WIN-Soochow University (SUN), Institute for Functional Nano- and Soft-Materials (FUNSOM) and the College of Nanoscience and Technology (CNST)

The strong and productive research partnership between the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) and the Soochow University started in 2011, when Soochow University, the University of Waterloo and the Suzhou Industrial Park (SUN-WIN-SIP) initiated a Joint Institute of Research and Education.  The objectives of the Joint Institute are to enable faculty at both institutions to engage in research collaborations, foster scholar exchange, and stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation in Nanotechnology.  In July of the same year, a workshop was held at the University of Waterloo, with 15 SUN and 18 WIN faculty in attendance.  This was followed by a second workshop in February 2012 at Soochow University where 12 WIN faculty members made oral presentations.  These joint workshops revealed many areas of research compatibility in several key areas of Nanotechnology. 

A workshop was held in summer 2013 which brought Soochow/FUNSOM researchers to Waterloo to showcase success and allow an opportunity to expand the UW-Soochow relationship to scientific fields other than Nanotechnology (ie: Environment, Energy, WISE, the Water Institute).   Approximately 30 Soochow faculty members and students visited the University of Waterloo for the Third Reciprocal Workshop over three days (31 July – 2 August 2013).  

The most recent SUN-WIN workshop was held at SIP in conjunction with the CHINano Conference and Expo 2016, the most prestigious conference in Nanotechnology in China, in October 2016. Ten WIN faculty members accompanied WIN Interim Director Holger Kleinke, Managing Director Alain Francq, and Founding Director (Emeritus) Arthur Carty to the workshop and conference for research presentations and technical talks to advance joint research projects, and for valuable networking opportunities.

Research Collaborations

Since April 2012, SUN and SIP have sponsored 24 collaborative SUN-WIN research projects, in each of the four key theme areas of Nanotechnology namely nanoinstrumentation, nanobiosystems, nanoelectronics and nanomaterials development.

The first round of funding sponsored 12 projects, 10 of which received 450k RMB (~$70k CAD) and 2 received 750k RMB (~150k CAD) over three years. In 2013, seven additional projects were awarded 450k RMB each, and in 2015 five projects received the same.

It is anticipated that the SUN-WIN-SIP research collaboration will expand further this year, with additional joint projects awarded research support funding.

Educational Programs

The WIN-SUN collaboration allows the exploration of new opportunities for graduate student recruitments and PhD student co-supervision with the development of joint education programs. 

Soochow University and WIN have signed agreements on collaborative educational programs for Soochow students interested in studying Nanotechnology at UW, including the Doctoral program and 3+1+1 joint Bachelor’s/Master’s program. In addition, WIN hosts several 4th-year Soochow students for a 4-month research internship program which is sponsored by the China Scholarship Council.

SUN-WIN-SIP Executive Council Meetings

The SUN-WIN-SIP Executive Council was formed in November 2011, with the first meeting held via video conferencing in December 2011, while the Second Executive Council Meeting was held in Soochow in February 2012 as part of Second SUN-WIN Reciprocal Workshop.  Members of the Executive Council travelled to UW in May 2013 for the Third Executive Council Meeting including President Xiulin Zhu, Dr Xuhui Sun (Associate Director FUNSOM and CNST) along with other officials.  President Zhu led a delegation of Deans from various faculties at Soochow University to identify areas of collaborative research and expand the Soochow-Waterloo relationship including the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical and Mechantronics Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science.  The most recent SUN-WIN-SIP Executive Council Meeting was held in Suzhou in June 2015. These events are designed to increase opportunities to leverage additional funding from Soochow and the Suzhou Industrial Park for research and commercialization efforts.

Further development of promising initiatives on innovation and commercialization of nanotechnologies

A visit and seminar focusing on technology transfer was held at the Soochow Industrial Park in February 2012.  Several WIN faculty made presentations on projects with commercial potential.  Following this a delegation from Soochow University’s Technology Transfer Office visited WIN in July 2012 to learn more about UW’s commercialization practices, IP policies, entrepreneurship and faculty support. 

John Yeow spent one year at Soochow University on sabbatical leave as an adjunct professor teaching courses, conducting research with Soochow co-PI Xuhui Sun, and together developed the company Core Electronics Inc at SIP. Several other WIN and FUNSOM faculty are also preparing for commercialization procedures at SIP for start-up enterprises.

WIN-SUN Joint Institute of Research and Education in Nanotechnology

WIN-SUN Joint Research Institute for Nanotechnology is a long-term collaboration program to promote innovation and commercialization in nanotechnology.

WIN-SUN Education Programs

  • Collaborative Bachelor/Master's Program
  • Dual-Degree Doctorate (PhD) Program

Contact WIN-SUN Program Coordinator

  • Dr Lisa Pokrajac, Assistant Director, Research Programs, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology

Chronology of Events

Poster session

Poster session during the first WIN-Soochow Workshop at the University of Waterloo, Canada in July 2011

Soochow University students group photo

Soochow University students visited University of Waterloo in September 2014