Speeches and Presentations

SCED's speech at Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme Award Presentation Ceremony

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme Award Presentation Ceremony today (April 17):

Bernard (Chairman of the Awardee Selection Committee of the Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme, Mr Bernard Chan), Christopher (Managing Director, Head of Private Wealth Solutions, North Asia of HSBC Private Bank, Mr Christopher Marquis), Roland (Chairman of the Administration Committee of the Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme, Professor Roland Chin), Rosanna (Executive Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Dr Rosanna Wong), award recipients, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

First and foremost, my congratulations to our award recipients! Your achievements make your parents, professors and universities proud.

You are among Hong Kong's best and brightest. You have personally chosen a path in innovation and technology and have been selected for this prestigious scholarship scheme. The greatest challenge in receiving a reward like this is to avoid the temptation to be complacent, assuming that the road ahead will be easier. Professor Bruce Beutler, the Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine for 2011, and Professor Dennis Lo, who are with us today, would agree with me that the journey in technology is extremely challenging.

Many of today's problems are complex and require diverse skills drawn from various disciplines. You will be well placed for success if you can connect and collaborate with experts from other areas in business, law and even humanities. I encourage you to acquire knowledge not only in your own fields, but also in a wide spectrum of disciplines. So I would implore you to be open-minded about new ideas, and be inquisitive on almost everything.

The Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme represents a tripartite partnership. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt gratitude to HSBC for its generous sponsorship, and the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups for its staunch support in organising the Scheme. My special thanks also go to the Awardee Selection Committee chaired by Mr Bernard Chan, the Award Scheme Administration Committee chaired by Professor Roland Chin, all mentors, organisations participating in our internship programme as well as friends who have made this Scheme possible.

I urge our award recipients this year to take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue your science dream. In the past two years, the Scheme identified, nurtured and developed 50 outstanding students. We have received extremely positive feedback.

- Our 2011 award recipient, Tsz Him, spent four months at UC Berkeley under the sponsorship of the Scheme. As a huge fan of physics, Tsz Him was given the chance to participate in cutting-edge projects and exposed to state-of-the-art technologies. He is now even more passionate with the subject and has decided to pursue a PhD.

- For Emily, who is also a 2011 award recipient and a civil engineering student, we invited Mr Wai Chi-sing, the Permanent Secretary for Development, to be her mentor. Apart from offering Emily advice about life and work, Mr Wai also arranged a one-stop internship scheme for her so that she could get a fantastic taste of what it is like to work in various government works departments, such as the Highways Department, Drainage Services Department and the Heritage, Programme and Resources Division of the Development Bureau. I know that Emily was given a rare chance to inspect Tsing Ma Bridge from the top of the bridge tower, which is about 200 metres above sea level. I must stress that adequate safety precautions were in place!

- Steven, who is a medical student and a 2012 award recipient, is so fortunate to have Professor Bruce Beutler to be his mentor. Professor Beutler challenged Steven to consider pursuing basic research which, he emphasised, is a very competitive field that requires one to be extremely focused.

Like Tsz Him, Emily and Steven, new award recipients here today have the golden opportunity to equip themselves.

It is up to you to make it a success. Be it pursuing your postgraduate degrees at top graduate schools, publishing in high-impact international journals, or distinguishing yourselves as leaders in academia and industry - each milestone and achievement will reward you with the immense satisfaction of knowing that you have achieved a key milestone of your dream.

Remember, as Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it!"

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013