ASTRI successfully concludes its two summer internship programmes 50 top students from renowned universities worldwide broaden their visions on R&D through hands-on experience and industry sharing, wishing to make contributions to HK scientific research upon graduation

[Hong Kong, 19 August 2022] Talent cultivation is the first step to innovation and technology (I&T). It has also been one of the core missions of the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI). This year, ASTRI established “Undergraduate Summer Internship Programme” and “Fintech Future Leader Academy” and received over 2,400 applications from 28 universities worldwide. The programmes provided the students or the future I&T leaders with opportunities to be deeply engaged in the field of Hong Kong’s R&D ecosystem, experience ASTRI’s unique culture in scientific research, aiming at enhancing their knowledge and sparking their interests in I&T. Today (19 August), around 50 interns from Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, officially complete their internship at ASTRI; some of them hope to contribute to R&D in Hong Kong upon graduation.

ASTRI has always strived to fulfil its mission of nurturing the next generation of I&T talents. In order to strengthen students’ understanding of the development in Hong Kong, the programmes added dimensions to the existing workplan, offering a broad spectrum of R&D projects, activities and various site trips to make the internship more engaged and motivated. During these 2-month programmes, students were assigned to various technology divisions, gaining hands-on R&D experience, and diving deep into the I&T process and Fintech development in Hong Kong. A number of seminars were arranged, where key persons and professional scholars from large corporations and organisations were invited to share their journeys and successful experience. Students had also visited the supporting organisations from the finance and technology industries, including Bank of China (Hong Kong), China Life Insurance (Overseas), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), IBM, Microsoft Hong Kong, Ping An OneConnect Bank (PAOB), and Cyberport to learn about the actual situations and operations of the I&T industry in Hong Kong.

Moreover, ASTRI had arranged a special internship for some interns to its partner ‘Bridge AI’ which is a success case of ASTRI’s tech transfer to the industry. Bridge AI has applied ASTRI’s research outcomes and products in its teaching programmes for children with learning difficulties. Interns gained understandings about the potential of improving the learning difficulties faced by special education need (SEN) students through incorporating ASTRI’s R&D results in AI and IOT into professional education programmes. They experienced first-hand that helping people with the use of science and technology is not a distant dream.

Overseas participants included students from MIT, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of California, Berkeley, and New York University in the United States, as well as University College London, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Among them, there were top students who had attained a near-perfect 44 points on the IB exams. Some overseas top talents came to Hong Kong for the first time, aiming to learn about the I&T ecosystem in Hong Kong and prepare themselves for the industry.

ASTRI CEO Dr. Denis Yip says, “Apart from bringing research and development in I&T sector in Hong Kong, it is also important for ASTRI to nurture a new generation of local I&T talents and help the industry to thrive. Students from the two programmes have shown their enthusiastic participation, willingness to express themselves during sharing sessions, seriousness at work, and their aspirations in future development. This internship experience must have been valuable to them. I hope that they would work for Hong Kong’s technology and development upon their graduation.”

Background of ASTRI’s two internship programmes

This year, ASTRI’s two programmes had received a total of 2,464 applications through recruitment drives at various Hong Kong universities, as well as 28 renowned overseas universities. Interviews were conducted to select 50 candidates for up to 8-week internship at ASTRI from June to August. The second- and third-year undergraduates, and also postgraduate students majoring in Computer Science, Business and Finance related fields from Hong Kong local universities, including (in no particular order) the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, City University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University participated in the programmes, while over half of the interns came from overseas renowned universities in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

Apart from organising summer internship programmes, ASTRI will seek to cooperate with key universities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), as well as with the mainland campuses and research institutes of Hong Kong universities in the area. To expand its mainland team, ASTRI will conduct recruitment in the mainland and offer Hong Kong-based employees the opportunity to transfer to its mainland headquarters. Meanwhile, to nurture international-quality talents, ASTRI will engage postgraduate students in the GBA to participate in R&D projects by cooperating with universities and research institutes in the area.