School of Environment at Beijing Normal University

A long history in the environmental sciences

Nature 539 (17 November 2016)
Published online 16 November 2016

Beijing Normal University’s School of Environment is pursuing top-level research and education in the field of the environment.

Located in the nation’s capital and with a history stretching back over a century, the School of Environment at Beijing Normal University (BNU) enjoys excellent funding, receiving over 60 million RMB funding a year. Its main sources of funding include the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (the National Basic Research Program of China and the National High-tech R&D Program), the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the World Bank and other international organizations.

High accolades

The school’s achievements have received wide recognition, as 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).

In the period 2009−2015, the school published more than 1,865 peer-reviewed articles, 1,323 of which were in Science Citation Index journals. Furthermore, it was awarded 124 national patents and published 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).

A big vision

The four core values of the school are promoting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scholarship; realizing innovation and academic excellence among students and faculty; achieving student growth and success; and making decisions through consultation and cooperation.

The school seeks to realize sustainable communities and environments through collaborative research and teaching, graduate student engagement, and community involvement. It aims to broaden understanding and nurture researchers in the field of environmental sustainability by creating, exchanging and translating knowledge from diverse perspectives.

Highly ranked

The School of Environment at BNU is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions for environmental research and education in China. Its environmental science and environmental engineering programmes were respectively ranked first and second among Chinese universities in the ranking published by the Chinese University Evaluation Research Group. Internationally, the Environment/ Ecology programme of BNU was ranked in the top 0.1% in the Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators database, 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 84th in the Nature Index ranking. Environment/ecology is among the top 100 disciplines according to 2017 US News.

The school has four departments (Departments of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Planning and Management, Eco-environmental Engineering, 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 Crossmedia Pollution Control).

A wide choice of educational courses

It offers a wide range of education programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It has two undergraduate programmes in the fields of environmental sciences and environmental engineering. At the postgraduate level it offers master degrees in environmental sciences; environmental engineering; population, resources and environmental economics; hydraulics and river dynamics; and hydrology and water resources and doctoral courses in environmental sciences; environmental engineering; and population, resources and environmental economics.

The school is well resourced with over 70 teaching and research faculty members, whose specialist fields cover a wide spectrum in the areas of environmental, ecological, and hydrological science and engineering. It has 18 technical and general staff members, including an information technology assistant and field and laboratory technicians.

International programmes

The international Master and doctoral programmes in ecological environment protection and management offered by the school aim to cultivate international students who can analyze and explore existing and developing issues in the ecological and environmental sciences. More than 20 English courses are offered to students. All students are supported by scholarships from either the Chinese or Beijing government. Currently, more than 70 international students are enrolled in international programmes; they come from countries around the world, including Canada, India, Japan, Italia, Liberia, Pakistan and the UK.

The school has three field test bases (Yellow River Delta, Hanshiqiao and Baiyangdian bases) and three research centres (Research Center for Wetland Ecology and Engineering, Environmental Impact Assessment Center of BNU and Global Environmental Policy Research Center).

There are two key laboratories at the school. The State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation was established in 1995. It is an important platform for research on water environment and water ecology and it seeks to cultivate creative researchers with global profiles. The laboratory pursues research in simulating water environment process and effects, modeling ecohydrological processes and effects, simulating wetland habitats, regulating urban ecosystems and exploring the theory and technology for environmental and ecological restoration.

The Key Laboratory for Water and Sediment Sciences was founded in August 2000 with approval from the National Ministry of Education. It is exploring the frontiers of water-sediment sciences and engineering issues in China and abroad. Its researchers conduct research in the area of hydraulics and river dynamics; hydrology and water resources; and environmental engineering.

The school has an outstanding international research profile, which falls into six broad themes of ecohydrology with a focus on environmental flows; ecological modelling based on systems ecology, system dynamics and thermodynamics; formation and evolution of wetlands; physical, chemical and biological processes of inorganic and organic contaminants in water, soil and sediments; environmental engineering including wastewater and solid waste treatment and atmospheric pollution control; and environmental assessment, management and economics.

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