Universities failing to commercialise research

A university’s performance is judged by its overall success in achieving primary goals, such as teaching and research. On that score Hong Kong’s publicly funded universities fulfil their mission reasonably well, but they are let down in one area – turning research into commercial applications, writes Elaine Yau for South China Morning Post.

Six local universities placed among the top 800 institutions in the Times Higher Education world university rankings for 2015-16 released in September. Five of them, however, slid down the league table from the previous year, with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology falling eight places to 59, and Chinese University of Hong Kong dropping nine places to 138.

It turned out industry income – which measures the income generated by commercialisation of research – was the key category that dragged their rankings down. Entrepreneurs, academics and university administrators blame the Hong Kong universities’ poor showing on several factors: a system that fails to reward innovators when their work finds commercial use, insufficient funding for knowledge transfer, lack of government support and a private sector that spurns long-term investment in research and development in favour of quick returns.
Full report on the South China Morning Post site