Project 211, initiated in 1995 from the Ministry of Education, provides funding for about 100 Chinese universities with the intent of raising them to international academic standards by the End of the 21st century. Today the universities belonging to the Project 211 are all high ranking universities which are outfitted with top equipment.
In May 1998 the Chinese Government introduced a second project, the Project 985, which aims to make elite universities out of 39 universities belonging to the 211 Project. The main interest behind it is to promote international cooperation in order to host more foreign students as well as to send more Chinese students and especially doctoral candidates abroad.
When in 1998 the Project 985 was established, nine prestigious universities were chosen for an initial 3-years funding period. In 2009 the C9-League was formed out of these nine universities. The universities of the C9-League are as follows:
|University||Province or Municipality|
|Harbin Institute of Technology||Heilongjiang|
|Shanghai Jiao Tong University||Shanghai|
|University of Science and Technology of China||Anhui|
|Xi'an Jiao Tong University||Shaanxi|