HKU Annual Report 2023



HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 VISION MISSION CONTENTS The University of Hong Kong, Asia’s Global University, delivers impact through internationalisation, innovation and interdisciplinarity. It attracts and nurtures global scholars through excellence in research, teaching and learning, and knowledge exchange. It makes a positive social contribution through global presence, regional significance and engagement with the rest of China. The University of Hong Kong will endeavour: • To advance constantly the bounds of scholarship, building upon its proud traditions and strengths • To provide a comprehensive education, benchmarked against the highest international standards, designed to develop fully the intellectual and personal strengths of its students, while extending lifelong learning opportunities for the community • To produce graduates of distinction committed to academic / professional excellence, critical intellectual inquiry and lifelong learning, who are communicative and innovative, ethically and culturally aware, and capable of tackling the unfamiliar with confidence • To develop a collegial, flexible, pluralistic and supportive intellectual environment that inspires and attracts, retains and nurtures scholars, students and staff of the highest calibre in a culture that fosters creativity, learning and freedom of thought, enquiry and expression • To provide a safe, healthy and sustainable workplace to support and advance teaching, learning and research at the University • To engage in innovative, high-impact and leading-edge research within and across disciplines • To be fully accountable for the effective management of public and private resources bestowed upon the institution and act in partnership with the community over the generation, dissemination and application of knowledge • To serve as a focal point of intellectual and academic endeavour in Hong Kong, China and Asia and act as a gateway and forum for scholarship with the rest of the world THE UNIVERSITY PROFILE 48 AN EXTRACT FROM THE UNIVERSITY’S ANNUAL ACCOUNTS 2022–23 57 OFFICERS OF THE UNIVERSITY 60 THE COURT 62 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR REALISING OUR SHARED VISION 02 KEY EVENTS IN 2023 06 ACCELERATING GROWTH 10 ADDING VALUE 20 ACHIEVING IMPACT 32

3 2 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR Five years ago, I took up the position of President of HKU, full of enthusiasm and ambition for what the University could become – a world-leading institution where some of the best minds on the planet tackle the urgent matters of our time, including climate change, public health and ecological threats. What followed was a trial by a series of unexpected challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest in Hong Kong. These consumed enormous amounts of time and energy from me, my senior management team and all leaders across the University. But they did not throw us off course. It gives me great satisfaction to say that our collective perseverance has enabled us to make firm strides towards that original goal of being a global leader, despite the obstacles. And there is much more to come. A telling example of our achievements is the soaring representation of HKU on Clarivate’s annual list of Highly Cited Researchers, which recognises scholars with significant influence who have published multiple highly cited papers over the last decade. In 2019, a year after my arrival, we had 13 scholars on the list. This year we have 50, placing us 13th globally. Added to that amazing achievement is our performance on the national scale.’s list of the best scientists in 2023 placed HKU scholars first in six of the 24 areas surveyed, the most of any university in China. Our ability to leap up the tables is down to two things. One is our scholars’ tremendous efforts and success in pursuing excellence. The other is our determined effort to recruit the best scholars in the world to HKU. In 2023 alone, we welcomed 91 academics from some of the top universities in the world, including a Nobel Laureate. Our recruitment focusses not only on people at the pinnacle of their careers, but also young talent who have potential for great things. In the past two years, we have launched Presidential Professorships and Outstanding Young Professorships to incentivise talent to come here, to which we added Presidential Research Assistant Professorships this year. MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR REALISING OUR SHARED VISION

5 4 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR OUR LEADERSHIP Recruiting top scholars also helps us recruit top students. HKU traditionally does quite well in this regard and this year is no exception. We welcomed dozens of top achievers from all six inhabited continents to our undergraduate programmes, despite fierce competition. But to remain competitive in the fight for both staff and students, we also need to offer them an environment that is conducive to achieving excellence. We need to provide better hardware in terms of state-of-the-art facilities where they can apply their knowledge and capabilities in the most effective and impactful ways. We are, therefore, also rapidly upgrading and expanding our footprint. Professor Xiang Zhang President and Vice-Chancellor December 2023 PROFESSOR XIANG ZHANG President and Vice-Chancellor PROFESSOR PAN WEI Acting Executive Vice-President (Administration and Finance) PROFESSOR IAN MICHAEL HOLLIDAY Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) MS ISABELLA WONG YEE SIN Chief of Staff PROFESSOR RICHARD WONG YUE CHIM Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor PROFESSOR GONG PENG Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development) PROFESSOR MAX SHEN ZUOJUN Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) “ I BELIEVE HKU CAN PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN ADDRESSING PRESSING GLOBAL ISSUES THROUGH OUR RESEARCH AND OUR LEADERSHIP. WE CAN BE MORE THAN A GREAT UNIVERSITY OF ASIA. ” and innovation – of inspiring a sense of magic and wonder at what we can achieve. This cannot be pulled out of thin air. It requires systems to support and encourage achievers at all levels to feel appreciated and rewarded. While HKU has done well over its first 111 years, some aspects of its operations are no longer fit for purpose. My team and I have been assessing where we can make improvements to sustain and advance our excellence, particularly in the face of stiff competition and rapid technological change. It is important to note that HKU is not alone in doing this. The best universities all over Asia, Europe and North America have gone through similar processes. Our reforms to date have streamlined administration, hiring practices, salaries and merit awards such as Endowed Professorships, to ensure young as well as mature scholars can benefit. When combined with our success in recruitment and building, I am confident the changes will enable everyone in the University to perform at their best. And that brings me to my broader vision. Expansion and growth are the means to an end. And that end is to contribute solutions to the existential threats facing the world, such as climate change. These cannot be solved by single entities. They require collaboration and an ability to cross borders and cultures to find common ground. HKU and Hong Kong are uniquely positioned to do this given our recognised position at the crossroads of East and West. There has never been more urgency for such a perspective than there is today, especially amid rising geopolitical tensions. I believe HKU can play a major role in addressing pressing global issues through our research and our leadership. We can be more than a great university of Asia. We must strive to be a great university of the world, a new Harvard or Cambridge. Big ambitions like this are, of course, not easy. An important lesson for me over these five years has been the importance of patience and perseverance when pursuing change. People need time to adjust to new expectations, but I have no doubt that everyone will benefit as we push our ambitions forward. When the sea level rises, all the boats are lifted. This is a win-win situation for HKU, as well as Hong Kong and the wider world. We currently have nearly 20 buildings under construction or redevelopment that will provide top-grade facilities for our medical and business faculties, student and staff accommodation, and student amenities. This is just the beginning. We are actively planning for the Global Innovation Centre, a large-scale project on the piece of land earmarked for us by the Hong Kong Government. In the recent policy address, the Chief Executive has also announced plans for an education hub in the proposed Northern Metropolis, which we fully support. That is all in addition to our ongoing work in Mainland China to establish teaching and research facilities there. In the next five to 10 years, HKU will have a substantially bigger physical presence in the region. In addition to people and buildings, there is a third element to realising our ambitions, in many ways the most complex one, which is reform. I think of reform as the software for developing a culture of excitement and opportunity around intellectual inquiry

