"Project 985" is a constructive project for founding world-class universities in the 21st century conducted by the government of People's Republic of China. On May 4, 1998, President Jiang Ze-min declared at the 100th anniversary celebration of Peking University that "China must have a number of first-rate universities of international advanced level." On December 24, 1998, Ministry of Education released "Education Revitalization Action Plan for the 21st Century" and decided to focus on supporting some universities to create world-class universities and first-rate disciplines. On January 13th, 1999, the State Council approved the Plan and "Project 985" was formally launched.
"Project 985" aims to construct a number of internationally advanced disciplines and some world-class universities by the year 2020 or so; push some universities to leap forward in terms of overall level and international influence, and become internationally renowned high-level research universities; and build some high-level research universities with distinctive characteristics.
In December 2001, the Ministry of Education, Liaoning Provincial Government and Shenyang Municipal Government decided to jointly support the development of NEU. In January 2002, the joint construction agreement was signed, which marked NEU had become one of the first batch key construction universities under "Project 985". Through the construction of "Project 985", NEU has greatly improved its discipline structure, with certain research directions having reached or been closer to international advanced level. It has formed an innovative personnel training system and provided the country with a large number of urgently needed personnel with strong innovative capacity. The school has educated and introduced a group of leading academic and young and middle-aged academic cadres, and cultivated many research teams with high academic level and strong innovative capacity. It has also significantly improved its independent innovation and social service capability, and obtained many innovative research results. With more in-depth international exchange and cooperation, the school's international reputation and influence have been greatly improved as well. At present, NEU is making steady progress towards the objective of "first-rate in China and internationally renowned" high-level research university and it is bound to play a leading role in the new industrialization in China.