HKUST: HKUST and MTR Establish a Joint Research Laboratory to Join Hands in Exploring Innovative Solutions to Bring Convenience to the Public in Daily Life and Travelling

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MTR Corporation and MTR Academy on the establishment of the “HKUST-MTR Joint Research Laboratory” today. This is the first-ever research laboratory the Corporation has set up with an institution of higher education. The Corporation hopes to promote the application of innovative technology in railway and other services through the collaboration with HKUST’s GREAT Smart Cities Institute, thereby achieving the aim of encouraging local scientific research and building a smart community.

During the three-year collaboration, the research will mainly focus on areas relating to smart community and smart mobility. The two parties will exchange and interact on MTR’s development in smart community and smart mobility through the joint laboratory, and the projects will be tailor-made to suit the needs and apply to the public’s travelling and different aspects of their daily lives.

Dr. Rex AUYEUNG, Chairman of MTR Corporation and Mr. Andrew LIAO, Council Chairman of HKUST witnessed the signing of the MoU by Dr. Jacob KAM, Chief Executive Officer of MTR Corporation, Ms. Margaret CHENG, Acting President of MTR Academy, Professor Wei SHYY, President of HKUST, and Professor LO Hong-Kam, Director of GREAT Smart Cities Institute of HKUST.

“MTR is committed to enhancing the quality of service, construction works and asset management with the use of technology to build a top brand. Under the MTR’s new Corporate Strategy ‘Transforming the Future’, we are committed to increasing investment in innovative technology and accelerating adoption of technology and digitalisation in our services. We hope we can make use of the scale of MTR during the process and proactively work with local start-ups and academies to support the application of local scientific research projects and promote innovative technology,” said Dr. Rex Auyeung, Chairman of MTR Corporation.

Mr. Andrew Liao said, “This joint laboratory is of high value to HKUST as it signifies the beginning of a long-term collaborative relationship with a highly successful rail and property developer. This collaboration will open many future collaborative opportunities, especially since the HKUST Guangzhou campus has established “Intelligent Transportation” as one important cluster. We anticipate a much stronger partnership between HKUST and MTR, which is vital to the long-term development of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) into a smart region.”  

“This is the first time for MTR to sign an MoU on the establishment of a joint research facility with an institution of higher education. Through our close partnership, we hope the Corporation and the academic institution can fully interact in the phases of proposal, design and execution for the projects, in order to provide solid support in promoting the application of scientific research. MTR’s businesses are diverse in nature and serve millions of Hong Kong citizens every day. We believe the collaboration will energise local scientific research and promote the development of smart railway, smart mobility and smart community,” said Dr. Jacob Kam, Chief Executive Officer of MTR Corporation.

Professor Wei Shyy said HKUST is honoured to become the first university to set up a joint laboratory with the MTR, “HKUST has always been active in promoting frontier research in smart city, and MTR, as a world-class railway operator, actively resolves to technology in offering the public a smarter lifestyle and better transport experience. Combining the strengths of HKUST and MTR, this collaboration is set to further enhance Hong Kong’s research and development capacity in smart city and sustainable development, and contribute to the city’s carbon neutrality goal.”

MTR Corporation has launched the new corporate strategy “Transforming the Future”, with three strategic pillars for its businesses, including the Hong Kong core business, Mainland China and International Business, and investment in new technologies and mobility services as a new growth engine. Meanwhile, the Corporation has allocated over HK$300 million for investment in start-ups in the next few years, and more funding will be reserved for similar projects in the future. It will proactively collaborate with academies and start-ups to continue the promotion in smart railway and to contribute to local scientific research, with an aim of keep Hong Kong moving.

As a university that is committed to promoting sustainable development and technological innovation, HKUST has launched the “Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab” (SSC) in 2019 – an initiative that transforms the campus into a testing ground for students, faculty, staff and alumni to develop smart and innovative solutions in addressing real life challenges. The scheme has supported 30 sustainable, smart and cross-disciplinary projects which will be implemented on campus. Among them are Smart Water Network – a new diagnostic paradigm for water leakage and AI-driven tracking systems for trees and bird species.

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 23rd worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global University Employability Survey 2021.