US technology giant Intel has donated HK$14 million worth of equipment for a new research centre at Chinese University's computer science and engineering department as part of a partnership with the institution.
"We believe this partnership is in the interest of us and our students and has great potential to enhance job prospects, training students with better capabilities that make them more employable," said Professor William Wong Kam-fai, an associate dean of engineering.
Intel, the world's largest producer of semiconductors, is donating to the university embedded controller boards, which form the basis of computers, and software licences to use the equipment in classrooms.
"We're defined by development, and our task is creating the next generation, so our goal is to engage with top universities and create an environment that makes the next talent," said JoZell Johnson, Intel's global manager of higher education programmes.
Students at Chinese University are already harnessing the power of smaller, smarter and more energy-efficient microchips. Edward Huang Zi-long and Tony Yi Wei-ying, both 23, used a microchip-enabled drone to film and measure wind temperatures and wind speeds.
"We now want to use this drone to fly and collect air pollution data at high altitudes," Yi said.
Johnson said Intel, which invests US$100 million a year in education, could provide further funding and resources to Chinese University.
"This is a growing relationship. … We work based on support and results, but it is our intention that something will grow [from this]," she said.
"It is a starting point that will continue to expand, not only through curriculum development, but internships, curriculum programmes and research."
Chinese University has twice won the Intel Cup Undergraduate Electronic Design Contest, a global science and technology competition co-founded with Beijing's Ministry of Education and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
In 2006, the Sha Tin-based university bagged a prize with its robot "FollowMe", which recognises faces and tracks movement through motion sensors.
In 2012, it was given an award for a computer that was able to recognise and translate sign language.
Johnson said that Asian universities were offering "new innovations and new ideas" that were being incorporated into daily life.