Hong Kong scientists receive 2008 State Science and Technology Awards

     Scientific talent in Hong Kong is well recognised with a first-class award and six second-class awards conferred under the 2008 State Science and Technology Awards (SSTAs) announced today (January 9).  

     "We congratulate the awardees on their achievements and encourage them to keep up their good work," a Government spokesman said. "Their outstanding results demonstrate Hong Kong's strengths and capabilities in both basic and applied research and development (R&D). It also further affirms the efforts by the HKSAR Government in promoting innovation and technology. Their achievements will encourage the local R&D community and help stimulate our younger generation's interest in pursuing science and technology."

     The award recipients include projects nominated by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government as well as projects nominated by other agencies on the Mainland.  They are listed as follows:

The State Natural Science Award (SNSA)

* In 2008, more than 160 entries competed for the State Natural Science Award (SNSA), which is Chinaˇ¦s most prestigious award in the field of natural science and aims to recognise academic excellence in basic and applied research in natural science.  The research project ˇ§Carboranes and Metallacarboranes: Synthesis, Structure and Reactivityˇ¨ led by Professor Xie Zuowei of the Department of Chemistry of the Chinese University of Hong Kong won him an SNSA second-class award.  This project explores exciting new horizons at the interface of organic and inorganic chemistry, and its findings have important implications for the fields of catalysis and materials science.  His work has resolved several fundamental problems in the chemistry of carboranes (cage molecules containing both carbon and boron atoms).  One of the most important developments in this project has been the invention of a novel class of catalysts for olefin polymerisations, which may not only bring down the cost of producing plastic materials but also go far to eliminate metal impurities in these materials, thereby improving the purity of the products made from them. Professor Xie has also raised the tantalising possibility that the largest carboranes known to date, which were reported in this project, may be a new class of reagents for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy, a treatment that can selectively destroy cancer cells upon radiation. Professor Xieˇ¦s research has won him international recognition, and some of the work done for this project was highlighted in the March 2005 issue of Chemical and Engineering News, an official weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

* Another SNSA second-class award was conferred on a project entitled ˇ§Chaos Anti-control and Generalised Lorenz Systems Family - Theory and Applicationsˇ¨ led by Professor Guanrong Chen of the Department of Electrical Engineering of the City University of Hong Kong.  This project belongs to the frontier of interdisciplinary scientific research on chaos theory, control systems and mathematical sciences.  The main contributions of the project are: establishment of the fundamental rigorous mathematical theory of chaos anti-control; discovery of the dual system of the famous Lorenz chaotic system, namely, the internationally well-known ˇ§Chen systemˇ¨; in particular, discovery of the generalised Lorenz systems family, which includes all previously unknown chaotic systems between the two extreme systems ˇV the Lorenz and the Chen systems ˇV and establishment of its fundamental theory and framework.  The findings of this project provide some new theories and technologies for the applications of chaos theory in engineering, physics and biology alike.

* In addition, an SNSA second-class award went to the project ˇ§Molecular Mechanism Underlying Sperm Maturation in the Epididymisˇ¨, with Prof Hsiao-chang Chan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong among its team of researchers.

* Last but not least, the project ˇ§Theory, Methodology and Applications of the Uniform Designˇ¨ also received an SNSA second-class award, with Prof Fang Kai-Tai of the Hong Kong Baptist University among its team of researchers.

The State Scientific and Technological Progress Award (SSTPA)

* In 2008, more than 660 entries competed for the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award (SSTPA), which is conferred on people working in science and technology and who have made outstanding contributions in the implementation of technology development projects and public welfare projects.  An SSTPA first-class award was conferred on the project ˇ§Discovery of Malignant Phenotype-Related Molecules and Establishment and Application of Sequential Prophylactic Strategy in Gastric Cancerˇ¨, with Professor Benjamin CY Wong and Dr Jide Wang of the University of Hong Kong on its team of researchers.

* The project "The Study and Engineering Application of a New Biological Technology for the Removal of Organic Nitrogenous Pollutants from Wastewaters", in which Professor Herbert HP Fang of the University of Hong Kong participated, received an SSTPA second-class award.

The State Technological Invention Award (STIA)

* The State Technological Invention Award (STIA) is conferred on people working in the fields of science and technology whose significant technological invention is being used to produce products, industrial techniques, materials and their related systems by applying the knowledge of science and technology.  More than 150 entries competed for this award in 2008, and the project ˇ§High Quality Superfine Natural Polymer Powders and High-Value-Added Applicationsˇ¨, in which Professor Li Yi of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University participated, won a second-class award.

     Organised by the State Council of the People's Republic of China, the SSTAs are highly prestigious awards in the science and technology fields on the Mainland. They aim to reward citizens and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to scientific and technological progress.  There are five categories for SSTAs. Apart from SSTPA, SNSA and STIA, there are also the State Pre-eminent Science and Technology Award and the International Scientific and Technological Co-operation Award of the People's Republic of China.

     The HKSAR Government has been invited by the National Office for Science and Technology Awards to co-ordinate and submit nominations from Hong Kong for the categories of STIA, SSTPA and SNSA.  The Innovation and Technology Commission is responsible for the nomination of the STIA and SSTPA in Hong Kong. The nomination of the SNSA in Hong Kong is co-ordinated by the Education Bureau with the help of the Research Grants Council and the Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre.

Ends/Friday, January 9, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:45