HKUST Holds Inauguration Ceremony for its First New Cornerstone Science Laboratory

2024-03-15
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A group photo of HKUST President Prof. Nancy IP (sixth left), HKUST Vice-President for Institutional Advancement Prof. WANG Yang (fourth left), HKUST Vice-President for Research and Development Prof. Tim CHENG (third left), HKUST Dean of Science Prof. WONG Yung-Hou (second left), Head of HKUST’s Department of Physics Prof. WANG Jiannong (first left), Vice Chair and Secretary of the New Cornerstone Science Foundation Ms. Rose WANG (fourth right), Vice President of Public Affairs of Tencent Mr. James LI Tsz-Shu (third right), HKUST’s New Cornerstone Investigator Prof. DAI Xi (fifth left) and other representatives from the New Cornerstone Science Foundation.

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HKUST President Prof. Nancy Ip (second left), Vice Chair and Secretary of the New Cornerstone Science Foundation Ms. Rose Wang (second right), Vice President of Public Affairs of Tencent Mr. James Li Tsz-Shu (first right) and HKUST’s New Cornerstone Investigator Prof. Dai Xi (first left) unveil the plaque of HKUST’s First New Cornerstone Science Laboratory.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) held the inauguration ceremony today for the establishment of its first New Cornerstone Science Laboratory as Prof. DAI Xi, Chair Professor at the Department of Physics, has been awarded a research funding from the Tencent-initiated New Cornerstone Science Foundation. The funding will be used to conduct a five-year research project on topological materials and other areas.

Officiating guests at the ceremony were HKUST President Prof. Nancy IP, HKUST Vice-President for Institutional Advancement Prof. WANG Yang, HKUST Vice-President for Research and Development Prof. Tim CHENG, HKUST Dean of Science Prof. WONG Yung-Hou, Head of HKUST’s Department of Physics Prof. WANG Jiannong, Vice Chair and Secretary of the New Cornerstone Science Foundation Ms. Rose WANG, Vice President of Public Affairs of Tencent Mr. James LI Tsz-Shu, and HKUST’s New Cornerstone Investigator Prof. Dai.

In her welcome remarks, Prof. Ip expressed her gratitude to Tencent and the New Cornerstone Science Foundation’s unwavering support to the University’s scientific research and innovation, and congratulated Prof. Dai for taking on the role of New Cornerstone Investigator. "As the first research-focused university in Hong Kong, HKUST has been committed to promoting innovation and research development while proactively translating research outcomes into applications through various means to benefit society. The establishment of the New Cornerstone Science Laboratory at HKUST is a significant milestone that reflects not only the University's dedication to research development, but also a major recognition of our efforts in driving excellence and innovative research," she said. 

Ms. Rose Wang said, “Tencent has pledged RMB10 billion to establish the New Cornerstone Science Foundation and advance a forward-thinking approach to encouraging basic research. The New Cornerstone Investigator Program was then launched to provide a select group of exceptional scientists with stable, long-term support for discovery research. As a distinctive non-governmental funding for research talents, the Program evaluated the 2024 round of applications innovatively, adopting a 100% international peer review process. Today, I am delighted to attend the inauguration ceremony of HKUST's first New Cornerstone Science Laboratory and welcome Prof. Dai Xi to join the New Cornerstone Investigator community. We will continue to collaborate with HKUST and other world-class universities to support exceptional scientists in pushing the frontiers of knowledge.”

Prof. Dai is the first New Cornerstone Investigator at HKUST and one of the three Hong Kong scientists selected in the second batch of New Cornerstone Investigators. His research areas include topological materials, strongly correlated systems and first principle calculations, which could aid the development of new materials and solve problems relating to their applications. He has made significant contributions in the field of physics. In 2011, he was awarded the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2018, he was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society,  and then received the Society’s James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials the following year. In 2022, the University awarded him the Dr William M W Mong Professorship of Nanoscience.

The New Cornerstone Investigator Program is established by the New Cornerstone Science Foundation. The program focuses on Mathematics and Physical Sciences, as well as Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and encourages interdisciplinary research. Since its launch in 2022, a total of 104 exceptional scientists have been selected as New Cornerstone Investigators.

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (https://hkust.edu.hk/) is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, engineering and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 2nd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2023, and our graduates were ranked 29th worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking 2023. As of September 2023, HKUST members have founded 1,747 active start-ups, including 9 Unicorns and 13 exits (IPO or M&A), generating economic impact worth over HK$ 400 billion. InvestHK cited QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 to demonstrate the performance of five world’s top 100 local universities in several innovation-centric areas, among which HKUST ranked top in four engineering and materials science subjects.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Johnny Tam
Tel: 2358 8556
Email: johnnytam@ust.hk

Zheang Zhang
Tel: 2358 6317
Email: joannezhang@ust.hk 

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