HKSTP Board members visit CityU R&D Laboratories

I was honor to line up HKSTP Board members to visit CityU and its R&D Laboratories including State Key Laboratory, ITF projects and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on 1st Jun 2018.  The story was that CityU alumni had dinner with CityU new Council Chairman Mr. Lester G Huang on 5th Mar 2018 and he would like to invite HKSTP Chairlady and Board members to visit CityU’s laboratories and facilities.  As CityU Alumni in CityU Eminence Society (CES) and Adjunct Professor in SEEM Dept., I passed Mr. Lester G Huang’s message to Mrs. Fanny LAW FAN (Chairperson, HKSTP) during Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park Limited House Warming on 14th Mar 2018.  After several times communication, we arranged a whole day visit to introduce different achievement of CityU and hoped that more cooperation between HKSTP and CityU in near future.  In the beginning, we took a group photo in the meeting room.

 (Left 1st row: Ms. Cordelia Chung, Prof. Jian Lu (VP (R&T)), Mrs. Fanny Law Fan, Mr. Lester G Huang, Prof. Way Kuo (President), Mr. Billy Wong, Mr. Albert Wong, Mr. Richard Sun;
Left 2nd row: Dr. Lotto Lai, Mr. Spencer Chan, Ms. Claudia Xu, Mr. Simon Wong, Ms. Erica Tse, Mr. Patrick Siu and Ms. Pik Kwan Lee)

Before the meeting, I took a photo with Ir. Patrick Siu (COO, HKSTP) in the venue.

I also took a photo with another colleague Mr. Spencer Chan (Sr. Manager, Business Development, HKSTP).

In the beginning, Mr.Lester Garson Huang (Chairman, The Council of CityU) gave welcome speech.  

President Prof. Way Kuo also gave an opening remark.

Then Prof. Jian Lu (Vice-President (Research & Technology), CityU) gave a talk named “City University of Hong Kong’s Research Performance”.  Firstly, he briefed CityU organization structure including KTO, China Mainland Affairs Office, etc.

Then Prof. Jian Lu introduced CityU’s world ranking rising from 154 in 2006 to 49 in 2018 under QS World University Ranking.  The Top 5 Hong Kong universities ranking in Asia based on QS World University Ranking was showed as following diagram.  According to the 2017 Best Global Universities Ranking published by US News & Report, CityU is ranked 11th in the world in Engineering (HKU: 40th; HKUST:23rd ).  We ranked 1st among HK, Macau & Taiwan.  Based on the same report, our Computer Science is ranked 9th in the world and also ranked 1st among HK, Macau & Taiwan.  

In CityU Strategic Plan 2015-2020, three research challenges were identified as One Health, Digital Society and Smart City.  CityU’s scientific research included Financial management, Advanced materials, Microwave transmission, Optoelectronics, Nanotechnology, Marine environments, Life sciences, Computer mathematics, Creative media and Linguistic science.  UGC research assessment exercise (RAE) 2014 showed that CityU located in number 4 out of 7 institutions in Hong Kong

After that Prof. Jian Lu highlighted some RGC & ITF projects upto HK$300M. 
Research Institutes / Liaison Offices in Mainland China were briefed.

And then Prof Lu briefed Knowledge Transfer Office Status Report in Jun 2017.  I added that I had linked up HKSTP Incubation Program (Incu-App) to CityU Apps Lab since 2014.  Then CityU Innopreneurship Ecosystem Launch Ceremony was held on 23rd Nov 2015 that Mr. Peter Mok (Head of Incubation Program, HKSTP) was invited to be one of their board members. We formed Joint Incubation Programme at that time.  After that Pre-Incubation Programme was launched in March 2017 by CityU and HKSTP offering further support to CityU supported start-ups and student entrepreneurship teams.

For Patents, CityU is ranked number 1 in Hong Kong and we had 319 patents granted plus 434 patents pending by June 2017.  Moreover, CityU led IP Pool Expanision through Institutions with Collaboration Agreement.  Members were showed as follows:
In US: Stanford University, Arizona State University, Cedar Sinai Medical Center & Louisiana State University
In Canada: McMaster University
In Saudi Arabia: KAUST
In Singaport: Intellectual Property Intermediary Singapore (IPI)
In China: Shanghai University
We shared profit for IP licensing and the success factor of IP Pool was Professionals and Experts involvement for integration of IP and Industry.

