HKUST First Local Institution to Co-host “National Challenge Cup”

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) signed a memorandum with Guangdong University of Technology (GDUT) today to map out the details of co-hosting the “National Challenge Cup” – a competition branded as the Olympiad of Science and Technology for university students. It is the first time for a local university to co-host the event in the Cup’s 25 years of history.

The biennial "National Challenge Cup" is a mega contest in academic and technological innovation for university students in China. Since Tsinghua University first hosted the event, it has turned into an iconic competition on science and innovation with its scale growing from a few hundred participants out of 19 institutes, to nearly 7,000 students from over 400 universities. Winners included a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, nearly 10 heads of state key laboratories and over 220 professors and doctoral advisors.

HKUST President Prof Tony F Chan signed an agreement with GDUT President Prof Xin Chen, outlining the details on how to push ahead the 14th National Challenge Cup in the first collaboration between the higher education of Hong Kong and Guangdong. As an international research university, HKUST seeks to add new perspective and global outlook to the event, apart from attracting more overseas students to participate, it will also arrange talks and activities to facilitate student exchanges across the border, as well as meetings between the winners and potential investors.

“The Challenge Cup is a national event that promote innovations, contestants were all cream of the crop who won their ways through provincial and regional challenges to enter the final competition,” said Prof Chan. “HKUST students have been active participants over the years, we are honored to become a co-host of this great competition which promotes innovation and technology, technology transfer as well as nurturing young talents who will boost social and economic development. We will strive to spread this passion in innovation in our neighborhood and abroad.”

GDUT President Prof Xin Chen said, “This is the first Hong Kong-Guangdong collaboration on hosting the Challenge Cup, which is a great innovation and challenge. We will carry out the preparatory work based on four principles which accentuate reform and innovation, commercialization, knowledge transfer and the characteristics of Hong Kong and Guangdong. We will grasp this opportunity to build a culture of innovation among university students, cultivate an innovation ambience, establish a multi-disciplinary mechanism of talent grooming and facilitate cross-border student collaboration to create synergies on technology and innovation.”

To kick-off the event, HKUST and GDUT had jointly organized a “Challenge Camp” in July. Over 40 students from a dozen universities from both sides joined a one-week exchange program in Hong Kong and Guangdong. HKUST will invite world-renowned scholars and leaders of the technology and innovation sector to speak during the contest next year, it will also arrange meetings between the winners and venture capital firms after the competition in a bid to bring the winning products and technologies to the market.

HKUST students have won a number of accolades since they first took part in the National Challenge Cup in 1997, six HKUST teams scooped one first-class award, three second-class awards and two third-class awards in the competition last year.

The National Challenge Cup was organized by the Communist Youth League of China, China Association for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, All-China Students’ Federation and various government ministries. The contest is now calling for entries of slogan, logo, mascot and theme song for the event, with the deadline for submission on 20 September 2014.

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