Welcome to the 25th edition of CUHK in Focus.

This has been an eagerly awaited week for the CUHK community as it marks the Asia Universities Summit 2023. Hosted by the University in partnership with Times Higher Education (THE), this three-day event is the largest gathering of higher education leaders in Hong Kong in five years. Over 500 delegates from more than 140 leading universities and organisations across Asia and beyond are attending. The Summit presents a significant post-pandemic opportunity for our city to demonstrate its robust return to the world stage and its strong commitment to international collaborations.

The Times Higher Education Asia Universities Summit 2023, attended by over 500 delegates including 35 presidents of top universities around the world, is the largest gathering of higher education leaders in Hong Kong in five years.

What makes the Summit even more meaningful is that it is a key global engagement event for our diamond jubilee year. For the past 60 years, CUHK has been dedicated to connecting with the world. As the recent, continuing rise of Asian universities has clearly signified a shift in the global higher education centre of gravity to this region, the Summit serves as a timely demonstration of the founding mission of CUHK to connect China and the world. It brings together some of Asia’s top minds in higher education to explore the future of Asian higher education and to consider the concept of a distinctly “Asian university”. We are thrilled to host this crucial conversation during this momentous occasion for CUHK and an exciting time for higher education in Asia.

Following the THE Summit, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities will hold its Annual Presidents’ Meeting hosted by The University of Hong Kong. CUHK is a proud member of the Association and we are thrilled to see the meeting come to Hong Kong. This gathering will provide a valuable platform for university leaders and administrators from across the Asia-Pacific region to exchange innovative ideas about achieving a balance between humanity’s needs and the protection of our planet. I look forward to forging closer ties and establishing new connections with our international partners to contribute to a sustainable future.

Bridging aspirations and achievements

Last week, CUHK celebrated the establishment of the Advanced Therapy Products Good Manufacturing Practice (ATP GMP) Centre, located inside the CUHK Institute of Biotechnology (HKIB), in collaboration with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP). This milestone not only advances Hong Kong’s innovation agenda but also realises the vision of our late Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Charles Kao. In the 1980s, when Hong Kong’s economic and scientific landscape was vastly different, Professor Sir Kao displayed remarkable foresight by recognising the critical role of biotechnology in Hong Kong’s future prosperity and establishing the HKIB in 1988. His vision for the HKIB is the foundation for the concept of the ATP GMP Centre to enable the manufacturing of GMP-certified advanced therapy products.

In his address at the opening ceremony of the ATP GMP Centre, Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, acknowledged the visionary insight of the late Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Charles Kao, into developing biotechnology in Hong Kong as early as in the 1980s.

Today, Hong Kong has become the second largest biotech capital hub globally. The HKSAR government has unveiled a blueprint for innovation and technology development, with biotechnology as a key focus area. Building upon the solid foundation of the HKIB, which has been committed to GMP since its inception, we are proud to collaborate with HKSTP in establishing the ATP GMP Centre. This new Centre combines the expertise of CUHK and HKSTP to expedite the development of life-saving cancer therapies, regenerative medicine, and related biomedical technologies. It aims to translate scientific research into tangible benefits for patients in Hong Kong and beyond.

Given the immense potential of Cell Gene Therapy in biotechnology, establishing the ATP GMP Centre is a timely response to the needs of patients and the healthcare industry. The Centre creates an ideal environment for scientists to conduct clinical trials and commercialise their research into clinical solutions. These biomedical activities will contribute to Hong Kong’s economy by attracting local and international investors, thus creating career opportunities and nurturing talented researchers and practitioners to work towards Hong Kong’s sustainable future.

Officiating guests visit the ATP GMP Centre to learn about its facilities and operations.

The grand opening of the ATP GMP Centre is another significant milestone in this historic year for the University. It demonstrates our long-standing commitment to fostering a robust research ecosystem, as well as delivering innovative outcomes that benefit the community. I look forward to seeing the Centre’s future breakthroughs in scientific research, and witnessing the development of locally made life-saving cures.

More news to celebrate

This has also been an exciting week for CUHK to celebrate the recognition we have received internationally. The University rose to a record high of 6th place, climbing one place further from last year, in the recently released THE Asia University Rankings. Such impressive outcome holds special significance given the increasing competitiveness of universities in Asia in recent years. We are thrilled and honoured to be acknowledged and stand out among many exceptional peers in Asia. This result once again reaffirms CUHK’s position as a leading institution in Asia and the world. I would like to thank the entire CUHK community for their selfless dedication to our grand missions of advancing education, research, innovation and global engagement in the 21st century as outlined in our latest strategic plan. We look forward to building on this momentum and continue our pursuit of excellence in everything we do to achieve greater heights in the future.

Changing the world through research

Over the past six decades, CUHK has transformed from a teaching focused institution into a comprehensive research university that has made significant contributions to the research and innovation landscape. Our diamond jubilee presents an ideal opportunity to reflect on our achievements and lay the foundations for future developments.

CUHK Research: Changing the world features a rich collection of inspiring interviews of CUHK researchers dedicated to interdisciplinary and translation research of critical importance in the 21st century.

I am delighted to present our new publication, CUHK Research: Changing the world, a special 60th anniversary publication to celebrate our research achievements. This engaging collection features inspiring interviews with our esteemed faculty members and rising stars who are dedicated to interdisciplinary and translational research, with groundbreaking discoveries that directly tackle the grand challenges of our time. I am confident that you will enjoy learning about their impactful work.

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