7 6 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 KEY EVENTS IN 2023 FAMILY CARNIVAL MARKS OUR ANNIVERSARY A HIGH TABLE GRAND FINALE An arts carnival held at the Art Park of the West Kowloon Cultural District in January 2023 brought together students, alumni, staff, families and friends to celebrate HKU’s 111th anniversary and enjoy the University’s first large outdoor event since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The ARTathon transformed the Art Park into a carnival featuring giant artistic balloon installations on the theme of the 111th anniversary, family-friendly arts and games, and graduation gown lending services so HKU graduates who did not have a physical graduation ceremony due to pandemic control measures, could take graduation photos with their family and friends. 1911, “a group of visionaries sat down together and charted a dream to create and build the finest university imaginable. 111 years later, that dream continues to come true,” with the University and its scholars regularly ranked among the top tier in the world. Professor Yuen Kwok Yung, Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases, was the keynote speaker and spoke on the pivotal role that HKU microbiology has played in safeguarding public health around the world, particularly during SARS and the COVID-19 pandemic. The year-long celebrations of HKU’s 111th anniversary culminated with a Grand Finale High Table Dinner in March 2023, attended by more than 1,000 guests including students, staff, alumni and friends of HKU. This followed other festive events, including the 111th Anniversary Light Show, Tech Landmark groundbreaking ceremony, the ‘111uminate’ DJ party, and the ARTathon carnival. Professor Xiang Zhang, President and Vice-Chancellor, addressed the High Table Dinner guests, noting that in 1-1-1: CELEBRATING HKU’S LEGACY KEY EVENTS IN 2023 A unique attraction was an eight-metre-high bookshelf resembling the Main Building façade to collect donated books that were subsequently distributed to local non-profit charitable organisations, symbolising the sharing of knowledge across the community. In addition, more than 500 secondary school students from low-income families were sponsored to visit the Hong Kong Palace Museum and enjoy the carnival day of fun. Watch event highlights

9 8 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 KEY EVENTS IN 2023 HKU PRESIDENT’S FORUM PONDERS THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY HKU HOSTS APRU PRESIDENTS’ MEETING Four pioneering scientists joined Professor Zhang at the inaugural HKU President’s Forum in April 2023 on the theme ‘Science and Society’, to reflect on the crucial role that science plays in safeguarding the future of humanity and tackling pertinent global issues, including climate change, sustainable growth and ageing populations. The renowned speakers brought a diverse range of expertise. Professor Dame Carol M Black is a respected clinician and UK government advisor; Professor Steven Chu is a Nobel Laureate in Physics and former Secretary of Energy of the US Government; Dr Jack Dangermond is an environmental scientist and creator of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS); and Professor John Hennessy is former President of Stanford University and winner of the Turing Prize. Collaboration and critical thinking were common themes in the discussion, echoed by Professor Zhang who emphasised the need for ‘techno-pragmatism’ – “Pragmatism, when it comes to new knowledge, is absolutely vital in unlocking the multilateral, multistakeholder solutions to global challenges,” he said. HKU welcomed presidents and senior administrators from leading universities across the Asia Pacific when it hosted the 27th Annual Presidents’ Meeting of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) in June 2023, for a three-day event on the theme ‘From Invention to Implementation – Solutions for a Sustainable Future’. A common thread in the discussions was the need for collaborative efforts to tackle current and future sustainability challenges. Panellists focussed on such topics as research on low-emission energy production and green technologies, and the vital role of higher education in empowering future generations to address the challenges and in providing innovative research-based solutions. Professor Zhang addressed participants and noted that addressing humanity’s negative impact on the planet cannot be done by a single nation alone, but by joint effort. “The conclusion of the meeting does not mark the end of our discussion. I believe that all APRU members will carry on our missions and work hand-in-hand towards sustainability,” he said. Watch event highlights Watch event highlights

11 10 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACCELERATING GROWTH ACCELERATING GROWTH People are the foundation of the University’s successful evolution into a world-leading institution. In 2022–23, HKU recruited scholars at the pinnacle of academic success as well as promising young researchers, and we continued to attract outstanding students from around the world. To support our aspirations, we have also been upgrading and substantially expanding facilities for research, teaching and student and staff accommodation.

