Welcome to the twelfth edition of CUHK in Focus.

As you may recall from my previous message, I was in the United States to attend the Times Higher Education (THE) World Academic Summit 2022. It was a precious opportunity to reconnect with international collaborators and showcase CUHK on the global stage. But much as I enjoyed attending the event, I contracted COVID-19 during my stay in New York and this delayed my return to Hong Kong. Thankfully, the miracle of vaccines meant I only experienced mild symptoms, and technology enabled me to work remotely and stay connected with university life despite being unable to fly back as scheduled.

Much was said about the recently proposed changes in the University’s almost 2-year-long brand refresh exercise. We listened and we heard. We made a difficult but necessary decision last week, taken in the best interest of the unity of the CUHK community, to recommend that the University’s official emblem should revert to the pre-17 October version, which was accepted by the Council.

One thing that struck me though was that, regardless of what was said, there was a passionate belief in the University and what it stands for. I want to assure you that we were motivated by nothing else other than a desire to see CUHK become a more distinctive, a more iconic, and a more celebrated name on the competitive global stage of higher education, with keen awareness of the rapidly rising university systems across Asia and greater investment in digital branding by universities around the world with diverse educational offerings. This matters to us – because the more people recognise CUHK and see our work being synonymous with high quality research and education, the more a virtuous circle is generated – the more people will partner with us, the more opportunities will flow to our students to go on cross-border and international exchanges, the more employers will be likely to hire our graduates, and the higher the impact of our research on the global stage.

Record-breaking achievements

Last week saw CUHK achieve a major improvement in its performance in the U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities Rankings 2022-2023. CUHK has seen its performance in this ranking improve dramatically. The University has risen over 100 places over the past five years, climbing from 154th in 2017, to 82nd last year, and to 53rd today, which places us as 1st in Hong Kong. Three of our subjects also landed in the global top 10. That we have achieved this in a ranking which ordinarily skews to institutions on the other side of the Pacific, is an extraordinary testimony to the University’s commitment to excellence across everything that we do, and a significant vote of confidence in what is an increasingly competitive global environment.

Our academic excellence in diverse disciplines was also well recognised by the world-acclaimed THE World University Rankings 2023. CUHK is ranked 45th globally, compared to 76th five years ago. By Subject, CUHK ranks in the global top 50 in education, computer science, law, and clinical, pre-clinical and health. Among all subjects, our law programme has shown the most impressive improvement, leaping from 101st-125th to 47th in the world. My sincere appreciation goes to members of the CUHK community who have been working diligently to expand our influence and enhance our reputation.

Taken together, CUHK’s outstanding performance in two globally recognised rankings underscores the need and the importance of defining a distinctive brand to better publicise the university’s achievements and enhance its reputation across a broader, international audience.

Innovation Day 2022

CUHK is increasingly committed to translating research outcomes into tangible benefits for society. In support of our city’s evolution to a major innovation and technology hub, we have established six InnoHK Centres under the government’s InnoHK initiative. The Centres, many of whose achievements were showcased to President Xi Jinping during his visit to Hong Kong earlier this year, represent some of our important endeavours to contribute to the city’s innovation agenda.

To further inspire the CUHK community to innovate for societal impact, the CUHK Innovation Day 2022 was held last week. The event featured exhibition booths hosted by aspiring CUHK startups as well as thematic sessions that focused on vaccinology, microelectronics and carbon neutrality, three areas that will be critical to our planet over the coming decades. Although my delayed return from overseas prevented my attendance in person, Professor Sun Dong, JP, Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry was the guest of honour and had the opportunity to visit the exhibitions and meet with our innovators. I would like to thank Professor Sun for supporting this meaningful event of his alma mater.

Professor Sun Dong, the Hong Kong government’s Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry (left), and Professor Benny Zee, Director of CUHK’s Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services (centre) tour the exhibition booths at the CUHK Innovation Day.
Professor Sun visits the innovation exhibition that showcases scientific research from CUHK InnoHK Centres and TSSSU-funded companies.

A culture of giving back

CUHK is committed to nurturing students as lifelong learners, and ensuring our community has a lifelong connection with the University. Our alumni network is critical to this endeavour. In 2018, we initiated the Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence Programme to harness the expertise of our remarkable alumni community to enrich the intellectual atmosphere as well as the learning experience of students on campus. This year’s Programme will take place from today, 2 November 2022, and lasts through the weekend. Three distinguished alumni, Ms Jenny Chiu Wai-han, Ms Cindy Chow Lok Mei-ki and Ms Norris Lam Man-ngar, will return to CUHK to share their real-world insights across campus. Students will also have the chance to join workplace tours and undergo a half-year mentorship with the three esteemed alumni. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all alumni who have so eagerly lived up to the mission and vision of the University and for their generosity to our community.

(From left) Ms Jenny Chiu Wai-han, Ms Cindy Chow Lok Mei-ki and Ms Norris Lam Man-ngar will return to CUHK to share their real-world insights across campus in this year’s Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence Programme.

I look forward to sharing more stories with you in our next edition.

Best wishes,

Professor Rocky S. Tuan
Vice-Chancellor and President
The Chinese University of Hong Kong