Official opening of the CUHK Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Research Institute (Futian) to foster the I&T ecosystem of Shenzhen – Lok Ma Chau Loop
CUHK celebrated a new chapter in contributing to the national innovation and technology (I&T) agenda at the plaque unveiling ceremony of the CUHK Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Research Institute (Futian) (FITRI) on 28 March 2023. Located in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone in Shenzhen, FITRI is a strategic priority of CUHK in driving cross-border I&T collaborations in the year that marks the 60th anniversary of the University.
The ceremony was attended by dignitaries from Shenzhen including Mr Yang Shengjun, member of the CPC Leadership Group of the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Goverment, Mr Wang Daping, Vice-Chairman of the Shenzhen Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Mr Wang Youming, Director of the Shenzhen Science, Technology and Innovation Commission, Mr Huang Wei, CPC Secretary of the Futian District Committee, Mr Fan Kun, member of the Standing Committee of the Shenzhen Municipal Committee of the CPPCC and Director of the Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mr Jiang Baoguo, Director of the Faculty of Medicine of Shenzhen University. Representing CUHK were Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, Professor Alan K. L. Chan, Provost of CUHK, Professor Chan Wai-yee, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Developments) of CUHK, Professor Sham Mai-har, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) of CUHK, Professor Qin Ling, Director of FITRI. The event was also attended by representatives from across Shenzhen, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), hospitals and industry partners in Shenzhen, and media from both sides of the border.
CUHK attaches great importance to strengthening engagement across a range of areas with mainland partners. It seeks to actively integrate into national development and cater to the needs of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) in terms of its scientific and technological development through cultivating talents and engaging in cutting-edge research and innovation. The National 14th Five-Year Plan focuses on the high-quality development of the GBA. To align its long-term development with national strategies and deeply integrate into the nation’s development, CUHK launched a strategic cooperation with the Futian District People’s Government in May 2020 with the co-establishment of the CUHK Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Research Institute (Futian) (FITRI) in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone in Shenzhen.
Speaking at the event, CUHK’s Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rocky S. Tuan said, “As a research-intensive university, CUHK advocates research and innovation that goes beyond the discovery and creation of knowledge, and focuses on the translation of research outcomes into practical benefits for society. The establishment of FITRI responds to the call of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the 14th Five-Year Plan. It is a critical step for CUHK to deepen its collaborations with Shenzhen and expand its mainland foothold in order to achieve the goals set out in the University’s five-year strategic plan. The University will continue to translate high-quality scientific research into practical applications, and harness its strengths as a cradle of talents to cultivate top-notch talents who are eager to contribute to the development of the GBA as an international innovation and technology hub, and inject further impetus into the technological advancement of the country.”
Mr Huang Wei introduced the development of FITRI in the planning and construction stage in his speech. He said, “The establishment of FITRI in the Hetao Cooperation Zone helps further leverage the strengths of Hong Kong’s first-class universities and globally reputed talents, as well as its advantage as a super-connector in the innovation and technology industry. Riding on the space for scientific research and the highly efficient entrepreneurial support policies and facilities that Shenzhen could offer, FITRI is set to benefit the mutual development of Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Futian District will provide efficient and comprehensive services to facilitate the development of FITRI in support of its I&T talent cultivation and entrepreneurship undertakings so that FITRI can serve as a key engine for the growth of the GBA.”
After the ceremony, guests visited FITRI’s exhibition halls and laboratories, and saw a range of exhibits including patented design robots, sensors, algorithms, new orthopedic implant materials, and test kits. The visit was followed by a presentation on a major I&T project of the University, “The CUHK Shenzhen-Hong Kong Smart Medical Robotics Innovation Platform”, by CUHK’s project leader, Professor Liu Yunhui, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Mechanical and Automation Engineering. Playing to its strengths on basic research and core technology development in key areas including materials and drive systems, medical big data, artificial intelligence (AI), perception and planning, and human-machine integration, CUHK has successfully built a research centre for interdisciplinary applications of basic medical robotics technology, and test bases for medical big data and AI. An open experimental base for medical robotics is under construction. It will be used for the comprehensive experiment and standardised testing of AI-driven medical robotics technology and equipment, as well as AI algorithms and systems for medical applications. The project has filed 5 invention patent applications to date and has been granted 6 utility patents and 1 design patent.
FITRI’s Director, Professor Qin Ling, mentioned during the visit that in order to facilitate the integrated management and sustainable development of key research projects, FITRI will focus on developing medical and engineering technologies. He will work closely with Professor Francis Chan Ka-leung, Dean of CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Benny Zee, Director of CUHK’s Centre for Clinical Research and Biostatistics to promote interdisciplinary and industry-education-research cooperation on medical innovation; while Professor Liu Yunhui, Professor Liao Wei-hsin and Professor Xing Guoliang and other experts at CUHK’s Faculty of Engineering will carry out joint engineering projects on product design, data sharing and model optimisation.
Since its inception, FITRI has aspired to become a world-class research facility specialising in robotics, AI, medicine and medical devices. Harnessing Hong Kong’s strengths in basic scientific research and Shenzhen’s advantages in commercialisation, it will continue to explore feasible models to strengthen its connection with industry in Shenzhen to facilitate translation of research outcomes and deepen the cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, in order to facilitate the integration and sustainable development of industry, education and research. It will work closely with all strategic partners to drive the development and internationalisation of the GBA in the areas of smart healthcare and public health services.