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    YCYW Students Experience Advanced Research

    EdFutures News

    17 May, 2024

    13 : 55

    The YCYW Educational Futures (EdFutures) Programme has recently taken a significant step in nurturing the intellectual growth of students through collaboration with the prestigious Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR), which is the University of Oxford’s first and only engineering and physical sciences research institute outside of the UK.

    • A select group of 25 students from YCIS Beijing, YCIS Chongqing, YCIS Hong Kong, and YWIES Guangzhou, YWIES Shanghai Lingang, YWIES Zhejiang Tongxiang, and YWIES Yantai had an immersive 11-day experience to learn about postgraduate-level research in this programme, which OSCAR staff and the YCYW EdFutures team co-designed and co-delivered. The students explored four cutting-edge fields: optoelectronics, machine learning, medical diagnosis, and regenerative medical engineering.


    • At OSCAR's world-class facilities, the students faced the exhilarating challenges of real scientific research, and encountered disruptive technologies and the very frontiers of scientific inquiry. They attended a series of lectures and seminars about various scientific fields, and participated in hands-on laboratory work and experiments.


      Under the guidance of OSCAR and YCYW mentors, the students developed their academic prowess. They were introduced to university research and publishing. They explored statistics, and strengthened their skills in Appreciative Inquiry, the use of Artificial Intelligence tools in research and deep learning, and how to interact with experts. They learned to craft original research ideas, deepened their understanding of their scientific potential, and expanded their global perspectives on research. 


    • Students found the experimental aspect of the programme particularly interesting. They enjoyed the opportunity to create bioreactors, cultivate bacterial cultures, develop AI mathematical models, investigate with molecular diagnostic tests, and create their own thin-film solar cells.


      On the final day, the students presented their findings to staff members from YCYW and OSCAR, and discussed what they had learned and how their goals about future careers were evolving.


      Dr Christopher Hurley, Head of EdFutures Division at YCYW, praised the students' achievements. He said, "These programmes are a window into the life of a university student and researcher. We aim to equip our students with skills like networking with experts, advanced questioning techniques, and the capacity to comprehend and author research papers. We want them to be at the forefront of technology and research, an experience far beyond their years. Our hope is that they develop a maturity and a zeal for learning that transcends disciplines."


      An-An from YCIS Beijing reflected on the programme: "This experience is a cornerstone of our education, thanks to the unwavering support we've received. It enriched my understanding and provided resources for my research interests. From day one, I learned various research methods and gained lab skills and insights about the research conducted at OSCAR. The collaboration with professors and teachers, as well as with the friends I made here, has been the highlight of these 11 days."


      Sonic from YCIS Hong Kong shared his insights: "Observing the Optoelectronics Group, I've learned about the complexities of solar cells and perovskite materials. It has been an incredible chance to witness OSCAR's cutting-edge experiments first-hand."


      Dr Petr Jurcicek, a Senior Research Scientist at OSCAR, taught the students a valuable lesson: "The essence of this programme is to discover your passions and, equally, what doesn't suit you. Remember that there are no failures in research—only success and learning. Never regard an obstacle as a defeat; it's always an opportunity to learn something new."


      OSCAR Research Scientist Dr Du Yachu was impressed by the students' questions about fundamental theories. He remarked, "Their questions challenged me to consult colleagues and delve into the literature. Then I realised that many basic research areas remain unexplored; I hope that the students will be the ones to solve them."


      One goal of the YCYW EdFutures programmes is to help students strengthen their university applications by providing ongoing immersive learning experiences that give students cutting-edge experiences to reference in their personal statements and interviews. YCYW EdFutures will continue to work with these passionate students as they enhance their understanding and continue their learning.


    • An-An giving a presentation

    • Sonic from YCIS Hong Kong

    • Dr Du Yachu (above) and Dr Petr Jurcicek (below) presented at the workshops