Two CUHK Graduates Receive First-ever Oxford-Croucher Scholarshipto Study in the UK
Two outstanding Master graduates of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Miss Choi Lai-sheung and Mr. Sin Yung-wa, won the first-ever The University of Oxford Croucher Scholarships (UOCS) to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Oxford this autumn. The scholarships, amounting to nearly HK$1.2 million each, provide full financial support for their studies at Oxford.
Miss Choi Lai-sheung, a final-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) student at the Department of Chemistry, CUHK, was awarded with the scholarship to further her studies at Oxford for a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree in chemical biology. Lai-sheung is a gifted high-achiever with a passion for chemistry. Admitted to the Department of Chemistry of CUHK in 2003, Lai-sheung made the Dean’s List in the Faculty of Science and the United College Head’s List for three consecutive academic years. She was also awarded numerous scholarships, such as the Chiu Kwok Yeung Scholarship and the United College–Wu Chung Scholarship. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in 2006 with first class honours and pursued MPhil studies at CUHK, specializing in organic chemistry. Lai-sheung had originally planned to conduct her doctoral studies in chemistry, but was encouraged by her supervisor Prof. Chow Hak-fun to study chemical biology overseas as many chemistry research topics are strongly associated with biology. Chemical biology involves the use of chemical techniques to study biological systems. She will study the use of mutant transmembrane toxin (a-hemolysin) in aiding DNA sequencing and the detection of other molecules at single-molecule level. Not only can this detect the pharmacodynamics or toxicogenomics of chemical substances more effectively, it can also help to reduce laboratory costs. Lai-sheung is very grateful to The Croucher Foundation and Oxford for the scholarship, which will give her an invaluable opportunity to study under world-renowned chemical biologist Prof. Hagan Bayley and to embark on a whole new direction in research.
Mr. Sin Yung-wa obtained his MPhil in biology in 2007 at CUHK and will further his studies at Oxford for a DPhil degree in zoology. He has received numerous awards at CUHK, including the Biology Advanced Training and Stipend Scheme Award in 2002 and made the Dean’s List for outstanding academic performance in the following two years. In 2005, he was granted the Dr. Ch’ien Mu Postgraduate Scholarship and finished his undergraduate studies with first class honours. Yung-wa is an energetic young man who was active in organizing student activities and social services. He is also a lover of nature who has been addicted to reading biology books since childhood. Becoming a biologist and devoting himself to the preservation of wildlife and the natural environment have also been his childhood dream. Therefore, Yung-wa feels immensely grateful to The Croucher Foundation and Oxford for the scholarship. All set to work very hard for his dream, Yung-wa will be joining the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of the Department of Zoology at Oxford to study the management of endangered species and the ecosystem.
Mr. Anthony Tsui, Director of The Croucher Foundation remarked, “The Croucher Foundation is delighted that through this scholarship scheme with Oxford University, Hong Kong students are virtually guaranteed a few places every year to pursue their scientific studies in one of the best institutions in the world. We feel most encouraged that students of very promising scientific calibre such as Miss Choi and Mr. Sin have been selected to exemplify the standards of this scholarship, and to know that they will be supervised by world-class scientists. This will promise them a successful career in science in future.”
In March 2008, The Croucher Foundation and the University of Oxford jointly established “The University of Oxford Croucher Scholarships” for postgraduate students in Hong Kong to study natural sciences, technology or medicine at the doctoral level at the University of Oxford. The students are selected under a stringent screening procedure during which expert scientists are invited to assess detailed scientific proposals of the research they intend to pursue at Oxford. Those shortlisted are interviewed by a panel of scientists who decide on the final awards upon the students’ scientific standards and potential for achievements in a career in science.
The Croucher Foundation was set up in 1979 by the late Mr. Noel Croucher, a British businessman in Hong Kong, to promote the local standards of science and technology to upkeep the city’s competitive edge internationally. The Croucher Foundation has until now made nearly 900 scholarships for doctoral or higher levels of studies, amounting to around HK$250 million. These scholarships provide full financial support for promising young scholars in Hong Kong to pursue scientific research in leading universities and research institutes in the world, for students to gain international exposure and professional contacts in various scientific fields. Apart from scholarships, The Croucher Foundation also provides funding to local universities for research and scientific activities. Grants have amounted to over HK$430 million through the years.