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HKU and Harvard sign MoU to build laboratory

According to a recent report, The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (Harvard SEAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Hong Kong recently to set up a Laboratory for Instrumentation for Precision Medicine.

Both sides aimed to build a laboratory focusing on medical instrumentation for microfluidic-based diagnostics, drug delivery and sensor development in the age of precision medicine.

It was noted by the chief executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) at the signing ceremony that the HKSAR government is committed to attracting world-leading research institutions to conduct collaborative research.

She added that the signing of the MoU between the HKU Faculty of Engineering and Harvard SEAS signifies enhanced collaboration and cross-fertilization in the research area of precision medicine in Hong Kong and is a very significant step in this endeavour.

Precision medicine is an emerging field of research by scientists. Innovation and technological development in the area will open up a new paradigm in healthcare leading to the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, treatments, practices, or products being tailored to individuals.

The Executive Dean for Education and Research at Harvard SEAS had stated at the event that the collaboration will enable the talented engineers and scientists in both universities to create significant innovative instrumentations for precision medicine, and will facilitate the design of devices and treatments that will impact health care across the world.

The Dean of Engineering of HKU stated that by the signing of this MoU, it is expected that the strengths of the two powerhouses of academia will be joined, creating a strong platform that will enable the translation of fundamental breakthroughs. It was also noted that through this laboratory, more synergistic activities will be conducted for the advancement of healthcare-related technologies that have the potential to lead to strong technology transfer, value and societal impact.

Over the coming months, HKU Faculty of Engineering and Harvard SEAS intend to submit a proposal to the HKSAR government under the recently announced Health@InnoHK research cluster initiative, with a plan to establish a research laboratory in the Hong Kong Science Park.

According to a press release from October 2018, Health@InnoHK is an initiative by the HKSAR Government which is aimed at strengthening collaboration with overseas scientific research institutions.

To this end, the Hong Kong government is gearing up to establish two research clusters in Hong Kong at the Science Park – one is Health@InnoHK cluster on healthcare technologies, the other is AIR@InnoHK cluster on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technologies – thereby attracting world-class scientific research institutions and technology enterprises to join forces with its renowned local universities and research institutions in conducting more applied R&D projects.

Institut Pasteur from France, as well as the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health and the Institute of Automation in Beijing under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have already expressed interest in joining the clusters.

The Hong Kong Chief Executive stated that the HKPC and RWTH Aachen University of Germany are also interested, and will explore to establish an AI & Robotics Research Centre at the AIR@InnoHK cluster.

Together with the Invention Centre, the AI & Robotics Research Centre it is expected that the collaboration in I&T between Hong Kong and Germany will be extremely fruitful for both nations.

Thus, HKU’s most recent MoU with the American university will be added to the lost of initiatives that the HKSAR government will be involved in pertaining to the I&T and tech talent development of the region.

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