Welcome to the 45th edition of CUHK in Focus.

CUHK has broken into the global top 50 for the first time in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2024, which are the only ranking list in the world that measures universities’ contributions to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CUHK is ranked 44th overall this year, showing a substantial improvement of 39 places from last year. We are proud to achieve such an impressive result within a relatively short period of time since our first participation in the rankings in 2022. In particular, CUHK has excelled in advancing SDG4 Quality Education, SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG13 Climate Action and SDG17 Partnership for the Goals, landing in the world’s top 50 for our achievement in championing these five goals among over 1,500 institutions being assessed. I would like to thank the entire University community for their dedication to embedding sustainability and social responsibility in everything we do.

It was especially meaningful that the Rankings were announced against the backdrop of CUHK’s collaboration with THE on the Global Sustainable Development Congress held in Bangkok last week. CUHK was honoured to be the regional co-host of the event. The CUHK delegation comprising senior management, esteemed professors and student ambassadors of the Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change shared their insights into sustainable development at several panel discussions. We were very excited that the Congress concluded successfully, bringing together 3,000 global leaders and innovators to discuss urgent solutions to the sustainability emergency.

Professor Alan Chan (2nd from left), Provost of CUHK, shared his views on building sustainable futures through education at the THE Global Sustainable Development Congress.

The THE Impact Rankings have shifted the narrative on how universities’ performance is assessed with a unique focus on institutional commitment to the UN SDGs, unlike traditional rankings which primarily look into research output and academic reputation. Global challenges in the 21st century have given universities a more significant role to play in the incubation of actionable knowledge, the nurturing of civic-minded global citizens with compassion for sustainable development, as well as the championing of innovation and international cooperation. As a socially responsible institution, CUHK will remain committed to its University Social Responsibility (USR) goals, which are set in alignment with the SDGs and apply to all areas of the University’s endeavours, and support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development put forward by the United Nations in order to create a better world for all.

Completion of quality audit

Many of you would have read my message last week celebrating CUHK’s completion of the quality audit conducted by the Quality Assurance Council (QAC). We are grateful for the kind commendations of the QAC on the effort that CUHK and CUHK-Shenzhen have put into delivering quality education over the years. The two campuses were acknowledged for their strong commitment to managing academic standards, the effective use of data to inform planning and continuous enhancement of academic activities, as well as the high responsiveness to students’ needs and comprehensive student support. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the QAC for conducting the review in a most comprehensive manner, allowing the University to reflect on the quality of its teaching and learning activities and initiatives at all levels. My appreciation also goes to our colleagues, students, alumni and other stakeholders for their support over the years, which has empowered CUHK to keep forging ahead.

Conferment of honorary degrees

The University is hosting a ceremony tomorrow to confer its highest honour of honoris causa doctorate on four outstanding individuals – Professor Gene Block, Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, Professor James Heckman, Director of the Centre for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chigaco, Sir Paul Nurse, Chief Executive Officer of The Francis Crick Institute, and Professor Pan Jianwei, Executive Vice-President of The University of Science and Technology of China – in recognition of their remarkable contributions to their respective areas of achievement in public higher education, fighting social inequality, cell and molecular biology, and quantum physics. The four newly conferred honorary graduates might have come from very different backgrounds but are united in the way they make profound impact on society. CUHK is privileged to welcome them to our family. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere congratulations to them on this well-deserved accolade.

The New Cornerstone Science Laboratory

I would like to congratulate Professor Siew Ng from the Faculty of Medicine on the unveiling of her New Cornerstone Science Laboratory. The world-renowned researcher of the gut microbiome is the first and only Hong Kong scholar in the field of Biology and Biomedical Sciences to be honoured by the New Cornerstone Investigator Programme funded by Tencent with an aim to invigorate research into basic sciences and support outstanding scientists in spearheading fundamental research projects that can generate tangible benefits for mankind.

With the stable and long-term support from Tencent, Professor Ng will be able to further her commitment to creating a paradigm shift in microbiome medicine and strive for innovations and breakthroughs that enhance human health.

The New Cornerstone Science Laboratory under the leadership of Professor Siew Ng (4th from left) was unveiled last week.

Flag-raising ceremony

CUHK is commemorating the 27th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with a flag-raising ceremony on 1 July 2024. Flag-raising ceremonies, which take place every week, at major University events and on such important days as the National Day and the Establishment Day of the HKSAR at the flagpoles on our main campus, have become signature events on CUHK’s calendar. I cannot wait to see the University community once again come together to celebrate this important milestone in our nation’s development.

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

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