Speech by CS at Hong Kong Polytechnic University 80th Anniversary Launch Ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)
Mr Chan (Council Chairman of PolyU, Mr Chan Tze-ching), Carlson (Chairman of the University Grants Committee, Mr Carlson Tong), Timothy (President of PolyU, Mr Timothy Tong), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join you this evening to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).
Founded in 1937, PolyU was the first publicly funded, post-secondary technical institution in Hong Kong. It assumed full university status in 1994, and has since become renowned for its commitment and drive in pioneering innovative models to deliver higher learning.
The development of PolyU over the decades is a remarkable story of academic growth and success. The future is one that sees rising international recognition and standing. In the QS World University Rankings 2016, PolyU stands among the world’s top 50 in eight disciplines. It has also moved up to the 22nd place in Asia under the Times Higher Education University Rankings. These results not only testify to PolyU's regional and international impact, but also exemplify the rapid advancement of higher education in Hong Kong.
PolyU excels, firstly, as a builder of connections. Here we are talking about not only the ties with academics and alumni. PolyU’s bonds with employers and the community are what make it outstanding. As it pioneers an education model that combines professional knowledge with service-learning and real-world experience, PolyU works closely with employers of various fields and keeps its eyes open to the changing needs of the people to ensure that the University’s teaching and learning are always relevant and applicable to the real world.
By no coincidence, connection is the key to Hong Kong's success in the past, and more so in the future. I am sure you have heard of China’s Belt and Road initiative already. This national strategy aims to strengthen policy co-ordination, infrastructural connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds amongst over 60 countries on three continents. It offers unlimited growth prospect. Hong Kong will play a significant role in this visionary blueprint as a super-connector. And beyond Asia, the global economic and cultural shift is also moving in our favour. It is all the more important for us to open our minds, build up networks and be a part of this promising future.
Our universities will have a crucial role to play in all these endeavours. Universities are where new ideas emerge and develop, where different cultures interact, and where society’s future is shaped. For the connections that we need, PolyU is weaving an effective global network which further facilitates educational development and cultural exchanges. PolyU was one of the co-founders of the University Alliance of the Silk Road in 2015, and the Alliance now has connected 124 universities from 32 countries and regions. A range of activities have been organised to broaden students' horizons and enrich their understanding about the Belt and Road countries. It is encouraging to see PolyU’s remarkable progress on this front.
Hong Kong is also well placed to take bigger strides towards innovation and technology, which brings me to my second point - that PolyU is a pioneer.
Research is an important element here. It informs teaching and advances the frontiers of knowledge and technology. It constitutes an engine driving Hong Kong towards a knowledge-based economy. There is general consensus about the need for stepping up mid-stream research in our universities and translating research results into application. That is why the Government has earmarked $2 billion for the Innovation and Technology Bureau to encourage institutions funded by the University Grants Committee to carry out mid-stream translational research.
PolyU has a very good foundation in this regard. Charged with the vision to excel in applied research, it has pioneered numerous projects of the kind over the years. The Government plans to roll out a $500 million Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living next year to finance projects that make use of innovative ideas and technologies to improve our daily living in areas of transport, education, environment, and healthcare. I believe PolyU can make the most from the initiative to further apply its strengths as a pioneer.
PolyU has a sterling record in applied research. For illustration, I need only to name a few examples:
First, PolyU’s proprietary optical fibre sensing technology in monitoring railway has been adopted in Hong Kong and in the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Rail. More recently, the technology has also been adopted overseas, in metro lines in Singapore.
Second, to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the fast-growing global aviation industry and the Government’s plan to build the third runway at Chek Lap Kok, PolyU has partnered with Boeing to establish Hong Kong’s first Aviation Services Research Centre, and launched programmes in aviation engineering and management.
Third, the camera pointing system that PolyU jointly developed with the China Academy of Space Technology landed on the moon in 2013. It was the first Hong Kong-made instrument deployed in the Chinese lunar exploration programme.
Lastly, the home-grown electric vehicle "mycar" that PolyU jointly developed with EuAuto Technology Limited was launched in 2009. It was the first Hong Kong-developed vehicle which fully complied with European standards.
I guess you are all as excited as I am to learn about more of PolyU's breakthroughs. The long list of its achievements over the past 80 years is full of shining examples, and I am sure the University will carry on striving for excellence and continue to expand the list. Ladies and gentlemen, may I invite all of you to join me in wishing PolyU every success in its future endeavours.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Friday, November 25, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:40
Issued at HKT 20:40