After introduction of CityU achievement, Prof. Lu mentioned our startup companies from students, faculty members and alumni.  One of unicorn for 3D Sensing, AI, Solutions for Human-Machine Interface was ORBBEC.  Their milestone was stated since 2013.  

Another success knowledge transfer story was Vitargent which formed by PhD graduate in BCH and joined IncuBio Program in HKSTP.  (Remark: I had assisted them to achieve ISO 17025 HOKLAS accreditation to perform the specific tests “Determination of the acute toxicity of waste water to zebrafish eggs (Danio rerio) (ISO 15088:2007)” in 2012.)

Lastly, Mrs. Fanny Law Fan raised some questions such as are we ready too late?  Many research was in upstream.  Do downstream research still perform in Hong Kong?  She said government needed to have a big figure and rethinking our position.  How can government retain people in Hong Kong?  Are they effective?  Mrs. Fanny Law Fan focused on three points below:
i)                    Job creation
ii)                  Develop and increase level of Innovation & Technology in Hong Kong
iii)                Social and Economic Impacts
President suggested to think Great Bay Area as a whole and think about the win-win mechanism for both GBA and Hong Kong. 

At the end of this session, Mr. Lester G Huang presented a gift (CityU pin) to Mrs. Fanny Law Fan for memory.

The first location we visited was Centre of Super-Diamond and Advanced Film (COSDAF).  Prof. CS Lee was director of COSDAF and introduced the researches in this centre.  One of their researches was about Perovskite Solar Cells which was thin film technology and its conversion efficiency upto 19% (World record was 22% in Korea).

Prof. Wenjun Zhang briefed their studies to Mrs. Fanny Law Fan and board members such as synthesis of cBN/Diamond Composite Coatings enhancing cutting performance and Silicon Nanowires-based Anode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries.

One of researches I selected to explain more in here was using nano technologies developed cancer drugs.  Most of cancer drugs were not dissolved in water.  If use oil or nano-participle adhesive the surface of drug, it had side-effect.  So that they developed Self-Assembled Nanodrugs (SANDs).  Their recently method was named Ice-template Assisted Method to develop nano-drugs in the grain boundary of ice.

The first State Key Laboratory we visited was State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution (SKLMP).  

Prof. Paul Lam was director of SKLMP and he briefed the history that CityU as the lead institution to submit a proposal to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China to establish SKLMP in 2007.  The application was approved on 25th Nov 2009.  

Prof. Lam explained different research such as testing of Cigartoxin (雪卡毒素) for large sea fish.  He also told us the investment of SKLMP that 70M (in which 30M is matching fund from CityU) and then extension to use 22M more that totally invested ~1000M in SKLMP for 7 years.  After that ITC supported 2M per year and recently MOST support RMB 1M per year.  

A short break in the CityU Innovation Centre (also CityU Apps Lab).  Prof. Henry Chung and his team introduced their research product related to energy saving to us during the break.  Simon and Billy were very interested in their research in which could apply into building service.  

Prof. Henry Chung was director of Centre for Smart Energy Conversion and Utilization Research (CSCR) and he briefed that CSCR established in Oct 2006 and it focused on the fundamental and applied research in Power Electronics and its applications.  Energy saving and environmentally-friendly solutions for power supply, lighting and manufacturing industries were their key research direction.

Prof. Chung briefed their team had internship and exchange program for students, moreover, they supported students startup under TSSSU funding.  One of success programmes in the Testing Platform at EMSD was Smart Battery Diagnostics Systems in which HKSTP had involved in packaging and systems on chip technology.  

After that we visited the centre and observed their research results and products.

We had lunch in the Alumni Room.  Mrs. Fanny Law Fan, HKSTP CEO and Board members with CityU VPs and Professors were in the Head table.

CXOs of HKSTP and colleagues were in the second table and we took a photo for memory.

The first visit location in afternoon was Centre for Robotics and Automation (CRA) and Prof. Dong Sun (Director of CRA) presented the topic “Multi-Scale Robotics in CityU”. Prof. Sun introduced their researches including Automation for Manufacturing and Logistics, Motion tracking for robot task teaching, Continuum Robot for Micro-surgery, etc.

