Award Presentation Ceremony of Research Grants Council
on 11 November 2021
Speech by Mr Kevin Yeung, JP
Secretary for Education
Professor Wong (Chairman of the Research Grants Council), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It is my great pleasure to join the Research Grants Council (RGC) today to celebrate the excellent research achievements of our outstanding researchers.
Let me first offer my warmest congratulations to the ten awardees each of the RGC Senior Research Fellow Scheme and RGC Research Fellow Scheme this year. Their cutting-edge research projects offer innovative solutions that bring substantial benefits to our society, as well as significant and positive changes to our lives. I am delighted to note that the respective selection panels of the two Fellowships are impressed by the excellent research outputs, strong track records, remarkable leadership and global vision in their respective areas of research. The fellows are also commended on their mentoring success and well-formulated engagement plan to nurture the next generation of our research talents with their Fellowships. Their exceptional achievements fully deserve the distinguished awards.
We are also here to honour a group of stellar researchers who are receiving the Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowships and the Early Career Awards, who are the latest addition to a distinguished group of more than 160 award recipients under the two schemes, each of whom are outstanding academics who excel in their fields of study with impactful research, bringing positive changes to our culture, economy, environment and public health.
Our heartfelt congratulations also go to the rising research talents receiving the RGC Postdoctoral Fellowship today. The selection panels are extremely pleased with their research potential, high aspiration and ambitious research goals, which reflects the great potential of Hong Kong’s research scene in the years to come. I look forward to these fellows progressing along their successful research career paths and becoming the next generation of leading academic researchers for Hong Kong and the region.
I am confident that the awardees will continue their contribution to Hong Kong’s academic research field and bring about impact for Hong Kong’s long-term development and aspiration to be a world leader in innovation and technology. Echoing the emphasis of the 14th Five-Year Plan on frontier fields such as life and health disciplines, I would count on our awardees to conduct relevant research in meeting the community’s needs, and to inspire our next generations to join the research community. As academic research and scientific discoveries go beyond boundaries, I am confident that we together will succeed in turning Hong Kong into a global research hub with more scientific breakthroughs and new knowledge for the betterment of the mankind.
To this end, the Hong Kong SAR Government strives to propel research excellence and maintain Hong Kong’s remarkable success in the global research arena. Supporting quality and impactful research in our higher education sector has been, and remains to be, one of our top priorities for the higher education sector. Further to injecting $20 billion into the Research Endowment Fund in September 2019, the Chief Executive has announced in her 2021 Policy Address the new initiatives which have continued to demonstrate the Government’s tireless efforts and commitment to supporting research development in Hong Kong, which include the relaxation of the over-enrolment ceiling of University Grants Committee-funded research postgraduate students from 70 per cent to 100 per cent; as well as the extension of operation period of the $3-billion Research Matching Grant Scheme to continue encouraging the industrial and commercial sectors to provide support for research activities in our universities.
I am most pleased that the Government’s commitment to driving research excellence in our universities has produced impressive results. We are proud to note from the results of the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 that our acclaimed researchers have scaled new heights, as 70 per cent of the research submissions have been rated as internationally excellent or world-leading. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my wholehearted gratitude to the RGC under Professor Wong’s capable leadership for supporting the Government in managing various research funding schemes which play a crucial role in driving Hong Kong’s research excellence.
Lastly, I am delighted to meet the university leaders and distinguished scholars in person this afternoon, particularly so when full physical ceremonies in the past two years were not possible. With the invaluable contribution of our distinguished researchers, let us continue to keep the pandemic at bay and let our lives return to normal the soonest, so that we would have more of these occasions to get together and give our research community their due recognition – in full scale and without our face masks.