Council Chairman's

As I reflect on my journey as the Chairman of the Council over the past year, I am filled with satisfaction at the progress we have made towards our objectives.

One major move this year was to establish a new Industry Partnerships and Student Development Committee, in a centralised effort to expand the working partnerships between HKMU and industry. The Committee has made swift and effective strides. It has already engaged with numerous industry leaders, including the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Hong Yip Holdings and FSE Lifestyle, to bring our students work placement opportunities. It has also leveraged industry resources to help develop an entrepreneurial culture among HKMU students, for instance by recruiting organisations such as Cyberport, Education for Good and HKAI Lab as Strategic Partners of our MetroChallenge 2023. Beyond that, it is finding ways to match the needs and strengths of our individual Schools with industry, exploring win-win partnerships that will have a positive impact on our society.

Promoting an entrepreneurial spirit among our students is also something we are doing by tapping into our internal resources. In March this year, the University Council boldly approved the setting up of the HKMU Startup Fund, an initial HK$50 million fund designed to support students, staff and alumni looking to turn their innovative ideas into commercial solutions. With many senior executives and entrepreneurs on the Council, we are of course mindful of the risks associated with startups. I am therefore particularly grateful to those experienced Council members who have stepped onto the management team of the fund. Their counsel will ensure that the money is directed into viable businesses that will both benefit society and raise our reputation as a change-maker.

Our efforts to make our society a better place for everyone extend beyond entrepreneurship. This year, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Correctional Services Department that is stepping up our long-term commitment to the rehabilitation of offenders. We have already conferred over 200 degrees on graduates in custody over the years, but under this MOU we can now offer a more comprehensive support package for inmate students, including not only financial assistance but also new credit transfer and programme articulation arrangements enabling younger inmates to continue with their tertiary education. This has involved enhancing our Bursary Scheme for inmates, more than doubling the amount available since the 2020‒21 academic year to over HK$1.75 million, and nearly doubling the number of inmates benefiting from the scheme (from 138 to 260) in that time.

Our individual Schools are also making contributions to the betterment of society in multiple ways, especially through the development of new programmes. Following its launch of a bachelor's degree in Medical Laboratory Science this academic year, the School of Science and Technology has utilised funding from the Government's Enhancement and Start-up Grant Scheme for Self-financing Post-secondary Education to offer a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying. The School of Arts and Social Sciences has drawn on the same support scheme to launch a Bachelor of Arts in New Music and Interactive Entertainment. Meanwhile, the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration has concluded an agreement with the Institute of Dining Professionals that covers the development of a Master of Professional Management in Food and Beverage Business. In terms of community outreach, the Li Ka Shing School of Professional and Continuing Education (LiPACE) is rolling out a project called the “HKMU Parenting Hub” to promote parent education in the community, while the School of Nursing and Health Studies has obtained funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to embark on a family-based project to promote the mental wellbeing of expectant mothers and their support networks.

Given these multifaceted developments, we see a clear need to further expand our physical premises for education and research. We are currently rallying support for a proposal to develop a slope site on Sheung Shing Street into a new campus, to be designated a “Hub for Community Health and Wellness”. Healthcare is a major topic of community concern in light of our ageing population and increasing emphasis on individual and community wellbeing. With this new campus hub, we look forward to playing an even greater part in this area by integrating the expertise and resources of our diverse disciplines right across the field. I invite everyone associated with HKMU to support this and other exciting new directions aimed at creating positive social impacts and affirming our position as a community-focused University.

As this summary of recent initiatives makes clear, our University is moving quickly and effectively to turn our multifaceted vision into a practical reality. Such major steps forward would be impossible without ambitious, committed and highly competent people to drive them. We are fortunate that HKMU is populated by just such people. My special thanks go out to the University Council and management for their highly professional but always personal commitment to the enhancement of this institution. I also extend my warm thanks to the entire HKMU community, including staff, students, alumni, partners and donors, for all they have contributed this year to building our grand HKMU vision.

Ir Dr Conrad Wong Tin-cheung
October 2023