Presidents of leading universities in Hong Kong and Macao have called for interdisciplinary programs to be introduced to help enhance students’ innovative capability, and better equip them for innovation and technology development in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Addressing a Bay Area-themed forum on Thursday, Zhang Xiang, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, stressed the importance of higher education in cultivating innovative talents for I&T development in the 11-city cluster.
Students’ creativity and their capability to innovate not only comes from knowledge they develop from pure science and technology courses, but also from subjects like art or philosophy
president and vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong
He said students’ creativity and their capability to innovate not only comes from knowledge they develop from pure science and technology courses, but also from subjects like art or philosophy.
It’s critical to integrate these two categories to strengthen students’ innovative thinking, Zhang said, adding that such interdisciplinary programs will become more trending as technology evolves.
He said HKU is promoting its interdisciplinary undergraduate degrees in six majors, combined with Bachelor of Arts and Sciences, to nurture interdisciplinary talents. These include design, financial technology and applied artificial intelligence.
Song Yonghua -- rector of the University of Macau (UOM) – agreed, saying the university has opened a new interdisciplinary program in big data in the 2019/20 academic year, covering knowledge in various sectors, including data analysis, fintech and marketing.
The move is aimed at breaking down barriers that different disciplines have on the application of big data.
Song said the UOM is also trying to boost cooperation with universities in Shenzhen and Guangzhou in promoting higher education in the western Bay Area.
Wong Yuk-shan – president of the Open University of Hong Kong – also concurred that interdisciplinary studies are important.
He suggested that in order to promote I&T development and the industrial application of scientific research achievements, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government needs to encourage local universities to allow some professors and researchers to join in applied science research.
Currently, professors’ performance and benefits are linked to their achievements in basic science research, said Wong.
He also urged the HKSAR government to lure Shenzhen-based technology giants like Tencent Holdings and Huawei Technologies to set up research centers in Hong Kong to facilitate the industrialization of sci-tech achievements in the SAR.
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