FOSTERING DEEP-TECH INNOVATION FOR AN INTERNET-OF-EVERYTHING (IOE) WORLD
Atom Semiconductor [“Atom”] was one beneficiary of HKUST’s long-term support for “technopreneurship” – the integration of Deep-Tech with entrepreneurship. Founded by Professor George YUAN, the company received support from KT units in terms of technology Incubation through guidance on and protection of IP, lining up collaborative and investment opportunities, provision of information on market needs to assist business development and marketing plans and the building of funding support to develop the technologies further. Among these efforts, E-Fund successfully brought Atom to the attention of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, which invested HK$109 million to become the young firm’s angel co-investor along with E-Fund
BALANCING START-UP COMMERCIAL GOALS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
To balance start-up commercial goals and social responsibility, the University was keen on supporting Breer, a student start-up, to pursue its creative commercialization goals along with its aspiration to protect the environment. Through participating in MentorHUB@HKUST Scheme, HKUST-Sino One-Million-Dollar, and teaming up with Jardine Restaurant Group’s Pizza Hut and collaborating with Maxim’s Group via the HKUST long-established industry network, Breer managed to turn nearly 1,700 tonnes of bread into craft beer. By June 2022, this student start-up had already sold 15,000 units of its own product and 13,000 units of the collaborated product.
MOVING BREAKTHROUGHS FROM CONCEPT TO COMMERCIALIZATION TO BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY
Throughout the reporting year, the nanofilm technology project of Professor GAO Ping could most represent the all-rounded support of HKUST’s lab-to-market journey. KT units provided aid to the commercialization of the nanofilm technology from the protection of IP and development of effective patent filing strategies, to bridging the gap early stages of commercialization via providing funding and technology incubation settings for bed-testing, then boosting the innovation and entrepreneurship development by facilitating the building up of professional teams and skill, as well as the attraction and application of funding support. The technology founded two start-ups, namely PointFit and GP Nano, both on their way to seeking success by utilizing the multifunctional polymer nanofilm technology.
PARTNERING WITH INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES
HKUST’s support for translational activity went beyond founding young companies but also the fast track to society via collaboration with industry and the Government. Professor King Lun YEUNG’s anti-virus coating technology entered community via Chiaphua Industries Limited [“CIL”], and immediately fought COVID for the public with the brand name GERMAGIC™. At the same time, his MalOdor-Control hydrogel [“MOC”] and Anti-Microbial hydrogel [“AMGel”] helped improve the quality of life of the city directly by partnering with the Drainage Services Department and the Housing Authority. Teaming up with CIL and the Government projects showcased the University’s enthusiasm and capacity to contribute to society through developed KT connections.
SPEEDING UP KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER WITH DIRECT SOCIAL IMPACT
Besides technology transfer activities that could generate commercial impacts via improving quality of life, HKUST also set its footprint on the athletic world via the aerodynamic research by Professor ZHANG Xin. The knowledge was brought from the lab to sports events through optimizing competition factors and enriching performance insights for Hong Kong’s elite athletes, showcasing the University’s strength towards the world during top competitions like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ultimately boosting Hong Kong citizen’s enthusiasm towards engineering technology and R&D activities.