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Lead from Good to Great

A sharing on early academic development for young scholars

While black rain signal was hoisting outside, Professor Zuankai Wang, Chair Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of City University of Hong Kong, as well as the winner and champion of Top 10 Research Achievement Award in China Robot Society, gave an enlightening sharing about his personal story on academic career growth to our young Postdoc Fellows at COCHE on 9 Oct 2021. Starting with the reference to the celebration of the Chinese Nobel laureate Professor Chen-Ning Yang’s 100th birthday, Professor Wang raised the common academic dilemma – dream and reality. For most academics, their dream is that creativity continues, luck lasts, paper prospers, funding flows while the reality is that creativity ceases, luck lacks, paper plumps, funding fades.

How to get out of this dilemma? How to publish good papers? How to identify the impact depth of work? These are shared concerns that puzzle young scholars and obstacles that they want to find ways to break through. To overcome these challenges, especially in writing academic papers, said Professor Wang, the key is “to explore and work on the conflict, work out a story line showing the paper’s uniqueness and depth in a specialized field as competitive advantage, and use the difference in comparative advantage to further enhance the advantage”.

To advance the comparative advantage, adopting a multidisciplinary research approach with an open mind is the starting point. Following this, Professor Wang cited the 1976 Paris wine judgement story as an example and pointed out that publication is also kind of blind dating that editors mainly rely on the ideas and story of articles to judge whether to accept for publication, “Minimum words, multidisciplinary vision, empathy, moving storyline, and marketing techniques are the golden principles for effective story tellers”, shared by Professor Wang.

Indeed, there are many challenges and difficulties for young scholars in their career life, however, what is elevating to us is the experience of tackling those challenges. “There is nothing more fascinating than exploring the unknown world. By working together, we can leap from good to great.” The remark ended Professor Wang’s sharing and the audience responded with tremendous applause.

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(Source: 中國機械工程學會)

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Lead from Good to Great
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