Speeches and Presentations

SCED's speech at Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme Award Presentation Ceremony (English only)

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 16):

Bernard (Chairman, Awardee Selection Committee, Mr Bernard Chan), Raymond (Group General Manager, Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific, HSBC, Mr Raymond Cheng), Roland (Chairman, Award Scheme Administration Committee, Professor Roland Chin), Lester (Council Member, Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Mr Lester Huang), awardees, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

I am most pleased to join the award presentation ceremony of the Innovation and Technology Scholarship again this year. Nothing delights me more than meeting our talented younger generation of Hong Kong, learning about their passion and dreams, and seeing their efforts being recognised. My warmest congratulations to all the awardees.

In this knowledge-based and very competitive era, innovation and technology (I&T) is the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress. The Government attaches great importance to I&T as a crucial component of the long-term development of our economy. We need top-class talents like our awardees to sustain the development of Hong Kong and drive our future.

Here in Hong Kong, we have an impressive list of attributes that are crucial to I&T. This includes our strong higher education sector, excellent infrastructure, open and free market policies, free flow of information and capital, low tax rate, sound legal system including a good regime for intellectual property protection, and of course our location at the heart of the Pearl River Delta region.

Over the past decade, Hong Kong's innovation ecosystem has been growing in a healthy manner, and there are more opportunities for our talented young people in the science, technology and engineering fields. The public are also increasingly aware of the importance and relevance of I&T to Hong Kong.

The I&T Scholarship Award Scheme encourages students in their pursuit of I&T and opens them up to opportunities and connections for pursuing an I&T career. Since it was launched in 2011, the Scheme has nurtured more than 70 students and witnessed their growth. We could not have achieved this without the hard work of our mentors, who have been giving guidance and advice to our awardees. Some mentors have shared with us their thoughts about the Scheme as well as words of encouragement for all awardees. Let me share some with you:

(i) Professor Timothy Tong, President of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, wrote, "As an educator, I am excited to see my mentees grow and help them achieve excellence in their chosen fields. I even envy them for being awarded a scholarship of up to HK$150,000 to participate in various programmes ... They have all impressed me with their distinctive qualities and enthusiasm in learning. I have high hopes that they will be outstanding leaders, and I sincerely wish they will make a contribution to the sustainable development of our society. If I were young as my mentees, I would definitely apply for this scheme myself!" This is really a strong endorsement of the I&T Scholarship Award Scheme. Indeed, a similar view was shared by Professor Tony Chan, President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, who also wished he had such a scheme when he was a student.

(ii) Professor Vincent Chan, Joan and Irwin Jacobs Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of MIT, found his mentees to be very interesting people, with beautiful and lofty dreams about their future. Their enthusiasm helped fan the flame of his own visions. Their interactions were immensely enjoyable and his mentees made him feel young again! Dr Stephen Tai, Chairman of Four Seas Mercantile Holdings Ltd, considered that being a mentor is full of excitement. Seeing the world through younger eyes kept him busy, energetic and more creative. He encouraged our awardees and mentees to adopt a positive, persistent and hardworking attitude, which could always yield good results.

Our awardees are indeed privileged because they could interact directly with our heavyweight mentors, who are always ready to share with them their experience in life with unreserved enthusiasm. A big thank-you to all of our mentors for the time, thoughts and efforts that they have put into this Scheme.

I would also like 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, organisations participating in our internship programme as well as all other friends who have helped make this Scheme possible.

Once again, I congratulate all the awardees on their outstanding achievement. Getting the scholarship is but a start. The overseas attachment and the mentorship programme that follow will be a precious, once-in-a-lifetime experience which you should all treasure. I encourage you to make the best use of these opportunities to widen your horizons, and crystalise your aspirations in life. Remember: You who are young are our trustees of the future of innovation. I am confident that what we have entrusted to you today shall return with a very fruitful dividend.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Issued at HKT 15:32