Doctoral Students Conference 2015

About 100 doctoral students, faculty and experts convened at the 14th APRU Doctoral Students Conference (DSC) hosted by Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou, China.

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Presenters and guest speakers gather for a group photo. Photo by Zhejiang University.

The conference commenced on 23 November with a welcome dinner and an introduction on APRU and ZJU. Associate Professor Min Li and Ms Tian Minjie of ZJU’s International Office led the overview on the host university and the conference proceedings. APRU Program Director, Ms Cheryl Torrado also gave an overview of APRU and the DSC.

On 24 November, Executive Vice-President Professor Yonghua Song and Professor Jiaping Wang, Dean Graduate School welcomed participants and guests at ZJU’s Zijingang Campus. This was followed by a dynamic engagement among doctoral students and keynote speakers led by respected senior academic leaders and industry experts. A seminar on academic publishing was also organised in partnership with Elsevier and gave students insights and practical tips on successful scholarly publishing.

 Keynote 1
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  Keynote speakers share their experiences and expertise (from top clockwise): Alibaba Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Jian Wang; Vice-President of Tsinghua University, Prof Yigong Shi; President of Victor and William Fung Foundation, and Immediate Past President, University of Hong Kong, Prof Lap-Chee Tsui.

A total of fifty-seven multi-disciplinary research presentations by doctoral students elicited lively exchange of ideas and discussions among students and their respective group advisors on 25 November. The presentations were based on various subthemes ranging from humanities, culture, economics, science and technology under an overarching theme on “Shaping the Future: Promoting Multicultural Exchange and Technological Cooperation.”

These presentations and discussions were complemented by site visits to key laboratories and research centers at ZJU. During these visits, multi-disciplinary collaborations among various faculties in the university were highlighted. In addition, visits to Dream Town, an incubator for internet start-ups and Alibaba’s headquarters also gave doctoral students a glimpsed on academic and industry collaborations.

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Culture and history meets technology: Doctoral students observed how cultural relics are digitised
and reproduced as part of historical preservation.
Visit to Alibaba
DSC participants visit Alibaba's headquarters. Photo by Zhejiang University.

Another key highlight of the conference was the group mentoring sessions in which doctoral students had frank discussions on inspiring moments and various challenges in pursuing a PhD degree. Students were very receptive to the sessions and appreciated an open avenue for them to discuss common challenges despite coming from different disciplinary backgrounds. They also discussed potential career pathways after completing their PhD degrees.

"I really enjoyed the session especially that I was able to share my aspirations and challenges to other PhD students like me. I also got helpful insights on how I might be able to overcome these challenges," said a student from UNSW Australia.

 Mentoring session
Doctoral students share their experiences during the session. 


The 14th ARPU Doctoral Students was co-organised by ZJU’s International Office, Graduate School and Doctoral Students' Union.

Zhejiang University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in China.