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Engineers honored for contributions to country's development

By Yan Dongjie | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-22 07:28

Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Cai Qi and Ding Xuexiang attend the ceremony of the National Engineer Awards in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 19, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

Recipients of the National Engineering Award, the nation's highest honor in the field of engineering, said they are encouraged and motivated to contribute even more to the development of engineering scientific and technological innovation.

On Friday, 81 individuals were awarded the title of National Outstanding Engineer, and 50 groups were named National Outstanding Engineering Teams at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Zhang Limin, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, was the only scholar from a higher education institution in Hong Kong to receive the award.

"As a representative of Hong Kong, being awarded the title of National Outstanding Engineer by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council is not only a great honor for me but also an honor for the HKUST, and the engineering community in Hong Kong and Macao," he said.

Zhang noted that Hong Kong has strong scientific and educational capabilities and has been designated as one of China's national innovation and technology centers by the CPC Central Committee. Grand engineering projects such as Tomorrow Island and the Northern Metropolis Area, which will benefit the people of Hong Kong, are about to get underway.

"I have made some achievements in major engineering construction, geological disaster risk prevention and control, and digital twinning technology research. I also had the opportunity to participate in the post-earthquake road reconstruction in Wenchuan, Sichuan province, and the construction of the Sichuan-Xizang Railway. However, in the overall picture of the country, these achievements are just a small part," he said.

"The title of National Outstanding Engineer urges me to be more down-to-earth in the future, to work for the construction of Hong Kong, promote the integration of Hong Kong with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and continue to strive for the construction of our motherland," he added.

The engineering team of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, also known as the "Sky Eye", took home one of the awards on Friday.

Since its operation in 2017, FAST has discovered over 870 pulsars, more than three times the total number discovered by all other telescopes worldwide during the same period. It has produced a series of world-class achievements in the fields of pulsars, fast radio bursts and gravitational wave detection. Eleven papers have been published in the scientific journals Nature and Science, and related achievements were selected among the top 10 breakthroughs and discoveries in 2020 by Nature and Science.

Jiang Peng, the chief engineer of FAST, said that the team's achievements are primarily due to several generations working toward a common goal, persistently pursuing a single direction. He emphasized that receiving the award was a great encouragement to the team.

"As the operation of FAST goes on, the pressure for equipment maintenance increases. Similar international facilities are racing against the clock in planning and development, and many indicators are benchmarked against FAST. We need to work harder to keep Chinese astronomers standing at the forefront of the radio astronomy field in the world," he said.

The engineering team at the Dunhuang Academy in Gansu province also received an award. Members of the team, which focuses on cultural heritage conservation, said they were greatly motivated by the honor, stating that it was validation of the work they've done over the past few decades and was a reflection of the high regard the Party and central government have for their efforts.

"We feel greatly encouraged and will continue to work hard, inherit China's excellent traditions and make new and greater contributions to the protection of cultural heritage," the team said in a statement.

A statement issued by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council about the award recipients said that they are the innovative force driving the nation's development of engineering science and technology.

"They are an important part of the country's strategic talent pool and provide fundamental and strategic talent support for promoting new industrialization and advancing China's modernization with Chinese characteristics. Cultivating and fostering a large number of outstanding engineers with both moral integrity and professional competence is a significant part of the long-term development of the country and the nation," the statement said.

Gong Ke, president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, said: "Presenting awards to outstanding engineers in the name of the country reflects China's high recognition and respect for the scientific and technological innovations and social contributions of engineers. The significant progress made in Chinese engineering science and technology has been an outstanding contributor to development not only in China, but also around the world."

He said that the WFEO and its 100-plus member organizations, including China, are committed to promoting sustainable development through engineering.

"We sincerely hope that Chinese engineers will make greater contributions to China's modernization and the accelerated achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," he said.

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