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Hong Kong govt and MOST boost innovation and increase research funding

In late September 2018, the HKSAR Government issued a press release with noted that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, and the Minister of Science and Technology, witnessed the signing of two agreements pertaining to innovation, and R&D respectively.

One agreement was titled “Arrangement on Enhancing Innovation and Technology (I&T) Cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong” and the other was “Agreement on Commencing Jointly Funded Projects between the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Innovation and Technology Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government”.

Two senior government officials represented Hong Kong and the Mainland respectively when signing the Arrangement, while the Permanent Secretary for Innovation and Technology, and the Director-General of the Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs of MOST, represented the two places respectively to sign the Agreement.

The signing preceded a plaque presentation ceremony, led by the Minister of Science and Technology, aimed at confirming that henceforward the 16 Partner State Key Laboratories in Hong Kong will be known as State Key Laboratories.

This renaming affords the labs greater flexibility to collaborate with different research and development institutions.

In her speech, the Chief Executive thanked MOST for its unfailing support for I&T development in Hong Kong. She stated that The Arrangement and the Agreement signed today signify a new time of scientific and technological collaboration between the Mainland and Hong Kong.

The presentation of the plaques to State Key Laboratories is also of great significance. It provides more flexibility for the collaboration between the State Key Laboratories of Hong Kong and the research institutes in the Mainland. It also means solid support and recognition.

The Chief Executive stated that MOST recognising Hong Kong’s home-grown unicorn in moving forward the national development and planning for the next generation artificial intelligence are a testament that the ministry is confident in Hong Kong’s strengths in I&T.

The Arrangement and its annexe “Joint Action Plan on Mainland and Hong Kong I&T Collaboration” will function as an action guide and framework for the two parties to further the various I&T co-operation initiatives over the next few years.

The two sides aim to boost collaboration in six principal areas:

  1. Scientific research;
  2. Development of platforms;
  3. Nurturing of talent;
  4. Transfer of results and the incubation of I&T industry;
  5. Integration into national development strategies, and,
  6. Cultivation of an I&T atmosphere.

In addition, Hong Kong’s government and MOST have been looking into the feasibility of setting up the Mainland-Hong Kong Joint Funding Scheme to support such collaboration.

The Agreement sets out the framework of the funding and the modus operandi of the Scheme, details of which will be announced in due course.

Founded in 2014 by a number of local scholars, a home-grown group has emerged as China’s biggest artificial intelligence unicorn in just a few years’ time.

Recognising the leading position of this company in artificial intelligence, especially intelligent vision, MOST has delegated the establishment of the “National Open Innovation Platform for Next Generation Artificial Intelligence on Intelligent Vision” to the company.

The company will also participate in the nation’s development of the next generation of artificial intelligence.

State Key Laboratories is a vital component of the national I&T system. High-quality research teams and advanced research equipment are prerequisites for the establishment of State Key Laboratories.

The establishment of 16 Partner State Key Laboratories in Hong Kong was approved earlier by MOST, which partnered and entered into co-operation agreements with State Key Laboratories in similar scientific research areas in the Mainland.

After adjustment, these 16 Partner State Key Laboratories will be officially renamed as State Key Laboratories.

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