SDG9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
HKU works to enhance scientific research and upgrade the technological capabilities of wider society through a variety of courses and initiatives. Undergraduate courses related to innovation and development include the Faculty of Business and Economics’ Major in Business Design and Innovation and the Common Core course The Cybersocieties: Understanding Technology as Global Change.
The Versitech Commercialization Fund aims to increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of HKU inventions by building prototypes and acquiring data for commercialization. Most HKU inventors are eligible and will receive guided support to help them to technical maturity should they receive the grant. The Faculty of Law has spearheaded the Law, Innovation, Technovation and Entrepreneurship (LITE) Lab to explore emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain and their interplay with law.
Teaching & Research
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To encourage innovation beyond the HKU student body, in 2018 the Faculty of Law launched the Introduction to FinTech MOOC. The course has over 32,000 online learners from 198 countries who engage in knowledge exchange with practitioners from financial services, legal, technology industry and other disciplines. Two more MOOCs are coming soon, namely FinTech Ethics and Risks and Blockchain and FinTech led by the Faculty of Business and Economics and the Faculty of Engineering, respectively.
The Department of Civil Engineering is leading research on a way to provide quality affordable housing which can help ease the housing shortage in Hong Kong and give more equitable access to the market. Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) allows the majority of parts of a building to be built off-site and then assembled on-site where excavation and piling have already taken place. Buildings are built in a modular form in factories and plumbing as well as lifts and staircases are already built before they reach the final construction site. MiC has already been implemented in several buildings in Hong Kong where components are built in places with lower labour costs. This process also reduces waste, increases safety for workers, and reduces construction time. The cost and time savings generated by MiC can be part of the solution to providing affordable housing in Hong Kong.
Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) design | Photo Credit: China International Marine Containers (Group) Co., Ltd., Dragages Singapore Ltd., Tide Construction Ltd. and Atlantic Modular System Ltd (from left)
The Faculty of Law was awarded HK$4.3 million in 2018 for a comprehensive study of FinTech regulation. As the financial industry continues to evolve and pair more closely with technology, existing laws become inadequate to regulate the current situation. Professor Arner’s research will help regulators and policymakers make sure the financial and legal systems work to encourage innovation and ensure smooth development.
HKU’s Information Technology Services (ITS) continually identifies ways to improve resource efficiency, reduce environmental footprint, and upgrade technological capabilities in the campus operations.
A variety of mobile apps were developed to modernize professional services at the University. The Shuttle Bus Tracking app uses Location Based Service to allow users to track the location and movements of University shuttle busses. The uPrint app, launched in 2018, allows users to purchase printing credits from their phones, significantly increasing convenience.
In order to reduce the burden of departmental IT staff, ITS launched centrally managed Virtual Personal Computers (VPCs) in 2018. The VPCs can meet the needs of most departmental staff and can be managed remotely by ITS staff. VPCs are also more environmentally friendly as they consume less energy. To combat the high energy use of servers and other computer equipment, server virtualisation is deployed, saving a total of 171,000 KVA from 2017 to 2019.
ITS also offers regular computer training courses and workshops throughout the year to familiarise students and staff with IT services. Over the two-year period from 2017 to 2019, more than 5,500 students and staff have benefited from such training.