Speech by Nicola di Trani at 2018 UCAS Opening Ceremony

  • Nicola Di Trani
  • Published: 2018-09-11
  • 480

Good morning everybody, my name is Nicola Di Trani and I’m an international student from Italy. I would like to first of all thank everybody for being here. I would like to especially thank International College for giving me the possibility to say a few words today as one of the international students here,and thank CAS-TWAS president fellowship for supporting me and other 140 awadees to study at UCAS.Honestly, I’m no one to give you an inspirational speech or advises about your life, so I’m just going to give you a brief story of mine, and how from a little city in south Italy, I ended up here is Beijing.


I wanted to be a lawyer when I was a kid, but then my parents bought me a computer when I was 13. I got so into it that, well, I said to my self, I want to be a computer scientist. Then the time to choose a major for the university came. I’ve always liked to try and understand how things work, so I thought that engineering would be my major. Computer engineering of course. But at the same time I was so fascinated by the human body and wanted to understand how the most complex of the machine worked. So medicine right? Well I took an entry test at the polytechnic of Turin, in northern Italy and I got in! We have spots in Biomedical engineering they say, well, that’s exactly what I wanted to do!


Then I graduated at the bachelor, I started the master, I took all my classes still in Turin and one of my professor says, I have a contact in Houston, Texas, they work in the Nanomedicine field and develop implantable devices for drug delivery. Do you want to do your master project there? Well, of course I do.

That’s how I started to work in Professor Alessandro Grattoni’s lab in USA. After I graduated for my master, he said: you know, we have a collaboration with the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), do you want to apply and do your PhD there? And I was like: well let me think about it, and I did some digging.


As some of you may already know Chinese R&D investment has grown remarkably over the past two decades, with the rate of growth greatly exceeding that of the U.S. and the EU.


China is now the second-largest performer in terms of R&D spending, on a country basis, and accounts for 20 percent of total world R&D expenditure.


China is now the world’s number one producer of undergraduates with science and engineering degrees. Since 2007, the country has awarded more Ph.D. degrees in natural sciences and engineering than any other country globally.


I went back to my supervisor and I said: of course I want to do a PhD in China, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do! And here I am, eager to start this semester with all of you guys, and learn as much as possible about the research here, but most of all the Chinese language and culture. I really hope to spend a wonderful semester at UCASwith all of you guys! 


Thank you very much!