XJTLU Entrepreneurial Campus: a new paradigm of university-industry partnerships towards future higher education

An example of futuristic transformation in transnational higher education

Youmin Xi
Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University

Background and Objectives
One simple question with a complexity of answers lies at the heart of both this case study and the future of education. The question is simply ‘What will education look like tomorrow, and what will be the role of the university?’

At Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), China, the search for solutions has led to a decade-long exploration of how education can better cater for the future need to cultivate specialized international talents for todays' work environment. The university was created through vision and innovation, being one of the first joint venture institutions within China, and blossoming into the most successful in terms of size, student numbers and influence. As China grapples with education reform, XJTLU as a pioneer in rethinking and reshaping of higher education, in 2016 proposed and developed a new educational philosophy known as Syntegrative Education (SE) to respond to the challenges brought to the education landscape by the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), especially as a result of technology advancement and disruption, rapidly-changing industry environments, and the increasing demand for lifelong learning.

Syntegrative Education is an innovative educational model targeted to produce international high-end applied talents with profound disciplinary knowledge, practical industry attainments as well as cross-cultural leadership, management and entrepreneurship skills. In order to holistically explore Syntegrative Education in practice, in 2018 the University created a new campus – XJTLU Entrepreneur College - as an entrepreneurial initiative with support from the local government and industry.

XJTLU Entrepreneur College is primarily designed in three dimensions: students, industry, and society.

Firstly, it addresses the greater need for academia to match students learning outcomes with dynamic industry demands in the future. Students today need to be equipped with transferable competitiveness and employability skills that enable them to adapt to work in fast-faced future careers across a broad range of job opportunities.

Secondly, an integral part of Syntegrative Education is symbiotic partnerships with industry to collaborate on the curriculum design, programme delivery, business incubation, and research and innovative solution development.

Thirdly, it echoes the societal goal of lifelong education by providing both online and off-line platforms through a ‘Learning Mall’ to meet customised needs of learners at all levels. With partnerships between the University and its various stakeholders across industry and society, the three dimensions together generate an ecosystem, embracing learning, research, innovation, entrepreneurship and social interaction.

These three dimensions have been reflected in the vision and mission of the Entrepreneur College, which is:

Vision: Become the cradle of elites and leaders for emerging industries, and the model of the future university.


• To cultivate elites and leaders for new industries

• To explore new models for international high-end development of human resource excellence and operations

• To explore new models for new industry development and foster their development

• To offer solutions to the conceptionalisation of the future university and the organisation of its campus