There is an increasing recognition worldwide that universities have major roles to play in regional developments.
There is an increasing recognition worldwide that universities have major roles to play in regional developments. The last decade saw the transformation of Hong Kong's hinterland—the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region—from being the world's factory floor of low cost labour into a robust hi-tech hub of innovation and entrepreneurship with high R&D capacities. With the heavy infrastructure spending and business incentives supported by the government under national and provincial directives, a growing number of international hi-tech companies have established their headquarters in Shenzhen, and have their manufacturing operation based in the PRD region. This has helped the PRD region gradually move up the value chain and reinvent itself into an advanced manufacturing ecosystem hosting many interesting, innovative projects and ventures.
Today, around the PRD region, we will find initiatives spearheaded by different levels of government, including the Qianhai Free Trade Zone for modern service industries, Shenzhen Supercomputing Centre, innovative technology parks in Nansha, Guangdong's plan to invest RMB 943 billion into automation and robotics, and the Provincial Intelligent Manufacturing Development Plan (2015–2025) to create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.
These changes and initiatives in the PRD region, coupled with the construction of the Hong Kong—Zhuhai—Macau Bridge underway, have provided us with unprecedented opportunities for research and education development. Leveraging on its own research and education establishments in Shenzhen and its long-established ties with higher education and research institutions, as well as industries, in the PRD region, CUHK will establish itself here and invest resources to contribute to its future developments. The development of educational courses and internship opportunities in the PRD region will help fulfil our commitment to make students more innovative when meeting challenges and proposing solutions that are sustainable in the long term. Many of our alumni have companies set up in the PRD region, and they are happy to serve as mentors and to provide internship opportunities for our students. These initiatives will create synergies and benefit our graduates, including those based on our Shenzhen campus (see separate feature), as they will come across different career opportunities not otherwise available in Hong Kong.
CUHK has already established a Shenzhen Research Institute (SZRI) at the Shenzhen Virtual University Park, and by investing in strategic research groups in partnership with institutions like the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Integration Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, universities in the PRD region and industries, we can build strong research collaborations, establish joint laboratories and develop intellectual properties in disciplinary areas such as stem cells, big data and information and communication technologies. The establishment of CUHK(SZ) in 2014 represents a major strategic initiative aiming to further enhance our capacity in research, teaching and learning, as well as knowledge transfer in this rapidly developing PRD region.