A Poster Session of the HKU Laidlaw Scholars Programme was held on October 4, 2023 to facilitate experience sharing and networking among some 50 HKU Laidlaw Scholars as well as research supervisors, and to celebrate the achievements of the Scholars in their pursuit of research excellence and leadership development under the HKU Laidlaw Scholars Programme.
The event was graced by Ms Susanna Kempe, the Chief Executive of the Laidlaw Foundation, who visited the University on October 3-4, 2023 to meet with HKU Laidlaw Scholars who have completed their summer research either at HKU or in one of the partner Laidlaw universities including University College London, University of St Andrews and University of Leeds, as well as those who were engaged in leadership-in-action projects in Fiji Island, Mexico, Uganda or the US as part of their two-year Laidlaw journey.
The Poster Session is a platform for the Scholars to showcase their research projects and findings. “The camaraderie and enthusiasm displayed by everyone were truly remarkable. It was heartening to see scholars supporting and encouraging one another, even in fields different from their own. The event served as a reminder of the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and the potential impact it can have on our respective research endeavors, said Zahra Lotfifard, a Year 3 HKU Laidlaw Scholar majoring in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology who presented her Laidlaw research on “Arterial ageing – SIRT1 Regulation of Vascular Tone”.
Ms Kempe also visited LKS Faculty of Medicine to meet with Professor Wang Yu, who gave an overview on her research on SIRT1, which is an anti-aging protein in human body, and ways to utilise this protein to prevent aging associated with cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension and stroke. Dr Vengatesen Thiyagarajan (Rajan) from the School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, organised a tour for Ms Kempe in the Hongkong Oyster Hatchery and Innovation Research Unit, which demonstrates a new incubation technology which could be adopted by local farmers in 2024 to improve the sustainable development of the oyster farming industry in Hong Kong, and South China in the longer term.
The HKU Laidlaw Scholars Programme was introduced at HKU since 2017-18. The Programme invests in talented and motivated undergraduate students, enabling them to acquire knowledge and skills in research as well as training in leadership. The Programme comprises five main elements: a research project, leadership development, a leadership in action experience, an ethical leadership masterclass and networking through a global network.
Each year, the University selects 25 scholars to receive the HKU Laidlaw Scholarship, which enables them to take part in 6-week summer research in the first summer, and a leadership-in-action project in the second summer. As of today, over 130 students have received the scholarship to conduct their research projects in the summers of 2018-2023.
For more details about the HKU Laidlaw Programme, please visit https://tl.hku.hk/horizons/laidlaw/. The next call for applications (2024 cohort) will be announced in November 2023.