Fostering Hong Kong as powerhouse of innovation

CUHK pioneers share insights on leveraging our strengths to contribute locally and to the Greater Bay Area

Professor Dennis Lo Yuk-ming (2nd left) of CUHK’s Li Ka Shing Professor of Medicine and Professor Samuel Au Kwok-wai (1st right) of the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering spoke about strengthening Hong Kong’s role as an innovation and technology hub, and integrating with the Greater Bay Area (GBA), at the South China Morning Post’s (SCMP) China Conference.

With CUHK as its knowledge partner, the conference took place on 27 and 28 July. Professor Lo, known as the “father of non-invasive prenatal testing”, and Professor Au, founder and president of Cornerstone Robotics, as well as Nisa Leung (2nd right), managing partner of Qiming Venture Partners, took part in a panel discussion, “What is Hong Kong’s role as an innovation and technology hub?”

Professors Lo and Au were also among the scientists who presented their research to President Xi Jinping during his visit to the Hong Kong Science Park in July.

“Our strength lies with our good public health system, managed by the Hospital Authority—which looks after 90 per cent of the population. Our two very well-established medical schools rank in the world’s top 50,” Professor Lo said.

“However, we have to address issues such as intellectual property certification, DNA samples and data exchange as soon as possible, so as to maximise the contribution of Hong Kong to the GBA.”

Professor Au recalled that he had to obtain approval for his surgical robots to be used in both jurisdictions. Different sets of rules make it difficult to win approval for innovative products.

“The main issue in Hong Kong and the mainland is that they are not synced up, and then we have to send both applications at the same time,” he said. “This is something to be solved over the long term.”

Professor Lo also called for more local universities to give academics additional time to work on their start-ups, adding that such companies and institutions of learning could work together to accelerate innovation.

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region John Lee opened the China Conference with a keynote address delivered to delegates at The Asia Society Hong Kong Centre on 27 July.

Photo courtesy of the South China Morning Post

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