13 12 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACCELERATING GROWTH HKU’s generous Presidential Professorships and Outstanding Young Professorships schemes, both launched in the past couple of years, aim to attract high calibre academics from around the world. Together with government funding, these schemes helped us recruit 91 new academic staff, including a Nobel Laureate, in 2023. To attract outstanding postdoctoral fellows, we launched the Presidential Research Assistant Professor Scheme in April 2023. We also offer Presidential PhD Scholarships for promising research postgraduate (RPG) students, which were awarded to 143 high-potential RPG students from around the world in 2023. Alongside these newer programmes, existing programmes have recently been sharpened to attract and reward talent. The Endowed Professorships Scheme now provides significant funding for both incoming and current top scholars for research and academic activities. The Visiting Professors Scheme now allows top visiting scholars flexibility in the time they spend at HKU. The University also recognises high achievement through the annual HKU Excellence Awards. Eight emerging and outstanding Hong Kong athletes have been admitted to HKU this year through the Top Athletes Direct Admission Scheme. 83 top scorers from all six continents were admitted to HKU in 2023. This included 27 local very high scorers who earned top marks in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), International Baccalaureate, and GCE A-level examinations respectively. We also value diversity in admissions and admitted nearly 100 local students through the School Nominations Direct Admission Scheme, eight top athletes with exceptional sports achievements through the Top Athletes Direct Admission Scheme, another 19 outstanding athletes through the Sports Scholarship Scheme, and 87 local non Chinese-speaking students, the most of any university in Hong Kong. Internationally, students were recruited from more than 40 countries and regions, such as Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Chile, Ethiopia, Peru, Poland, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. More non-local students will be admitted in future in line with the Hong Kong Government’s recent announcement that 40% of first-year students can come from outside the city. This dovetails well with HKU’s goal of being a global hub for higher education. TOP SCHOLARS AND STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD ARE JOINING HKU, ATTRACTED BY THE UNIVERSITY’S REPUTATION AND INCENTIVE PROGRAMMES TO LURE TALENT. RECRUITING THE BEST PEOPLE 91 NEWLY RECRUITED SCHOLARS, INCLUDING 22 AT FULL PROFESSOR LEVEL OR ABOVE 83 TOP SCORERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD 800+ NON-LOCAL STUDENTS FROM 40+ COUNTRIES AND REGIONS ADMITTED IN 2023 143 PRESIDENTIAL PHD SCHOLARS SCHOLARS STUDENTS

15 14 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACCELERATING GROWTH Professor Balazs Szentes, Chair of Economics in the HKU Business School, is an expert in microeconomics and game theory who has held academic positions at the University of Chicago, University College London and the London School of Economics, where he was Professor for 13 years before coming to HKU. He is attracted both by the city of Hong Kong and the Business School. “The HKU Business School has a great group of economists. From an intellectual viewpoint, it is a very stimulating place. My first impressions have been great – my colleagues are friendly and helpful and my family has received a lot of support from the University in our transition. While I am here, I plan to contribute to building a world-class academic environment in our Faculty.” ECONOMIST BALAZS SZENTES Dr Lydia Cheung Wai Ting, Associate Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences, received a BSc and PhD from HKU before undertaking postdoctoral training in cancer genomics research in the US. She returned to her alma mater in 2016. Dr Cheung’s research, showing gene mutations in key cancer pathways that represent new molecular targets for precision cancer medicine, has attracted local, national and international recognition. In March 2023 she was awarded an Outstanding Young Researcher Award at the HKU Excellence Awards Presentation Ceremony. “I had my first research experience when I was a final-year undergraduate student at HKU. Since then, I have developed a strong passion for cancer research. My research asks fundamental questions of how gene mutations favour cancer development and how to target these mutations effectively with cancer drugs. The research findings help untangle the complexity of cancer and my team and I strive to make significant contributions to the field.” HOMEGROWN TALENT LYDIA CHEUNG WAI TING Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart was a joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016 for his contribution to the design and synthesis of artificial molecular machines. To achieve this goal, he first of all played a major role in the invention of a new chemical bond – namely, the mechanical bond – which has changed the way chemists think about chemical bonding. His expertise includes not only chemistry, but also materials science and molecular nanotechnology. He joined HKU in September 2023 from Northwestern University, where he was a Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry. “The attraction of Hong Kong and HKU is the unique attitude of the young researchers at the graduate and postdoctoral levels. I get immense pleasure out of supervising and mentoring young Chinese students in science and chemistry. They are passionate, enthusiastic, committed – and they are kind and generous, they look after me as though I was their father. HKU, on the whole, is moving in the right direction and the time is right for coming here. I think the future is going to be an amazing one for HKU.” NOBEL LAUREATE SIR FRASER STODDART Professor John Murphy joined the Faculty of Law from the UK, where he established himself as a renowned expert in the law of torts. He has published in many leading Commonwealth law journals and advised both the UK Law Commission and Parliament on difficult matters of tort law. After three decades in the UK, he decided he wanted a new challenge – hence his decision to come to HKU. “I am immensely impressed with the way my Faculty is run and with the helpful and friendly colleagues I have acquired. I am trying to accomplish three main things: (a) to play a part making sure the Law Faculty at HKU comes top of the heap in the forthcoming Research Assessment Exercise; (b) to help mentor early and middle career colleagues, especially those working in fields of law that I know well; and (c) to help augment and fortify the reputation that HKU has in the area of private law.” LEGAL SCHOLAR JOHN MURPHY

