Maximizing Zhuhai's applied R&D capabilities

Grace Ho

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At an inauguration ceremony on 15 May to establish its Zhuhai Applied R&D Centres, CityU became the first local university to set up a research base in Guangdong's Southern Software Park.

"The establishment of the Zhuhai Applied R&D Centres bears witness to the University's strong determination to extend its research platform to the booming Pearl River Delta Region," said Professor P S Chung, Vice-President (Research), at the ceremony. "With these bridges, we hope to tap into the technological expertise and market potential available in the mainland. We'll also strengthen our links with educational institutions and business organizations in the municipality and nearby districts."

More than 180 academics and business and industry representatives from Hong Kong and the mainland attended the Centres' opening. The ceremony was officiated by Mr Luo Chunbai, Deputy Director of the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone Administrative Committee, Mr Lin Xingdao, Municipal Deputy Mayor, and Mr Mu Rongguang, President of the Southern Software Park Development Company Ltd, together with Professor Chung, Professor W F Fong, Associate Vice-President (Research), Professor Y S Wong, Vice-President (Institutional Advancement), and Professor Hong Yan, Director of the Centres and Head of the Department of Computer Engineering and Information Technology.

The Centres' objectives include developing advanced technologies, training research staff and students, providing consulting services and commercializing research results. There are currently about 25 research and support staff working in the Centres, many of whom studied at reputable mainland universities, such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Wuhan University, Zhongshan University and South China Normal University.

"This endeavour not only expands our research horizons, but also fits in line with the view put forward in the recent UGC higher education review urging local universities to make good use of our geographical proximity to the Pearl River Delta region," said Professor Y S Wong . Mr Lin Xingdao said he believes that the CityU Centres in Zhuhai will give an impetus to the economic development and contribute to the prosperity of the region.

The six funded research projects at the Centres are in the following areas: multimedia systems for education and entertainment, medical imaging, Internet computing, language engineering, and computer technology for building and construction.

To ensure that the research activity is oriented to social needs and the development of new technologies, the University will closely monitor and regularly assess the research projects at the Centres. Each three months the principal investigator of each project has to submit to the Working Group on Applied R&D a progress report detailing all the research advancement, marketing activities, personnel and finance situation, and planned developments, for review and assessment.

The Working Group, led by Professor Fong and consisting of faculty/school representatives, is responsible for assisting Professor Chung in formulating policies governing the funding and assessment of Applied R&D Centres and Applied Strategic Development Centres, as well as the actual overseeing of the Centres' operations. Academic staff or research teams who consider that their research projects are commercially viable and will be self-sufficient in the long term can submit proposals and apply for funding from the Working Group. The Industrial and Business Development Office is preparing an information handbook on matters related to joining the University's Applied R&D Centres in Zhuhai and Shenzhen.


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