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Huawei: Industry-Academia Collabs Key to "Top Challenges" and Talent Cultivation

William Xu suggests promoting talent development through proposing tech challenges and supporting tech competitions
2022.05.31

[Shenzhen, China, May 31, 2022] At the Times Higher Education's Asian Universities Summit today, William Xu introduced Huawei's approaches to collaboration with universities on innovation, research, talent cultivation, and tech competitions. Xu, Huawei's Director of the Board and Chair of the Scientist Advisory Committee, described the successes the company had already achieved following these approaches in his online speech titled "Industry-Academia Collaboration for Joint Innovation and Talent Cultivation."

Xu stated, "Huawei works with universities to build open and innovative platforms for joint research and talent cultivation. Through the dual drivers of vision and application research, the industry and academia work together to define 'top challenges' and conduct innovation. These efforts are aimed at resolving the problems facing the industry and making groundbreaking achievements." He added that Huawei had already invested US$400 million into university collaboration in 2021 alone, and intends to invest more for deeper collaboration in the future.

describes Huawei's approach

William Xu describes Huawei's approach to collaborating with universities

When it came to the specifics of Huawei's approach to collaborating with universities, Xu explained that the first step was to build an open and innovative platform for joint research and talent cultivation. Huawei sees universities as "lighthouses" for the industry, and wants them to devote themselves to basic research and address long-term challenges through "0 to 1" inventions. It sees industry as a driver of engineering expertise that can help overcome industrialization challenges that arise in real-world scenarios. Under Huawei's approach, universities, research institutes, and businesses align their definitions of "top challenges" to help reach a consensus on industry vision and challenges and explore next-generation technologies. These dual drivers of vision and application research then lead both industry and academia to conduct research into basic theories and advanced technologies, as well as across domains. This collaborative approach ensures that research and talent can keep up with the latest industry developments.

keynote speech

William Xu delivers an online speech

Huawei currently works with over 300 universities and 900 research institutes around the world. In 2021, it invested US$400 million in university collaboration. The company also advocates for industry input into university course and program design, joint talent training, and tech competitions, as it can help industry identify and cultivate talent at numerous levels. As a representative from the industry side, Xu proposes five ways industry and academia could work together to deepen their collaboration:

  1. Continuing to support breakthroughs in basic research and technology, and continuous industry innovation;
  2. Working together to set and solve problems, and making breakthroughs to overcome key industry challenges;
  3. Working together to optimize the design of academic programs and courses, and driving industry-academia alignment to cultivate urgently-needed talent;
  4. Working together to encourage innovation and identify and cultivate talent by building platforms like Huawei's own joint labs, tech competitions, Chaspark, Seeds for the Future, and post-doctoral research programs; and
  5. Strengthening talent exchanges between universities and the industry to promote transitions from theory to practice.

Huawei currently identifies and cultivates its top talent by supporting international tech competitions, both financially and by supplying these competitions with technical challenges. These competitions also expand the horizons of participating students as they have the opportunity to put theory into practice. In addition, Huawei works closely with China's Ministry of Education on course and program design, high-level talent training, outstanding engineer training, reconstruction of key national labs, the release of industry challenges, and the creation of a collaborative, intelligent industry-university base for talent cultivation.