17 16 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACCELERATING GROWTH Icy Ku Ping Sum is one of only four students across Hong Kong this year to achieve the top score of 5** in seven subjects in the HKDSE. She has enrolled in the MBBS, attracted by the Enrichment Year programme and, especially, the new Distinguished Medical Scholar track, which provides outstanding students with intensive research training in their Enrichment Year with a view towards pursuing PhD studies after they complete their MBBS. “I have always aspired to work as a doctor to save lives in Hong Kong. I hope to learn more about medical science and how to be a skilful and trustworthy doctor. I’m also looking forward to university life and expanding my social circle through the different societies and committee roles offered at HKU.” TOP SCORER Kyle Tsang Long Him was admitted to the Bachelor of Dental Surgery under the Sports Scholarship Scheme. He is a member of the Hong Kong basketball team and competed in the 2023 East Asian Youth Games in Mongolia. Alongside his sporting career, he achieved good results in the HKDSE and wants to develop both his academic and sporting abilities. “I chose HKU because it has the reputation of being the best university in Hong Kong and it is the only one that offers Dentistry, which is ranked top three in the world. The experienced professors and variety of facilities provide a comfortable learning environment for me as a student athlete. I hope to meet more friends and professors who can assist me in my learning journey, and also lead the HKU basketball team to achieve the best results ever.” SPORTS STAR Isaac Sze Chun Hei is a computer science and robotics enthusiast, who undertook self-directed studies in Python and AI technologies and has been admitted to the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Applied Artificial Intelligence via the School Nominations Direct Admission Scheme. “Some of the key reasons why I have chosen to come to HKU are its good reputation and rich resources, its career support services that can help me have better prospects in the future, and the way it encourages technological innovations through the Innovation Wing and student interest groups. I also like that my programme has a wide variety of subjects and electives in different fields, such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, robotics and smart city electives. Furthermore, there is some content in philosophy which can allow me to learn about the ethical limits of AI and how to use this technology in future. Few AI programmes in other universities provide this kind of content and essential knowledge.” SCHOOL NOMINEE Lucy Magashi ranked second in Tanzania’s national exam and has come to HKU because of its high international standing and a desire to learn more about Asian culture. She has enrolled as a Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering student with a full scholarship, a programme that speaks to her interest in engineering as well as her interest in medicine, which was deepened after her brother passed away from illness at a young age. She also founded the Loving Care Foundation to raise funds and help local hospitals in her country. “Biomedical engineering seems a right fit for me because of my love for both engineering and medicine and my motivation to help combat future medical crises in my country. At HKU I hope to be challenged to go outside my comfort zone so that I can grow into an individual who can succeed in any environment.” INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVER

19 18 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACCELERATING GROWTH HKU has embarked on a major building programme to develop new state-of-the-art facilities that will accommodate cutting-edge research and learning activities, as well as quality living space for staff and students. Five sites are being developed or redeveloped, holding altogether nearly 20 buildings. More projects are on the horizon, with the Global Innovation Centre in Pokfulam awaiting the Town Planning Board’s consideration. The new projects support our mission to push boundaries and provide a stimulating environment for our world-class scholars and students. 5 buildings; hosts the HKU Business School, new academic and residential complexes and a world-class sports facility 4 buildings; accommodates more than 900 students and 250 staff members Town Planning Board approval was obtained in February 2023 to build a major new academic building next to 3 Sassoon Road. Other projects are underway along Sassoon Road to enhance clinical training amenities and provide cutting-edge research facilities. 3 buildings; accommodates new institutes of interdisciplinary science and engineering research in such areas as artificial intelligence, geriatric science and quantum science 2 buildings; accommodates more than 1,200 students BUILDING NEW SPACES POKFIELD CAMPUS HIGH WEST DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL CAMPUS EXPANSION TECH LANDMARK JOCKEY CLUB STUDENT VILLAGE IV

21 20 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ADDING VALUE ADDING VALUE The University and the Hong Kong Government devoted substantial financial resources in 2022–23 to advance our research agenda and help turn Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area into a worldleading hub of technology and innovation. Simultaneously, HKU is also implementing strategies, infrastructure and curricula to encourage innovation and forwardthinking among staff and students alike.

