Department of Chemistry, founded in 2004, is the first department of School of Science, Renmin University of China (RUC). Now the department is entitled to award Master degrees of chemistry and applied chemistry. Following RUC’s strategic planning of development, Department of Chemistry has organized a faculty of “Compactness, Competency and Cutting-edge”, and has established a sophisticated training system for theoretical and practical teaching, as well as a high-standard instrumental platform for supporting scientific researches. The rather young yet highly capable faculty of chemistry has made distinguished educational and scientific achievements.
Since November of 2015, the Department of Chemistry of RUC has been among the top 1% in the ESI rank for global institutions of chemistry.
Department of Chemistry is oriented to serve RUC’s general cultivation strategy, and to be a well-known educational and research institution among the international chemistry community. The department is intended to grow talents with solid background in chemistry, excellent expertise in scientific research, and comprehensive competency benefiting the society. To fulfill the cultivation goal, the department conducts fundamental and cutting-edge studies in selected chemical disciplines. However, multi-disciplinary research in conjunction with material science, clean energy, environmental and life sciences are highly encouraged, so as to meet the emerging demands of national development. As such, research activities of the department have been emphasized on organic synthesis and methodology, functional macromolecular and supramolecular assemblies, chemical reaction dynamics and biophysical chemistry.
The Department of Chemistry of RUC, after ten-year development, has found herself the advantages and unique features in education as described below. (i) Undergraduate education. A “one-to-one” tutorial system has been established on the basis of the nearly 1:1 student-to-teacher ratio of the department. The “Practical Lab Center” built in accordance with national standards, comprises of six practicing laboratories, which is complemented by 19 research laboratories to provide a three-stage experimental course at its basic, senior and real research levels. Such experimental training is rather effective in building up the comprehensive research competency and the scientific creativity of undergraduates. To date, over 50% undergraduates have been involved in about 50 research projects, which have been supported by the “national innovative experiments for undergraduates” and the “Chuang-Xin Bei (innovation competition for undergraduates)” programs, etc.. It is satisfactory to see that about one third of the projects have yielded excellent scientific results. Importantly, the department offers five general yet chemistry-relevant courses for RUC’s non-science undergraduates, which are rather popular and highly evaluated among the audience. (ii) Post-graduate education. The major instrumental resources and facilities of the department, i.e. the center for instrumental analyses, the center for structural dynamics of functional molecular complexes and materials (SDMM) and the platform for micro-nano device preparation, are open to the post-graduates free of charge. This unique policy largely stimulates the research enthusiasm and scientific creativity of the graduates. The department regularly invites well-known scholars to deliver lectures to the graduates. Moreover, the graduates are expected to be selected and sent abroad to carry out joint researches or attend scientific conferences.
In respect of scientific research, the faculty of chemistry recruits excellent young faculty candidates in accordance with the disciplinary orientation, and support with strength the promising members or research directions. The academic atmosphere of the department may be characterized below. (i) Advocating academic independency and freedom. Taking advantage of the young and compact faculty, the department implements independent research groups for associate professors. Having been supported by the open facilities and resources of the department, a research group founded with a general or medium size project can develop its in-depth and unique science. (ii) Encouraging cooperation. Cooperative research among the research groups is strongly encouraged, which has been demonstrated to be rather effective in terms of both quality and quantity of the joint outputs. E.g. the SDMM group collaborates closely and fruitfully with a number of research groups of the department. (iii) Promoting interdisciplinary science. More than one third of the total citations of the department’s publications fall beyond chemistry, i.e. physics, material science, biology, agriculture and environment sciences, etc., indicating a distinct interdisciplinary feature of the research activities. (iv) Intensive international cooperation. The department keeps tight connection with a dozen of oversea universities or institutions, and has invited five guest professors and one chair professor. For an instance, since 2007, the department has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers coauthored with Prof. Leif H. Skibsted (University of Copenhagen), who owns the RUC chair professorship.
The established academic atmosphere and disciplinary orientation have been beneficial to the development and achievement of the department. Despite a short history, the department is among the top 1% in the ESI rank for global institutions of chemistry. To meet the strategic demands of national development, the department has undertaken over 105 national research projects from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology with a budget capacity of ~42 million Yuan (RMB). Besides, four faculty members awarded the “New Century Excellent Talents” from the Ministry of Education, three of the faculty won the “Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars” from the Organization Department of ODCCP, and two members were supported by the “National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars” from NSFC. More than 170 post-graduate students have been awarded Master or Doctorate degrees, and a series of scientific achievements with significant impact have been published. To date, the department has published over 640 peer-reviewed papers, among which more than 100 papers appeared in the esteemed journals such as Nature Communications, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie-International Edition and Advanced Materials, etc..