Carnegie Mellon University
November 12, 2012

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Partners with Sun Yat-sen University To Develop Graduate Engineering Degree Programs

Contacts: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /
Ken Walters / 412-268-1151 /                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                Sun Yat-sen UniversityPITTSBURGH—A ceremony celebrating the launch of a new and innovative joint graduate engineering program, the Joint Institute of Engineering (JIE), being developed by Carnegie Mellon University and China’s Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Guangzhou, an important economic and technology hub of the Asia-Pacific rim.  At the same time, CMU and SYSU will officially launch the Shunde International Joint Research Institute (JRI) with Shunde District, Foshan City, as a complement program of the JIE.

“We are honored to partner with Sun Yat-sen University, as its distinguished history and educational strengths make it one of China’s leading institutions,” said CMU President Jared L. Cohon. “We look forward to bringing CMU’s strengths in innovation, technology and creative problem solving to the institute, which we hope will be the beginning of a long and productive collaboration between our two universities.”

SYSU President Xu Ningsheng, who will lead the program’s ceremonial launch, said they selected CMU because its great academic and research reputation is well suited to China’s vision of transitioning its economy from mass labor to technology-driven initiatives within the next decade and fostering future technology leaders with an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset.

The mission of the Joint Institute of Engineering (JIE) will be to further world-class education in engineering and perform cutting-edge research in China.

“This is a great opportunity for Carnegie Mellon to expand on its global presence. The education and research program will focus on many important areas so endemic to Carnegie Mellon to help build a top-notch engineering program in China,” said Jimmy Zhu, the ABB Professor of Engineering and head of CMU’s Data Storage System Center (DSSC), who is co-heading the new JIE.

The SYSU community is excited to explore a new and effective model for engineering education with CMU. “We hope that the future success of the JIE will form a new effective way in engineering education for SYSU,” said Professor Li Wenjun, the assistant to the president of SYSU who will co-head the JIE effort with Zhu.

SYSU and its local community are also expecting that the JIE and JRI will help local research communities and industries to carry out cutting-edge research and product development, solving the practical engineering problems that will help lead local industry improvement.

China’s economic performance remains the envy of the Western world. SYSU is located about 100 miles northeast of important trade and economic centers like Hong Kong and Macau, giving it access to the Asia-Pacific region’s most vital business hubs.

“We see this joint institute as a way to enhance engineering education in China, develop innovative engineering education programs and educate tomorrow’s leaders,” said Vijayakumar Bhagavatula, interim dean of CMU’s College of Engineering.

Carnegie Mellon’s engineering faculty is well known for its research and education efforts. Its undergraduate and graduate programs rank in the top 10 in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report. The college also hosts programs in Portugal and recently began offering courses in Rwanda. In September, CMU launched the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, a university-wide effort that will focus on improving energy efficiency and developing new, clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources.

“We have a successful track record of collaborating with international partners, and our programs are designed to both advance engineering practice, produce leaders and improve the daily lives of people,” said Ed Schlesinger, the David Edward Schramm Professor and head of CMU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

CMU’s relationship with China is longstanding, and the university sports nearly 500 alumni in China. In 1919, the university granted its first Ph.D. in civil engineering to Mao Yisheng, a pre-eminent engineer who designed China’s two most famous bridges — the Qiantang River Bridge near Hangchow and the Yangtze river Bridge at Wuhan.


For more information on the Joint Institute of Engineering, contact Academic Program Manager Jessica Sun at 412-268-1099 or