Biopharm team wins the gold prize.

The Tsinghua University President's Innovation Challenge has been held for 10 years since it was initiated  by Tsinghua x-lab in December 2013. The event focuses on promoting social progress through innovation and aims to discover, foster, and enhance students' entrepreneurial leadership. This year's competition, which began in January, received the highest number of entrepreneurial project submissions in recent years, with hundreds of projects submitted in only two months.

YANG Bin speaks.

In his opening speech, Vice President of Tsinghua University YANG Bin emphasized the importance of the integration of education, science, technology, and talent development as called for in the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He stressed the need to combine the three "primaries" - technology as the primary productive force, talent as the primary resource, and innovation as the primary driving force - to contribute to high-quality development and constantly shape new momentum and advantages of development. Tsinghua x-lab and the President's Innovation Challenge competition play a crucial role in implementing this policy as platforms and resources for Tsinghua University.

YANG highlighted the significance of the President's Innovation Challenge in supporting the development of innovative talents and the commercialization of scientific and technological achievements by students and faculty members. He explained that the challenge was established in 2013 as an innovation and entrepreneurship competition during then-President CHEN Jining’s visit to Tsinghua x-lab for research. The challenge not only serves as an annual event but also a vital collaboration between the education and business sectors for talent cultivation.

YANG emphasized that the President's Innovation Challenge embodies Tsinghua x-lab's goals to promote social progress through innovation and to nurture that culture at Tsinghua University. He said the competition's long-term goal is to sow the seeds of willingness, courage, and ability to challenge the status quo and make changes among students, regardless of their future career paths.

YANG thanked the judges on behalf of the university and expressed his appreciation for their continuous support for Tsinghua University's innovation and entrepreneurship education, as well as their concern for talent development. He emphasized how they have provided students with opportunities to practice innovation in enterprises instead of solely relying on academic or theoretical papers as a basis for passing their defense. This innovative reform in talent development is of great significance, YANG said, and he looks forward to even more in-depth cooperation between the university and enterprises in the future.

BAI Chong-En speaks.

In his speech, BAI Chong-En, Dean of Tsinghua SEM, said the purpose of the President's Innovation Challenge reflects Tsinghua University's "three-point" talent development concept, which focuses on shaping values, cultivating ability, and obtaining knowledge. He reviewed the achievements of previous challenges and affirmed Tsinghua x-lab's commitment to uphold the "Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Creativity" education philosophy. The lab aims to showcase more stories of innovation, entrepreneurship, and creation at Tsinghua, facilitate more project growth and implementation, attract more entrepreneurial talent and resources, and promote the high-quality development of innovation and entrepreneurship education in Chinese universities and colleges.

A participant introduces his project.

During the finals, the 15 teams presented their project ideas and innovations through various mediums, such as text, images, and videos.

During the defense sessions, there was a lot of excitement as jurors asked questions from various perspectives such as mass production costs, application scenarios, development challenges, intellectual property, operational models and overseas markets. Participants responded positively and showed powerful thinking. With the guidance and support from jurors and guests, they became more determined to pursue their dreams.

LI Zhu, a juror, offers his insights into this year's projects.

LI Zhu, founding partner of Innoangel Fund, said this year's projects have three characteristics: they are new, comprehensive and excellent. "New" indicates that most of the participating projects began their entrepreneurship within the past one or two years, representing the development direction of cutting-edge technology. "Comprehensive" means that these projects represent the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of Tsinghua University over the past two years. "Excellent" means the influence of the President's Innovation Challenge is increasing. The jurors unanimously agreed that the quality of this year's projects was high, and more than half received investments from top-tier funds.

XIN Wang speaks.

During the event, a ceremony was held to present the ZHAO Ping-Gaorong Capital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Scholarship. XIN Wang, managing partner of Gaorong Capital, said the scholarship was created to support exceptional Tsinghua students who have demonstrated remarkable achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship while studying at the university, and to encourage Tsinghua students to participate in the wave of innovation and entrepreneurship, which will better cultivate top talents in the field of technology entrepreneurship.