National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) was founded in 1953 as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Military Academy of Engineering, or Harbin Military Academy of Engineering. Grand General Chen Geng was appointed the first president and political commissar. As it was founded, Chairman Mao Zedong personally issued the “precepts” to the university and wrote the title of “Engineering and Learning” for the school journal. In 1970, the main body of the school moved to Changsha and was renamed Changsha Institute of Technology. In 1978, the school’s name was changed to National University of Defense Technology under direct care of chairman Deng Xiaoping. In 1999, President Jiang Zemin signed an order to re-establish the university. In 2003, he inscribed the motto of the university, “Excel in Virtue and Knowledge; Strengthen the Armed Forces and the Nation.” In 2007, President Hu Jintao encouraged the university to make new and greater contributions to advancing the strategy of strengthening the army through science and technology and building an innovative country. On November 5, 2013, President Xi Jinping visited the school and delivered an important speech, in which he said, “We will accelerate the building of the university into a world-class university with Chinese military characteristics, and strive to turn the university into a highland for training high-quality new military personnel and for independent innovation in national defense technology.” In 2017, the university was rebuilt on the basis of National University of Defense Technology, University of International Relations, National Defense Information Institute, Xi'an Communication Institute, College of Electronic Engineering, and College of Meteorology and Oceanography, PLA University of Science and Technology. The main campus of the university is in Changsha, with other campus built in Changsha, Nanjing, Wuhan, Hefei and other places.
(I) Unique status. It is under the direct leadership of the Central Military Commission, and has been a key university heavily invested by the state and the military. It was one of the 156 key construction projects in the first five-year plan. It was one of the 20 key universities in China designated by the CPC Central Committee in 1959. It was also one of the first batch of institutions authorized by the State Council to confer master’s and doctor’s degrees, and one of the first batch of universities to run pilot graduate schools in China. It was one of the first batch of universities and colleges to be included in the national “211 Project”, the only military university to be included in the national “985 Project”, and the only military university to be included in the national “double first-class” project.
(II) Comprehensive discipline and specialty system featuring a focus on engineering, combination of science and technology with military administration and literature, strengthening the foundation, and centering around engineering. Its disciplines cover eight categories, including science, engineering, military science, management, philosophy, economics, law and literature. In the overall assessment of national first-class disciplines in 2012, it saw its eight disciplines rank among the top five, namely software engineering, computer science and technology, management science and engineering, aerospace science and technology, systems science, information and communication engineering, optical engineering, atmospheric science; and its engineering, physics, computer science, and material science were ranked among the world’s top 1% in basic science indicators.
(III) High-level teachers who “take innovation team as the core competitiveness and rely on the team to cultivate top talents”. It’s nearly 200 first-rate talents include academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, candidates for the “One Thousand Talents Plan” and the “Ten Thousand Talents Plan”, scholars included in the Changjiang Scholars, winners of National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, national candidates for the “Ten Million Talents Project”, national famous teachers, and outstanding teachers of the army. It also has a number of national teaching teams and national innovation teams. In 2012, its HPC innovation team won the first national science and technology progress innovation team award. Its independent innovation team has been established as a major national model, and the “MOOC” team has been established as a major model of the armed forces, arousing strong repercussions throughout the whole country, the whole army and society.
(IV) A large number of independent innovation achievements represented by Tianhe-2. The university has achieved significant results, including Tianhe series supercomputer system, key technologies of Beidou navigation satellite system, Tiantuo series micro-nano satellites, laser gyro, ultra-precision processing and maglev train, coupled with great contributions to China’s “Two Bombs, One Satellite” project and manned space flight and other major projects. The Tianhe-2 supercomputer system developed by the university has won the title of world’s supercomputer for six consecutive times.
(V) Excellent and rigorous education and teaching. The university bases its educational efforts on the Party’s innovation theory to cultivate loyal and qualified successors. To help students have a solid command of science and culture according to national policies on higher education, the university has put undergraduate public foundation courses at the hands of outstanding teachers. More than 95% of the undergraduate basic courses and main courses are taught by professors and associate professors, and top-notch innovative talent development classes are offered to provide first-class academic support for students to achieve academic success.
(VI) Challenging military training. Recruit training brigades are formed according to the army system to subject newly recruited students to intensive military and political training. Military contests such as the “Strong Army Cup” are held every year to make students valiant and iron-willed. Military quality and specialty improvement plan and sports specialty improvement plan are in place, coupled with fighting, shooting, orienteering, martial arts, diving and other extracurricular coaching training, to help students challenge the limit and outdo themselves. The students have won many excellent results in military competitions.
(VII) Rich and colorful cultural activities. Large-scale science and technology culture festivals are held each year, such as aerospace science and technology, robotics, electronic science and technology park, “Light of the Galaxy” and “The Way of War”, along with introduction of refined art into campus, “military style” series of cultural activities, and outstanding graduation students’ achievement report, to encourage students to develop their quality and skills, who have won excellent results in international and domestic discipline competitions. Also, literary and artistic groups and individuals have won awards for literary and artistic creation and military song creation many times.
(VIII) Extensive and in-depth international exchanges and cooperation. Establishing academic ties with many famous universities and research institutes outside China, the university will invite famous overseas experts to give lectures, while sending teachers and students abroad to participate in top international conferences and academic competitions on a yearly basis. Every year, the university sends outstanding undergraduates abroad for joint training and the summer school of Cambridge University, and subsidizes outstanding postgraduate students to study for doctoral degrees in world-class universities such as Oxford University. Further, it actively undertakes PLA’s foreign military training, organizes and participates in the international summer school for graduate students. The university sends students to foreign countries for counterpart military exchanges, and regularly holds the Week of Science and Technology for international students. Also, it invites foreign military delegations from the United States’ West Point and other schools to exchange ideas and experience.
(IX) Advanced supporting facilities. The university is characterized by an ideal educational environment, scientific resource allocation, efficient logistics, and a favorable atmosphere for pursuit of both knowledge and warrior spirit. A number of functional training venues and facilities are in place, including gymnasium, natatorium, track-and-field ground, obstacle course, and field training base. And it is home to advanced teaching and research laboratories, such as state key labs, national defense science and technology key labs, and national experimental teaching demonstration centers.