Speech by CE at Inauguration Ceremony of Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, Karolinska Institutet (English only) (with photos/video)
Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Karolinska Institutet, Professor (Karin) Dahlman-Wright; Dr Ming Wai Lau (Chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings Limited); Acting Commissioner Tong of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong (Acting Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Madame Tong Xiaoling); Consul General Storm of Sweden (Consul General of Sweden in Hong Kong, Ms Helena Storm); Party Secretary Ma of Shenzhen (Secretary of the CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee, Mr Ma Xingrui); Professor Mak (Tak-wah) of the University of Toronto, distinguished guests, government colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to be here at the inauguration of the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine.
This is a very special day for Hong Kong - a day we have been looking forward to. Today is a milestone in the development of science and medicine in Hong Kong, a milestone in the collaboration between Hong Kong and Karolinska, and a milestone also in the collaboration between China and Sweden.
This journey started two and a half years ago when I visited Karolinska. Actually, Professor Paul Tam and I, before we sat down, recounted on this experience of the two of us sitting on this flight to London Heathrow on the route to Stockholm. The idea came up and we started to scribble on a piece of scrap paper. Today, that idea has become a reality; though there's actually another idea which has also become reality, and that's the establishment of the Hong Kong Academy of Sciences. So, we should take more flights! The Karolinska Institutet, of course, is one of the leading and most prestigious medical universities in the world. Since 1901, its Nobel Assembly has selected Nobel laureates in physiology or medicine. Karolinska leads, as well, in key biomedical fields, ranging from cell therapy, vaccines, cancer, cerebral function, to inflammation diseases and regenerative medicine.
During the visit, we discussed how Karolinska and Hong Kong could work together, and how, Hong Kong, as a Special Administrative Region of China, could bring to the table the combined advantages of "one country, two systems". As part of the country, we offer the "China advantage" - an advantage not found in other countries. And as a special administrative region that practices "the other system", we offer an advantage not found in other Chinese cities. We are therefore a "super-connector" that "super-connects" the rest of China and the rest of the world. Indeed, our collaboration with Karolinska has already extended into Shenzhen - one of the most advanced and prosperous cities in the Mainland of China, and today we welcome the presence of Secretary Ma of Shenzhen.
On the application side, Hong Kong's clinical trial standard is accepted by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. The China Food and Drug Administration also accepts data generated by state-approved biomedicine laboratories in Hong Kong, including the clinical trial centres at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Once trials are successfully conducted in Hong Kong, the biomedical products have an excellent chance of accessing the Mainland and international markets. So there is a hidden message here for pharmaceutical companies.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today because we believe in co-operation. We are here today also because we believe in science. More specifically, we believe in the promises of stem-cell research - creating, here in Hong Kong, an international stem-cell centre employing expert resources, and the latest technology, to accelerate research in reparative medicine. We believe that our joint efforts will benefit the people of Hong Kong, the whole of China and Sweden.
But none of these would have been realised without Dr Lau Ming-wai. It was his vision, generosity and diligence that has turned a dream into reality. And I can assure you from personal experience that Ming Wai did a lot more, a lot more than writing a big cheque. On behalf of the Hong Kong Government, I also thank wholeheartedly all those who have contributed, including Professor Ken Chien, to this remarkable project of international co-operation.
Last year, three other major science and technology initiatives quickly followed the signing for the establishment of the Ming Wai Lau Centre. They were the establishments of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, the MIT Innovation Node and the Innovation and Technology Bureau of the Government.
My Government followed up this year with a wide range of policies and programmes, backed by a sizeable financial commitment of HK$18 billion. We will upgrade and expand innovation and technology infrastructure, support start-ups together with private venture capital funds, encourage midstream applied research in universities and attract overseas enterprises, big and small.
We are also expanding the Hong Kong Science Park - where we are right now. Home to some 620 companies from Hong Kong and around the world, Science Park offers one of the best research environments in the region. With more than 24 000 square metres of laboratory space, Science Park can meet the varying needs of biotech companies, technology start-ups and research institutions.
I again congratulate the Karolinska Institutet and Dr Lau on the establishment of the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine. This initiative is as much a milestone as it is inspiring - on two counts. First is the deepening of co-operation with the Karolinska Institutet, and secondly the broadening of the scope of co-operation between Hong Kong and Sweden to cover other sectors as well. As we continue this Hong Kong-Sweden journey, we look forward to building broader and stronger ties with the Karolinska Institutet, between our governments, and more importantly between our peoples, for the benefit of all.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Friday, October 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 13:05
Issued at HKT 13:05