Following is the speech (English only) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the Opening Ceremony of Institute of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Committee Meeting at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) this (December 3) morning:
Professor Chan, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Morning. It is my pleasure to join you today at the opening ceremony of the Technical Advisory Committee Meeting of the Institute of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology.
The Institute's mission is to provide a regional and international focal point for nanotechnology research and development, and to facilitate collaboration between academics and industry in the region for advances in the technology. Since the Chief Executive officiated at the Inauguration of this Institute last year, we all have high expectations that it could give Hong Kong a headstart in this cutting-edge emerging science. I am pleased to learn that the Institute has been making very good progress. In fact, I am most encouraged that the Institute is attracting an ever increasing number of renowned experts and pioneers in nanotechnology research and development as its advisors. I am sure that not only the Institute, but Hong Kong as a whole, will benefit from these distinguished scholars and researchers who provide guidance to the Institute's research direction and share their experience in the latest advancement of nanotechnology.
It has always been one of our top priorities to drive innovation and technology development in Hong Kong. Our objective is clear - that is, to use science and technology to enhance the innovative capacity of Hong Kong, and to strengthen the competitiveness of our business.
Notwithstanding the fiscal deficit, we have been investing heavily in innovation and technology over the past years. We have established the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), which has so far supported more than 600 projects at a total funding of $1.6 billion. We have strengthened the technology incubation programme to facilitate the growth of technology start-ups; we have established the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, and developed the Science Park and Cyberport. With these efforts, we strive to realise the potential of the research capability and expertise in Hong Kong to upgrade our industries and to transform technology into new products.
These investments are beginning to bear fruits. With the gradual building up of a respectable base for scientific research in Hong Kong, we have been able to draw eminent and world-class scientists and researchers from all over the world to come, or come back. They include of course Professor Paul Chu, President of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology; Professor Tsui Lap-chee, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong; and Professor Larry Lau, the Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, just to name a few.
Talking about nanotechnology, I must admit that I am a true layman. Yet, I know that nanotechnology is widely considered to be the next big wave in the 21st century and a source of unprecedented business opportunities.
Nanotechnology has already been identified as one of the focus areas where Hong Kong has good potential. Hong Kong has some of the most distinguished scientists and researchers in the world, and the industrial base in the Pearl River Delta provides us with tremendous opportunities to transform the R&D in nanotechnology to commercial successes.
The Institute of NanoMaterials and NanoTechnology is one of the largest single projects ever funded by the Innovation and Technology Fund ($56.9M). I am encouraged that the remarkable research teams at the HKUST, together with the great leadership by Professor Paul Chu, have made significant progress within such a short period of time. Just to name a few examples, some of the new technologies such as air and water remediation technology, carbon nanotube batteries and fast response LCD technology have already generated commercial interests both in Hong Kong and in overseas. I am sure that this is only the beginning and the full potential of nanotechnology has yet to be realised.
Before closing, I wish to thank the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, for championing this project, and everyone who has been involved and worked hard to bring this project to fruition. I wish the Institute and our researchers every success in the years to come.
Ends/Friday, December 3, 2004