Work­ing to­gether to spur eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion

Univer­sity al­liance seeks to break down bar­ri­ers, cul­ti­vate in­no­va­tive tal­ent

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XUJINGXI in Guangzhou xujingxi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Twenty-six uni­ver­si­ties in Guang­dong prov­ince, Hong Kong and Ma­cao have formed an al­liance aimed at fa­cil­i­tat­ing sci­en­tific re­search co­op­er­a­tion and jointly cul­ti­vat­ing tal­ent for eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

Ap­proved by theMin­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, the Guang­dongHong Kong-Ma­cao Univer­sity Al­liance was launched by the Guang­dong-basedSunYat-sen Univer­sity, the Chi­nese Univer­sity of Hong Kong and the Univer­sity of Ma­cao. Its first 26 mem­bers — 10 from Guang­dong, nine from Hong Kong and seven from Ma­cao — are some of the best in their re­spec­tive ar­eas.

As ge­o­graph­i­cal neigh­bors with close eco­nomic and trade ties, the uni­ver­si­ties in Guang­dong, Hong Kong and Ma­cao have long main­tained co­op­er­a­tion in sci­en­tific re­search, but this has mostly taken place be­tween in­di­vid­ual schol­ars in the past.

The Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMa­cao Bridge, which is sched­uled

Luo Jun,

to open to traf­fic by the end of next year, is ex­pected to fur­ther strengthen the al­liance. It will cut travel times be­tween the three ar­eas to about half an hour.

“The found­ing of a univer­sity al­liance takes our co­op­er­a­tion to a higher level by break­ing the cur­rent bar­ri­ers to re­source shar­ing,” Luo Jun, pres­i­dent of Sun Yat-sen Univer­sity, said af­ter the al­liance’s found­ing on Nov 15.

For ex­am­ple, a univer­sity on the Chi­nese main­land can­not ap­ply for govern­ment fund­ing from Hong Kong or Ma­cao and vice versa.

This will change if the univer­sity al­liance is able to win sup­port from the gov­ern­ments of Guang­dong, Hong Kong andMa­cao to es­tab­lish a joint fund for co­op­er­a­tive projects be­tween al­liance mem­bers, Luo said.

Sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and tal­ent are the most im­por­tant fac­tors when com­pet­ing in the global mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Chen Guang­han, vice-pres­i­dent of the Hong Kong and Ma­cao De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies In­sti­tute at Sun Yat-sen Univer­sity.

“To seek sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, the three ar­eas are fac­ing the same chal­lenge — shift­ing the en­gine for eco­nomic growth from in­vest­ing in money, land and la­bor to in­no­va­tion,” Chen said.

“Ed­u­ca­tion, es­pe­cially higher ed­u­ca­tion, is key to in­no­va­tion as it cul­ti­vates tal­ent.”

The uni­ver­si­ties in Guang­dong and Hong Kong, in par­tic­u­lar, have com­ple­men­tary ad­van­tages, ac­cord­ing to Xia Ying, as­sis­tant to the pres­i­dent at Chen’s in­sti­tute.

“Some uni­ver­si­ties in Hong Kong have out­stand­ing abil­i­ties in sci­en­tific in­no­va­tion, but they find lim­ited re­sources in­HongKong to turn re­search find­ings into mar­ketable prod­ucts. There is a more com­pre­hen­sive sys­tem and in­dus­try on a larger scale in the Pearl River Delta, where in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy can be ap­plied,” Xia said.

Guang­dong can play an in­te­gral role in boost­ing in­no­va­tion to cre­ate more eco­nomic driv­ers, said Luo, pres­i­dent of Sun Yat-sen Univer­sity, adding that in­no­va­tion and entrepreneurship are boom­ing in the area, es­pe­cially in Shen­zhen where there are many maker spaces.

“To be a maker is very at­trac­tive to young peo­ple. Many pre-em­i­nent young peo­ple have come to Shen­zhen and other cities in Guang­dong to work on tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions and start up their own busi­nesses,” Luo said.

“It will help stu­dents and fresh grads to in­no­vate and be­come en­trepreneurs if uni­ver­si­ties es­tab­lish maker spaces on cam­pus and at­tract busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors to be built near their schools.

“We hope to see more plat­forms built to sup­port young peo­ple’s in­no­va­tion and entrepreneurship in Guang­dong, Hong Kong and Ma­cao with the in­flu­ence of the univer­sity al­liance.”

The found­ing of a univer­sity al­liance takes our co­op­er­a­tion to a higher level by break­ing the cur­rent bar­ri­ers to re­source shar­ing.”

pres­i­dent of Sun Yat-sen Univer­sity

PHO­TOS BY YE ZIQI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 26 uni­ver­si­ties in Guang­dong prov­ince, Hong Kong and Ma­cao gather at the found­ing cer­e­mony of the Guang­dongHong Kong-Ma­cao Univer­sity Al­liance in Guangzhou, on Nov 15.

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