Centre to celebrate being human

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am

Plans have been unveiled for a Human Research Institute to spearhead the study of 'mind, body and spirit'.

The interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Hong Kong will form the centrepiece of its evolving medical campus at Pok Fu Lam. It is set to be built in Sassoon Road between the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine and Queen Mary Hospital in two phases, with the first due to be completed in 2010.

The state-of-the-art building, which will feature roof gardens, plant-filled balconies designed to blend in with the landscape, solar panels and natural lighting, is the first designed to meet new environmental standards drawn up for HKU's forthcoming Centennial Campus.

Pro-vice-chancellor John Malpas said: 'It is the first major interdisciplinary research centre in Hong Kong. It will play a crucial role in bringing multi-disciplinary research teams together from across disciplines that are related to human well-being.'

HKU's world-renowned Genome Research Centre and its Institute of Human Performance, Clinical Trials Centre, Medical Physics Research Centre and Behavioural Science and Holistic Health Centre will all be housed in the institute, which aims to draw researchers from within HKU and other universities across the territory.

'This is not a purely medical enterprise,' said Professor Malpas. 'When we talk about human research, we are talking about mind, body, and spirit. We are taking this concept and looking at it in an integrated fashion. It brings together disciplines from other faculties.'

Professor Malpas said the institute would help 'catapult HKU into becoming a major biomedical centre in Asia and a world leader in research, education and health care'.

'We are using this for a model of our sustainability concept in the new campus and hope it will be a signature academic building for Hong Kong,' he said.

HKU is seeking Legislative Council backing for a government grant to cover half the $270 million cost of the building. The plans will come before Legco's education panel on December 10.