The LEAD Academic Network successfully held the Forum on Innovation Education and Policies at UCAS and Inauguration Ceremony

The LEAD Academic Network's Forum on Innovation Education and Policies & Cooperation of European and Chinese Higher Education convened on March 30, 2024, at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, further cementing the collaborative efforts initiated during the HPPD dialogue parallel meetings and enhancing academic dialogues and exchanges among LEAD Academic Network members.



Anthony Antoine, Executive Director of the School of Governance at VUB, opened the forum with a retrospective of the evolution of the LEAD Academic Network’s progress, setting a forward-looking agenda for the gathering. Prof. Haiyan WANG from UCAS extended a warm welcome to the attendees, detailing UCAS's innovative talent development approaches, such as the Sino-Danish Doctoral School, and the strategic context provided by the Huairou District of Beijing.



Prof. Xuemei Yu, Chair of the Governing Committee of the LEAD Academic Network, emphasized the importance of academic exchange in fostering EU-China relationships and the role of the LEAD Academic Network in supporting these endeavors through trust and knowledge sharing.



Dr. Gaoming Zheng from Tongji University led a roundtable session where participants discussed their institutions’ roles and visions for EU-China higher education cooperation. Prof. Luc Taerwe shared Ghent University's initiatives on student mobility and research collaboration with Chinese institutions. Prof. Ling Zhang highlighted Guangxi Normal University's plans to expand joint education programs with European universities. Prof. Joao Amaro de Matos of NOVA Lisbon University showcased their partnerships with top Chinese universities, particularly in finance and business, while Prof. Yong Xie of UCAS discussed the international cooperative Master and PhD programs, citing the Sino-Danish College as a prime example. Prof. Yan Wang from Tongji University brought to light Tongji’s historic ties with European universities and current transformations in digitalization and interdisciplinary cooperation. Prof. Yue Kan from Zhejiang University emphasized his expectations for cooperative mechanisms in education and research. Prof. Jun LI from Beijing Institute of Education expressed her interest in exploring cooperation opportunities to bring academic leadership in the training of primary and middle school teachers.



The second roundtable forum, steered by Prof. Wenji Fan from Guangxi Normal University, tackled the subjects of innovation policies and the impact of AI on digital innovations. Participants like Prof. Yan Liu, Prof. Tara Qian Sun, and Prof. Yasar Kondakci delved into multidisciplinary research, ethical AI innovations, and the institutional need for universities to adapt to technological disruptions. Prof. Antonio Rendas from NOVA urged for a balanced approach between human capabilities and technological advancements, highlighting the LEAD Network as an exchange hub for effective practices. Prof. Vinayagum Chinapah from Stockholm University called for confidence-building leadership and international collaboration through platforms like UNESCO.



In the final roundtable devoted to international cooperation, Prof. Xin XING from Yan’an University expressed the desire to involve more European academics in the network, while Prof. Melita Kovacevic from Zagreb University underscored the importance of quality and commitment within the network. Prof. Kongwen GUAN from Beihang University shared his personal development story as a testament to the network's value. Prof. Wei SHEN of Zhejiang University proposed actionable steps for enhancing international education collaboration within the network.

Then, the meeting reached its zenith with the unveiling of the LEAD Academic Network plaque by the mayor of Yanqi County and the president of the LEAD Academic Network Advisory Committee, signifying a steadfast commitment to the Network's burgeoning role in fostering long-term academic ties and exchanges. Prof. Xuemei YU closed the meeting, thanking attendees and highlighting the inauguration of the LEAD Academic Network’s new base at Huairou district in Beijing as a reinforced commitment to ongoing collaboration. The LEAD Academic Network European secretariat is set at VUB in Brussels, and the Chinese secretariate is set at NAEA in Beijing.



In the fast-evolving landscape of international higher education, the forum and the unveiling of the LEAD Academic Network serve as an enabler in promoting innovative education and policy cooperation between European and Chinese higher education institutions, aspiring for shared success and academic prosperity.