HKUST and ASTRI Launch First Joint PhD Program Nurturing I&T Talents to enhance I&T Ecosystem

Signing MoU

ASTRI Chief Executive Officer Dr. Denis Yip (front left) and HKUST Provost Prof. Yike GUO (front right) sign the agreement under the witness of HKUST President Prof. Nancy IP (back row first right) and Chairman of ASTRI Board of Directors Ir. Sunny Lee (back row first left).

Group photo

HKUST President Prof. Nancy IP (eighth right), HKUST Provost Prof. Yike GUO (ninth right), HKUST Vice-President for Research and Development Prof. Tim Kwang Ting CHENG (seventh right), HKUST Vice-President for Institutional Advancement Prof. Yang WANG (sixth right), Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI Dr. Denis Yip (seventh left) and Chairman of ASTRI Board of Directors Ir. Sunny Lee (sixth left), Vice President (Integrated Circuits and Systems) of ASTRI Dr. Daniel Shi (fifth left) and Senior Director of Trust and AI Technologies of ASTRI Mr Alan Cheung (forth left) take a group photo with the management of both parties.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today to launch their first Joint PhD Program.  Prof. GUO Yike, HKUST Provost and Dr. Denis YIP, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI signed the agreement on HKUST campus, witnessed by Prof. Nancy IP, President of HKUST and Ir Sunny LEE, Chairman of ASTRI Board of Directors.

Under the agreement, HKUST and ASTRI will jointly perform screening and selection work of the candidates. Qualified ones will be employed by ASTRI as full-time R&D staff and pursue a part-time PhD degree in HKUST at the same time. The candidates have the opportunities to participate in frontier research projects spanning artificial intelligence, big data, wireless communications, smart city and advanced materials, as well as R&D projects related to their PhD studies. Senior R&D staff in ASTRI may be appointed as adjunct professors of the HKUST and serve as a co-supervisor to the PhD student. 

With the nation’s support, the Hong Kong government has highlighted the importance of developing innovation and technology (I&T) in the “2022 Policy Address”. The “I&T Development Blueprint” established by the government last December has outlined a clear development path for Hong Kong's I&T development over the next 5 to 10 years, covering strategies such as enhancing the I&T ecosystem and enlarging the I&T talent pool. This joint PhD program seeks to support such courses by nurturing talents who commercialize their research findings while pursuing the relevant knowledge and qualifications, getting themselves better prepared for their future careers.

Ir Sunny Lee, Chairman of ASTRI Board of Directors said, “As the leading R&D organization in Hong Kong, we are committed to supporting Government’s measures in ‘I&T Development blueprint’ and ‘Competing for Talents’. The maiden launch of the Joint PhD Programme with HKUST is expected to attract and retain I&T Talents who wish to pursue their PhD studies or conduct their research in Hong Kong, as well as to provide high quality I&T talents to develop Hong Kong into a smart city and international I&T Hub.”

HKUST President Prof. Nancy Ip said, “HKUST is committed to fulfilling its mission of advancing knowledge through teaching and research. With our strong basic research and collaborations with many different industrial partners including ASTRI, HKUST is now in an even better position to bridge the gap between upstream and midstream research. This will not only help boost our city’s innovation & technology ecosystem, nurture high-caliber talent for Hong Kong, the nation and beyond, but will also facilitate commercialization of HKUST’s research outcomes to benefit society.”

Dr. Denis Yip, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI said, “Implementation of R&D results is one of the key missions of ASTRI. To maintain close connection with the academic community, we have signed a MoU with HKUST on joint R&D and technology commercialization in last February, follow by this Joint PhD Programme within a year. I am confident that the programme can effectively equip students in developing their creativity, critical thinking and global outlook, so as to elevate their international competitiveness and accelerate the implementation of R&D breakthroughs of HKUST.”

HKUST Provost Prof. Guo Yike said, “As a research university, HKUST is committed to supporting Hong Kong’s development into an international innovation and technology hub, and the key to achieving this lies in talent development. We are therefore delighted to launch this joint PhD program with ASTRI, which will leverage the combined advantages of both organizations and offer specialists on knowledge transfer a platform to acquire the relevant skill and qualifications while undertaking R&D projects. Amid the global competition for talent, I hope this new initiative serves as a fresh booster to Hong Kong’s talent development and will help expand the city's talent pool.”


About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology 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 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 30th worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2022. As of 2022, HKUST members have founded 1,645 active start-ups, including 9 Unicorns and 7 IPO companies, generating economic impact worth over HK$400billion. 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.

Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) was founded by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2000 with the mission of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness through applied research. ASTRI’s core R&D competence in various areas is grouped under four Technology Divisions: Trust and AI Technologies; Communications Technologies; IoT Sensing and AI Technologies and Integrated Circuits and Systems. It is applied across six core areas which are Smart City, Financial Technologies, Re-Industrialisation and Intelligent Manufacturing, Digital Health, Application Specific Integrated Circuits and Metaverse.

Over the years, ASTRI has nurtured a pool of research, I&T talents and received numerous international awards for its pioneering innovations as well as outstanding business and community contributions. As of 2021/22, ASTRI has transferred almost 1,250 technologies to the industry and has been granted over 1,000 patents in the Mainland, the US, and other countries.

For further information, please visit 

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Tel: 2358 6313                    

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Tel: 2358 8556

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Tel: 3406 0228 / 6014 1881 

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Tel: 3406 2506/ 6332 2819

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