Hefei University (HFU), previously known as Hefei Union University, is a state-owned full-time undergraduate university founded by both Anhui Province and Hefei City in 1980.It “was born in the era of reform and opening-up, and develops in the period of innovation”. During its early years, the university put forward a school-running mode that features “appropriate tuition, self-job-finding, discipline in line with practical demand, and outsourced logistics”, which aroused great interest of the public and was covered by mainstream media like People’s Daily and Guangming Daily. The university was once honored as a forerunner in China’s Higher Education Reform. The governments of Anhui Province and Lower Saxony state, Germany reached an agreement in 1985 to cooperatively develop Hefei Union University based on the mode of German universities of applied sciences. The university then became one of the two model universities of applied sciences assisted by German side in China. In March 2002, with the approval of the Ministry of education(MOE), Hefei Union University, Hefei Institute of Education and Hefei Normal School were combined to form Hefei University.

Hefei University is now a demonstration base for the Sino-German education cooperation in China, one of the 63 pilot bachelor degree granting universities to offer master courses and degrees for some national special demand, and one of the 61 universities to offer advanced engineer programs. In addition, it is a vice-chairman university of the National Special Committee of the Undergraduate Universities of Applied Sciences, presiding university of the League of the National Undergraduate Universities of Applied Sciences in the Yangtze River Delta region, permanent chairman of the League of the Anhui Undergraduate Universities of Applied Sciences and a participating university in upgrading Anhui undergraduate universities of applied sciences. Honored as a model university of National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Experience (2018), it is entrusted to train overseas students offered Chinese Government’s scholarship. It is also a member of the 100 institutions integrating production and education in China during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), a member of the National New Engineering Education and Research and a member of the Sino-German Economic Advisory Council as well as a strategic partner of global SME Alliance.

At its beginning, the university outlined its guideline of “serving the local, training students into applied talents and strengthening cooperation with foreign higher-learning institutions”. It has made good use of the experience of the universities (Fachhochschule) of applied sciences in Germany and created a distinctive application-oriented education system with the focus on key factors to improve the ability and skills of students. Thanks to the system reform and implementation thereof, the university has succeeded in producing a great many high-caliber professionals for local development. In 2009, it was awarded the Second Prize of the National Teaching Achievement Award. In 2014, it was awarded the First Prize of the National Teaching Achievement Award, which was a breakthrough for Anhui provincial universities. In 2015, it was awarded the Special Prize for the 4th National Education Reform and Innovation Award. Since 2016, together with Continental Ag and German universities of applied sciences, it has created a “Dual System” for integrating production and education. In 2018, HFU earned a First and a Second Prize of the National Teaching Achievement Award and was entitled to confer master's degrees. Both in 2018 and 2019, it was awarded the Second Prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award. And it has also been listed in the top 100 patentees in Anhui Province in five consecutive years.

In the past six years, HFU students won 912 national prizes, among which 328 are prizes in national sci-tech innovation contests, such as the Champion at the RoboCup Portugal Open 2016, the Seventh and Sixth places at the 20th and 21st RoboCups respectively, and the First Prize of the national final of “Siemens Cup” China Intelligent Manufacturing Challenge. The employment rate of its graduates has always been among the top in the province with approximate 70% of them working in Anhui and 55% in Hefei, which makes it entitled as “the cradle for cultivating engineers in Hefei”. In 2018, HFU came be among the first batch of universities to enroll students, and its enrollment scores for liberal arts and sciences were 14 and 15 points higher than the minimum enrollment scores of key universities respectively, and in 2019, 11 and 15 higher respectively.In 2020,13 and 22 higher respectively.

Persisting in its application-oriented guideline, HFU encourages the research in applied technology. Together with domestic and overseas enterprises and governments, HFU has set up 41 Industry-university-research Cooperation platforms, such as HFU Academician Workstation on Water Environment and Pollution Control, HFU Academician Workstation on Functional Ionic Liquid-Powered Battery Electrolyte, the Sino-German Industry 4.0 Promotion Center, the Institute on Chaohu Lake and so on for the purpose of technological innovation and service. It has also explored “the unmanned factory” with Osnabruck University of Applied Sciences and BOGE, set up Architecture and Materials Research and Development Center with Seward Group, and cooperated with BYK Chemie, all these four partners being from Germany, and has improved its ability to serve economic development. HFU also pays attention to the research and inheritance of regional culture by setting up the Research Center for Cultural, Economic and Social Development Around Chaohu Lake and the Research Center for Huai Army and Liu Mingchuan (1836-1896), hosting the academic seminar on the 130th Anniversary of Liu Mingchuan as the first governor of Taiwan, compiling Series of Studies on the Regional Culture of Hefei, a Famous Lake City, Ten Lectures on Hefei Culture and so on, which helps to make its number of applied achievements in humanities and social sciences among the top universities in Anhui.

