The University of Hong Kong (HKU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) on September 14 to jointly cultivate future FinTech talents.

The Commissioner for Innovation and Technology Rebecca Pun Ting-ting, JP. witnessed the signing ceremony at the University of Hong Kong.

Under the agreement, HKU’s Department of Computer Science from the Engineering Faculty and ASTRI will together develop the Technology Oriented Practitioner (TOP) programme, a Work-Study Scheme for first-year students enrolled on the MSc programme in FinTech and Data Analytics at HKU, with ASTRI providing paid full-time employment for up to 30 students for a nine-month period and assigning them to one of ASTRI’s many ongoing FinTech projects, such as a smart credit assessment that helps SMEs secure loans or an AI-driven data analytics platform that empowers more effective risk management, keeping our society safer and smarter.

Professor Christopher Chao, Dean of HKU Engineering said: "FinTech is one of the fastest growing areas in businesses today.   We have recently launched a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Technology [(BASc (FinTech)] and a brand-new interdisciplinary Master’s degree in Financial Technology and Data Analytics for 2021, designed to nurture financial technologists and entrepreneurs with essential knowledge in both finance and technology. Through the Work-Study Scheme, our students can gain practical experience, understand the latest technological developments in the industry and the requirements of the market, and be better prepared to contribute to the development of the FinTech industry in Hong Kong and the region."

Hugh Chow, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI, said: “We are fully committed to building a bridge of talent between academia and the industry and we are thrilled to be offering this opportunity to future talent in Hong Kong to gain invaluable work experience at such a crucial part of their studies.

“Being a world-leader in FinTech is vital to Hong Kong’s future success and a crucial aspect of the role we will play in the Greater Bay Area, making the most of our city’s unique advantages. We are therefore thrilled to be making such an important contribution to the development of future talent,” he added.

The TOP programme is among ASTRI’s many commitments to developing talent in the I&T sector, particularly FinTech. Working with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, ASTRI launched the FinTech Career Accelerator Scheme in 2016, aiming to cultivate the future talent necessary to sustain Hong Kong’s banking, finance and business services, as well as preserving our city’s competitiveness as an international finance hub. Students receive an internship at financial institutions or technology companies and in the past four years, more than 500 have taken part. This year, the HKMA received more than 1,400 applications, nearly twice as many as last year.

The ASTRI University Advisory Council (AUAC) has partnered with top universities in Hong Kong to harness knowledge and nurture talent through strategic collaboration with students, providing them with hands-on experience.

Earlier this month, ASTRI launched its Graduate Programme 2020, providing full-time employment to graduates and an opportunity to work closely with its award-winning researchers. ASTRI also offers a three-month blockchain accelerator programme, in partnership with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Molecular Hub, as well as summer internships, which took in 42 students from 15 universities across the world in 2020.

About HKU Faculty of Engineering
The Faculty of Engineering is one of the founding Faculties of The University of Hong Kong established in 1912. Since its foundation, the Faculty has kept pace with developments in the engineering world and is always at the forefront of engineering research, evolving into one of the largest Faculties at the University with five departments providing undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in a wide range of important fields of modern engineering, technology and computer science. The Faculty aims at providing an all-round education for students, equipping graduates not only with knowledge of cutting-edge technology, but also excellent communication and social skills, an innovation mindset, a lifelong learning attitude, professional integrity and international exposure.

For more information, please visit https://engg.hku.hk.

About ASTRI
The 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 in technology-based industries through applied research. ASTRI's core R&D competence in various areas is grouped under five Technology Divisions: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics; Communications; Cybersecurity, Cryptography and Trusted Technologies; Integrated Circuits and Systems; and IoT and Sensors. It is applied across five cores areas which are Smart City, Financial Technologies, Intelligent Manufacturing, Health Technologies, and Application Specific Integrated Circuits.

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. To date, ASTRI has transferred more than 750 technologies to the industries and owns more than 850 patents in the Mainland, the US and other countries.

For further information, please visit www.astri.org.

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