Recognised worldwide as the leader in five specialised scientific and business disciplines, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) will focus on further strengthening these areas of research excellence, says Professor Joseph Lee, vice-president for research and graduate studies. The high-impact research areas of the university are: nanoscience and nanotechnology; biological sciences and biotechnology; information technology; environment and sustainable development; and business management and administration. HKUST emphasises the interdisciplinary research in these areas. The collaboration between experts in various fields will spark extra synergy, Lee says. In the past six years, HKUST produced more than 30 nanotechnology doctorate and masters' degree graduates. It is also one of the driving forces behind the Nano and Advanced Materials Institute, which is an applied research and development centre located at the Hong Kong Science Park, he says. The highlights of HKUST's information technological research projects include one on wireless telecommunications jointly developed with global telecommunications solution provider Huawei Technologies, headquartered in Shenzhen. A new Digital Life Engineering Technology Centre has been established at the university's Nansha campus near Guangzhou. 'The centre focuses on research and technologies related to the cyber physical system, which is a main future direction of technological development,' Lee says. In the area of biotechnology, HKUST has opened its first national-level laboratory on campus. The State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience derives its strength from the multidisciplinary nature of the team that has been assembled, drawing from the expertise of dozens of faculty members in the departments of biochemistry, biology and chemistry. Meanwhile, HKUST and Peking University have jointly established a medical institute in Shenzhen, which functions as a platform for collaborative research projects with mainland organisations, Lee adds. HKUST has laid a sound foundation for the research of environmental technology, which is expected to support the sustainable economic development of the Pearl River Delta (PRD). For instance, the university has forged close co-operation with the Guangdong provincial government and the South China University of Technology in establishing a PRD air pollution monitoring network, he says. 'We have achieved breakthrough in understanding air pollution in the PRD. Our colleagues have also leveraged their expertise in nanotechnology in the development of waste water treatment and seawater desalination. China will make substantial investment in these areas in the coming decade. This will facilitate HKUST to assume an even more influential role in related technological research and development on a national level.' As for business management and administration, HKUST will focus on interdisciplinary research and integrate it into education. 'Our interdisciplinary office has launched a new undergraduate programme in environmental management. We have integrated years of research data into the nurturing of business talent with specialised technological knowledge,' Lee adds. HKUST aims to nurture innovative talent through systematic training on the graduate level and by leveraging its strength in research. 'We will encourage entrepreneurship through the Entrepreneurship Centre and the Technology Transfer Centre,' he says. 'We will also put more resources in graduate studies to help students develop their international outlook. The goal is that our PhD and graduates of master's degree programmes will be globally employable.'