Chief Executive CY Leung
A year and a half ago, like a good many of you, I was here for the inaugural summit. The Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, the summit’s organiser, was established just the day before. The Innovation & Technology Bureau was set up just two weeks prior to the first summit. In less than six weeks after the summit, I announced, in my 2016 Policy Address, an investment of US$2.3 billion in programmes and initiatives designed to speed up innovation and technology (I&T) development in Hong Kong.
Among other things, the unprecedented government funding has been used to boost midstream and translational R&D in universities, support technology startups, expand I&T infrastructure, advance Hong Kong’s re-industrialisation and promote smart city development.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Indeed, they have captured the attention, and imagination, of the world’s leading R&D institutions. We have attracted internationally-renowned research centres to Hong Kong – here to set up research bases in Asia, to work with their counterparts in Hong Kong, and through Hong Kong, the rest of the country. With Hong Kong’s double advantages under “one country” and “two systems”, gaining a foothold here in Hong Kong can only expand research connections and business opportunities north of the boundary with the Mainland.
I am glad to say that Hong Kong is making good progress in scientific R&D, including two fast-growing fields of global interest – bio-medicine and smart materials – the focuses of today’s summit.
Science Park a magnet for research centres
Last October, Sweden’s 200-year-old Karolinska Institutet, a leading medical university in the world, turned to Hong Kong to establish its first overseas research centre. The Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, here in Hong Kong Science Park, focuses on stem-cell biology, biomedical engineering, biotechnology and regenerative medicine.
Last December, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine & Health announced that it would follow suit, establishing at the Science Park the Guangzhou Hong Kong Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Research Centre.
I would say that gives us a strong foundation from which to build upon. In scientific research, and in bringing research findings from the laboratory to the community.
To give an example, an incubatee company at the Science Park has developed a patented medical technology for needle-less, non-invasive ocular drug delivery using ultrasound. The technology may, in the future, well replace eyeball injections needed by more than 300 million people with posterior eye diseases.
In smart materials, another Science Park tenant has turned its meta-material noise control technology into an award-winning invention that gives engineered acoustic properties to conventional materials. This company was financed by a programme set up under the Government’s Innovation & Technology Fund.
Then there is the Nano & Advanced Materials Institute. One of the five local R&D centres funded by the Government, the institute has created a number of innovations involving smart materials: flexible and safe battery technology for wearable electronics; a breathable, nano-fibre face mask for sports; eggshell-recycling technology that extracts nutrients from garbage; and much more.
Commercialising R&D results
The Government will continue to support our R&D centres and local startups, and continue to promote entrepreneurship here. Six Hong Kong universities are now receiving about US$3 million a year to help their technology startups commercialise R&D results. We will ask the University Grants Committee to review the allocation of research grants, and expand the assessment criteria to include research impact and effectiveness of knowledge and technology transfer.
We will, as well, continue to build and strengthen connections between technology innovation and the manufacturing sector, or what I would like to call re-industrialisation.
Re-industrialisation of Hong Kong will drive high-end manufacturing, create more I&T applications to improve our lives, and fuel Hong Kong’s economic growth. The Technology Voucher Programme, launched in November last year, subsidises the use of technology by SMEs to improve productivity. The Innovation & Technology Fund for Better Living, to be launched later this month, will subsidise I&T projects that bring convenience, comfort and safety to our everyday lives.
Three months ago, we set up a committee on innovation, technology and re-industrialisation, to co-ordinate Hong Kong’s long-term I&T development and re-industrialisation.
In the next five years, we plan to build an Advanced Manufacturing Centre & Data Technology Hub in the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate. We have also commissioned the Hong Kong Productivity Council to build an Inno Space. The Inno Space will facilitate the sharing of technologies and skills, and help entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into industrial design and products.
To be sure, a big part of re-industrialisation is about space. That is why the Government has set aside sizeable land, including a site of over 50 hectares near the Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, which is going to be the seventh boundary crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen to be ready in about 18 months’ time, for use by the innovation and technology sector and other emerging or traditional industries. We are, of course, expanding the Science Park, increasing the park’s gross floor area to some 400,000 sq m.
HK-SZ tech park
Earlier this year, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the 87 hectares of land in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, adjacent to our boundary with Shenzhen. This site, four times the area of the Science Park, will become the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation & Technology Park. It will be home to technology companies, R&D enterprises and higher-education institutions from Hong Kong, the Mainland of China and around the world. Yesterday, I and the Secretary for Innovation & Technology called on the newly-appointed party secretary of Shenzhen to review progress on both sides.
So the Hong Kong Government shares the same goal, the same passion, as the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries in promoting I&T development in our city.
At the first Science & Technology Innovation Summit, the academy and the federation announced a strategic partnership, aimed at promoting exchanges between scientific research and industrial production. Among other things, federation members visited research centres and laboratories of academy members, while the latter, in turn, visited industrial facilities run by federation members.
This kind of collaboration helps entrepreneurs understand the promise of scientific research, while scientists can gain first-hand appreciation of commercial applications that can drive their research projects.
I am grateful to the academy and the federation – along with our universities, the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation, Cyberport, private enterprises, startups and angel investors – for contributing to building Hong Kong into Asia’s I&T hub. The Government alone cannot achieve this – we need your experience, your network and your expertise to help realise Hong Kong’s I&T ambitions.
Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the second Science & Technology Innovation Summit.
via Moroccan Trader Supporting re-industrialisation