23 22 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ADDING VALUE HKU was once again the top performer among local institutions in competitive funding exercises in 2023–24 (see page 23). We are also investing in research internally through the Large Research Equipment Fund, launched in 2022 with a pool of HK$1 billion to upgrade research infrastructure and purchase shared new equipment, and the Lasting Impact Fund to give scholars pursuing blue-sky research the time needed to develop their ideas. The latter includes HK$1 million per proposal for up to four years, plus up to HK$3 million for experimental expenses and equipment. To support research translation into innovation, the HK$400 million Entrepreneurship Engine Fund was announced at the DreamOn event in June 2023. It provides ‘patient capital’ to seed early-stage deep-tech ventures that need more time to develop before seeking private investments, as well as funds to accelerate promising start-ups. HKU has also increased our academics’ profit share of their inventions to 80%, from 33.3% previously. The University also disperses funds from the government’s Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU) among campus inventors. In 2023–24, HK$16 million was shared among 25 teams and another seven teams benefitted from TSSSU+, which offers matching funds up to HK$1.5 million for start-ups with private investment. HKU teams are also preparing to apply to the government’s coming Research, Academic and Industry Sectors One-plus Scheme (RAISe+), which will provide up to HK$100 million per project involving university-industry collaboration. Institution-level partnerships are a central part of HKU’s impact strategy. In 2023, the HKU-Qianhai Institute of Intelligent Transport was inaugurated in Shenzhen to focus on developing smart city and smart transportation applications. The HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science signed a collaboration agreement with the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to jointly invest in research and talent recruitment in AI and data science. And HKU and the Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation formed the HKU Collaborative Innovation Center to admit graduate students who want to pursue translational research projects with entrepreneurship training. Internationally, HKU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fudan University and the University of Sydney in June 2023 on advancing research and education to promote sustainable development. INVESTING IN FUTURE IMPACT FUNDING SUCCESS NEW COLLABORATIONS HKU and the Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation held a Plaque Unveiling Ceremony to mark the establishment of the HKU Collaborative Innovative Center. The University has taken a significant step towards addressing global environmental challenges by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Fudan University and the University of Sydney, aiming to advance research and educational programmes promoting sustainability development. + 571.7 HK$ MILLION 789.5 HK$ MILLION HIGHEST OF ALL HONG KONG TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS 32.4 MILLION HK$ EARLY CAREER SCHEME 2023–24 40 PROJECTS EXCELLENT YOUNG SCIENTISTS FUND 2023 (HONG KONG AND MACAU) 8 AWARDS GIVEN TO HKU SCIENTISTS BY THE NATIONAL NATURAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OF CHINA HKU SECURED THE MOST AWARDS FOR 5CONSECUTIVE YEARS HIGHEST OF ALL HONG KONG TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS 243.8 MILLION HK$ GENERAL RESEARCH FUND 2023–24 244 PROJECTS 54 PROJECTS 54.7 FOR RMB FUNDED BY MAINLAND CHINA SOURCES IN 2022–23 MILLION FUNDING FROM UGC AND RGC FUNDING FROM OTHER SOURCES FOR NEW RESEARCH PROJECTS IN 2022–23 130 LED BY HKU, WITH OUR SCHOLARS ALSO MEMBERS OF ANOTHER SIX PROJECTS INCLUDING ON-COSTS MILLION THEME-BASED RESEARCH SCHEME 2023–24 HK$ 2 OUT OF 9 PROJECTS 41.1 LED BY HKU, WITH OUR SCHOLARS ALSO MEMBERS OF ANOTHER TWO PROJECTS HK$ STRATEGIC TOPICS GRANT 2023–24 2 OUT OF 6 PROJECTS EXCLUDING ON-COSTS MILLION

25 24 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ADDING VALUE THE TEC: INNOVATION HUB Innovation support at HKU has until recently been scattered across a variety of programmes and centres. To consolidate that support, boost entrepreneurship and promote an innovation culture among both students and staff, the new TechnoEntrepreneurship Core (TEC) was launched at the DreamOn event in June. The Technology Transfer Office, which deals with commercialisation, has also moved to the Main Campus to be closer to researchers and research administrators. The TEC is a central platform hub that offers pathways to funding and other resources, creates opportunities for researchers, students and alumni to connect with each other and industry, and provides training and other support. It also encourages the formation of deep-tech start-ups through its management of the new DeepTech 100 incubation programme, which was launched in October 2022 with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park to provide up to HK$1.39 million in funding and mentorship to 100 young start-ups within three years. The TEC also manages the iDendron and new Start-up Connector programmes that are pitched at students and alumni, and runs programmes such as the Entrepreneurship Academy which trains hundreds of students and alumni each year. A series of innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives including the official debut of Techno-Entrepreneurship Core were announced at the HKU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Day: DreamOn 2023. OriginAI serves as a one-click solution for the needs of social media content creators, e-commerce managers and more. Dr Stella Wong Yat Kwan completed her PhD in Chinese Medicine in 2021 and almost immediately stepped into the start-up world. She has applied her know-how to improve the quality of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) through microbial fermentation technology to extract herbal compounds. Her startup, Lectcha Kombucha, has developed a number of products and is working towards commercialisation, and it was selected for the DeepTech 100 programme in early 2023. Tiger Bi Hu, a third-year student from the Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business and Global Management programme, founded the company OriginAI with four fellow students in February 2023. It aims to be a one-click solution powered by AI to provide content generation, marketing and other services for social media creators, e-commerce practitioners and businesses. “The Start-up Connector programme has been a valuable channel to help us understand the start-up ecosystem at HKU and the resources available to us, and it’s connected us with other potential start-ups,” said Tiger. They have also had support from the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub. OriginAI recently launched and has more than 400 registered users. DEEPTECH TCM AI VENTURE BENEFITS FROM START-UP CONNECTOR “ WE HAVE NOW BEEN CONNECTED TO MANY SUPPORTIVE INVESTORS AND OPPORTUNITIES AND WE ARE CURRENTLY WORKING WITH AN INVESTOR INTRODUCED TO US AT THE DREAMON EVENT ON A NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROJECT. ” 21 START-UPS ADMITTED TO FIRST COHORT OF HKU DEEPTECH 100 IN JANUARY 2023 DR STELLA WONG YAT KWAN

