Westlake (Xihu) Education Achieved RMB4.3b Agreed Donation

China’s first Private, not for profit R&D University – the Westlake University, announced that it has secured RMB 4.3 billion (USD 145m) funding from the public. The university was established three years ago; in addition to the local government funding, it relies on the funding raised by the Westlake Education Foundation. The foundation’s objective is to raise 20-30 billion (USD3-4.3b) in 5-10 years to support the running of the University. It isn’t involved in the University’s day-to-day activities but aligns its objectives through nominating 1/3rd of the university board. Amongst the 21 board members are top scientists such as YANG Zhenning and Dean of Tsinghua QIAN Yingyi.  The university’s current running costs are approx. 1.5 billion RMB, approx. 1/10 of Zhejiang and Tsinghua. Ms LIU Minhao, Executive Secretary of the foundation, admitted fundraising challenges include promotion and explaining the concept of the philanthropic donation. Despite President SHI Yigong’s public announcement in 2017 of “surpass Rockefeller in 2019, matching Tsinghua by 2022 and become top tier university by 2030”, many remain sceptical about the model: the average foundation support to total university budget is only around 2%. However, the Hangzhou Government has offered RMB400m (USD58m) R&D funding to support 4 research projects.

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