Zhejiang University, China

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Zhejiang University, China

Zhejiang University (ZJU) is ranked as China’s fifth top-performing higher-learning campus. ZJU is one of China’s oldest academic institutions, having been founded in 1897. Located in Hangzhou, the university is known for developing and releasing strong graduates in earth sciences, natural sciences, information sciences, medicine, and applied sciences. The publicly managed campus has several affiliated government hospitals that provide some of the best-specialized fields in medicine, such as the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. While ZJU boasts a culture of creativity and innovation with high-performing graduates in the global economy, the academic institution needs to maximize its medical center by enhancing the scope of its professional network and further integrating sustainability principles into building design.

Key Performance Features

ZJU is characterized by a long history of scientific research and entrepreneurship. The campus is ranked among the top 100 Universities in the world. ZJU holds such a superior position because it has invested substantially in developing revolutionary specialisms, such as manned spaceflight, clean energy, and industrial control technology (Times Higher Education). Global health initiatives equally benefit from the school’s medical research and investment. However, ZJU is mostly known for the business start-ups it fosters. Over 100 of its alumni manage some of the top listed domestic and international companies, which makes the campus affiliated with leadership and entrepreneurship (Times Higher Education). The China Academy of Western Region Development is one of the many think tanks developed by ZJU.

ZJU has a comprehensive strategic global initiative that enables it to foster international engagement for its students. In 2017, the campus conducted a series of surveys with faculty members, executives, alumni and students to develop a global strategy prioritizing culture, talent, education, research, administration, and engagement (Xie and Zhang 1). The initiative has allowed ZJU to establish a diversified professional network that facilitates research collaboration worldwide. The network also enables the campus to identify, recruit and retain the most talented educators. Inter-professional collaboration and interactions benefit ZJU with increased advocacy or bargaining power to influence global issues. For instance, 61 University presidents from 30 countries signed the Global University Leaders on the 2030 Agenda, hosted by ZJU (Times Higher Education). The international forum reflects ZJU’s goal to reach domestic and foreign stakeholders.

Suggestions for Improvement

China’s university campuses are often criticized for poor planning, and ZJU is not exempt from this criticism. According to Mu and Lao, ZJU students live in small enclosed spaces, and the campus’ design does not facilitate sufficient walking (1). Walkability is not a comfortable feature in ZJU, increasing students’ transport and accommodation costs while contributing to air pollution in Hangzhou. ZJU needs to implement a walk score that evaluates how each architectural design in the school improves walking. Optimized human traffic should be a key feature in countries with a big population and minimal available urban spaces.

            ZJU has to expand and develop its medical centers to become known as a specialized institution for health education and research to meet China’s growing medical needs. Dossani, Chen and Nelson believe that ZJU is not benefiting from a world-class infrastructure for transnational medical research (4). ZJU leadership should prioritize control over the ownership structure of its affiliated hospitals and medical research center. Increased privatization will enhance the scope for professional collaboration with foreign researchers and clinical practitioners. ZJU needs to consider how its organizational structure, including governance mechanisms and finances, impedes this goal’s achievement.


Zhejiang University is increasingly becoming a symbol of China’s globalization strategy. The academic institution is currently successful in its collaboration and mobility strategy as it is fostering enhanced engagement among scholars and external practitioners. The campus is equally successful in incentivizing research, innovation and creativity from a financial and cultural standpoint. ZJU needs to maximize these gains by increasing the private ownership of its operational infrastructure. Improved self-ownership creates more room for strategic partnerships and the creation of MoUs. In terms of sustainability, the campus’ design does not motivate walking, which constrains the students’ quality of life. ZJU is already ahead of most of its peers. It needs to focus a little on the basics of socioeconomic sustainability to make life and professional interactions easier.

Works Cited

Dossani, Rafiq, Peggy Chen and Christopher Nelson. Supporting the Development of a Vision and Strategic Plan for Zhejiang University’s Academic Medical Center. RAND Corporation, 2019.

Mu, Te and Yanqing Lao. “A Study on the Walkability of Zijingang East Campus of Zhejiang University: Based on a Network Distance Walk Score.” Sustainability Journal, vol. 11, 2022, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141711108

Times Higher Education. Creating a Global University to Meet Strategic Goals. THE, 2022, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/hub/p/creating-global-university-meet-strategic-goals, Accessed 15 November 2022.

Xie, Miss Yanjie and Wei Zhang. “Construction and Measurement of University-Based Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Evaluation Index: A Case Study of Zhejiang University in China.” American Society for Engineering Education, paper 26132, 2019, pp. 1-20.

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