27 26 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ADDING VALUE Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) in education has been firmly embraced at HKU following a period of dialogue and thoughtful reflection on how to get the most out of this technology. Initially, we were cautious about its use to ensure fairness in assessment and access and to sound out staff and students on its ramifications. Two workshops were held in early March, each attended by more than 1,000 staff and students, followed by five policy-making sessions to address specific issues such as plagiarism and security. By June we had a policy, approved by the Senate and disseminated across campus, that encourages the use of GenAI across all programmes and recognises its potential to benefit humankind. Proficiency with AI is also now seen as a fifth literacy at HKU, alongside oral, written, visual and digital communication. EMBRACING AI AND NEW TECHNOLOGY The Law, Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship (LITE) Lab’s Founding Executive Director, Mr Brian Tang Wha Li, introduced one of the world’s first law school courses incorporating GenAI after ChatGPT was unveiled. In ‘LITE Lab: Tech Startup Law’, students, who co-design legal, regulatory and policy research with Hong Kong tech start-ups, companies, social entrepreneurs and NGOs, were encouraged to explore using GenAI in their research and project deliverables. In ‘LITE Lab: Lawtech & Regtech Sandbox’, students were asked to explore GenAI’s strengths and weaknesses in a chosen area of lawyering. After ensuring all students had access to some form of GenAI, they were required to check everything for accuracy before sharing and to not input confidential or proprietary information into prompts. “One main learning outcome was for students to develop first-hand skillsets in the emerging field of legal prompt engineering,” said Mr Tang. Some of the student findings demonstrated how GenAI can help streamline and augment the work of legal practitioners. Mr Samson Wong Ki Sum, Assistant Lecturer in the Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit, has initiated a grief literacy training module in the Medical Humanities Curriculum that uses virtual reality to expose students to the agonising pain and guilt of family members in end-of-life care as they witness their dying child’s life wither, while holding on to the slightest hope that medicine can make a difference. By exposing learners to the complexities of anticipatory grief from the lens of family caregivers, this immersive high-fidelity case study encourages medical students to reflect on the meaning of physician empathy, and to rehearse the myriad emotions that may emerge in endof-life care settings. Second-year MBBS student Julian Wan Pui Hang reflected: “As a medical student and future physician, there will be times that I will encounter terminally ill patients and their distressed caregivers. This medical humanities workshop has profoundly instilled in me the significance of cultivating patience, understanding and empathy when families confront adversity.” EXPLORING AI IN LAW USING IMMERSIVE DIGITAL STORYTELLING TO TEACH ABOUT GRIEF IN CANCER CARE LITE Lab@HKU was awarded the 2023 Edtech Heroes (Adult Learning) Stakeholder Engagement Award. MBBS students immersed in a virtual medical consultation room at which distressed parents of a paediatric cancer patient received the news that chemotherapy has failed, and the family’s narrative that they felt “being abandoned on a drifting boat with the dying child”. 1,000+ PARTICIPANTS IN EACH OF TWO WORKSHOPS ON THE THEME ‘CHATGPT AND AI TECHNOLOGIES IN EDUCATION: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UNKNOWN’ To help both teachers and students make the most of GenAI, a series of support measures were rolled out by the new Teaching and Learning Innovation Centre (TALIC), which brings under one roof three previous centres (Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative, and Teaching and Learning Evaluation and Measurement Unit). TALIC has organised WhatsApp support and an AI clinic for teachers, a dedicated website called AI in Education, a five-week self-paced online module on AI literacy for staff and students, and an assessment guide for teachers. At the curriculum level, new interdisciplinary programmes with a technology focus that includes but is not limited to GenAI, have also been developed, such as the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Digital Technology and the Master of Arts in AI, Ethics and Society. Other technologies, such as virtual reality, are also being adopted where they serve curricular needs.

29 28 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ADDING VALUE HKU is supporting the drive for innovation across Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area not only through our research, but our education of future researchers and entrepreneurs. At the undergraduate level, 29 courses across six faculties offered training in entrepreneurial skills in 2022–23. This complements the efforts by iDendron and the Start-up Connector programmes to support student entrepreneurial ventures (see page 24). Innovation is also emphasised in both research and taught postgraduate programmes. The Research Postgraduate Student Innovation Award launched in 2022 incentivises students to think outside the box, challenge existing paradigms and break new ground. Up to 10 awards of HK$50,000 each are handed out each year. The HKU Foundation Publication Award, established in 2022–23, encourages research postgraduate students to get their research published in leading journals. Twenty awardees are honoured each year and receive a HK$5,000 award. Meanwhile, the new Greater Bay Area MBA, launched in 2022, taps into the eager demand in the region for business professionals who can help take innovation to market and manage new companies. The part-time programme is targeted at experienced management professionals and admitted 163 students in its first intake in 2022–23 and 244 in the 2023–24 intake. Classes are held at both the HKU Business School’s Hong Kong campus and at its Shenzhen campus, which officially opened in 2022. The HKU MBA offered in Hong Kong was ranked No.1 in Hong Kong and 19th in the world by the composite Poets&Quants International MBA Ranking 2022–23 (based on rankings by The Financial Times, The Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Forbes). BBiomedSc launched a capstone project for final-year students that takes them through the process of setting up a biotechnology start-up, including the problems and scenarios they may encounter, the business and marketing knowledge they may need, and how to apply their biomedical know-how. In 2023, Charmaine Tse worked on a project in her final year to develop a sensor for children with special educational needs that can help parents better understand their children’s emotions and improve classroom management to prevent outbursts at school. “This course allowed me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and pitch and present each lesson. I now have skills and an entrepreneurship mindset, which has inspired me to work on developing a pickup app for surplus food with my friends.” Research postgraduate students are being encouraged to develop applications based on their investigations through the new Research Postgraduate Student Innovation Awards. Two standout recipients were PhD candidate in Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Howard Chan Ho Wan, and PhD candidate in Urban Planning and Design, Li Maosu. Howard has developed a continuous manufacturing platform to fabricate inhalable nano-agglomerate powder formulations that offer efficient and optimal delivery of drug-loaded nanoparticles to the lungs, to tackle respiratory diseases such as lung cancer and COVID-19. And Maosu has developed the world’s first automatic machine learning-based city information modelling approach to estimate human-perceived openness of urban-scale window views, that can aid in building design and urban planning and overcome the oversimplification and limited scale of current assessments. BIOTECH START-UP TRAINING INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS Recipients of the Research Postgraduate Student Innovation Award 2022–23. Class photo of the capstone project taken with teachers Dr Masayo Kotaka (first from right) and Mr Jeffrey Broer (first from left). Howard at the Controlled Release Society 2022 Annual Meeting and Expo. Maosu (centre) receiving the Best Paper Award at the Global Smart Cities Summit cum The 3rd International Conference on Urban Informatics. 29 COURSES ACROSS SIX FACULTIES OFFERED TRAINING IN ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS IN 2022–23 INNOVATION PATHWAYS

