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Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

Hong Kong Science Fair showcases youth innovation and creativity

The pandemic and its associated preventive measures in social distancing and travel restrictions have revolutionized the way we go about our daily lives. In Hong Kong, as in other parts of the world, people have made a significant shift towards utilizing online platforms, while businesses and society at large have responded in turn.
While nobody could have predicted the onset of the pandemic and the changes it has brought, the Hong Kong SAR government has kept abreast of global megatrends, and has, in recent years, implemented more support policies and allocated increased resources to developing Hong Kong into an international innovation hub, as it capitalizes on its many favorable factors such as a simple and low tax system, intellectual property protection, its free port status, excellent geographical location and a sound legal system.

It is in this context that the Hong Kong Innovation Foundation (HKIF) has conceptualized the inauguration of the Hong Kong Science Fair - one of the largest innovation and technology extravaganzas in the region. Themed ‘Think Big Be Innovative’, the event is designed to arouse youth’s interest in science and technology from an earlier stage, and is also a great way to encourage more young people to pick up science in their development roadmap for the future.

Mr Daryl Ng, Chairman of the Hong Kong Innovation Foundation says, ‘We believe in nurturing I&T talent from a young age. Organising the first Hong Kong Science Fair to provide a platform for students to showcase their innovations and encourage schools, teachers and students to unleash their creativity together, in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, is our great pleasure. It is vital to give young HKers hope for the future, which in turn is very important in supporting Hong Kong’s growth as an international innovation and technology hub.’

Dr George Lam, former Chairman of Hong Kong Cyberport and member of the Judging Panel of Hong Kong Science Fair, notes that apart from the lead and support from the government, there has been close cooperation among various sectors of society, including industry, universities and research institutes. “As an integral part and the international gateway of the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong stands to benefit from this fast-growing market for innovation-driven industries as well as its plentiful supply of talents,” he adds. “Therefore, the Fair couldn’t have happened at a more poignant juncture as part of our concerted effort to be at the forefront of global competitiveness.”

Ir Andrew Young, Associate Director (Innovation) at Sino Group, describes the role of HKIF as a facilitator in this Science Fair. “We encourage teams from schools to come up with project ideas and submit a proposal to us. A distinguished judging panel comprising scientists, academia and industrialists would then assess their work,” he explains. “We sincerely hope that the Science Fair will become a recurrent event to stimulate the community’s interest in this field.”

The inaugural Hong Kong Science Fair has received more than 400 project submissions from over 1,200 Primary 4 to Secondary students across 140 local schools, covering a wide range of topics, from ‘Smart City & Smart Home’ and ‘Medical & Healthcare’ to ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Life Full of Surprises’. After rigorous vetting by the judging panel, 120 submissions were shortlisted to participate in the Science Fair.

Winners of the Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary divisions will be announced at the Science Fair, while on-site visitors will be able to vote for their favorite projects to win the ‘Most Popular Award’.

Professor Wei Shyy, President of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and member of the Judging Panel of the Fair, notes that despite their young age, the participants have come up with some very novel ideas. “One factor that we look out for is that their submission should be relevant to the local environment,” he adds.

“Innovation is basically a journey, so whether our young entrants win any prize at the Fair is immaterial,” Shyy remarks. “It’s important, however, that they remain confident and maintain an entrepreneurial spirit which will stand them in good stead in their future studies and career.”

Young believes that talent is the key to Hong Kong’s innovation and technology development, “We have been nurturing talents within the universities, but in order to develop the younger generation’s interest in technology, we have to orientate their vision from a science angle as science is the foundation of knowledge,” Young elaborates. “Without a basic training in science, students cannot reach a tertiary level of competence.”

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