Successful stories in applied research and industrial collaboration

Shirley Lam and Amy Leung

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A collection of over 50 applied research projects and products are now on display at the University Concourse, until 13 November, showcasing CityU’s success in applied research and industrial collaboration to help foster the industrial and business development of Hong Kong.

 

“We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary with proud achievements in many areas and one of them is applied research,” said CityU President Professor H K Chang, who officiated at the opening ceremony of the Applied Research Exhibition cum Concurrent Seminar on 5 November. “In the last few years, we've clearly identified our role

and mission and aligned our activities along the axis of professional education and application-oriented research, We are dedicating our efforts to reach international standards and help Hong Kong to become an important international centre of higher education of research and development. We’re pleased to mount this exhibition to let people know what a young university can do with dedicatd effort.”

 

With the opening ceremony attendees Professor Chang also shared the news that CityU ranks among the best 200 universities in the world, according to The Times in the UK. According to this study, CityU is among the top four Hong Kong institutions, and is one of the top 10 Chinese universities in the Greater China area. “It is something we should take pride in, without becoming complacent,” the President said. “It spurs us to make more progress so as to reach the top 100 in another 20 years.” He added that whether or not CityU can achieve its goals in the next two decades will depend on the continued efforts of staff, students, alumni, social leaders and government officials.

 

Growing importance of technology transfer

 

Mr John Tsang, JP, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, who also officiated at the ceremony, congratulated CityU for the prestigious ranking. “The theme of the event, ‘Knowledge Creates, Technology Applies’, is a timely choice of subject,” he said. “The Government is committed to supporting the development of new technologies in Hong Kong and has established a series of programmes to promote local research and development activities. Among the most important initiatives was the HK$5 billion Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) which supported industry upgrading.” Over the past five years, the ITF has supported more than 600 applied R&D projects with a total funding of some HK$1.6 billion. Mr Tsang was happy to see some of the results of the ITF-funded projects in the CityU exhibition.

 

The exhibits include a wide range of applied research projects, such as an organic electroluminescent display, a Lidar System for atmospheric aerosol and cloud profiling, smartcard technology, development of lightweight concrete, Omega-3 fatty acid products, Plasma Ion implantation technology, mobile communication systems and base station antennae, energy-saving lighting and dimming technology and the visible tone and intonation of self-correcting Putonghua Computer Aided Instruction system. Also on display are the products and services of 36 companies incubated by CityU Enterprises Ltd, in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, software and solution integration, mechanical engineering and automation, innovative technology solutions and new materials.

 

“Nowadays universities are not only a place to generate ideas and knowledge, but also a place to find application of the knowledge created,” Mr Tsang said. “This is becoming more and more evident as we see universities putting greater efforts into applied research and development and to seeking collaborations with industry.” It is  a trend for researchers to reach out to the industrial sector to commercialize their research findings through which they obtain useful advice. Thus, researchers can also contribute to the well-being of society and to wealth and job creation in the community.

 

Oxford experience of commercialization of research

 

The opening ceremony was followed by a Seminar kicked off with a keynote speech on “Commercialization of University Research” by Professor Patrick Grant, Cookson Professor of Materials, the University of Oxford. Professor Grant shared Oxford University's approach to commercializing its research, explaining the relationship between the university and industry, and how they could be mutually beneficial, and he outlined the ingredients for success. According to Professor Grant, the commercialization of university research requires a huge amount of capital and is a long-term investment. It takes time to see a significant return. However, in the long run, he said, it is impossible to solely rely on government subsidies. In order to maintain high standards of university research and turn research results into reality, a university should closely collaborate with private sectors to gain their support. Although capital is one of the crucial factors for quality research, he said the key to success is the right people.

 

Development of advanced technology and PRD

 economy

 

The keynote speech was followed by a panel discussion on “Enhancing the Economy of Pearl River Delta Region through Advanced Technology Development” hosted by Ir S W Cheung, Vice-President, Business Development and Technology Support, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. Other panelists  included Mr Lin Bo, Vice Director-General, Administrative Office of Shenzhen High-Tech Industrial Park; Dr C K Wong, Managing Principal, iASPEC Services Limited; Dr K B Chan, Chairman and Managing Director of Surface Mount Technology (Holdings) Limited; and Mr Samson Tam, Chairman of Group Sense (International) Limited.

 

The panelists discussed how advanced technology could enhance the economy of the Pearl River Delta Region and agreed that the current market has a high demand for high-tech telecommunication products. They also suggested that places in the Pearl River Delta region, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangdong, will all have a significant part to play to support and maximize the development of high technology products in the Region.

 

 

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