HKUST hosts Science and Technology Forum on “Innovation for the Future of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta”

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HKUST hosts Science and Technology Forum on “Innovation for the Future of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta”

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Mr Huateng Ma (center) receiving the HKUST Technology Industry Innovation Award from Prof Tony F Chan. On the right is Prof Khaled Ben Letaief, Dean of Engineering at HKUST.
Mr Huateng Ma (center) receiving the HKUST Technology Industry Innovation Award from Prof Tony F Chan. On the right is Prof Khaled Ben Letaief, Dean of Engineering at HKUST.  [Download Photo]

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is hosting a major Forum on science and technology today and tomorrow. Leading experts from academia, industry and government are gathered to discuss the way forward for developing innovation and technology in Hong Kong and strengthening the collaboration between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region. This event, in celebration of the University’s 20th Anniversary is co-organized by the Hong Kong Institution of Science and the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences.

It is the founding mission of HKUST to spearhead Hong Kong’s socioeconomic development through research. This Forum is part of its efforts to lead Hong Kong in search of strategic insights and support to enhance our competitiveness by tapping into opportunities for Mainland-Hong Kong technology collaborations in the context of China’s Twelve Five-Year Plan.

During this two-day Forum, over 20 keynote speeches, dialogue sessions and panel discussions are presented with cross-sectoral experts from China, the US and Hong Kong on themes such as innovative education and science and technology policy recommendations. The first day of the Forum centers on the theme of “Science and Technology: Innovation for the Future of Hong Kong”. In addition to HKUST President Prof Tony F Chan delivering a keynote speech, Prof Arden L Bement Jr, Director of Purdue University’s Global Policy Research Institute and Former Director of US National Science Foundation spoke on the role of government in science and technology policy, globalization of R&D and challenges to Asia and other countries; Dr Yen-shiang Shih, Minister of Economic Affairs and Board Member of Commerce Development Research Institute, Taiwan on a journey to the knowledge economy; and Prof Wang Zhongtuo, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Director of Research Center for Knowledge Science and Technology in Dalian University of Technology addressed the importance of R&D in a knowledge economy and the roles of enterprise, academia and government.

A distinguished team of leaders including Mr Nicholas Brooke, Chairman of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Dr Nim-kwan Cheung, CEO of The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, Mr Chun-ying Leung, Former Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong SAR Government, Members of the Legislative Council Ir Dr the Hon Raymond Chung-tai Ho, Ir Dr the Hon Samson Wai-ho Tam and the Hon Mrs Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Dr York Liao, Co-founder and Executive Director of Varitronix International Ltd, Prof France A Córdova, President of Purdue University as well as President of the National Science Board, USA joined outstanding university speakers and entrepreneurs in earnest dialogue on themes such as innovative education, science and technology development strategies, knowledge transfer etc.

In his speech on “The Role of a Research University of Science and Technology in a Knowledge Society”, HKUST President Prof Tony F Chan opined that innovation and technology gave impetus to boosting a diversified economy, creating employment opportunities and enhancing competitiveness. In recent years, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have been actively supporting the development of innovation and technology in various ways, such as increasing resource inputs and formulating S & T friendly policies. For Hong Kong to effectively enhance our value-added capacity, Prof Chan took the view that we need to fully utilize our favorable factors. We also need to put more resources into the local education system to nurture creative talents. The government shall also formulate clear, comprehensive and forward-looking science and technology research policies, and explore more Mainland-Hong Kong research collaboration opportunities. Employers, parents, enterprises and community leaders should awake to the importance of science and technology to our future development. We also need to provide incentives to encourage commercial participation in research development.

Prof Joseph Hun-wei Lee, HKUST Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies and Chair of Organizing Committee for Science and Technology Forum pointed out that this Forum provides a rare and invaluable opportunity for veteran technology and engineering professionals to converge and discuss the prospects of innovation and technology development in Hong Kong. Notwithstanding Hong Kong’s achievements in cutting-edge research across different areas, we are relatively inexperienced in research commercialization. Innovative technology is without boundary. It has been extensively applied in the service, architectural and engineering industries for boosting efficiency. This Forum is an influential platform for government, teaching and research institutes, as well as enterprises to discuss ways to commercialize and widely apply research outcomes.

The forum also witnessed the presentation of the first ever HKUST Technology Industry Innovation Award to Mr Ma Huateng, Chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings Limited in recognition of his success in commercializing innovative ideas and the positive impacts on society. Mr Ma, in return delivered a speech on “Reflections on the Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the IT Industry in China”. He said that the Internet is one of the areas that will enable China to excel in the global market through innovation. Tencent has been committed to innovation in its business model and strong focus on user experience since its establishment. Recently, the company also supported the innovation and growth of other companies through open platform strategies. He believed that the training of innovative talents was another key success factor for corporate development. He stated that Tencent shared the same vision with HKUST on innovation and that HKUST has made remarkable achievements in driving innovation and training talents. Going forward, he hoped Tencent and HKUST would continue to promote the innovative development of technology through research and business development.

The Nansha Forum, to be held tomorrow in HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School at Nansha, is titled “Guangzhou’s ‘Twelfth Five-Year Plan’: Integration of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta”. Guest speakers include Ms Janet Wing-chen Wong, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology of the Hong Kong SAR Government, HKUST alumnus Mr Sing-cheong Liu, Chairman of MyTopHome (China) Holdings Ltd and Dr Jack Lau, Chairman and CEO of Perception Digital Ltd. They will be joined by other leaders of enterprises from Hong Kong and China in discussing “Knowledge Transfer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. Mr Xie Xuening, Director of Guangzhou Science and Information Technology Bureau, together with other leaders of Nansha District Government, will take part in dynamic discussions with Forum participants. It also features the launch ceremony of the University’s “Smart Green Building” and the establishment of The National Engineering Research Center for Industrial Automation (South China).