1. History and Mission
School of Environment at Beijing Normal University (BNU) is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions for environmental research and education in China. The school is continuously embarking on construction of a comprehensive environmental discipline since the foundation of the Institute of Environmental Sciences in 1982. The degree program for Masters in Environmental Science was accredited in 1982, followed by the accreditation of the doctoral degree program in 1991 and the establishment of the postdoctoral training program in 1999. In 2002, the degree program for environmental sciences received the honorable appraisal as a State Key Program of China. Later in 2008, the Environmental Engineering Program passed the evaluation and became a Key Program of Beijing Municipality.
The School of Environment aims to respond to the strategic needs of the country for environmental remediation and ecological restoration of major river basins and/or core regions in China. By tackling the leading edges of international environmental research, building multi-disciplinary, high-level research and education teams, creating a superb incubator for innovative and elite scholars, School of Environment is developing into an integrated platform involving education, research, practice, management, and industrial applications, for efficient social service provision and international cooperation and communication. Ultimately, the School strives to establish a first-class environmental discipline in China and the world.
2. Department and Laboratory
The school has four departments (Departments of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Planning and Management, Ecological Engineering in environment, and Environmental Systems Engineering) and seven institutes (Institutes of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Policy and Management, Watershed Management, Aquatic Ecology Engineering, Urban and Regional Ecology, Water Quality Control Engineering, and Cross-media Pollution Control).
There are three high-profile research laboratories and centers at the school (i.e., the State Key Joint Laboratory for Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, the Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences of Ministry of Education, and Beijing Engineering Research Center for Watershed Environmental Restoration & Integrated Ecological Regulation), and three on-site experimental stations that are respectively located in Baiyangdian of Hebei province, Yellow River delta of Shandong province, and Hanshi Bridge of Beijing. Within the most recent years, two Industry-University-Research Cooperative Stations were established including Jiantao and Xinji Stations of Hebei province.
3. Student Cultivation
Student cultivation is focused on ramming down fundamental knowledge in environmental science and engineering, exposing students to international frontiers, and encouraging students to pursue excellence in their professions. The eventual goal for student cultivation is to build an innovative educational system that integrates research, teaching, and social services for educating internationalized environmental professionals.
In order to cultivate students with global views and the competence in innovation, and research, our school endeavors to build consortia of teachers for major courses and by teamwork, to generate innovative curricula, reform cultivation approaches, and enrich practical training programs. Also, School of Environment continues to create and improve student curricula considering the corresponding international standards. These efforts include web-based interactive video lectures by international scholars and all-English courses to domestic and international students. Also, collaborative graduate education projects are being developed with institutions in Japan, Denmark, Italia, Australia, Canada, etc. As examples, a double-degree program for doctoral students has been signed with the Aalborg University of Denmark; a field practice project for Master’s students has been established with Queen’s University of Canada.
4. Faculty and Staff Scientists
The full-time faculty is led by an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and supported by an Innovative Environmental Research Team of professors. Of the faculty members, all of them have earned doctoral degrees, and also, 60% obtained their degrees from foreign institutions or studied in abroad over ten months.
The distinguished professors and their honorable titles include one academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, one Thousand Talents Program Fellow, Cheung Kong Scholars (five persons), the Chief Scientists of 973 Projects (three persons), Recipients of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (seven persons), Honored Teachers for Higher Education of Beijing Municipality (two persons), Outstanding Youth Science Fund (three persons), Thousand Youth Talents (two persons), Top-Notch Personnel (one person), Cheung Kong Young Scholars (two person), Henry Ying Tung Fok Foundation Awards (five persons), and the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellows (three persons). Pertaining to the international evaluation, nine faculty members have been ranked within top 1‰ by ESI. The academic team of the Discipline is also comprised of elite adjunct professors; they include one academicians of Chinese Academy of Engineering, two members of the National Academy of Engineering (USA), and a prestigious scholar supported by the High-end Foreign Experts Project of China.
5. Research Areas and Achievements
Research of the School is particularly targeted to river basins, with water as a focus, wetland-urban nexus as a connector, and eco-system conservation and protection as the ultimate goal. The prominent feature and strength of the research lie in the provision of systematic solutions for dealing with environmental and ecological challenges. Over the past years, a number of key research areas have been formed, including simulation of water environmental processes and effects, modeling of environmental and ecological processes and effects, theory and technology for environmental and ecological restoration, simulation and adjustment of urban ecosystems, and environmental impact assessment and planning, which are respectively playing the leading roles at home and abroad.
During the period of 2009 to 2015, over 100 projects were granted by China’s major funding agencies, including 2 project and 13 sub-projects supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (i.e., 973), 1 project supported by US-China Collaborative Research in Environmental Sustainability (NSFC-NSF); 6 projects supported by the Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, over 110 projects supported by the Regular Fund and the Young Scientists Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, as well as a number of projects supported by key and/or major funding programs at provincial and local levels. The school published more than 1,800 peer-reviewed articles, 1,300 of which were in Science Citation Index journals, such as ES&T, Water Res., and Renew. Sust. Energ. Rev. Furthermore, it was awarded 124 national patents andpublished 61 scientific monographs. The school currently hosts two journals: Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management (L&H Scientific Press), and Energy, Ecology and Environment (Springer). The school’s achievements have evidenced by the many awards it has won. These include the Second-class National Natural Science Award (2015), second prize of National S&T Progress Award (2008, 2012, 2014), first prize in the Natural Science Award from the Ministry of Education (2005), first prize in the S&T Progress Award from the Ministry of Education (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015), first prize in the Technological Invention Award from the Ministry of Education (2012), second prize in S&T Progress Award from the Ministry of Education (2008, 2011, 2012), second prizes in the natural science and patent awards from the Ministry of Education (2014), first prize (2010) and second prize (2002, 2005) in the Beijing S&T Award and the Higher Education Teaching Achievement Award granted by the Beijing Municipal Government (2004, 2008, 2012).
According to the ESI report, the Environment/ Ecology programme of BNU was respectively among 0.1% (no. 60th) and 0.3% (no. 200rd) of the total 792 research institutes (i.e., top 1% of worldwide research institutes) in terms of the total number of published papers, and the total number of citations. BNU’s environmental science programme was ranked in the top 101~150 in the 2016 QS World University Rankings and BNU‘s Earth and Environmental sciences programme was ranked in 84 in the Nature Index ranking.