College of Engineering (COE) of China Agricultural University (CAU) was founded in August 2002, by integrating three former colleges, College of Mechanical Engineering, College of Vehicle and Transportation Engineering and College of Agricultural Engineering Academy, due to the policy of combination of some key discipline groups of Engineering in CAU. The history of COE dates from early 1950s, when the Subject of Agricultural Machinery Design and Manufacturing and the Subject of Agricultural Mechanization were founded by Beijing Mechanized Agriculture College. The elder well-known experts and professors, represented by academician Zeng Dechao, have made outstanding contributions to the foundation and development of COE.
After more-than-60-year development, COE has a staff of 150, including 41 professors, 63 associated professors and 16 lecturers. Among these staff, there are 1 awardee of China Youth Science and Technology Award, 4 awardees of Beijing Prominent Teachers, 2 awardees of Beijing Outstanding Teachers, 10 awardees of Baogang Outstanding Teachers, 6 experts receiving Special Government Allowance of the State Council, 3 awardees of Young and Middle-aged Experts with Outstanding Contributions by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), 2 awardees of Prominent Talents of Agricultural Scientific Research by MARA, 8 experts of Industrial Technology System of MARA, 6 members supported by the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University of ME and 4 awardees of Beijing New-star Plan of Science and Technology.
COE consists of 4 departments, including Department of Agricultural Engineering, Department of Vehicle Engineering, Department of Mechatronic Engineering and Department of Mechanical Design and Manufacturing, with an area of about 23,000m2 well-equipped with advanced teaching, research and practical learning facilities. COE possesses many types of key centres and laboratories, such as the National Model Centre for Experiment and Teaching of Mechanical and Agricultural engineering, the National Centre for Experiment and Teaching of Virtual Simulation of Mechanical and Agricultural Engineering, the CAU Base for Innovation and Practice of High-education Institutions related to Agriculture in Beijing, the Mechanical Engineering Training Centre (the workshop) and the ‘Internet Plus’ Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship of CAU Students, the ME Engineering Research Centre for Modern Agricultural Equipment and Facilities, the MARA Key Laboratory of the Technology of Soil-Machine-Plant System, the MARA Key Laboratory for Clean Utilization Technology of Renewable Energy, the Beijing Key Laboratory for Optimization and Design of Modern Agricultural Equipment, the MARA Science Observation Station for Arable Land Conservation in North Hebei, the MARA Research Centre for Conservation Tillage Technology, the National Sub-centre for Research and Development of Agricultural Product Processing Technology and Equipment, the Research Centre for Agricultural Engineering of CAU, the CAU Research Center for the Development of China Agricultural Mechanization and the CAU Research Center for 3D Printing Technology.
The discipline construction of COE involves two first-level disciplines, Agricultural Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and a second-level discipline, Agricultural Product Processing and Storage Engineering. The discipline of Agricultural Engineering is currently the only as the national key discipline around this first-level area in China, ranking the top with significant superiority in both 2009 and 2012 National Discipline Ranking Evaluation organized by the Ministry of Education. Meanwhile, it was awarded as A+ in the Fourth Discipline Evaluation by the Ministry of Education in 2017. In 2019, the subject of Agricultural Engineering was approved as the National Pilot Construction for the Top-class Undergraduate Major and that of Agricultural Mechanization and Automation was approved as the Beijing Pilot Construction of the Top-class Undergraduate Major. In 2020, Agricultural Intelligent Equipment Engineering, with the background of New Engineering Construction, will be added as an emerging undergraduate subject. The discipline of Mechanical Engineering is developed from Agricultural Machinery Design and Manufacturing, which was the first batch of national key disciplines founded in 1959. In 2007, Mechanical Engineering was approved as a first-level discipline for doctor-degree granting. Vehicle Engineering, as a second-level discipline of Mechanical Engineering, was awarded as a ministerial key discipline. In 2017, the subject of Mechanical Engineering was awarded as B- in the Fourth Discipline Evaluation by the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, the direction of Agricultural Products Processing and Storage Engineering was awarded as a National Key Discipline Direction and one of 100 National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation was accepted in the research direction of Agricultural Products Drying. From 2016 to 2019, each of State Technological Invention Award, National Teaching Achievement Award and the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award was respectively won once by the staff in these disciplines as the first finisher. In addition, 14 provincial and ministerial level and above achievements were awarded, 16 professional field standards were developed, 7 publications were published by COE staff and 4 major domestic and foreign tasks of design and performance were conducted by COE as the first institution.
