The University of Hong Kong Zhejiang Institute of Research and Innovation

Director’s Message


HKU-ZIRI is a tactical initiative of the University of Hong Kong for through-value development of research-innovation-enterprise in a strategic location in mainland China.

The institute provides a platform for translational research and collaboration with industry in five strategic themes, namely, smart materials, alternative energy, sustainable energy, biomedical interfaces, and advanced manufacturing. It serves as an innovation node to transform results from research laboratories to intellectual property that drives the knowledge-based economy. It bridges the gap between typical academic research in the universities and corporate R&D in the industry and business.

Translational research is midstream research that connects knowledge from basic science, engineering and biomedicine to capability and knowhow that eventually drive technological revolution, economic growth, community advancement, and very importantly, well-being of people. It is practised across all fields, covering all fundamental disciplines. Taking healthcare as an example, it is no longer driven by biomedical or medical science alone, but the outcomes of innovative and smart integration of sciences, engineering, social sciences and so forth. Environmental science is another example. It may be viewed as an innovative outcome of education, architecture, sciences and engineering, and the likes.

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Applying knowledge from basic science is often not straightforward. It has to free itself from the conventional compartmental approach to science learning and research. It requires both insights from overview and knowledge from specialisation. The focus shifts from the bottom to top. Sometimes, the solution has to seek out for problems. Hence, translational research is seen as a key component to finding practical applications, integrating efforts from bench to bedside then further onto business (the B2B2B approach).

Thriving on multi-disciplinary collaboration and motivated by outcomes, translational research cuts horizontally across disciplines but vertically down at tackling specific challenges. HKU-ZIRI aims to bring the research outcomes from its laboratories to the public through integration and interaction with relevant business endeavours, leveraging off a university and industry collaboration resource network. The target is to establish and enhance the technological or commercial value of products and services through innovation value-add. The institute therefore places innovation value and the associated talent development at its highest agenda.

This pursuit of innovation is based on collaboration with the public and private communities. HKU-ZIRI therefore welcomes different forms of partnership. For example, it welcomes collaboration with academic institutions in fundamental areas, driving at high-quality publications. It also works with industry companies in solving specific bottle-neck problems in process or product development. It is comfortable to be a research centre in an open innovation network whereby large MNCs are incubating their next-generation services and products at HKU-ZIRI.

HKU-ZIRI is an integral part of the research of HKU, except that it is located in Zhejiang, an area rich in resources and a region fuelled by enterprise development. Under the five themes, the research laboratories are multidisciplinary in nature. The research agenda are dictated not by the research institute alone, but by the needs of the community and challenges of the society. The success of HKU-ZIRI is measured not only by its publications and IP outputs, but very importantly, the value it delivers to its community and society. HKU-ZIRI adopts and follows strictly the safety, health and environment standard strictly required by The University of Hong Kong. It inherits the strengths of the University in its system planning, people development, and IP management. Fully managed by HKU, HKU-ZIRI values quality and impact in all its endeavours. It upholds research integrity and responsible conduct at their highest level. Collaboration, in different forms, is mechanism adopted by HKU-ZIRI to ensure sustainability. We welcome collaborators and partners to participate in this exciting venture. We look forward to your ideas and proposals. Our partners come from both public and private sectors. We are ready to tailor-make models to collaborate with different MNCs, SMEs and start-ups. We welcome venture capital professionals to work with us to invest in the future. We are here, in central China, because of the community we are in.

Professor Andy Hor


Professor Andy Hor

  • Vice President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor(Research),
    The University of Hong Kong
  • Director, The HKU-Zhejiang Institute of Research and Innovation