Govt supports I&T development

June 6, 2022

Chief Executive Carrie Lam

The 25 brilliant young talents, coming from six local universities, are worthy recipients of this potentially life-changing scholarship. What makes them so outstanding is a winning combination of passion and excellence in their field of study and a hunger for new experiences. As the Innovation & Technology Scholarship alumni shared in the video a moment ago, the scholarship brings valuable experiences and learning opportunities to its awardees through a range of inspiring programmes in Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas. I urge every awardee to take full advantage of these opportunities to learn, share and network with peers and mentors in different parts of the world. The knowledge and skills that you gain will help to shape not only your future careers, but also the future of Hong Kong's innovation and technology (I&T) development.


The key to sustaining Hong Kong's prosperity and vibrancy lies in our next generation. We all recognise the importance of passing on knowledge, skills and wisdom to nurture new talent. That is why the current-term Government has devoted tremendous effort as well as an investment of more than $150 billion in I&T development in Hong Kong.


It is one of the Government's priorities to nurture talent and foster the development of local universities in order to provide fertile ground for young I&T talents to grow. In my final Policy Address delivered last year, I proposed extending the Research Matching Grant Scheme for another two years, enabling the eight University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities to tap more funding sources and encouraging the private sector to support the universities' research work. I also announced the relaxation of the over-enrolment ceiling of UGC-funded research postgraduate programme students, thereby giving universities more flexibility in deploying resources to foster talent and strengthening their research capabilities.


Hong Kong's strengths in I&T have been fully recognised by the central government. The National 14th Five-Year Plan firmly supports Hong Kong to develop into an international I&T hub. With this aspiration in mind, we will spare no effort in integrating into the country's overall development, promoting the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and strengthening exchanges and collaboration on science and technology with the Mainland at both the national and local levels. Currently, Hong Kong already has 16 State Key Laboratories, six Hong Kong Branches of Chinese National Engineering Research Centres, and 22 joint laboratories with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In addition, under our flagship initiative InnoHK, introduced in this term of Government, the two research clusters at the Hong Kong Science Park have brought together over 30 world-renowned universities and research institutes to collaborate with our local ones. So far, 28 research laboratories have already commenced operation in two major areas, namely healthcare technologies, and artificial intelligence and robotics technologies.


We have learnt the importance of life and health sciences during the COVID‑19 pandemic. It has been a sharp learning curve that has tested the capabilities of our universities and researchers, and they have risen to the challenge. There are 16 laboratories in the InnoHK clusters and eight State Key Laboratories focusing on life and health disciplines as the basis. We will set up an InnoLife Healthtech Hub in the Hong Kong‑Shenzhen Innovation & Technology Park at the Lok Ma Chau Loop to focus on research and development (R&D) work as well as global research collaboration in life and health sciences. I am very pleased to know that a number of the students here today are studying related subjects such as medicine and biomedical science. I look forward to seeing the hub open up more opportunities for budding researchers such as yourselves.


R&D aside, it is encouraging to note that Hong Kong's startup ecosystem is flourishing. This provides another runway for students with a flair for entrepreneurship. The number of startups increased from 2,229 in 2017 to 3,755 last year. The amount of venture capital investment also increased significantly from about $10 billion in 2017 to about $40 billion last year.


The Government is always keen to support the growth of technology startups and create opportunities for our young entrepreneurs. Among other things, we have the Technology Start‑up Support Scheme for Universities to assist universities in setting up their own startups and commercialising their R&D results. We also have the Innovation & Technology Venture Fund, which encourages private investment in local I&T startups through co-investment with selected venture capital funds. With the Government's full support, the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation and the Cyberport have also set up various incubation programmes and investment funds to strengthen support to local startups.


A common theme of our I&T development strategy is to promote cross-sector collaboration, and this scholarship is a prime example.


Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave this speech at the Innovation & Technology Scholarship Award Presentation Ceremony 2022 on June 6.

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