Bill Gates selected as academician of China’s highest engineering academic institute
 
Bill Gates Photo: Getty Images
 
Co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates has been selected as an academician of China’s highest engineering academic institute, Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), along with 17 other foreigners, according to an official announcement on Monday.
 
CAE referred to Gates as a representative from TerraPower, an innovative energy technology developer officially launched in 2008, currently focusing on the development of travelling wave reactor (TWR) technology. According to the company’s website, Gates is the founder and chairman of TerraPower. 
 
In 2015, TerraPower signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation with China National Nuclear Corporation, a unit of one of the country’s three largest State-owned nuclear operators, for TWR development. And in 2017, the two parties reached a cooperation agreement to form a joint venture to co-develop TWR technology, which can operate with higher thermal efficiency and consume uranium resources more efficiently, cleanly and safely than before, according to TerraPower. 
 
The project is reportedly to begin next year and aimed at building and operating small, medium, and large travelling-wave nuclear power plants in the next 20 years. 
 
Earlier this month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for closer cooperation with the US in developing next-generation nuclear power technology in his meeting with Gates. Gates said the cooperation could push forward technological innovation and help realize sustainable development. 
 
Bill Gates, who has over 3.4 million followers on China’s largest social media, Sina Weibo, is reportedly the first foreigner selected as the academician of CAE with no academic background. Gates who first became popular in China as the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest and most successful persons has made presence in a variety of occasions in China in recent years. He also opened a microblog account on WeChat, a chatting and messaging platform owned by Asia’s most valued tech firm Tencent, earlier this year.
 
According to CAE, new academicians are selected every two years from academic institutions, research institutes, and enterprises of both inside and outside China. 
 
Established in 1994 in Beijing, CAE is subordinate to China’s State Council, the equivalent of US State Department, and has the role of advising on the country’s important scientific, technology and engineering strategies.
 
CAE began to select foreigner academicians from 1996, based on their contributions to China’s scientific and engineering technology development, their own achievements and international reputation, according to People’s Daily. So far, there are in total 66 foreign academicians in CAE, while the first foreigner academician chosen hand-picked by CAE was leoh Ming Pei, a renowned Chinese American architect, People’s Daily reported.
 
“The inclusion of foreign academicians can help promote international exchange and cooperation, and improve China’s international influence in the field of engineering and technology,” CAE said.
 
Apart from Gates, other 17 newly selected foreign scholars include President of the London-based Royal Academy of Engineering Dame Ann Dowling and President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Leo Rafael Reif, according to CAE.
 
A total of 67 Chinese scholars, among which only 4 are female, were selected to the academy out of 533 candidates, and the average age of the new academicians are 56.37, according to CAE. 
 

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