Hong Kong Polytechnic and University of Waterloo Agree to Collaborate on Ocular Research

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(L-R) Professor Robert Lemieux, dean, Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo; Professor Alexander Wai, vice president, PolyU, and Professor David Shum, dean, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, PolyU.

HONG KONG—The presidents of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and Ontario’s University of Waterloo have signed a strategic university partnership agreement that establishes a goal of fostering closer partnerships in education, research and entrepreneurship. The “historic agreement” calls for the two universities to explore opportunities for collaboration in research, among other objectives, according to the announcement on Monday. The signing of the partnership memorandum of understanding, and a related implementation agreement as an addendum, marks a milestone for “advancing the initiative of establishing a global Centre for Ocular Research and Development (CORD),” the announcement noted.

The Centre will operate under the umbrella of the Waterloo Biomedical Research and Innovation Node (WBRIN) in Hong Kong.

CORD will address vital population health and aging imperatives in Hong Kong by partnering with local and internationally recognized leaders in ocular and vision science, and translating the research to commercial applications, the announcement noted. The Centre for Myopic Research at PolyU found that 70 percent of people born between 1950 and 1980 in Hong Kong are myopic.

The two institutions have broadly agreed on three possible research areas under CORD, namely aging eye, sight-saving technologies and the eye as a window to the brain. The researchers will explore new approaches in the detection and treatment of eye diseases, study the use of tear fluid as biomarkers to predict and diagnose diseases, and innovate technologies related to myopia prevention and reversal, visual neuro-rehabilitation and nanotechnology-based drug delivery.

Professor Timothy W. Tong, president of PolyU, said in the announcement that the University of Waterloo is “one of our valued partners.” He added, “With a solid foundation, our new partnership will serve as an institutional framework for expanding the scope of our bilateral cooperation including diversifying areas of interdisciplinary academic, research and entrepreneurial collaboration.”

Professor Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice chancellor of the University of Waterloo, said his institution “cannot wait to expand on an already fruitful relationship through more international exchanges, joint programs, research projects and more.”