I have completed my first full year as President of
HKU against a backdrop of challenging times for
Hong Kong as a whole. Yet despite these events,
the University has kept its focus on our academic
mission and had a fruitful and productive year. HKU (and Hong Kong institutions as a whole) welcomed large, new and unprecedented injections into
research funding by the Hong Kong government, as well as improved access to funding from Mainland China. We launched innovative undergraduate programmes built around interdisciplinarity and leadership development. We also boosted our
support for incubating start-ups and spin-offs by
HKU students and staff. Our academic output remained strong and we continued to attract top students. There is much to look forward to as the University works to capitalise on these opportunities and move towards reaching its great potential.
The headline development of the year was the legislative approval of the government’s InnoHK scheme, which provides up to $500 million to each research project in the fields of medicine and engineering. This is well beyond any previous funding provision by the government. HKU submitted very strong proposals and we are confident that several of these will be approved. At the same time, we continued to perform strongly in other government-funded schemes, including the General Research Fund which granted us $163 million for 217 projects in 2019, the most of any Hong Kong institution. We were also the first to benefit from new rules that allow Hong Kong scholars to apply directly to the National Key R&D Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology for funds that will be used for research conducted in Hong Kong, when Professor William Lu Weijia from the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine received a RMB27.44 million grant.
While these results are very satisfying, the University can and must do even better to ensure we carry our momentum forward and capitalise on the new opportunities before us. Recruiting the best scholars from around the world remains a top priority and we added fuel to that effort in 2018–19 with the launch of the Presidential PhD Scholarships and Post-doctoral Fellowships, which will provide substantial funds to support young scholars and their research in addition to that provided by the Hong Kong government. We plan to recruit up to 100 scholars in each category over three years. We also invited young scholars to visit Hong Kong in October, for the Meeting of Minds@HKU Forum, to present their research and check us out. And we will soon launch a very ambitious programme to recruit 50 leading senior scholars from around the world – the cream of the crop. Enriching our talent pool will ensure we have solid foundations for future success.
The Tech Landmark, a complex of four towers planned for 2024, will house 10 institutes serving as national platforms with global impact.
Another priority is to focus our energies in our areas of strength, where we can have the most impact addressing the grand challenges of our times. This year, we launched InnoTech, through which we will establish 10 interdisciplinary research institutes over the next five or six years. We have already received a $150 million donation from the Lee Shau Kee Foundation for the Institute of the Mind, which will bring together scholars from medicine, engineering and social science to investigate the workings of the brain to benefit both people and computer chip development. To support the InnoTech institutes and our other research, we plan to build the Tech Landmark, which will contain a cluster of four buildings on the Main Campus. Funding has already been secured for two of the buildings and construction will start very soon.
Message from the President and Vice-Chancellor
Cultivating Our Potential
Vision and Mission
An Extract from
Annual Accounts 2018–19
The University Profile
Teaching and Learning
Research and Innovation
Knowledge Exchange and
Message from the
Officers of the University