Speech by Ms Michelle Li, JP, Permanent Secretary for Education
Saint Francis Prize in Techno-Humanities 2022
Prize Presentation Ceremony
5 January 2022 (Wednesday)
Bishop Stephen Chow, Dr Denis Chang, Reverend Joseph Yim, Dr Kim Mak, Professor Anthony Cheung, distinguished guests, award winners, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. It is my honour to join you today at the presentation ceremony for the inaugural Saint Francis Prize in Techno-Humanities. The Prize is the first of its kind not only locally but also internationally, giving due recognition to individuals and teams that have successfully channelled technological development into the study of humanities.
Indeed, the accelerating Fourth Industrial Revolution, propelled by the advent of innovation and technology, is rapidly changing the landscape and fabric of our human society. The boundaries between STEM and arts and humanities are intertwined, and the potential for inter-disciplinary studies and research is enormous. Building on the rapid development of innovative technology and its extensive range of applications, techno-humanities has emerged as a distinctive field of study that marries technological advancements with scholarly pursuits in arts and culture. Despite the young history and sprawling frontiers of the field, its inter-disciplinary approach opens the door to more impactful discoveries and deliverables from humanities research, and promises long-term benefits for humanity as a whole.
It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Professor Feng Zhiwei (馮志偉教授), our first Saint Francis Prize recipient, for his remarkable achievements and immense contributions to the advance of translation technology. While machine translation has been widely adopted, the outputs so derived still require a human touch before they are coherently presentable. This has given rise to the discipline of post-editing machine-generated translations. The Machine Translation Post-editing Competition co-organised by the Caritas Institute of Higher Education and Huawei, which stresses the human factor in machine translation, helps bring the importance of corresponding training into sharp focus. I also express my deepest appreciation for the first two cohorts of winners of the competition for not only their well-honed skills but also their leadership and readiness in embracing technological advancement in driving changes in their respective fields. The award winners’ and contributions are making a real difference in improving the quality of our everyday life.
I also applaud the visionary leadership of the Caritas Institute of Higher Education in spearheading and promoting the development of techno-humanities. As one of the dynamic self-financing post-secondary colleges, the Institute has flexible modes of operation, and can swiftly adapt to ever-changing market needs and complement the offerings of publicly-funded institutions. The Institute has demonstrated remarkable leadership in venturing into the niche area of techno-humanities, forging partnership with stakeholders of related industries, and promoting Hong Kong as a hub in this emerging field.
The Government has all along been supporting the parallel development of the self-financing and publicly-funded post-secondary education sectors. With better strategic co-ordination, self-financing institutions are in a great position to leverage their distinct advantages in serving the community. I am pleased to note that the Techno-Humanities Research Centre is established with funding from the Institutional Development Scheme under the Competitive Research Funding Schemes for the Local Self-financing Degree Sector. Going forward, the Government will continue to support the healthy and sustainable development of the sector. The recently launched Enhancement and Start-up Grant Scheme for Self-financing Post-secondary Education is another example of our endeavours. We encourage self-financing institutions to make the best use of these resources and develop stronger ties with industry partners with a view to providing quality post-secondary education and nurturing talent that meets the evolving needs of the community.
My heartfelt congratulations once again go to Professor Feng and other award winners. I wish the conference a resounding success. Taking this opportunity, may I also wish you all a very fruitful 2022 as well as good health, vibrancy and prosperity in the Year of the Tiger! Thank you.