31 30 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ADDING VALUE Technology is not the only area where students are being prepared for the future. The Future Readiness Initiative (FRI), launched in September 2023, gives first-year students a leg-up in essential soft skills and gets them thinking about planning their learning journey. It consists of two credit-bearing online courses on communication skills and research skills, involving 20 hours of screen and offline activities that students complete at their own pace. Both skills will be important for studies and future careers: employers’ value communication skills, while the vast quantity of data in the world means students must learn how to sift through it all and draw meaningful conclusions. It is also hoped they will become enthused about doing research. Communication skills are also promoted through the award of a badge upon completion of the ‘Communication-intensive Course’ (CiC) developed by a team of teachers from the Centre for Applied English Studies, Common Core Office and TALIC. The team help teachers of all disciplines incorporate communications into their course design and instruction, and the badge recognises success in doing so. FUTURE READINESS 132 faculty-level courses, 38 Common Core courses and 71 courses in English and Chinese language enhancement have received the badge. The CiC Team received an Outstanding Teaching Award (Team) in the HKU Excellence Awards for 2022. At the faculty level, individual teachers also encourage their students to look beyond their immediate circumstances to the wider world. One such teacher, Mr David Bishop in the Business School, was honoured with the 2023 UGC Teaching Award. The Common Core itself also helps students develop essential skills for the future, in particular the ability to dive into multidisciplinary topics, think creatively about their future careers, and be prepared for interdisciplinary research. All undergraduate students must take Common Core courses alongside classmates from other disciplines. In 2023–24, 176 courses were offered covering a broad span, such as Artificial Intelligence, Leading a Life Worth Living, the Evolution of Civilisation, and Digitising Cultural Heritage in Greater China. The ‘Introduction to Research Methods’ online course bridges the gap between abstract research concepts and practical application by offering hands-on exercises using real-world data, building students’ confidence in research skills. Dr Michelle Reyes Raquel (second from left), Mr Simon David Boynton (first from left), Dr Jack Tsao (second from right) and Mr Donn Emmanuel Ventura Gonda (first from right) were honoured with the University’s Outstanding Teaching Award for the ‘Communication-intensive Courses’. Mr David Bishop (left) from the HKU Business School receiving the 2023 UGC Teaching Award. Year 2 student Charis benefitted from participating in a research project in collaboration with an international sustainable business consultancy firm. The Future of Sustainable Business in Asia was launched in early 2023 as an undergraduate research project under the Common Core. Students did ‘horizon scanning’ for the Futures Team at the global consultancy Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), to identify new trends and phenomena that have the potential to impact stakeholder engagement, supply chain management, and internal operations. Year 2 HKU-PKU LLB student, Charis Chan Wing Tung, applied natural language processing technology to recognise greenwashing claims in company reports, a practice primarily used in banks for investment and insurance purposes. She benefitted from working in an international team of students and learning the importance of presentation skills. “It is easy to be fixated on one’s professional knowledge or research and forget that it is equally important how we present findings to the client. Through BSR’s feedback, we fine-tuned our work to discuss impact more comprehensively and advise the client, thus creating value.” Mr David Bishop of the Faculty of Business and Economics won the Hong Kong-wide UGC Teaching Award in September 2023, just a few months after receiving the HKU University Distinguished Teaching Award. His innovative teaching approach has students develop social impact projects that have enduring impact and provide solutions to a range of problems, especially those plaguing the developing world. About 1,200 students from 170 countries, many of them on exchange, have joined his Impact Lab which he founded about a decade ago. They have helped dozens of NGOs and helped create social enterprises such as Soap Cycling, Migrasia Global Solutions Ltd and EmpowerU. “I am really excited about the UGC Teaching Award. My only regret is that it was an individual award. We’ve got great people, a whole community, providing assistance and directly supervising our students,” he said. IDENTIFYING SIGNALS OF CHANGE UGC TEACHING AWARD WINNER 176 COMMON CORE COURSES IN 2023–24

33 32 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACHIEVING IMPACT ACHIEVING IMPACT The ultimate aim of our work is to benefit people’s lives and communities. In 2022–23, we received international recognition for the impact of our research and innovations, and launched a new strategy for knowledge exchange activities to target areas of local and global significance.

