A distinguished Taiwanese academic, Lee Yuan-tseh, on Tuesday urged the Hong Kong Government to increase research funds for higher educational institutes and not cut the education budget. Mr Lee, a 1986 Nobel laureate in Chemistry and president of Taiwan's Academia Sinica - a major research institute - spoke to an audience of about 1,400 people at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's 40th anniversary lecture on global trends in educational reform. 'The [Hong Kong] Government should double or treble spending for research at universities,' Mr Lee said. 'It's up to you to tell politicians that it is important [not to cut the education budget].' Hong Kong spent about 0.48 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on research, while Taiwan and Korea spent 2.2 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, according to Mr Lee. On Monday at press conference Mr Lee had said that instead of spending on research Hong Kong spent most of its education budget on paying professors' salaries, which were twice as high as their counterparts in Taiwan. Commenting on the consolidation of universities on Tuesday, Mr Lee said they could work together to make better use of resources. However, he added that 'a forced marriage will not do much good' as each university did research at different levels. Speaking on global trends in educational reform, Mr Lee said a master plan was needed so that every student was taught according to their abilities. 'Nobody should be left behind,' he said. 'Educational reform is [about] trying to bring up [the level of] everybody in society and teach them to walk together in peace and prosperity.' In response to a question posed by Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, Mr Lee emphasised that education was crucial to social growth. After the lecture, Chinese University's vice-chancellor Ambrose King told reporters that the university would have a new report on consolidation later this month, but he did not reveal any details.