The Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies at Nanjing University was founded in July 2012. In May 2013, it was approved and became one of the first collaborative innovation centers being sponsored by the Ministries of Education and of Finance.

The Center was initiated by Nanjing University and has been greatly supported by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Government of Hainan Province, and the State Oceanic Administration. It works in close collaboration with other research institutes, including the National Institute of South China Sea Studies, the Naval Command Academy, Renmin University of China, Sichuan University, the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Border Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Driven by the demands of major national policies and aimed at the defense of China’s maritime rights and security, the Center seeks to develop basic research as well as research on applicable countermeasures on South China Sea issues, offer services to the nation’s strategic decision-making on these issues, and provide intellectual support for the nation’s development of “maritime power,” mainly through collaborative innovation between disciplines and institutes—namely, between Arts and Sciences, military and civilian organizations, universities and institutes, and between universities—which is enabled by system and mechanism innovation.

Since its foundation, the Center has been making full use of Nanjing University’s particular edge in disciplines such as international relations, documentation and information, geographic information, oceanic and island research, border history, journalism and communication, and international law, and working in collaboration with domestic and international researchers from relevant fields. It has made special efforts to establish a cross-university, cross-institute and cross-regional innovative system for the development of talent, research and management. Incorporating “first-rate interdisciplinary groups,” “first-rate talent training base” and “first-rate new-style university think tank” into one, the Center has become a new collaborative innovation body for South China Sea studies as well as research on maritime security.

As one of the first “2011 Humanities Projects” being sponsored by the Ministry of Education, the Center is the “special reform zone” of Nanjing University and has established a relatively independent and complete administration. The Board of Directors is responsible for the Center, making major policies. The Administrative Committee oversees and makes decisions about major events in finance, human resources, and management. The Academic Committee makes, supervises and reviews plans for academic development. The Committee of Center Directors is responsible for the daily routines of the Center, executing and implementing the Center’s plans and programs for development, talent training, scientific research, discipline establishment, platform coordination, and international exchange and collaboration. There are nine “research platforms” and eleven “research teams” under the governing of the Center undertaking and implementing its major annual research missions.

The mid- and long-term missions of the Center are to advance systematically five projects—the development of South China Sea Claims Database, the establishment of South China Sea Discourse Power, the research on early warnings and emergency responses in South China Sea, the endorsement of South China Sea strategies and policies, and the training of South China Sea experts—and to develop an innovation base for South China Sea studies and maritime security research, which incorporates into one the academic innovation body, the top-level think tank, the talent training base, and platforms for international exchange and dialogues. At present, the Center has been authorized to award academic degrees in “territorial seas and maritime security studies” as it has assembled a research force made up of first-rate domestic and international experts. In the field of maritime resources, environment, and remote sensing, there is a research team led by Academician Wang Ying, Academician Zhou Chenghu, and Changjiang Scholar Prof. Li Manchun; in that of international relations and international law, one led by Prof. Gao Zhiguo, Prof. Zhu Feng, Prof. Zou Keyuan, Prof. Fu Kuncheng, and Prof. Jia Binbin; in that of South China Sea policy and strategy research, one led by Prof. Wu Shicun, Prof. Li Guoqiang, and Prof. Jia Yu; in that of South China Sea history and evidence of claim research, one led by Prof. Liu Yingsheng, Prof. Shen Guzhao, and Prof. Guo Yuan; in that of maritime cultural dissemination and public opinion monitoring, one led by Prof. Bu Yu and Prof. Du Junfei; and in that of South China Sea military defense and national security, one led by Prof. Zhu Wenquan and Prof. Feng Liang.

At present, the Center enrolls twenty doctoral students each year for the South China Sea Project. Apart from its doctoral program, it also offers basic courses such as “South China Sea: the Strategic Situation,” “Research on Historical Evidence for the South China Sea Claims,” “International Relations and International Law,” “International Security: Theory and Practice,” and “Research on South China Sea Maritime Resources and Environment.” Starting in 2013, the Center holds annually the South China Sea Forum, an annual national conference on South China Sea studies. In 2015, the Center started to organize and sponsor the National Doctoral Student Forum for South China Sea Studies. Asia-Pacific Security and Maritime Affairs, an academic journal edited and published by the Center, has become a representative academic frontier for the study of maritime security in China. South China Sea Series, a collection of monographs reflecting the latest academic development in South China Sea studies both at home and abroad, was edited and published by the Center. The Center also organizes the composition of the “Annual Report on the South China Sea Situation,” which offers in-depth analysis that is timely, comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date. What’s more, the Center, through organizing and publishing The South China Sea Papers and Research Reports on South China Sea Strategies, monitors the latest developments in the South China Sea situation and offers information to experts in the field.

A major mission of the Center is to let the public, policy-makers, and the world hear our voice on defending China’s maritime rights and developing global peace. It has become a representative think tank in disseminating and communicating China’s South China Sea policies. Through active multi-level international collaborations, it has been enabling various forms of “TrackⅡ Dialogue” on maritime issues.

The organizational structure of the Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies, Nanjing University:

1. Board of Directors. Chairman: Hong Yinxing, Distinguished Honorary Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanjing University

2. Administrative Committee. Director: Prof. Yang Zhong, Managing Vice-Chancellor, Nanjing University

        3. Academic Committee

Director: Prof. Qin Yaqing, President, China Foreign Affairs University

Vice Directors: Prof. Yang Jiemian, Director of Academic Committee, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies;

                         Prof. Zhu Qingbao, Vice-Chancellor, Nanjing University

4. Committee of Center Directors

Director: Professor Wang Ying, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Executive Director: Prof. Zhu Feng, Dean of the School of International Relations, Nanjing University

Vice-Directors: Prof. Wu Shicun, Prof. Zhou Chenghu, Professor Li Guoqiang, Prof. Feng Liang, Prof. Shen Chuzhao