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Speech by SITI at Microbiome Summit 2023 (English only) (with photo)
     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong, at the Microbiome Summit 2023 today (January 13):
Professor Chai (Council Chairman of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor John Chai), Mr Wong (Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Mr Albert Wong), Professor Chan (Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Francis Chan), Professor Ng (Director of Microbiota I-Center of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Siew Ng), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good morning. I'm very pleased to join you all at the Microbiome Summit 2023. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Hong Kong Science Park and CU Medicine (Faculty of Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong) for jointly organising the first international microbiome event in Hong Kong.
     Hong Kong is blessed with internationally recognised research capabilities in biotechnology and life and health sciences, as well as in fundamental research and development. With five of the world's top 100 universities, two of the world's leading 40 medical schools and numerous award-winning scholars and researchers, Hong Kong is on its way to becoming a world-class centre for medical research and development, benefiting patients and communities in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area, throughout the region and around the world.
     The Chinese University of Hong Kong's Microbiota I-Center, or MagIC, the organiser of today's event together with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation, is a shining illustration of our research strengths and ambition. Just three years old, MagIC, is collaborating on gut microbiome research, and promoting related entrepreneurship, with such prominent global institutions as the University of Chicago, the University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge.
     MagIC, let me add, is among the mix of local and prestigious international research centres within InnoHK, a major Government initiative designed to transform Hong Kong into a global innovation powerhouse. InnoHK counts 28 InnoCentres in two research clusters - Health@InnoHK and AIR@InnoHK. Working under Health@InnoHK, MagIC is Asia's first international microbiome innovation centre.
     The Government is also building the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park just below the boundary with Shenzhen. Healthcare technology will be among the Park's priority development areas.
     The newly established Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises is charged with drawing high-potential companies from all over the world to Hong Kong. We will offer a range of special measures and services to entice top global companies that fit our strategic needs. I can tell you that life and health technology companies are high on our priority list.
     Alongside supporting fundamental R&D (research and development), the Government has also earmarked US$1.2 billion for the Research, Academic and Industry Sectors One-plus Scheme. It will fund, on a matching basis, at least 100 university research teams with clear potential to become successful start-ups. The goal is to boost collaboration among our academic, research and industry sectors. I'm confident it will help drive the commercialisation of our R&D outcomes. That very much includes innovative microbiome and health technology research.
     The biotechnology industry is among the nine emerging strategic industries put forward in our nation's 14th Five-Year Plan, and Hong Kong is now Asia's largest and the world's second-largest fundraising hub for biotechnology companies. More than 50 pre-revenue, pre-profit biotechnology companies have listed here to date, raising over US$14.7 billion. 
     The Five-Year Plan also supports the development of Hong Kong, and the Greater Bay Area in general, as an innovation and technology (I&T) centre. We promulgated the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint last month to establish a clear development path and formulate systematic strategic planning for Hong Kong's I&T development over the next five to 10 years, charting Hong Kong in moving full steam towards the vision of an international I&T centre. Rest assured, the Government will take full advantage of these promising, long-term opportunities by creating new initiatives for a world of biotech companies, start-ups, researchers, investors and entrepreneurs. I look forward to seeing more collaborations in biotechnology and a more vibrant I&T ecosystem in Hong Kong in the near future.
     My thanks, again, to the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Microbiota I-Center and Hong Kong Science Park for organising this ground-breaking event. I wish you all a rewarding Summit, and the best of research and business in the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit. Thank you.
Ends/Friday, January 13, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:37
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The Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong, speaks at the Microbiome Summit 2023 today (January 13).