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New partnership with Hong Kong University established

6 September 2016
The University of Sydney and the University of Hong Kong forge strategic partnership to tackle global challenges

The University of Sydney and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) sealed a partnership on 6 September to foster greater collaboration in research, teaching and learning, and knowledge exchange.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence (left) and HKU President Professor Peter Mathieson sign the agreement.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence (left) and HKU President Professor Peter Mathieson sign the agreement.

A delegation from the University of Sydney travelled to Hong Kong for the partnership signing, including Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) Professor Katherine Belov, Director of the China Studies Centre Professor Jeffrey Riegel, and two academics with existing research collaborations with HKU – Head of School of Electrical and Information Engineering Professor Joe Dong, and Professor Nicole Gurran from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning.

"This new partnership demonstrates the University of Sydney's dedication to creating alliances with global partners that align with our strategic objectives and have complementary research strengths. We are excited by this opportunity to forge new pathways for academic collaboration, mobility and innovation in Hong Kong," said Professor Belov.

The Main Building on the HKU Main Campus. Image: courtesy Hong Kong University.

The Main Building on Hong Kong University's Main Campus. Image: courtesy Hong Kong University.

"Strategic partnership is an effective means to position top world universities within the global knowledge node to deliver greater societal impact and to secure greater visibility and recognition," said HKU Vice President and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Global) Professor W. John Kao.

Collaborations between HKU and the University of Sydney

The partnership agreement follows many years of active academic collaboration and student exchange between HKU and the University of Sydney. The institutions have published more than 350 joint research papers since 2011, with key areas of collaboration including:

  • Electrical engineering: Professor Joe Dong and Dr Gregor Verbic from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies are currently carrying out research with HKU in energy systems, in particular to develop methodologies to enable more renewable energy generation into the power grid. One of their collaborators at HKU is Professor David Hill, who has a long affiliation with the University of Sydney's School of Electrical and Information Engineering.
  • Pharmacy: Professor Kim Chan from the Faculty of Pharmacy has collaborated with his contemporaries at HKU on the formulation and delivery of drugs as inhalation aerosols to the lungs. They have two major focuses – one on the fundamental aspects of aerosol technology; and the other on respiratory infections such as tuberculosis.
  • Urban planning: Professor Nicole Gurran from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning has researched comparative housing and planning with partners from other universities around the globe, including HKU. Together, the collaborators recently published the book Politics, Planning and Housing Supply in Australia, England and Hong Kong.

Additionally, the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science has a current student exchange agreement with HKU. Read more about the University's links with HKU.

The University of Sydney has a long history of collaborative engagement with Hong Kong University, which has provided many of our academics and students with engaging and meaningful experiences over the years.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence

New funding for collaborative research and teaching

Capitalising on this solid foundation, the institutions also launched a joint Global Strategic Partnership Fund to support emerging areas of collaboration. This fund will support multilateral and cross-institutional partnerships, greater opportunities for academic and student mobility, joint conferences, workshops and academic visits, and will establish stronger ties with the public and the private sectors in both nations.

The new agreement also paves the way for co-led projects that address global issues identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including urbanisation, healthy ageing, biomedical engineering, translational medicine, food and water safety, and transcultural studies.

Welcoming the partnership, University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said: "The University of Sydney has a long history of collaborative engagement with Hong Kong University, which has provided many of our academics and students with engaging and meaningful experiences over the years. This new partnership demonstrates how highly we value this relationship, and how much we look forward to strengthening it to achieve even greater mutual benefits."

Highlighting the strategic importance of the partnership for HKU, President Professor Peter Mathieson said: "The University of Sydney has already demonstrated its commitment to Hong Kong and we have many pre-existing links. Vice-Chancellor Spence and I share the vision of much wider collaboration between our universities, and this new agreement is the result. We will aim for complementary activities in teaching and learning and in research which will build on the existing strengths of the two universities and make us stronger together."

A strategic approach to global engagement

The new partnership is the first signed since the release of the University of Sydney's 2016-20 Strategic Plan, which highlighted the University’s commitment to developing a focused approach to global engagement.

"Over the 2016-20 period we hope to sign between 15 and 20 agreements with leading universities around the world. Our aim is to link up with like-minded, high quality universities that share our ambitions and have complementary strengths – including, those partnerships that best align with our multidisciplinary agendas in public health, nanoscale science and technology, brain and mind science, and strategies for engaging with China and Southeast Asia," said Professor Belov.

Director of the China Studies Centre Professor Jeffrey Riegel said the new partnership with HKU reflected the University of Sydney's determination to deepen and strengthen its relationship with the best universities in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China's mainland.

"China's mainland, the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, and Taiwan are all part of a priority region of the utmost importance for the University of Sydney. This new commitment to ongoing collaboration with HKU reflects our broader aim to be the university-of-choice for international study and research collaborations in all these diverse parts of 'Greater China'," he said.

A group photo from the signing event at Hong Kong University.

The partnership signing event at Hong Kong University. From left to right: Professor David John Hill (HKU); Professor Jeffrey Riegel (University of Sydney); Professor Norman Tien (HKU); Professor Nicole Gurran (University of Sydney); Professor Chris Webster (HKU); Professor Derek Collins (HKU); Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence (University of Sydney) ; Ms Janaline Oh, Acting Consul-General of Australian Consulate-General of Hong Kong; Professor Peter Mathieson (HKU); Professor Katherine Belov (University of Sydney); Professor John Kao (HKU); Ms. Wendy Haydon (Australian Trade Commission); Dr Jenny Lam (HKU); Ms Eve Ching (Australian Trade Commission); and Professor Joe Dong (University of Sydney).