Scotland and Hong Kong to share research expertise


First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed a new agreement that will see university researchers in Scotland and Hong Kong share cutting-edge expertise in life sciences and energy.

The First Minister witnessed the signing of a framework agreement in Hong Kong between the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to bring teams from higher education institutes in both areas together and explore innovative new ways of working together.

Mr Salmond said the agreement would allow the world-leading Scottish research sector to share knowledge in a key overseas investment market, building on Scotland’s reputation for innovation and excellence in the life sciences and energy sectors.

The agreement was signed on the fourth day of the First Minister’s trade mission to China, which has already seen the signing of Sino-Scottish partnership deals worth £40 million and an agreement for Heriot Watt to become Scotland’s fifth Confucius Institute, focused on Chinese business and communication.

Speaking from Hong Kong the First Minister said:

“Scotland is home to some of the best universities in the world, and is at the forefront of higher education when it comes to research, with more citations per head of population that anywhere else in the world.

“I am delighted that today’s agreement will bring the benefits of Scotland’s world-leading reputation for excellence in higher education to Hong Kong. It sends a clear message that Scotland and Hong Kong are working closely together, with life sciences and energy industries being examples of two industries that stand to gain from our close partnership.

“The framework agreement is part of Scotland’s strategy to widen and deepen our links, share our expertise and develop new partnerships with Hong Kong as we both seek to promote sustainable economic growth.

“It will allow researchers from Scottish universities to work with their counterparts in a key overseas investment market, building on Scotland’s reputation for excellence in innovation in sectors such as life sciences and energy.”

The signing of the agreement was also witnessed by Mr Eddie Ng, Hak-Kim, Secretary for Education in Hong Kong who encouraged the development of joint academic research, he said:

“We are committed to supporting academic research in the Higher Education sector. The Research Endowment Fund, set up in 2009, has provided long-term funding stability support to all the RGC activities. This is the Government’s recognition of the excellent research work undertaken by academics and their students in the higher education sector.”

Signing the deal on behalf the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, Professor Benjamin Wah said:

“It has been a major mission of the Research Grants Council to promote research collaboration and exchanges between academics in Hong Kong and other regions through the implementation of Joint Research Schemes”

Chief Executive of the SFC, Laurence Howells added:

“Collaboration between universities to accelerate progress in research has been a great success for Scotland. Today’s agreement with the RGC builds on that success. It will give Scotland’s next generation of research leaders some wonderful new opportunities and will further enhance the reputation of Scottish university research.”