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China aims to attract more STEM talent to achieve its goal of technological self-reliance. Photo: Shutterstock

The Chinese scientists leaving top US universities to take up high-profile roles in China, boosting Beijing in its race for global talent

  • Over the past few years, hundreds of Chinese scientists have switched affiliations from American universities to institutions in China
  • The Post looks at some of the highest-profile people to make the change
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1. Tsinghua University’s ‘star’ twin scientists return to China from the US, Canada

The return to China of Tsinghua University’s “star” twin scientists at the end of their postdoctoral research in North America was celebrated on Chinese social media after it was announced on the alma mater’s website.

2. Acclaimed China-born physicist who taught at Stanford joins Tsinghua University

“Master researcher” Gao Huajian joins Tsinghua University for the next chapter of a glittering international career that has included top awards in his field.

3. Star mathematician leaves US for China

The 36-year-old Chinese-born geometer has joined the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics. Photo: Zhejiang University

Award-winning Chinese-born geometer Sun Song leaves California to take up a position in China.

4. MacArthur ‘genius’ biochemist Kunliang Guan leaves US for new role in China

After working in the United States for more than 30 years, biochemist Kunliang Guan is back in China with a full-time chair professor position at Westlake University in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

5. British chair professor joins China’s hypersonic programme

After more than 20 years in Britain as a prominent physicist dedicated to unveiling the secrets of superfast fluids, Zhang Yonghao joins China’s new national hypersonic laboratory in Beijing.

6. Award-winning Chinese mathematician returns to Peking University from US

Sun Xin, who specialises in probability theory and mathematical physics, was a joint winner of the prestigious Rollo Davidson Prize this year.

7. ‘Itch gene’ scientist joins Shenzhen institute after US lab shut down amid probe

Chen Zhoufeng (left) and his colleagues made a series of discoveries to advance the understanding of how itch works. Photo: Washington University School of Medicine

Chen Zhoufeng, a leading expert in the study of itch mechanisms joins an institute in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, after 33 years in the United States.

8. Scientist exiled from US brain research finds well-funded lab in China

Xiang-Dong Fu, who left California over suspicions about his foreign links, has joined Westlake University in southern China.

9. ‘Goddess scientist’ coming home to set up medical school to China’s delight

World famous structural biologist Nieng Yan – dubbed China’s “goddess scientist” – who broke many hearts when she moved to a top US university five years ago, thrills the nation by announcing she is to return home.

10. Reverse brain drain? Nasa data scientist takes job in China

Marine data expert Li Zhijin, who has also worked for the US Navy and other government agencies, is now employed at a top university in Shanghai.

11. Top scientists join new-energy research push at Shanghai university

Dou Shixue has been recognised for his contribution to materials science and engineering. Photo: Weibo

Top Chinese-Australian scientists Dou Shixue and Liu Huakun join the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST) to help find ways for China to reduce its carbon emissions, USST president says.

12. Chinese-born maths genius leaves Harvard to help China become a powerhouse on subject

World-renowned Chinese mathematician Yau Shing-Tung announces his retirement from his position at Harvard University to teach full-time at Tsinghua University in Beijing.