Another research named Micromanipulation and Microrobotics for Cell Surgery was very interesting.  Finally, Prof. Sun concluded cell surgery robotics was a new theme of medical robotics. Optical, Mechanical and Electromagnetic manipulators were developed for cell surgery robotic system. This kinds of robot would lead to revolutionary medical therapies and achieve long term patient survival.

And then we visited Prof. Sun’s laboratory and his R&D student demonstrate small flying robot to us. 

The next location was Hong Kong Branch of National Precious Metals Material Engineering Research Center (NPMM) and Prof. Jian Lu was the director of NPMM.  

Prof. Jian Lu, who received the 12th Guanghua Engineering Science and Technology Award which is the most prestigious award for engineering and technology achievement in China, introduced different projects included ITF project to HKSTP board members.  

One of famous researches by Prof. Jian Lu was Atomic Structure and Properties of Bulk Metallic Glasses which published in Nature.  One of application of this new material technology was used in sensor technology for Food Safety and Medical/Health to enhance the sensitivity.  

We visied his laboratory and observed 3D ceramic printing technology. 

CityU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Company Ltd (CityU VDL) was subsidiary of the CityU which commenced operations on 4 Dec 2017. Its mission is to provide a comprehensive, timely and accurate veterinary diagnostic service to the veterinarians and researchers of Hong Kong.  

Dr. Fraser Hill (Director, CityU VDL) led us to visit different facilities in Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory such as Histopathology, Specimen Accessioning, Molecular Room, Serology, etc.

Oh! We saw the heard of horse.

We also visited the Post Mortem Room for horse.

After that we had a short break in the State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves (SKLMW).  We took a group photo with Prof. Kwai-Man Luk (4th in Right) and Prof. Chi Hou Chan (2ndin Right) in front of SKLMW for memory.

Prof. Kwai-Man Luk introduced the water antenna to us.  Prof. Luk had been conferred the prestigious IEEE AP-S John Kraus Antenna Award for his contributions to the invention of L-shaped Probe Fed Microstrip Antenna and the Magneto-electric Dipole Antenna for Wireless Communications.

Then Prof. Chi Hou Chan (Director, SKLMW) introduced different antenna test solution. Some of tests needed to use robotic arm in shield room.  Prof. Chan also briefed Terahertz Devices and Spectroscopy including Terahertz measurement, THz beam Scanning Metasurfaces, 3D Printing THz Antennas and Anomalous Diffraction from Metasurfaces, as well as, THz Active and Passive Filter, etc.

The last laboratory to be visited was 3D Atom Probe Tomography Laboratory.  Prof. CT Liu introduced the principles of Atom-probe-tomography (APT) operation principle to us.  The only technique could offering both 3D imaging and quantitative chemical analysis at atomic and nano scales.  Some applications for advanced Structural and Functional Materials were briefed such as steels, superalloys, nano-glass, Ti-Alloys, Ni-based Alloys, etc.

APT was much higher analytical sensitivity than other technologies such as FTIR, XPS, Raman, EDX, FE-AES, TOF-SIMS, etc.  Moreover, it was able to establish 3 D imaging at nanoscale level.  

Prof. Chan’s R&D student demonstrated how to operate APT.  It is the first and only one APT in Hong Kong cost HK$23M and its sample preparation employed FIB for cutting needles that cost HK$6M.  (Remark: University usually had a lot of discount. Actually, it may cost about double price for Industry / Commercial.)

Results of APT image was obtained that showed different elements in atom size distribution.

It was able to transform to 3D diagram.

At the end, Mrs. Fanny Law Fan discussed with Prof. Jian Lu about Innovation and Technology development in Hong Kong.  She focused two key points below:
i)                    National needs & Hong Kong advantage (國家所需, 香港所長.)
ii)                  Hong Kong Becomes International Innovation and Technology Center (香港成為國際創新科技中心)

Prof. Jian Lu introduced that CityU Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). IAS gathered top scientists in the world to contribute in Hong Kong. It could be the Hong Kong Science Laboratory if government supported.  Once enough resource we had, we could gather the top scientist in different field such as Quantum Communication for Naitonal needs.  Mrs. Fanny Law Fan said we needed to visit universities regularly and introduced government new I&T policy such as subsidy of post-doctorate supported their monthly income so as to retain R&D talents in Hong Kong.

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