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A research culture geared for impact

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is committed to nurturing a research culture that values excellence and impact through interdisciplinarity, internationalisation and innovation.

HKU – Hong Kong’s most established higher education institution – has an excellent reputation both globally and within Asia. It is well-known for its competitive research and ranks among the leading universities in Asia and the world.* To maintain this position, the university is dedicated to advancing cutting-edge research and harnessing its strengths in emerging fields of intellectual interest and with the potential to impact communities, technologies, the economy and society.

HKU’s approach is conceptualised as ‘3+1 Is’, where Internationalisation, Innovation and Interdisciplinarity converge to create Impact. The university’s leadership sees an emphasis on quality and excellence as a means to advance innovation beyond the creation of academic research outcomes. The holistic research strategy aims to find synergies in global challenges, regional demands and issues that are locally relevant and meet community needs. Advancing this strategy are academics, researchers and students working on a diverse range of investigator-driven basic and translational projects, which have been paired with converging and interdisciplinary programmes.

The university continues to value its strength in exploratory research driven by the interests and capabilities of its academics over ten faculties. Its diversity also promotes intellectual curiosity, which fuels a spectrum of interdisciplinary collaborations that are central to the knowledge society.

HKU’s new Strategically Oriented Research Themes (SORTs) will support the growth of four clusters of strategic, cross-disciplinary areas: SmartBio & HealthTech; Future Innovative Technologies; Smart Systems & Sustainable Society; and Intelligence, Data, E-commerce & Automation. These clusters provide platforms for work on core research areas, including infectious diseases, precision medicine, smart materials, computer security, environmental sustainability, cognitive behaviours, and so forth. These platforms will also foster the valuable human capital needed to find solutions for the challenges faced by the world today, ranging from those of the digital economy, smart cities and scarce resources to ageing and social mobility.

Scientist working in petri dish

To complement these strategic developments, HKU is cultivating an environment that encourages knowledge exchange and public-private partnerships. In 2017, it launched iDendron – a campus-wide physical hub where the university community can pursue cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurial activities. HKU has also established a research and innovation institute in Zhejiang, complemented by a niche institute and a major hospital in Shenzhen, which will have new research infrastructure. A new cancer research centre is in the pipeline following a HK$1.24 billion donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Furthermore, HKU is involved in a number of major international collaborations, including with Cambridge University in the UK, Institut Pasteur in France and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

As a global university based in Asia, HKU sees the integrity of its research and the responsible conduct of its researchers as fundamental to its strategy. In June 2019, the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity will be held at the university. HKU remains committed to innovative, impactful and quality research, as well as to meeting the highest international standards of integrity.

* 2018 – QS: 26th in world and 5th in Asia; World No.1 for 3rd consecutive year in Dentistry; World No.7 in Education; 23 subjects ranked among top 5 in Asia; 20 subjects No.1 in Hong Kong.

THE: 40th in world and 4th in Asia; World’s 3rd most international university.