Doors open to industry for more collaboration

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Some 500 industrialists from more than 200 corporations met with the academics from CityU's Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) at the Faculty Industrial Day on 21 March to explore collaboration opportunities.

The event, organized by FSE's Cooperative Education Centre, showcased the research achievements and capabilities with exhibits of more than 100 applied R&D projects covering the disciplines of biology and chemistry, building and construction, computer science and engineering, information technology, electronic engineering, manufacturing engineering, and physics and materials science . Visitors were also treated with tours of laboratories and demonstrations.

"Through the Faculty Industrial Day, we hope to explore further opportunities for mutually-beneficial research collaborations and joint ventures with industry that can contribute to the development of Hong Kong as it transforms into a knowledge-based economy," said Professor Roderick Wong, FSE Dean, at the opening ceremony.

"CityU has made big strides in forging links between universities and industry," said another officiating guest Mr Raymond Leung, President of SAE Magnetics (HK) Ltd, and Chairman of the Faculty Industrial Day Advisory Committee. "It has opened up communication channels with the industry through various co-developed R&D projects. The Industrial Attachment Scheme and Cooperative Education Scheme, both organized by FSE Co-operative Education Centre, have also helped to train up the next generation of talents for local industry," he added.

Industry is at the frontline and is well aware of the market's latest demand for technology, said Mr Leung. Collaboration with industry will help universities design curriculum that can match with the needs of industry, develop technology in response to the rapid changes in the world, and initiate applied research projects that have practical and market values.

To survive the growing competitions from the Pearl River Delta region, Hong Kong small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to develop high-tech products and build up their local brands. Unlike large international corporations, local SMEs rarely have their own technical expertise and facilities to undertake R&D initiatives. Universities should provide the support on local R&D to enhance their competitiveness, said Professor Wong.

Mr Leung fully understands the benefits of co-operating with universities. His company has collaborated with FSE on several industrial projects and is a key supporter of the Industrial Attachment and Co-operation Education schemes, He encourages local SMEs to make use of the opportunities to get to know more about CityU's strengths in applied research. "CityU has taken an important step to open the door and tell industry what they are doing, it is industry's turn to approach the University and see what the academia can help," he added.

At the ceremony, the first batch of 57 student participants in the Co-operative Education Scheme 2003 received scholarships from 18 corporate donors. Under the scheme, first established in July 2002, selected final-year students are offered a scholarship and a one-year work placement in science institutes or industrial firms. The scheme is built on the Industrial Attachment Scheme launched in 2000, in which some 200 students have been placed so far for nine-week summer internships in manufacturing facilities in Hong Kong or the mainland. Both schemes aim to help students acquire real-life work experiences to complement their regular curriculum.

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