Newsletter No. 401

14 No. 401, 19.8.2012 Prof. Wong Kam-fai Associate Dean (external affairs), Faculty of Engineering What is creativity from an engineering point of view? From an engineering point of view, innovation is the use of technology to turn creativity into reality, to bring the value of technology outside the lab for the benefit of society. Industry does it. Academia does it. But the motives are different. The former stresses application; it is driven by the market and monetary returns. The latter emphasizes conceptual design and breakthroughs in research; its objective is to develop new theories and knowledge. How has the University fared in this regard? The University has a tried and tested system that provides technology transfer services to students with the creativity and the will to become entrepreneurs. The aim is to give them the appropriate guidance while cultivating leaders of the future for industry. The University holds frequent interdisciplinary activities, such as the Vice-Chancellor’s Cup of Student Innovation, to identify talent and technology with potential. Then through its vast alumni and social network, it will put the award-winning students in touch with the right people, and create commercial opportunities for them. The University also collaborates with downstream partners, such as Hong Kong Science Park, to help students set up companies to bring their ideas to fruition. What's the situation for technology transfer in Hong Kong's institutions of higher learning? The local institutions of higher learning devote a lot of effort to promoting innovative technology, but with varying aims. Some focus on application; some on basic academic research. The former is more proactive and has closer links with industry. The Chinese University belongs to the latter. From its base in teaching and research, the University invests resources to help the would-be inventors among its students to realize their potential. In terms of marketing, CUHK takes part in technology fairs every year, including the China Hi-Tech Fair, the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, to showcase the creative outcomes of its researchers and students. What is the situation of government, industry, academia and research collaboration in mainland China? The mainland is more zealous than Hong Kong about promoting technology research. Once a policy is launched, the provincial and municipal governments would complement the efforts of the central government and render active support to national development. The 12th Five-Year Plan for Science and Technology Development is a case in point. That said, CUHK has been keeping in pace with the mainland, by encouraging faculty to take part in its important research projects and contribute to the country, and by capitalizing on its own research strengths and reputation to attract research funds and talent from the mainland and overseas, and bring about international collaboration. You've been working at CUHK for almost 20 years. How does it feel? I started working here when I returned from Germany in 1993. Not long after I joined, the Faculty of Engineering put me in charge of innovation promotion and technology transfer in the Centre for Innovation and Technology. Over the years, the centre has slowly built a system of innovation with the support of the Faculty's staff and teachers, and our achievements today show that our hard work has paid off. What are your hopes for the future? Looking into the future, I hope the government can set up a Bureau of Technology as soon as possible and draw up an effective innovation and technology policy, so that the research results of CUHK and other institutions can be more widely applied to industry. 黄锦辉教授 工程学院副院长(外务) 从工程学的角度看,怎样才算「创意」? 从工程科学角度而论,创新是利用科技实践创意,令科技的价值走出 实验室,令普罗大众受惠。创新科技,工商业界在做,大学也在做,但两 者的出发点不一样。业界较着重科技应用,以市场为主导,与经济回报 紧紧挂钩;大学则偏重设计意念及学术研究上的创新成果,志在开拓 新理论、新知识。 中文大学在这方面做得怎样? 中大设有一套行之有效的创新体制,目的是为富创意及有志创业的学 生提供多方面的科技转移服务,使他们得到适当的启 导,同时为工商业界培育未来的领袖。大学常 举办跨学科的校内活动(如校长杯创意 比赛),从中发掘具潜质的创新科技及 团队;继而透过庞大的校友及业界网 络为得奖学生铺桥搭路、制造商机。 中大也与不同的下游伙伴机构经常合 作,如香港科学园,藉此协助学生实践设 计意念,成立新公司,将创意转化为产品。 香港大专界的科技转化,情况如何? 本地的大专院校推动创新科技不遗余力,但目标各有不同。有 些院校注重科技应用,有些则注重基础学术研究。前者与业界 联系较密切,且较为主动,而中大属于后者。中大以教学及科研 为本,投放适当资源,为有志创新发明的学子创造有利发挥创 意的条件。在市场推广方面,大学每年都会参加不同规模的科 技展览会,包括中国国际高新技术成果交易会、香港电子产品展 等,藉此对外推广教研人员及学生的创意成果。 内地官、产、学、研合作的发展如何? 内地在推动科研方面比香港积极。各省市政府往往在中央政策一推 出,便会全力配合,争相支持国家发展,国家十二五规划便是例子之 一。中大亦不敢怠慢,一方面鼓励教职员多参与国家重大研究项目,为 国家作出贡献,另一方面利用自己的研究实力及国际知名度吸引国内 外的研究基金及人才进驻校园,以推动国际科技合作。 来到中大快二十年了,感觉怎样? 我1993年从德国回港便在中大工作,上任不久便获工程学院委派于创 新科技中心(前称讯息网络研究所)从事创意推广及科技转移事务。 多年来,得到工程学院同事及教授的帮忙,中心一步一步建立了创新体 制,目睹今天的成果,过往多年所付出的努力,总算没有白费。 对未来有何寄望? 展望将来,我希望政府能尽快落实科技局,有效地制定 创新科技政策,使中大及其他院校的科研成果 能更广泛地应用于工商业界。 请扫描QR码 阅读全文版 Scan the QR code for the full version Photos by Keith Hiro