COE provides students with a comprehensive training, cultivation and education system. At present, there are 1081 undergraduates. 443 postgraduates, 256 doctoral students and 12 international students. 2 Post-doctoral Stations are set up in COE, covering Agricultural Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Meanwhile, COE has the authority of granting both doctoral and master degree of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanical Engineering on the first-level. It also has that of Agricultural Mechanization Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Vehicle Engineering, Mechanical Design and Theory, Mechanical Manufacturing and Automation, Mechatronic Engineering, and Agricultural Product Processing and Storage Engineering on the second-level. Furthermore, COE has the authority of granting Professional Master Degree in the area of Mechanical Engineering and Agricultural Engineering and Information Technology. In terms of undergraduate education, there are 2 major categories of Bachelor Degree, one, Agricultural Engineering, the other, Mechanical Engineering, covering 7 undergraduate subjects like Agricultural Mechanization and Automation, Agricultural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Vehicle Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering and Industrial Design. Agricultural Mechanization and Automation and Vehicle Engineering are two specialties awarded by the Ministry of Education. Meanwhile, in 2018, Vehicle Engineering passed the professional certification of engineering education by the Ministry of Education and was contained in Washington Accord. In addition, 2 courses, including Agricultural Mechanization Production Science and Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering, are contained in National Excellent Courses. Agricultural Engineering is awarded as National First-class Subject and Agricultural Mechanization and Atomization is awarded as Beijing First-class Subject.
Based on the construction idea of ‘enhancing advantages, highlighting innovation, focusing on quality and improving’, COE aims at the international frontier of scientific and technological development, the national key strategies and industrial demand, and has formed distinctive and strong academic impact around the technical equipment and advantageous area such as agricultural mechanization development, dry-land conservation tillage technology and machinery, farmland operation machinery, agricultural product drying theory and technical equipment, agricultural product processing, feed processing and production technical equipment, biomass engineering, precision agriculture, agricultural robot, intelligent agricultural equipment, digital design and virtual reality of agricultural equipment, industrial design. Meanwhile, several key scientific research teams, such as the team for Technical Equipment of Conservation Tillage and that for Agricultural Biological Material Engineering, have been selected into the ‘Innovation Team Development Plan’ of the Ministry of Education and the ‘Outstanding Talents and Innovation Team’ of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Over a few years, COE has not only provided important decision-making consultation for formulating relevant policies and regulations, development plan and industry standards of the country, but also successively made a large number of important scientific and technological achievements. These results have played an important role in promoting the upgrading of both the industry of modern agriculture and the progress of science and technology, having 13 achievements awarded as the Second Prize of National Science and Technology Progress and above, 2 achievements awarded as the Second Prize of National Science and Technology Invention and more than 50 achievements awarded as provincial and ministerial level and above. In recent years, more than 260 papers searched by SCI and EI have been published per year and more than 190 national patents has been granted, including more than 90 National Invention Patents per year.
COE embraces the concept of ‘people-oriented and talent-strong college’ and takes the cultivation of high-quality talents with innovative spirit and practical abilities as the core goal. Besides, COE focuses on the cultivation of the abilities of both scientific innovation and practice of students and has achieved fruitful results in curriculum construction and teaching reform. It has successively won 2 National Teaching Achievement awards, 5 Beijing First-class Teaching Achievement awards and more than 10 other provincial and ministerial level Teaching Achievement awards. The ‘Teaching Team of Basic Courses of the Series of Mechanical Design and Manufacturing’ won the title of National Excellent Teaching Team. Furthermore, COE performs an excellent ability of practical teaching and innovation training. In the past four years, COE has won more than 200 awards in various disciplines and different scientific and technological competitions, including 2 top awards in China Agricultural Robot Competition, 2 top prize in National Intelligent Agricultural Equipment Innovation Competition for College Students, 3 top awards in American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ASABE) International Robot Competition and a top prize in ‘Challenge Cup’ Academic and Technological Works Competition for College Students in Beijing. The effect of training and cultivation of talents has been widely acknowledged by the society and the quality of graduate employment is generally in the forefront of CAU.
International cooperation and exchanges are increasingly extensive in COE. Close cooperative relations with more than 60 famous universities in more than 20 countries and regions, including the United States, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Russia, Ukraine and Israel, have been established. Meanwhile, COE has undertaken more than 20 bilateral international scientific and technological cooperation projects, including the Framework Program of European Union, China-UK Program, China-Australia Program, China-Japan Program, China-Belgium Program and China-Poland Program. Furthermore, COE has established a ‘2 + 2’ Joint Training Program for Undergraduates majoring in agricultural engineering with the Department of Agriculture and Bioengineering of Purdue University in the United States. It has also established an ‘International Cooperative Double-Master-Degree Program for Postgraduate Students’ with Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom and an ‘China-US International Cooperative Training Program for 100 Environmental Energy Doctors’ with the University of Tennessee (Oak Ridge National Laboratory of the United States).