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New ‘Academy of Innovation’ offers students a step into the tech biz

LET’S MAKE STUFF – and sell it! City University of Hong Kong is establishing a school focusing on creating real-world inventions, rather than sticking to traditional academic traditions.

The new CityU Academy of Innovation is designed to produce innovators and entrepreneurs, its leadership says. “The Academy will offer a series of innovative academic programmes at PhD, Master of Sciences and undergraduate levels,” the university said in a statement.


The focus will be on “deep-tech venture creation”, with an aim of developing a “leading international ecosystem that nurtures young entrepreneurs, incubates deep-tech start-ups and promotes university-industry collaboration”.

Course designers have decided to start BIG by offering courses at multiple levels. At the top end, there’s a program for PhD students.

On graduation, students will be expected to start tech businesses. Image: City University of Hong Kong

The “PhD by Innovation” course is a research graduate programme that provides doctoral candidates with the opportunity to pursue research in innovation-driven fields, with a strong emphasis on practical application and real-world impact.

Would-be doctoral graduates will need to focus on an actual unmet technological, economic or societal need.

“The research conducted will aim to develop original solutions that can be disclosed and filed as intellectual property,” the university said. The graduates “will be ready to establish deep-tech start-ups upon graduation”.

But the practical nature of the project does not mean it will be easy. Professors insist that the programme will maintain the same level of academic rigor in planning and execution as regular PhD programmes.

The MSc course aims to take students from academia to venture creation, cultivating their business acumen. Image: City University of Hong Kong

The MSc in Venture Creation is a master of science programme designed to equip recent graduates, aspiring entrepreneurs and working professionals with comprehensive knowledge and skills necessary for successful venture creation.

The programme will cover:

  • Business acumen
  • Technology commercialisation
  • Entrepreneurial mindset development
  • Application of theory to practice

Again, it will be practical, with students engaging with various stakeholders, including venture capital investment firms, incubators and accelerators.

There are two other programmes which may be popular with fresh graduates. The Graduate Research and Innovation Trek Programme, or GRIT, is a comprehensive training programme designed to empower researchers and postgraduate students in transforming their research into deep-tech start-ups.

Finished an interesting research project? Here’s the help you need to turn it into a tech business. Image: City University of Hong Kong

Got a brilliant idea for a tech business? Then you may need what this course offers.

  • 6-12 months of support and guidance
  • Knowledge and skill sets necessary to create and manage start-ups
  • Industry linkages to real-world problems
  • Mentorship, funding opportunities and other support

And the fourth offering will be centered around a travel opportunity. The Overseas Start-up Technology Entrepreneur Programme, or STEP, will offer CityU undergraduate students an opportunity for entrepreneurship education somewhere else on the planet.

Students get a chance to learn about other cultures with internships. Image: City University of Hong Kong.

The selected students will have the chance to participate in internships at top start-up locations in other countries.

The new courses have just been announced, and the university says more details will be available soon.

Image at the top by ThisIsEngineering/ Pexels. Other images by Hong Kong City University.

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