- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 214 Hour
- Reading permission
Ning Yan, one of China’s leading research talents in the life sciences, has decided to leave Tsinghua University,where she has worked for more than a decade, to take up a professorship at Princeton University this autumn. Yan began her academic career with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tsinghua University, graduating in 2000. She returned to China in 2007 after completing her post-doctoral research in Princeton. In 2007, she received a teaching offer from Tsinghua University and became one of the school’s youngest professors. During her time at Tsinghua, Yan led a research team that made groundbreaking discoveries about the physical structure of a protein related to several diseases, including cancer and diabetes. In 2014, her team became the world’s first to discover the physical structure of a protein related to a wide range of diseases including cancer and diabetes.|
But that same year, she posted on her personal blog a detailed account of how the government-run National Natural Science Foundation had rejected her team’s grant application, criticising fund management officials for their reluctant to support high-risk research.
“Aren’t key research funds supposed to support risky but important research? Or are they only to support projects with predictable results and guaranteed success? Is that the way for innovation?” Yan wrote then.
She updated her blog post a year later to say that her project had again failed to secure an interview with the funding agency.
On the social media platform Weibo, many internet users linked Yan’s departure with her unpleasant experience with fund management officials. One commenter wrote (in Chinese), “Whether or not you can get research funding in China all depends on connections. Those who are doing real stuff don’t necessarily get money for their research.” However, other netizens blamed Yan for placing self-interest above the country. “Those who are unwilling to make contributions to their home countries can’t call themselves scientists,” another commenter stated.