The incoming president of the Open University of Hong Kong says boosting the status of the institute and exploring the mainland market will be high on his agenda. John Leong Chi-yan, who will take over from Professor Tam Sheung-wai on December 1, said he hoped the self-financing institute would soon be brought under the wing of the University Grants Committee (UGC). 'Of course, the government will not give us more money, but my understanding from preliminary discussions with the UGC and the Secretary for Education and Manpower is that the government wants to put all institutes achieving university status under the UGC,' he said. Such a change could mean quality assurance for distance-learning courses, better research funds and role specialisation, he said. But dispelling the public's misconception about the university's status would be the best outcome, he said. 'Even the mass media often talk about 'eight universities' - referring to only the institutes which fall under the UGC,' he said. Professor Leong, brother of Hospital Authority chairman Leong Che-hung, has headed the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Hong Kong for 23 years and served on many academic and medical groups.