HFU has a long history of internationalization and plays an active role as a bridge to promote people-to-people diplomacy through educational confidence. So far, it has established cooperation relations with 72 universities in Taiwan and such countries as Germany, South Korea, Japan, the United States, Italy, Spain, Austria, Britain and Russia. Approved by the Ministry of Education, HFU offers a Sino-foreign cooperative education program with its over 4,300 students totally studying abroad and over 2,000 foreign students studying or coming here for internship from Germany, South Korea, Russia, Cambodia, Nepal and Laos. 4 foreign teachers at HFU won “National Friendship Award”. In 5 consecutive years, foreign experts and professors here were invited to attend the Chinese New Year Symposium for Foreign Experts host by Premier Li Keqiang. In 2015, 3 HFU foreign visiting professors were invited to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. Ever since 2000, more than 500 delegations from German governments, social organizations, sister universities and enterprises have visited HFU. The former German President and the current chairman of the Global Alliance of Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr. Wulff has visited HFU for 4 times. On December 30th, 2016, the first Confucius Institute by HFU was set up in Stralsund, Germany, which is also the first one in the Western Europe from Anhui province. German Chancellor Ms Angela Merkel attended its opening ceremony, which was considered as a milestone in the development of Confucius Institutes. HFU also hosted “Chinese Language Bridge” Summer Camp for Germany's middle school students 8 times, Korean Speech Contest 12 times, and “Hefei University Cup” Chinese Speech Contest 4 times. HFU also set up the Anhui-Germany Center and the Anhui-South Korea Center for local international cooperation; for example, it assisted Hefei to introduce cooperative projects with Continental Tire and Seward Group, helped Hefei to twin with Osnabruck and Rostock of Germany and Seosan of South Korea, and promoted the twinning between Huangshan, Anhui province and Stralsund, Germany.

On Oct 30, 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Hefei University together. Premier Li praised the significant development of Hefei University as a good example for Sino-German practical cooperation, and compared it to a man who is steadfast at the age of thirty, and a deep-rooted huge tree bearing remarkable fruit. He also expressed his hope to see another 30 years of glory in the collaborative construction of the university in the context of the cooperation between China and Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke highly of Hefei University, saying that it was a role model of cooperation between Germany and China in the past 30 years. The two leaders announced that a demonstration base for China-Germany education cooperation and a fund for the same purpose would be set up at HFU for the further cooperation. China’s Ministry of Education and Anhui Province co-set the Construction Plan of China-Germany Education Cooperation Demonstration Base and Cooperation Fund and presented it to the State Council for approval, which set up the goal of “one model university with 6 platforms”. Anhui Province and Hefei City have listed this program into their 13th Five-Year Development Plan respectively, Anhui Five-Development action plans, Anhui's 13th Five-Year Development Plan for Education. The program is proceeding smoothly now.

So far, HFU has totally 14,420 full-time students on campus and 1,147 employees, including 996 faculty members. Among these teachers, there are 130 professors, 435 associate professors and 310 teachers having got Doctor’s degree. There are 20 foreign teachers usually at HFU, among them, 4 are “National Friendship Award” winners and 13 are provincial “Huangshan Friendship Award” winners. Its campuses cover a total area of 99.7 hectares with a floor area of 689,000 square meters. Its teaching instruments and equipment value at 367million yuan. Now HFU has 16 teaching units and 11 schools offering courses for 72 undergraduate specialties, 9 Sino-foreign cooperation program and 2 junior college specialties, and among these specialties, 5 are national special ones, 4 are listed in “Outstanding Engineer Education and Training Program”, 1 is in the national undergraduate comprehensive reform pilot program, and 3 Sino-foreign cooperation specialties approved by the MOE. It has also 3 national practical teaching bases for university students. In 2019, 5 specialties were approved to be listed into the first batch of national first-class undergraduate specialties, and 11 into the provincial ones.

HFU emphasizes the Party Building as well as the political and ideological work. Teachers and students conscientiously study and implement Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era and the spirit of CPC’s 19th National Congress, and actively cultivate and practice core socialist values. In 2017, it won the National May Day Labor Award. From 2015 to 2019, it was awarded “Excellence” grade in the comprehensive assessment by Anhui Provincial Party Committee every year. Since the implementation of the “Ten Projects” for ideological and political work innovation in 2016, HFU’s ideological and political work has been further strengthened, basically formed a strong working atmosphere of “Three-Whole Education” - education by whole staff, during whole process and at whole aspects - and got some achievements. In 2019, it was entitled Anhui Provincial Civilized Campus, selected to be among the first batch of pilot universities to establish Anhui College and University Network Ideological and Political Work Center, the third batch of pilot universities for the “Three-Whole Education” comprehensive reform program in Anhui, the first batch of Anhui's model universities for the Party Building, and the second batch of universities for building model Party branches.

  In recent years, over 1,400 delegations came from 543 universities to learn HFU for its experience. With the arrangement of the Ministry of Education, it has given more than 30 lectures on teaching reform at the party secretaries and principals training courses and transformation training courses for local universities and colleges in Anhui and other provinces, and 120 special reports for provincial-level education departments and other colleges and universities. Its development has been reported over 80 times by such major domestic media as People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, China Education Daily, China Youth Daily, Xinhua Daily Telegraph. China’s Ministry of Education even summarizes HFU’s experience as “Anhui phenomenon, Hefei mode”.