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Introduction

Through extensive collaboration and consultation between Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU) and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), the two Institutions have jointly agreed to establish a long-term strategic partnership with the aim of meeting the requirements for cooperative development and accomplishing the mission of “national revival through science and education”.  To this end, a Framework Agreement for Strategic Cooperation between the two Institutions was formally signed on 28th August 2012.  According to this Agreement, a School of Sustainable Development jointly administered by Xi’an Jiaotong University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, with the full English name of “XJTU-HKUST Joint School of Sustainable Development (JSSD)” will be established.  This is an innovative cooperative education model that surpasses the traditional notion of discipline boundaries to usher in an all-new mode of regional economic collaborative innovation.  It marks a ground-breaking new step by the two Institutions in the exploratory area of educating Hong Kong and Mainland tertiary graduates and collaborative scientific research.

JSSD will adopt an education model featuring exploratory institutional mechanisms to directly introduce HKUST’s superior resources such as its teaching materials, syllabus systems, instruction methods, etc using English as the medium of instruction for all classroom lectures. This represents a wider collaboration between the two Institutions in such endeavors as educating talents, knowledge innovation, and industry technology upgrade in conjunction with the country’s strategic requirements whilst focusing on the practical local circumstances and market demands in the North-Western Region of China especially in Shaanxi Province, closely following future international trends in sustainable development to build up new institutional mechanisms for collaborative innovation between Hong Kong and the Mainland in the spheres of government administration, industry management, education, science and research. 

In the area of education of talents, the School will offer cross-disciplinary programs for undergraduate and postgraduate students on the main theme of sustainable development. The school will administer pilot scheme for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Dual Degree education programs and will also offer university-wide PhD programs under a co-supervision system. The School will establish arrangement for two-way transfers of course credits to explore a new education model for specialty dual degrees.  To further provide widened horizons to students from both Institutions, the School will launch the “Overseas - Hong Kong - Xi‘an” summer programs and to enhance academic exchanges and internships opportunities. 

In the future, JSSD will endeavor to become an internationally-renown tertiary institution offering interdisciplinary education programs for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and to build up a globally-leading R&D academic team for research and scientific innovation in the field of sustainable development to undertake scientific studies focusing on energy resources, chemical engineering, material science, environmental science, infrastructure reconstruction, population demographics, socioeconomic development and so on, thus becoming a source of the key technologies for raising industry productivity as well as public policy recommendations on sustainable development.