Welcome to the 30th edition of CUHK in Focus.
On 1 October 2023, I was delighted to be joined by the University community to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China at a special flag-raising ceremony on the Main Campus. It was the third National Day flag-raising ceremony we organised and I was thrilled to share the joy of this important day in our calendar with members of the University. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Chang Xueying, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Leading Group for Beijing Talent Affairs, Mr Wang Xuanhua, Executive Director of the Liaison Office of the Leading Group for Beijing Talent Affairs in Hong Kong and Macao, and Mr Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, former President of the Legislative Council, for gracing us with their presence at the ceremony.
A week before the flag-raising ceremony, we were honoured to invite Mr Pan Yundong, Acting Commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to deliver a special lecture on “Current international situation and China’s Diplomacy” to more than 400 colleagues and students of CUHK. Mr Pan’s insights allowed us to better understand the current world situation and encouraged us to actively respond to the national development needs.
Forging partnerships in the land down under
Last week, I led a delegation to Australia to participate in the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit hosted by University of Sydney and a number of important global academic events. Like Hong Kong, despite having a relatively small population, Australia has a well-regarded university system that generates highly impactful research outcomes. I was fortunate to visit the country in person for the first time in over four years, and took the opportunity of a major global higher education conference to meet with university leaders from around the world.
It gave me great pleasure to attend a joint symposium organised by The George Institute for Global Health and CUHK, which brought together principal investigators from CUHK and TGI to share the early outputs of joint projects supported under our seed fund. Since our official partnership commenced in February this year, CUHK and TGI have been working closely to promote research, clinical trials, and advocacy for healthcare systems, combining our expertise to advance the health impact agenda in South China and beyond. Researchers from CUHK and TGI have been collaborating on projects examining some of our planet’s major challenges and disease burdens, including neurodegenerative disease, mental health, multimorbidity, health economics, primary care, trauma and injury.
During my stay in Australia, I also took part in a range of events where I was able to discuss some of the burning international issues facing our sector. The Presidents’ Forum hosted by the University of Sydney offered excellent food for thought for CUHK as we continue to prepare for our own Presidents’ Forum taking place in December. I was also pleased to speak at two sessions at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit as well as a presidential panel at the World 100 Reputation Network Annual Conference, which focused on sustainable development. The visit saw us hold formal bilateral meetings with university partners from Australia, Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The THE World Academic Summit coincided with the announcement of the latest THE World University Rankings results, which saw CUHK retain its position as a strong top 100 powerhouse of education and research. Rankings and their methodologies come and go, but the one constant is the tireless dedication of our people, and for that I am truly grateful.
CUHK Innovation Day and Entrepreneur Day
The CUHK Innovation Day and Entrepreneur Day are annual events showcasing the outstanding achievements of CUHK’s scholars, students and alumni in industry-academia-research collaborations, and how they create value and have a positive impact on society. This year, to highlight the interrelationship between innovation and entrepreneurship, we decided to hold the two signature events on consecutive days from 21 to 23 September 2023.
Innovation Day 2023 featured more than 40 exhibitors, including projects from six CUHK InnoHK centres, 21 CUHK start-ups funded by the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities, two CUHK unicorns, and other start-ups established by CUHK students and alumni. It also saw the official announcement of the establishment of CUHK Innovation Limited (CUHK Innovation), which works in collaboration with experienced venture capitalists, venture builders and family offices to provide early-stage funding to promising CUHK start-ups to drive innovation and entrepreneurship.
Organised by the CUHK Alumni Torch Fund, the CUHK Entrepreneur Day 2023 offered a wide range of exciting programmes including exhibitions, one-on-one consultation sessions, an interactive display zone for entrepreneurial projects, and masterclasses to build an effective communication platform for alumni, staff, students, industry and investors.
My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who worked tirelessly to bring to fruition the two meaningful events and enable many to witness and experience our commitment and achievements in the innovation and entrepreneurship agenda.
The Charles Kao CUHK BEAT AD Service
On 21 September 2023, CUHK celebrated World Alzheimer’s Day by launching the Charles Kao CUHK Brain Health Service for Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (BEAT AD Service) in partnership with The Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease to provide free, comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease screening to Hong Kong residents. It was a memorable opportunity for the University to pay tribute to the late Professor Sir Charles Kao, who had made many indelible contributions to CUHK for many years. The Service is another example showing the commitment of the Kao family to fighting dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. With an ageing population, brain health is set to become a major disease burden across Hong Kong. CUHK is proud to play a part in helping our society address this critical issue by harnessing our strong research expertise and engaging in a community-based programme. I would like to thank Dr Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia, an honorary fellow of CUHK’s SH Ho College, for making a generous donation to the Service in her capacity as the BEAT AD Patron and Ambassador. My special gratitude also goes to Mrs Gwen Kao, Chair of The Charles K. Kao Foundation, who once again graced us with her presence at the ceremony after officiating at the CUHK’s 60th Anniversary Miniature Exhibition about a week before.
Hearty congratulations to outstanding members
The Hong Kong Chapter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN Hong Kong), co-hosted by CUHK and The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, is delighted to organise the Global Conference on Sustainable Development today and tomorrow to present a long-awaited opportunity for a get-together of thought leaders, policy makers and university administrators from around the world to promote exchanges on the challenges and opportunities, as well as the way forward, in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals adopted. This very first international conference hosted by SDSN Hong Kong coincides with the visit to Hong Kong by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, to receive an honorary doctoral degree of social science from CUHK. I would like to congratulate Professor Sachs on this well-deserved accolade, which is testament to his outstanding academic career and impact on sustainable development.
The CUHK community was thrilled to hear the exciting news of our honorary graduate, Professor Katalin Karikó, winning the Nobel Medicine Prize with her research partner, Professor Drew Weissman for their groundbreaking work on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. mRNA-based vaccines developed as a result of their research significantly reduced the risk of human infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their findings have also opened the door to preventing and treating human diseases, bringing hope for curing other illnesses in the future.
I was honoured to meet with Professor Karikó in person when she came to receive the honorary doctorate from CUHK in August. She shared with me how she considered her lifelong dedication to pursuing excellence in scientific research as a way to pursue happiness. Motivated by the Hungarian scientist Hans Selye, the father of the study of stress, Professor Karikó is good at developing her own approach to coping with life’s challenges by transforming stress into something that will urge her on. On behalf of CUHK, I would like to express our heartfelt congratulations to her, and thank her for inspiring us with her staunch commitment to scientific research for the benefits of mankind.
With the Hangzhou Asian Games in full swing, our city has been excited to celebrate the strong performance of athletes on the Hong Kong team in various events. Many outstanding athletes from CUHK are participating in various different games and achieving good results! Congratulations to all of them and may I wish all Hong Kong athletes the very best as they strive to do our city proud.
I look forward to sharing more stories with you in the next edition.
Professor Rocky S. Tuan
Vice-Chancellor and President
The Chinese University of Hong Kong