City University is to build a centre in Shenzhen to spearhead expansion of its hi-tech research and development in the Pearl River Delta. The university's council gave the go-ahead on Monday for it to buy 6,000 sq metres of the new Shenzhen Virtual University Science Park for the project. The centre will unite CityU's four existing research bodies and six hi-tech spin-off firms in Shenzhen and provide space for new research centres in applied maths, information technology, and for start-up companies. President Professor Chang Hsin-kang said CityU had already made a significant contribution to technological research and development in Shenzhen. In the past five years, it had set up the Shenzhen Research Institute and applied research centres in biotechnology, environmental studies and industrial technology. Spin-off firms set up by CityU Enterprises had begun successful enterprises. Professor Roderick Wong Sue-cheun, dean of research and graduate studies, said IT and applied maths were among CityU's key strengths and were in demand from electrical engineering firms across the Pearl River Delta. 'Bringing everything together in one building will enable us to develop a culture of applied research, where entrepreneurs are interacting with researchers in a way that will generate new ideas and products,' he said.