Science pursuit lacks HK help, expert says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 January, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong is lagging the mainland in creating the atmosphere for the pursuit of science, according to a leading scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who is urging the government to offer more jobs in the field.

In a session with about 600 Hong Kong students yesterday, Bai Chunli, a nanotechnology expert and the executive vice-president of the academy, thought more could be done to encourage scientific research in the city.

'Hong Kong is an energetic city with remarkable inputs in innovation. But comparing it with the mainland, I can see room to enhance the atmosphere in scientific research,' he said.

Bai said one of the major concerns of young researchers was their careers, with the city renowned for its strengths in the finance, trade and property sectors.

'If Hong Kong wants to boost its economy by innovations, the government might need to create more jobs in scientific research and, in the long run, the tertiary institutes could train more youngsters for the field,' he said.

Bai said many opportunities had emerged on the mainland for talented people who wanted to devote their careers to science. He added that the academy would also launch open recruitment later this year.

Gwen Wong May-wan, the wife of Nobel laureate for physics Charles Kao Kuen, had earlier said Hong Kong did not have the vision to support scientific research that took time to bear fruit.

Young innovator Chan Yik-hei, who met Bai yesterday, said many people developed their interests in science when they were young but gave up later for career concerns.

Chan, now a student at the University of Science and Technology, plans to fine-tune one of his old inventions - a watch that can monitor body signals, such as blood pressure and temperature - for use by the elderly this year.

'To me, doing science is an entertainment,' he said. 'I hope my ideas can help others.'