HKUST celebrates its 25th congregation

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Riding on the Back of Innovation and Technology, HKUST Leads the Building of a Better Tomorrow

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 November, 2017, 11:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 November, 2017, 11:34am

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As the world has shifted from a labor-based economy to a knowledge-based one, the stakes in education are higher than ever. In order to create novel solutions for world problems and assist in the social and economic development of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) strives to nurture and develop students’ global vision, creativity, and critical thinking skills through effective training in science, research, and innovation.

Founded 26 years ago as the only research university in the city, HKUST has never before seen itself in such a great position to play a key role in this age of innovation of and technology. With the country’s emergence as a tech and innovation powerhouse, government initiatives, such as the Greater Bay Area, the River Loop, and Belt & Road, are going to bring unforeseen opportunities to Hong Kong. This is the best time for HKUST graduates to chart their own courses and deliver on HKUST’s mission to make miracles happen in the years to come.

Today, HKUST will see 4,795 bright young minds setting foot in a new world ahead, where opportunities abound and yet, many important decisions to be made. At the 25th congregation ceremony, HKUST President Prof Tony F Chan, in his last commencement speech, reminded graduates that their future would be full of challenges, which make it all important that they make their decisions wisely and independently.  “We are living in an age of political polarization, where extreme ideologies have impeded our society’s development. In times like these, you will need not only skills and knowledge, but also a critical mind that thinks independently rather than follows others blindly,” Prof Chan said. “The world is changing fast and you should be prepared to grasp opportunities that come your way. Do not get caught in short term thinking about quick paths to career and financial stability. Be a leader, not just a follower; take some risks, set long term goals, constantly broaden your horizons, and aim to leave your own mark in this world.”

It’s HKUST’s ambition to be widely recognized as “one of the best science and technology universities globally in both education and research”, and to “grow our own talent and train students to be future leaders and be recognized as a global innovator in research”. Many probably thought that bar was set too high for an institution so young, and yet that’s exactly what HKUST has achieved.

Today, HKUST is ranked 30th globally and 3rd in Asia in the latest QS University Rankings. Its EMBA program has been ranked best in the globe 8 out of the past 10 years; in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, HKUST attained the highest proportion of world leading and internationally excellent research amongst all universities in HK. HKUST alumni are leaders in all walks of life:  founder of the market-leading drone company in the world voted by Forbes magazine as one of China’s top 10 innovators; the leader of the biggest political party in HK; and the founder of the largest unmanned water surface vessel companyare just some examples. HKUST graduates currently rank 12th in a Global Employability Survey by Times Higher Education, among employers’ other top choices such as graduates from Harvard University, University of Oxford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We were able to achieve all these, because everyone involved in our community, including our council, partners and donors, fully supported our vision and our cause,” Prof Chan noted.

To strengthen its position as a leader in academic and research excellence with global recognition, this year, HKUST led the establishment of the Beijing-Hong Kong University Alliance and became a founding member of the newly established Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) with a goal to make both platforms as frontiers for collaboration and academic research. A France-HKUST Innovation Hub was established last year to provide opportunities for students to nurture their creativity and benefit from the experience of some of France’s most successful innovative companies. The University has also joined force with many national and global leaders including Alibaba, BGI, Lenovo, Cisco, Thales and Microsoft on different research projects. 

Furthermore, the 5 objectives set out in the HKUST 5-year Strategic Plan 2020have laid the foundations of a new era of development at HKUST, which will help the University move closer towards realizing its ambition of becoming a university of choice for talents; a leader in education and research; a powerhouse for innovation and entrepreneurship; an exemplar of best-in-class standards, practices, and operations; and a champion of diversity.

To keep abreast of the world’s future challenges, HKUST has identified 5 research areas of focus, namely data science, sustainability, public policy, autonomous systems & robotics, and design thinking & entrepreneurship a few years back, and is making steady and substantial progress on all fronts.  The Division of Public Policy, for example, has been established recently to contribute to policy-making based on applied and interdisciplinary policy research on innovation, healthy ageing, environment, energy and sustainability, and to provide rigorous training in public policy analysis and evaluation through postgraduate and executive education programs. 

HKUST continues to streamline and upgrade its research facilities to fit modern society needs, and looks to build research expertise in two new areas of public interest, namely, healthy ageing and Fintech—the former being a global challenge for the world with a rapidly ageing population, and the latter with the potential to shape the financial world in decades to come.

The University’s two state key labs, two Chinese National engineering Research Centers and 67 research centers and institutes - including the newly-founded Big Data Institute and the Joint Research Center on Biotechnological Science and Engineering established with BGI Group, are all outstanding platforms for frontier research, grooming talent and collaboration with the industry. The University also invites industrial leaders to be mentors to our students and is keen to incorporate knowledge from various industries into its new, practicum-led curriculum, with the goal of providing real-world, market-proven advice to students who are keen to develop and introduce their own innovative products and solutions.

The future of HKUST, to Prof Chan, is nothing but up. “I will leave HKUST with a feeling of pride that HKUST is in a much better position than when I came. I am optimistic about the future of HKUST. If all our stakeholders, including Council, management, students, faculty and staff, put our minds together, focus on our mission, respect our individual roles and responsibilities, then we can together achieve goals in the future that today we may consider too high to reach. With our core values of 1-HKUST and can-do spirit, we can make miracles happen.”


Thank You Donors

The University is tremendously grateful to all our donors who have participated in the 25th Anniversary Global Vision Campaign which ran from January 2015 to June 2017.

Between 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, we have received generous support from Tsang Shiu Tim Charitable Foundation for the construction of the new indoor sports center, Mrs Lee Fung Kung Wah for the establishment of a student mentoring center in the School of Business and Management, HSBC 150th Anniversary Charity Programme for a sustainability-related research project, and Lee Hysan Foundation for research on Alzheimer’s disease.  For the HKUST Named professorships Program, two new professorships were established for promising young faculty by The S H Ho Foundation Limited and Dr Tai-chin Lo and Dr Tony Tai respectively.  Other donations included scholarships and sponsorship for research and academic activities.