The school, formerly known as the College of Environmental Science and Engineering, was founded in 2004 and was renamed as School of Environment and Energy in December 2012. Under the support of governments at all levels and the leadership of the university Party committee and administration, and with the joint efforts of students and teaching staff, the school has developed rapidly. In 2006, the school was authorized to award the doctoral degree in the first-level disciplines of Environmental Science and Engineering. In 2007, Environmental Engineering was approved as the only key discipline in Guangdong Province. In 2012, the discipline of Environmental Science and Engineering was co-ranked 14th in the third round national discipline evaluation. In 2016, the school was approved to construct the National Engineering Laboratory for VOCs Pollution Control Technology and Equipment. In 2017, Environmental Science and Ecology entered the top 1% of ESI global ranking for the first time. In the same year, the discipline of Environmental Science and Engineering was co-ranked the 8th with an A- rating in the 4th-round of the national key discipline evaluation.
By December 2019, the school has 100 members, including 80 faculty members, 6 laboratory technicians, 2 engineering technicians, 10 administrative staffs, and 2 teaching assistants. The school has 28 postdoctoral researchers (Level II). Among the t faculty members, 50 are professors/researchers and 26 are associate professors/researchers. 74 faculty members have doctoral degrees, accounting for 92.5% of the total number of faculty members.Besides, there are 33 adjunct professors, including 1 dual-employed academician, 1 advisory professor, 4 chair professors and 27 guest/part-time professors.
School of Environment and Energy was the first batch of universities to be authorized to award the master's (1984) and doctoral (1986) degrees in environmental engineering. The school was approved for the first-level discipline master's degrees, doctoral degrees an Post-doctoral Research Station in environmental Science and Engineering and the second-level discipline master’s degree in Green Energy Chemistry and Technology. The school is equipped with a comprehensive talents training system for undergraduates, masters and doctors. By December 2019, there are 1283 enrolled students , including 515 undergraduate students, 162 academic doctoral students (including 7 international students), 49 engineering doctoral students, 256 academic master students (including 2 international students), 224 full-time professional master students, 46 part-time engineering master students and 31 on-the-job engineering master students.
The school has developed comprehensively in pollution control and new energy development for environmental medium such as water, air, solid waste and soil, espeically with a prominent edge in areas such as industrial wastewater management in typical industries, volatile organic waste gas treatment and contaminated site remediation. We have provided technical supports in pollution control and restoration for industrial clusters, among which technologies such as new biological wastewater three-phase fluidized bed, VOCs control, and simultaneous removal of contaminated soil with heavy metal - organic pollutants have reached the leading level domestically.
By crossing and integration of environment and energy, a new research area of the school, Green Energy Chemistry and Technology, has been formed. By applying modern high-precision in situ analyzing technology, the research is mainly focused on the mechanisms of energy conversion and storage, waste treatment and energy technology, and pollution control when utilizing the energy. Major breakthroughs has been achieved in extracting the precious metal in the waste circuit board by in situ microbial reduction and the preparation of high efficiency electric catalyst for hydrogen production, the related results were published in top international journals such as j. Am. Chem. Soc., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Aiming at major demands for pollution prevention and control in key regions of China, the school has developed engineering technologies such as waste gas treatment, metal mining area and farmland pollution remediation, coal-fired power plant desulfurization ash disposal and resource recovery in key industries (coking, papermaking, printing, dyeing and petrochemical, etc.). The school has also formed a mature mechanism for achievement transformation and application promotion under the principle of " Government- Industry - University - Application", and has accelerated the engineering practical application of related technologies. The technologies have been applied in more than 200 practical engineering applications for Shandong Yantai Economic and Technological Development Zone, Guangdong Guiyu Circular Economy Industrial Park, Chongqing Automobile Industrial Park, Tianjin Tiantian Group, and so on, which have produced tremendous economic, social and environmental benefits.