35 34 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACHIEVING IMPACT The invention developed by Dr Wilton Fok’s team won two special grand prizes – the Invention & Innovation CAI Award (China Delegation) and the Prize of the Delegation of Malaysia – and a gold medal at the 48th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions (see page 37). HKU research has brought substantial benefits to people’s lives – our world-leading contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic are but one example – and we are continuing to ramp up the translation of our research. In 2022–23, 90 new patents were granted and an income of HK$27.78 million was generated through commercialisation of existing IP rights. Recent years have also seen more than 280 HKU-affiliated start-ups launched, including two unicorns (Ecoflow and Aftership, both founded by HKU graduates and now valued at over US$1 billion each). Through the Techno-Entrepreneurship Core, HKU is also seeking to reconnect with all start-ups that were initially seeded at the University. The InnoValley: 2023 TRANSLATING HKU KNOW-HOW 19 AWARDS AT THE 48TH GENEVA INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF INVENTIONS HKU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, launched nationwide in April, invites entries from all HKU-affiliated innovators and innovations across Mainland China. More than 200 applications have been received from six cities and they are being showcased around the country, building up to a grand finale at HKU in December 2023. HKU inventions also performed strongly at the 48th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions held in April 2023. 19 awards were received for 17 inventions, including two special grand prizes, one gold medal with the Congratulations of the Jury, six gold medals, six silver medals and four bronze medals. 280+ START-UPS AFFILIATED WITH HKU 90 NEW PATENTS GRANTED IN 2022–23 2SPECIAL GRAND PRIZES 1GOLD MEDAL WITH THE CONGRATULATIONS OF THE JURY 6GOLD MEDALS 6 SILVER MEDALS 4 BRONZE MEDALS

37 36 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACHIEVING IMPACT A team from the iLab in the Faculty of Architecture won a gold and silver award at the international 2023 IEEE / CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, outmatching teams from other leading universities around the world. The conference had a competition to see which algorithms could most accurately reconstruct an existing building from scanned data. The HKU team, led by Dr Frank Xue, won gold in the category Scan-to-BIM 3D for their AI-based method to create a 3D BIM model, and silver for converting a point cloud scan into a 2D architectural drawing. BIM stands for Building Information Modelling, which lets architects and surveyors create a complete and detailed digital model of a building, including furniture and appliances. “There is an urgent need for Scan-to-BIM algorithms and software, which not only perform the entire process much faster, but are also much more accurate than current methods,” Dr Xue said. Postdoctoral fellow Dr Qian Yuqi in the Department of Earth Sciences has led the first team in Hong Kong to obtain a lunar soil sample for study. The achievement comes on the back of his earlier work that argued volcanic activity happened on the moon more recently than previously believed. The area Dr Qian pinpointed was the landing site of the Chinese lunar probe Chang’e-5 in 2020 and scientists have confirmed his prediction, reshaping the understanding of lunar history. Earlier this year, he obtained approval to retrieve a lunar soil sample collected by the Chang’e-5 probe, weighing 822.6 milligrams, which was then brought to HKU for further study. “This is a dream come true for us and Hong Kong’s space science community. We hope to reveal the secrets of the moon and gain insights into the early Earth, which could have important implications for our understanding of the solar system and beyond,” he said. Artificial intelligence technology developed by Dr Wilton Fok’s team in the Sports AI Laboratory of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering was awarded two special grand prizes (Invention & Innovation CAI Award and Prize of the Delegation of Malaysia) and a gold medal at the 48th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions in April. The Glance and Focus AI Anomalies Detection technology can analyse human posture and movements via real-time video to identify anomalies such as falls, fainting, abuse, drowning or criminal behaviour. It can be deployed to provide timely alerts for rescue efforts and help prevent accidents. The team have also received funding from the government’s Smart Traffic Fund to explore the use of thermal images in analysing pedestrian movements at traffic light junctions and determine if individuals in need, such as the elderly, children, or disabled, can be given an extended flashing green time to cross the road and enhance road safety. The team members include Dr Wu Yik Chung, Dr Qi Xiaojuan and Ms Carol Chen. To support work on epidemic preparedness, HKU, the University of Cambridge and the International Vaccine Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the international headquarters of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute (HKJCGHI) at HKUMed. The HKJCGHI will focus on pandemic preparedness, translating research into preventive interventions such as vaccines, and advancing the access, equity and affordability of such interventions with the aid of global research support from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Separately, Professor Yuen Kwok Yung, Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases of the Department of Microbiology established the Global Pandemic Research Alliance with virologist Professor David Ho of Columbia University and experts from institutes in Mainland China, Australia and Singapore, to conduct research on emerging infectious diseases. Professor Yuen also signed an MOU with the Shanghai Institute of Infectious Disease and Biosecurity on innovative drug development for infectious diseases. Furthermore, his team’s 2020 research paper documenting the first human-to-human transmission of the virus causing COVID-19 was named by The Lancet as one of 34 landmark papers in the journal’s entire 200-year history. ANTI-VIRAL LEADERS AI ALGORITHMS FOR ARCHITECTURE LUNAR LEADER TECHNOLOGY TO DETECT FALLS, ABUSE AND OTHER ANOMALIES HKU, the University of Cambridge and the International Vaccine Institute signed an MoU on November 15, 2023, with the aid of global research support from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, to establish the Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute. Dr Frank Xue (second from left) and the iLab team. From left: HKU microbiologist Professor Yuen Kwok Yung, acclaimed Columbia University virologist Professor David Ho and HKU Dean of Medicine Professor Lau Chak Sing. Dr Qian Yuqi’s team obtained approval from the China National Space Administration’s Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Centre to study the lunar soil samples. From left: Dr Alfred Tan, Deputy Director of Technology Transfer Office; Ms Carol Chen, Project Manager; Dr Wilton Fok, Director of Sports AI Laboratory; Professor Anderson Shum, HKU Associate Vice-President (Research and Innovation). Real-time detection of falls from thermal images.