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Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to Further Robotics R&D

Image Credits: HKUST, Press Release

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) received a HK$100 million donation from the Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation Limited (the Foundation) for the promotion of the University’s academic and research development.

In a ceremony officiated by the eldest son of the Foundation’s Honorary Chairman, HKUST named the University’s Robotics Institute the “Cheng Kar-Shun Robotics Institute”. The gift from the Foundation seeks to enhance the University’s research capabilities in areas such as robotics and autonomous systems; deepen student learning in innovation and design thinking competency, as well as advance entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer.

HKUST Council Chairman expressed gratitude to the Foundation’s long-term support of the University’s academic and research work. He noted that the Cheng Kar-Shun Robotics Institute is a key research facility at HKUST and perfectly marks the University’s longstanding partnership with the Foundation. The donation signifies a vote of confidence in the University’s capabilities. He noted that it is crucial for the University to pool its strengths and develop new solutions to the grand challenges of the time.

Prof. Wei Shyy stated, “HKUST is deeply grateful to the Foundation’s trust in our academic and research work, which is internationally respected and recently reaffirmed in the Research Assessment Exercise of University Grants Committee.  With the Foundation’s generous gift, we will keep up the good work, break new grounds and nurture the right talent to assist the economic and social development of Hong Kong and beyond.”

On top of supporting activities organized by HKUST’s various institutes, the donation will also be used as start-up funds for new faculty – in particular those from the School of Science and School of Engineering, to set up laboratories, recruit research assistants and purchase equipment. In appreciation of the Foundation’s support, the University has named its Robotics Institute with presence in Hong Kong and future Guangzhou campus after Dr Cheng Kar-Shun.

Growing market for robotics

According to the report published by a US-based market research firm, the global robotics technology market generated $62.75 billion in 2019, and is estimated to reach $170.08 billion by 2027, witnessing a CAGR of 13.5% from 2020 to 2027.

An increase in the requirement of automation and safety in organizations, the presence of cost-effective and energy-efficient robots, and the rise in deployment of robots in different industries propel the growth of the global robotics technology market.

However, high costs incurred in implementation and less awareness regarding automation among SMEs hinder the market growth. On the other hand, the adoption of robotics technology in developing countries offers new opportunities in the industry.

The COVID-19 scenario

  • Due to the lockdown issued by many governments, the demand for automated machinery from automotive, construction, and other industries has been dried up considerably. In addition, disruptions in the supply chain have impacted the demand as well.
  • The research and development activities have been paused in some of the countries due to lockdown. However, many countries have eased off restrictions. So, manufacturing plants have begun their operations and R&D activities have been resumed.

Based on region, Asia-Pacific contributed to the major share in 2019, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total share of the global robotics technology market. This region is estimated to grow at the fastest CAGR of 14.4% from 2020 to 2027. However, North America is expected to witness a CAGR of 13.3% during the forecast period.

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