Relying on the national key laboratories, national engineering laboratories, national engineering research centers, the Ministry of Education, Guangdong Province and other national and provincial innovation platforms, the school has formed top talent teams with rational disciplines and age structure. The school adheres to the combination of scientific research and education. Cooperating with universities such as Massachusetts institute of technology, Georgia institute of technology, Rutgers university, University of California - Santa cruz, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the Max Planck institute, University of Edinburgh and Taiwan university, we have cultivated a large number of high-level talents in related fields in environmental science, engineering technology and planning management.
The school insists on promoting teaching by scientific research, developing scientific research and engineering practice at the same pace, and cultivating leading academic talents with international vision and strong innovation ability, as well as high-level technical talents who master the development rules of the industry and have strong engineering ability. The school implements the tutorial system for undergraduate students and the talents training for all students throughout the whole course. It also sets up various enterprise scholarships and cooperates with enterprises to create a training model integrating Industry – University - Research. By nurturing the undergraduate teaching with scientific research, we pay attention to the cultivation of students' innovative ability. Besides, the school sets up an Environmental Engineering major taught in English to train international general talents. It has cooperated with many famous foreign universities such as Rutgers university in the United States, University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and the University of Western Australia in Australia to carry out '2+2', '3+2', '3+1+1' and short-term exchange training programs. The school offers two undergraduate majors—the Environmental Engineering and Environmental Science and Engineering, and runs two educational reform classes in Environmental Engineering (English class) and Environmental Engineering (3+2 Sino-Australian Class).
Since its enrollment in 2012, the school has aimed to cultivate elite talents with innovative thinking, international vision and ability. Students need to master the basic principles, methods and means of environmental science and engineering, acquire engineering knowledge of water, gas, solid waste pollution prevention and control, environmental planning and management, and excellent English application ability. Except ideological and political courses, all courses are taught in English. The class is in line with international standard with the general teaching materials from famous international universities and teachers all having overseas study experiences. Some courses are even taught by teachers from famous international universities and research institutions. The students of this class show strong advantages in international exchange activities such as participating in international joint training programs, applying for further study in famous international universities, and working in large multinational enterprises. Students who leave this class can transfer to Environmental Engineering Major of Environmental Science and Engineering.
Since its enrollment in 2017, the class has a 3+2 cooperative educational program with the University of Western Australia (ranked around 80-90 in the world). In the first three years, the students would study with students from English Class of Environmental Engineering. By the end of the third grade, the students can go to the University of Western Australia if they meet the credit requirement of SCUT and English requirement of the University of Western Australia. At the end of the learning semester, if the students meet the degree-conferring requirements of both two universities, they can be awarded the bachelor's degree of SCUT and master’s degree of the University of Western Australia. Students who fail to complete the annual credits and English proficiency requirement in the first three years will be transferred to Environmental Engineering (English Class) for further study.
Since its enrollment in 2018, the class adopts the "1+3" training model, which requires students to complete the prescribed basic platform courses in the first and second semesters and then transfer to the following two majors for further study in the third semester:
(1) Environmental Engineering (specialty of Guangdong Province)
The major has passed the national Engineering Education Professional Certification three times in 2011, 2014 and 2017. In addition to training students to master the basic knowledge of principles, methods and means of environmental science and engineering, this major also emphasis on the study of environmental engineering knowledge and technology.
(2) Environmental Science and Engineering
The major of environmental Science and Engineering was set up in 2019, and it is divided into two training directions: environmental science (including environmental science theory, environmental management and engineering practical ability) and water engineering (focusing on water supply and sewage treatment technology and engineering practical ability). In the sixth semester, the major will be divided into the above two directions.
Picture with the outstanding graduates in the 2+2 joint training program with Rutgers University
The school of environment and Energy has one first-level doctoral and master's degree program in environmental science and engineering, and one professional degree program in resources and environment. By December 2019, it has a relatively mature mentor team, with 50 doctoral supervisors and 79 master supervisors. By December 2019, 191 students have been awarded doctor's degrees and 1,329 students have been awarded master's degrees. The quality of graduate training enhances unceasingly. 10 doctoral dissertation have been assessed as the outstanding doctorate dissertation of South China University of Technology. Two doctoral students have been assessed as excellent doctoral dissertations of Guangdong Province. Twenty seven master's theses have been assessed as excellent master's theses of South China University of Technology, and 5 master's theses for the Excellent Master's theses of Guangdong Province. The passing rate of dissertations which were selected and reviewed later reached 100%. In recent 3 years, graduate students have published more than 150 SCI academic papers every year. The employment rate of graduate students in recent 5 years is 100%.The international education level of graduate students has also been gradually improved. The rate of going abroad for further study has been on the rise. In recent five years, 25 graduate students have been funded by China Scholarship Council and other scholarship funds and have gone to the University of Washington, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kyoto University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and other world-renowned universities for exchange and study.
