Speech by CE at Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Presentation Ceremony 2022 (English only) (with photos/video)
Bernard (Chairman of the Awardee Selection Committee of the Innovation and Technology Scholarship, Mr Bernard Chan), Andy (Executive Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Mr Andy Ho), Peter (Chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and the Hongkong Bank Foundation, Mr Peter Wong), distinguished guests, students, parents, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you today to commend this year's recipients of the Innovation and Technology Scholarship (ITS). My heartfelt congratulations to all these rising stars. This is also a proud moment for the families, teachers and universities that have helped to nurture these youngsters' spirit of innovation.
The 25 brilliant young talents, coming from six local universities, are worthy recipients of this potentially life-changing Scholarship. What makes them so outstanding is a winning combination of passion and excellence in their field of study and a hunger for new experiences. As the ITS alumni shared in the video a moment ago, the Scholarship brings valuable experiences and learning opportunities to its awardees through a range of inspiring programmes in Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas. I urge every awardee to take full advantage of these opportunities to learn, share and network with peers and mentors in different parts of the world. The knowledge and skills that you gain will help to shape not only your future careers, but also the future of Hong Kong's innovation and technology (I&T) development.
The key to sustaining Hong Kong's prosperity and vibrancy lies in our next generation. We all recognise the importance of passing on knowledge, skills and wisdom to nurture new talent. That is why the current-term Government has devoted tremendous effort as well as investment of more than $150 billion in the I&T development in Hong Kong.
It is one of the Government's priorities to nurture talent and foster the development of local universities in order to provide fertile ground for young I&T talents to grow. In my final Policy Address delivered last year, I proposed extending the Research Matching Grant Scheme for another two years, enabling the eight UGC-funded universities to tap more funding sources and encouraging the private sector to support the universities' research work. I also announced the relaxation of the over-enrollment ceiling of UGC-funded research postgraduate programme students, thereby giving universities more flexibility in deploying resources to foster talent and strengthening their research capabilities.
Hong Kong's strengths in I&T have been fully recognised by the Central Government. The National 14th Five-Year Plan firmly supports Hong Kong to develop into an international I&T hub. With this aspiration in mind, we will spare no effort in integrating into the country's overall development, promoting the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and strengthening exchanges and collaboration on science and technology with the Mainland at both the national and local levels. Currently, Hong Kong already has 16 State Key Laboratories, six Hong Kong Branches of Chinese National Engineering Research Centres, and 22 Joint Laboratories with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In addition, under our flagship initiative InnoHK, introduced in this term of Government, the two research clusters at the Hong Kong Science Park have brought together over 30 world-renowned universities and research institutes to collaborate with our local ones. So far, 28 research laboratories have already commenced operation in two major areas, namely healthcare technologies, and artificial intelligence and robotics technologies.
We have learnt the importance of life and health sciences during the COVID‑19 pandemic. It has been a sharp learning curve that has tested the capabilities of our universities and researchers, and they have risen to the challenge. There are 16 laboratories in the InnoHK clusters and eight State Key Laboratories focusing on life and health disciplines as the basis. We will set up an InnoLife Healthtech Hub in the Hong Kong‑Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park at the Lok Ma Chau Loop to focus on R&D work as well as global research collaboration in life and health sciences. I am very pleased to know that a number of the students here today are studying related subjects such as medicine and biomedical science. I look forward to seeing the Hub open up more opportunities for budding researchers such as yourselves.
R&D aside, it is encouraging to note that Hong Kong's start-up ecosystem is flourishing. This provides another runway for students with a flair for entrepreneurship. The number of start‑ups increased from 2 229 in 2017 to 3 755 last year. The amount of venture capital investment also increased significantly from about $10 billion in 2017 to about $40 billion last year.
The Government is always keen to support the growth of technology start-ups and create opportunities for our young entrepreneurs. Among other things, we have the Technology Start‑up Support Scheme for Universities to assist universities in setting up their own start‑ups and commercialising their R&D results. We also have the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund, which encourages private investment in local I&T start-ups through co-investment with selected venture capital funds. With the Government's full support, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and the Cyberport have also set up various incubation programmes and investment funds to strengthen support to local start‑ups.
A common theme of our I&T development strategy is to promote cross-sector collaboration, and this Scholarship is a prime example. My sincere gratitude goes to the Scholarship's organiser, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, and the two sponsors, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. I also thank members of the Awardee Selection Committee, as well as mentors and supporters from various sectors, for your valuable contributions to the success of this Scholarship.
In the wise words of Albert Einstein, "The only source of knowledge is experience." With this in mind, I wish our 25 outstanding awardees every success as they embark on a journey of new and enlightening experiences in the pursuit of knowledge. I encourage you to embrace the spirit of this Scholarship, and pass on the light of wisdom to those around you for many years to come. Thank you very much.
Ends/Monday, June 6, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:52
Issued at HKT 18:52