Welcome to the 31st edition of CUHK in Focus.
Yesterday marked our Foundation Day, a historic day to commemorate the official amalgamation of the three founding colleges – Chung Chi College, New Asia College and United College – to form what is now The Chinese University of Hong Kong six decades ago. We celebrated this year’s Foundation Day with a special flag raising ceremony to highlight its significant meaning in the 60th anniversary year of the University. It was an important occasion for me and for members of the University to reflect on how far the University has come over the last sixty years, and how we can further extend the impact of our work in the future.
Also on this special day, I was delighted to welcome a delegation from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) for an exchange of insights on CUHK’s development. The delegation included DAB founding chairman Mr Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, former chairman Mr Tam Yiu-chung, vice-chairman and lawmaker Mr Chan Yung, former member of standing committee Ms Chan Yuen-han, senate chairman Mr Lo Man-tuen and Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress Ms Iris Wong Ping-fan. It was an important opportunity to share views on CUHK’s contributions to national development, and a special discussion was arranged with Professor Lam Hon-ming, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Life Sciences and Director of CUHK’s State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, regarding his game-changing soybean research.
Leading the way towards sustainable development
Earlier this month, the Hong Kong Chapter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN Hong Kong), co-hosted by CUHK, together with CUHK’s Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability, successfully co-organised the Global Conference on Sustainable Development. The event was an idea conceived not long after SDSN’s establishment in 2018, but was interrupted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With years of planning and unrealised expectations, it was thrilling to finally see this important symbol of our commitment to social responsibility and sustainable development come to life.
The two-day Conference brought together representatives from academia, philanthropy, civil society, the public and private sectors from Hong Kong, mainland China and around the world to discuss practical issues to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). We were honoured to be graced with the attendance of international experts in sustainability at the hybrid event, including Mr Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary General, as well as Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, who came to Hong Kong to be conferred a CUHK honorary degree the day before the start of the Conference.
At the Conference, Professor Carlos Lo Wing-hung, Director of the Centre for Business Sustainability (CBS) and Head of the Department of Government and Public Administration, unveiled the inaugural University Sustainability Index, which serves as a practical tool for universities across Greater China to evaluate their impact on sustainable development. The Index, adopting the same methodology as CUHK’s Business Sustainability Index developed by the CBS assessing the commitment of major listed companies in the region to Corporate Social Responsibility, is designed to measure the tangible impact of the higher education sector’s commitment to sustainable development.
This week, I was pleased to welcome close to a thousand researchers from the Asia Pacific community and beyond for the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society – Asia Pacific Conference 2023 (TERMIS-AP 2023). Not only is tissue engineering and regenerative medicine an area dear to my heart as I have been an active investigator in biomedical engineering for many years, but it is also significant in terms of what it represents for the future of Hong Kong. For our city to gather the international scientific community for such a prestigious conference speaks volumes about the regional and global recognition of its emerging strengths as a biotechnology hub with world-class credentials in related research. The fact that CUHK can hold this large-scale event bringing together researchers from Asia and beyond is once again a powerful reminder of Hong Kong’s role and the unique convening power we have to create a platform for the sharing of knowledge and fostering international collaborations on research and innovation. CUHK is immensely grateful to TERMIS-AP for partnering with us to co-host this signature event in our 60th anniversary calendar.
Excelling in the realm of research
Earlier this week, we welcomed our proud alumnus, Dr Kaiming He, recipient of the 2023 Future Science Prize in Mathematics and Computer Science, back on campus to deliver the 2023 Future Science Prize Laureate Lecture on “Deep residual learning and how it shaped the artificial intelligence landscape”. Dr He obtained his PhD degree at CUHK in 2011. He is currently a Research Scientist at the prestigious Facebook AI Research and will be joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as a faculty member in the coming year. His fundamental contributions to the development of AI won him the 2023 Future Science Prize, which is the pinnacle of scientific research recognition in Greater China. It was indeed a privilege for CUHK to host the special lecture to acknowledge Dr He’s remarkable achievements and provide an opportunity for members of the University to be inspired by his passion for innovation. Congratulations to Dr He for receiving this well-deserved accolade.
I would also like to share the good news of 210 CUHK scholars landing among the world’s top 2% most-cited scientists in the ranking compiled by Stanford University and Elsevier. A total of 22 scholars come in the global top 100 in their respective field. Among all universities in Hong Kong, CUHK has recorded the highest growth of 12.8% in the number of scholars being ranked. I would like to congratulate all the CUHK scholars on their globally acclaimed research accomplishments and wish them all the best in their continuous pursuit of knowledge.
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