Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiatives

In the 2016 Policy Address, the Hong Kong Government plans to inject $2B to support applied mid-stream research and another $2B for Technology Venture Fund to enable new startup making use of technology innovations, plus other programmes in Cyberport and Science Park. It is strategically important for the Faculty of Engineering to get prepared for this new opportunity to turn research into impactful applications and foster new ventures to be formed based on innovation and technology in our area of strength in engineering.

Our focus in driving innovation and entrepreneurship culture, education and programmes in 2016-17 will ride strongly on the newly completed Research Student Centre and the innovation space (called “Dream-Lab”) in the Research Student Centre. There are four main areas of development that we want to consolidate what we have started in 2015-16:

1. Further Enhancement of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education

The global economy has been preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution or "Industry 4.0". Closer to Hong Kong, Mainland China is also actively embracing a new era for Chinese manufacturing known as "Made in China 2025". The Faculty of Engineering believes it has a strategic role to play in this global trend. In the proposed remodelling of the undergraduate curricula to be launched in 2018-19, the Faculty will launch a new core course with tentative title "Engineering and Entrepreneurship", which explores the roles of engineers and computer scientists in entrepreneurship in the real world. The course will be compulsory for the common first year BEng students placing emphasis on the dynamic interdisciplinary nature of engineering in the presence of various business constraints, and the global impact of technological entrepreneurship that bring about significant changes in the global landscape and the daily life.

Also, new courses in the area of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) will be introduced on both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. For example, a new course “The Maker Toolbox” (tentative name) will be introduced, modeling after the “How to Make (Almost) Anything” at MIT to foster stronger “Maker Culture” within the faculty. New workshops in MedTech Biodesign, Internet of Everything etc. will be offered to stimulate the innovative dimension of the UG, TPG and RPG students. By the end of 2106-17, a cluster of ICE courses will hopefully be available for all and become an important component of the education process in all levels.

2. Engineering Infrastructure

An innovation and entrepreneurship commons is being established on the mezzanine floor of the research student centre located at G/F, Haking Wong Building, with conference room, 50+ hot desking seats, furniture, high-speed internet, power supply and facilities such as computers and projector, to facilitate both UG and PG engineering students to be engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship activities, and to work on prototypes. The commons gives collaborative workspaces and provides platform for students to meet, assess and build strong working network with students and entrepreneurs with various backgrounds and industries. Students are encouraged to pitch their ideas and turn their ideas into reality. Hence, talks, discussions and programmes on different aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship will be organized for students to boost their creative thinking and groom their entrepreneurship mindset.

3. Network Building for Engineering Entrepreneurs

To develop entrepreneurship, we must treat students as our partner in the endeavor. With the newly formed Engineering Research Student Entrepreneurship Club (ERSEC), the Faculty will assist ERSEC to strengthen our relationship with the startup and entrepreneurship community in town, by building up a network among the engineering entrepreneurs, especially those from HKU.

The Engineering Research Student Entrepreneurship Club (ERSEC) is a student self-initiative platform supported by the Faculty of Engineering. The ERSEC will be a vehicle for students to share innovation and entrepreneurship insights; enrich students with business knowledge; provide opportunities to practice innovation and entrepreneurship skills; interact with entrepreneurs. ERSEC will organize a series of activities, including launch mentorship programme, organize company visits, join inter- and intra- competition, co-work with CEDARS for job fair and hunting for Founders event, and join pre-incubation programme. We work closely with the HKU Alumni Entrepreneurs Club (HKAEC) and other similar entities so that a substantive network can be formed to assist the current and the to-be entrepreneurs in the Faculty.

4. Support to Student Competitions

The Faculty of Engineering will join hands with departments to support undergraduate and postgraduate students to join local, national and international competitions to put their new ideas into test with their counterparts from different countries/regions, and to learn from participants from other countries through bilateral exchange.

Apart from financial support, the Faculty will work with departments to offer training for students registered for various innovation and entrepreneurship competition, and to collaborate with the Technology Transfer Office and the HOUSE (Hub of University Student Entrepreneurs) of CEDARS to offer support to these students. In 2016-17, it is anticipated that engineering students joining the President Cup, HSBC Youth Business Award, Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge, ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, IMechE project design competition and other competitions may receive financial support for taking part in similar competitions in Hong Kong and overseas.

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The Faculty of Engineering is not only a place that nurtures technology inventors and scientific pioneers. We educate and shape leaders.  We prepare global leaders to drive tomorrow’s technologies, to build our society and to advance our world. Welcome to join our PhD/MPhil programme. Read more about HKU, Faculty of Engineering and our Research Postgraduate Programme.