Universities among members of new alliance to revitalize rural areas

A collaboration alliance was set up at Tongji University between 11 colleges and institutions around China over the weekend to revitalize the living environment in rural areas.

A collaboration alliance was set up at Tongji University between 11 colleges and institutions around China over the weekend to revitalize the living environment in rural areas.

The alliance will be committed to promoting interdisciplinary cooperation, intercollegiate collaboration, and interaction among government, academics and industries to revitalize rural areas.

It will serve not only as a think tank, but also a base to generate related knowledge and cultivate needed talent. The alliance will also work as a network to trial innovative ideas.

Members include Tongji, Tsinghua, Peking, Renmin, Wuhan, Southeast, and Chongqing universities and the Town Planning and Research Institute. Other universities and institutions have been invited to join.

A forum was also held over the weekend where professors from Tongji and Wuhan universities shared their views on the national rural revitalization strategy.

Cheng Guoqiang, a professor of Tongji’s School of Economics and Management, said there are some utilitarian tendencies in rural revitalization, such as some failing to connect their plans with the national strategy and local conditions.

He Xuefeng, head of the rural research center at Wuhan University, also said that the rural revitalization strategy should be carried out step by step, as opposed to being rushed for quick results.

Tongji has been active in revitalizing rural areas in recent years. It established an institute of new rural development in 2013 to promote agriculture transformation and upgrading, providing theoretical and technological support for rural areas. Its professors have also been encouraging students to visit villages and farmland to conduct research and teach about rural planning and development.

The university has also set up a rural revitalization college with the government of Huangyan District, Zhejiang Province to cultivate talent who "understand agriculture, love the countryside and love farmers."

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