This degree program trains academic doctoral students and academic master students. Since 2010 and 2018, the school has changed from a second-level discipline (Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Environmental Ecology, Green Energy Chemistry and Technology) to a first-level discipline of environmental science and engineering to recruit and train academic doctoral and master students. The degree program has eight cultivation directions: water pollution control and purification, atmospheric environment and pollution control, solid waste treatment and resource recovery, theory and technology of pollution ecosystem remediation, industrial waste water pollution and control, marine environment, energy materials and technology, and green energy chemistry and technology. Over the past five years, 317 million yuan was spent on R&D and per capita scientific research expenditure ranks the top of the school. More than 50 patents have been authorized per year, and more than 350 papers have been published annually, including more than 250 papers on the three indexes. Relevant scientific and technological achievements have won more than 20 national and provincial awards, including the second Prize of National Science and Technology Progress award in 2008 and 2009, which has actively promoted the construction of low-carbon technology and circular economy industrial system in Guangdong and even the Pearl River Delta region, and promoted the sustainable development.
This degree program trains engineering doctor and professional degree master students. Previously, the enrollment for master's degree is environmental engineering, and the enrollment for doctor of Engineering is energy and environmental protection. Starting from 2020, the enrollment for master's degree and Doctor of engineering is adjusted to resources and environment.
The school meets the major needs of the national environmental protection and new energy development strategy, and focuses on solving the environmental and energy problems arising from the rapid economic growth of the country, especially in south China. Basic and applied research has been carried out in key areas such as water pollution control and purification, atmospheric environment and pollution control, solid waste treatment and resource recovery, ecological remediation, industrial waste water pollution and control, and new energy development and utilization, forming distinctive features in south China. The resulting technology has been widely used and has produced great benefits in social, environmental and economic fields. By December 2019, there had been 19 platforms at all levels, including 1 national platform, 8 provincial platforms, and 10 other scientific research platforms.
The school exerts its advantages of the whole process, integrated pollution control of "emission reduction at the sources, process control, and end treatment", actively provides social services, and strongly supports the national and local economic and social development and ecological civilization construction.
A number of scientific and technological achievements, such as industrial waste water treatment and reuse technology, industrial waste gas purification technology, solid waste treatment and resource utilization, and ecological restoration of polluted sites, have been promoted, transferred and industrialized, and have been applied in more than 200 practical projects nationwide, boosting the rapid and benign development of a number of emerging enterprises, six of which are about to be listed, and creating huge benefits in economic, social and environmental fields.
The college actively hosts or sponsors the 4th Rapid Economic Development of Regional Air Quality Management Strategies of International Academic Conferences, the 7th China-Japan Academic Conference on Environmental Catalysis and Ecological Material, the 8th National Conference on Environmental Chemistry, the 12th National Conference on Water treatment and chemistry, and other important academic conferences, which has made important contributions to the academic exchanges and development in the field of environment.
In the past four years, the school has published three popular science books, conducted more than 140 popular science lectures and more than 40 technical training sessions, received primary and secondary school students to visit laboratories for more than 20 times, published 198 related blog posts on science network (with a click rate of nearly 2 million times). Moreover，the course of Environment and Ecology was selected into the first batch of national high-quality video open courses.
Suggestions on VOCs control in the "Ten National Measures for The Prevention and Control of Air Pollution", VOCs control countermeasures in the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Environmental Protection, and guidance on VOCs comprehensive pollution prevention and control work have been formed. Six national and local VOCs emission standards for typical industries have been formulated, which has promoted leading automobile manufacturers to invest tens of billions of yuan on VOCs control.