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Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 00:42

Experts say HK enjoying golden era for science

By Willa Wu and Wang Yuke
Experts say HK enjoying golden era for science

Leading scientists discuss Hong Kong's future of high-tech and innovation during a forum at the InnoTech Expo 2016 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

HONG KONG - The city is experiencing a golden time for scientific developments and will continue to see this flourish, Hong Kong's leading scientists said on Monday.

Seven top scientists from various sectors including health, energy, chemistry and engineering were invited to discuss achievements in their respective areas of scientific research at a forum held during the eight-day science expo InnoTech Expo 2016, which started on Saturday.

Nancy Ip Yuk-yu, dean of science of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a world renowned neurobiologist, said there was "no better time" than now in terms of the development of science in Hong Kong. She is optimistic about the city's future in this area.

Ip presented her team’s achievements in finding a kind of human protein which could effectively enhance the memories of lab mice. She said her team was now working on applying these findings to human beings. This is in an attempt to treat Alzheimer’s disease, a chronic neurodegenerative disease.

The city's academics are also taking a lead in energy transformation. Dean of Engineering (part-time) of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Wong Ching-ping said Hong Kong will enjoy a good future in science and technology development. This is because the city has intelligent, diligent young people and prestigious universities, explained Wong, who is also a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

He pointed out in a presentation that Hong Kong played a leading role in the world in collecting and storing solar energy, an ideal alternative to fossil fuels.

Speaking during the same occasion, Xu Yangsheng, president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) (Shenzhen), said despite this, Hong Kong’s government could still learn from places like Shenzhen and Singapore. It needed to formulate strategies which focused on science and technology.

Xu is a robotics expert. He and his team at the CUHK have invented several purpose-oriented robots - such as the world’s first cloth climbing robot and interactive robots mainly designed for elderly people who live alone.

He emphasized that with limited human resources and financial support, the government should consider which areas of science are appropriate for the city’s overall development.

On a separate occasion, Vice-President of the Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Edmund Lau Kin-on expressed optimism about frequent cross-boundary collaboration on developing technology.

Each side had unique strengths; Hong Kong could maximize its advantages to benefit mainland partners and vice versa, he explained.

"Hong Kong, China's international city, has an edge on its easier access to the latest information and technology generated in Western countries. This makes Hong Kong a city which is never short of creative talents and original ideas,” He said.

Hong Kong's market is run according to international standards, including quality control. This ensured a consistently high quality of end products and customer loyalty.

The mainland is adept at creating markets and seizing business opportunities, said Lau. The demand for any product that promises to improve people’s well-being is stronger on the mainland due to the inadequacies of basic infrastructure there.

The InnoTech Expo 2016 is being held from last Saturday to Oct 1 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It is presenting both mainland and Hong Kong science and technology achievements. This includes breakthroughs in spaceflight, aviation, deep diving, information, health, energy, transport and other innovations. The expo is also inviting seven leading scientists to give lectures.

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