Department for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University

Contact: Yuanzheng Liu

S801, Meng Min Wei Science Bui
Tsinghua University, Hai Dian
Bei Jing

Tel: +861062772750


About Department for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University

Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University


Earth System Science is a new multidisciplinary subject developed to study global change and it is an important scientific research field and hotspot in the world today. In order to further study both the changing laws of the Earth system and the impact of human activities on it, and to cultivate high-level talents for China and even the world to cope with global environmental change, Tsinghua University established the Earth System Science Research Center (referred to as the Geoscience Center) and the Global Change Institute in March 2009, which organize multidisciplinary research on global change issues to promote the construction and development of Earth Science. On November 30, 2016, in view of the corresponding school scale of geosciences, the Department of Earth System Science (referred to as the Department of Geosciences) was set up on the basis of the Geoscience Center.

The department aims to explore new knowledge in the fields of the earth sciences such as the atmosphere, land and sea, and related fields of physics, chemistry, biology and social economics, in order to maintain the safety of the earth's ecological environment, to contribute to the safety and sustainability of the earth's ecological environment, and to lead in the world of earth sciences.The development tasks of the department include:

  • Increase awareness and disseminate new knowledge in the interaction between the Earth system and systems, the Earth's resources and environment, and the processes of Earth system change;

  • Establish predictive capabilities for human-induced and natural environmental changes from local to global scales, and the ability to respond to environmental changes;

  • Cultivate students and educate the public on earth science and sustainable development;

  • Integrate and apply scientific knowledge to address social issues such as the sustainable use of ecological resources, the identification and prevention of potential threats to natural disasters, and the environmental consequences of human activities.

Tsinghua University has a strong Earth science discipline in history. As early as November 1928, the Department of Geography was formally established. The first department head was Weng Wenjun (1889-1971), a famous geologist and one of the founders of modern geology of China. In 1932, the department was renamed as the Department of Geosciences. It consisted of three groups: geography, geology, and meteorology. In 1946, after the Anti-Japanese War, the Southwest University ended, Tsinghua University resumed school in Peiping, and the Department of Geosciences recovered. In 1947, the original meteorological unit of the department was separated into an independent department, and in 1950, the geology unit was also separated into an independent one. In 1952, the Department of Geosciences and Department of Meteorology of Tsinghua University was transferred to Peking University, while the Department of Geology merged with the department (group) of Peking University, Beiyang University and Tangshan Railway Institute, and part of the one of Northwest University to form the Beijing Institute of Geology.

By 1952, the Department of Geosciences, Geology, and Meteorology of Tsinghua University had trained more than 200 graduates, many of whom became famous scholars and professors. According to incomplete statistics, 44 graduates have been elected as academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

2. Development Direction

The Department of Earth System Science will focus on comprehensive and systematic Earth science research on global environmental change and sustainable development issues, through the combination of Tsinghua University's existing natural sciences and social sciences, engineering science and management science. Recent development direction of the discipline is to face the scientific issues urgently needed to be strengthened in China's global change research (Xu Guanhua et al., 2010), and carry out research in five fields of Earth System Science:

  • Earth system processes, which study the laws governing the changes of the Earth system and the interaction between human activities and global changes.

  • The Earth system model, using high-performance computers to simulate the large spatial scale and time processes of the Earth system to promote the quantitative development of Earth science.

  • Earth system observations, which provide reliable and accurate data support and technical means for Earth system science research.

  • Global Change Economics, adopting new concepts, new theories and new methods combining natural science and economics to study global change issues, and providing technical and economic basis for global change decision-making with multidisciplinary ideas and comprehensive assessment methods.

  • Planet healthy, studying climate change, global warming, sea level rising, biodiversity loss, environmental pollution, and the impact of human activities such as globalization and urbanization on ecosystems and human health and its adaptation mechanisms.

3. Social Donation Plan

The department aims to be among the top 20 geoscience subjects in the world by 2020, following the world's top geoscience disciplines such as Cambridge, UK, Harvard, Princeton, California and Berkeley. In recent years, the department has produced a batch of world-class research achievements, which has gradually produced academic influence in the international school of geography. However, the department also faces many difficulties, mainly reflected in that the space of running a school and the salary of teachers cannot meet the demand of introducing world-class talents.

In order to promote the rapid and high quality development of Tsinghua geosciences and break through the bottleneck of school space and teacher compensation, the department plans to raise funds to set up the earth science talent fund and the earth science building:

(1)the earth science talent fund named by donors

To make up for the pay gap, Tsinghua university will set up the earth science talent fund named by donors, with a fund size of about 100 million yuan, realized through social donations.

(2)the earth science building named by the donor


1 job with Department for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University