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Dr. Song Jirong was born in Shandong province in 1958. In 1978, she passed the entrance examination of Northwest University in Xi'an, and after graduation in 1982, she remained there as a faculty member. From 1992 to 1993, she pursued advanced studies in Staffordshire, UK. In 1994 she started a PhD course at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, and entered the postdoctoral research center at Northwest University in 1997. While working at Northwest University, she was employed successively as assistant to the president, dean of the Postgraduate Department, dean of the Chemical Engineering School, professor and doctoral supervisor, member of the Academic Study Committee, and vice-chairperson of the Academic Degrees Committee. In July 2006, Dr. Song was transferred to the Palace Museum, appointed as director of the Conservation Department. As a research fellow, she is now member of the Academic Committee of the Museum, member of the Editorial Board of the Palace Museum Journal, and member of the Advisory Committee of Editors for The Forbidden City. Dr. Song is also a member of the China Democratic League, vice-director of the Central Liaison Committee of China Democratic League, and vice-director of the Cultural Committee of the Beijing Municipal Committee of China Democratic League. A beneficiary of a special government stipend, she was selected for the "New Century Talents Project". In June 2010 Dr. Song was appointed by the Ministry of Culture as a vice-director of the Palace Museum.
Dr. Song has led dozens of scientific research initiatives, including those of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, of the China Spark Program supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and of the Foundation for University Key Teachers supported by the Ministry of Education. Under her supervision, over thirty university graduate students have received Master's or PhD degrees. Besides three monographs, Dr. Song also has published over 100 treatises not only in domestic periodicals such as Science China, Chinese Science Bulletin, Acta Chimica Sinica, Chinese Journal of Chemistry, Chinese Journal of Applied Chemistry, Acta Ogtsuci-chimica Sinica, Chemical Journal of Chinese Universities, and The Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, but also in foreign publications such as Chemical Physics, Inorganic Chemistry Communications, New Journal of Chemistry, Journal Molecular Structure, Thermochimica Acta, Journal of Food Biochemistry, Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. More than seventy of them have been included in such well-known academic indexes as SCI and EI. She is the winner of six provincial and ministerial-level awards including Reward of Science and Technology Progress of Shaanxi Province (first prize) and Science and Technology Award of the Ministry of Education (second prize).
While working on cultural object conservation and leading the routine work of the Palace Museum's Conservation Department, Dr. Song also has paid close attention to the protection of intangible cultural heritage. In 2008, the Conservation Department's "Techniques for Mounting and Repair of Traditional Chinese Painting and Calligraphy" was included in the second list of the nation's intangible cultural heritage. The Department was granted the honorary title "Advanced Group for Protecting Intangible Cultural Heritage" by the Ministry of Culture in 2009.
She was an assessor and advisor for the national research program "Comprehensive Protection Techniques for Iron Cultural Objects" initiated by the Ministry of Culture. Now she is leading the Palace Museum's program "Scientific Establishment of the Cultural Object Protection and Repair Technique Database". Dr. Song also participated in the research program "Alternatives to Alum in Restoring, Copying, and Reproducing Traditional Chinese Painting and Calligraphy". In 2009 in the seventh Palace Museum Academic Salon, she stated her vision for the foundation and construction of a "Cultural Object Hospital", and articulated the idea of scientific precautions to protect objects from damage.