Home > UGC Publications > Press Releases > 2003 > Institutional Integration (19.9.2003)

Institutional Integration Working Party meets HKUST Senate and Reference Group

A spokesman for the University Grants Committee (UGC) said that Professor John Niland, Convenor of the Institutional Integration Working Party (IIWP) of UGC, today (September 19) had met with the Senate of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and also HKUST's Reference Group on Institutional Integration. This followed Professor Niland's meeting with the counterpart Reference Group at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) earlier in the week.

These meetings were the first step in a consultation process by Professor Niland and his Working Party, whose task is set out in the attached Terms of Reference.

Professor Niland stressed that the IIWP had no pre-set position and would adopt an open-minded approach. He said the IIWP aimed to produce an Options Document, which would set out different scenarios and issues for further consideration, in particular the key potential benefits and drawbacks of any possible merger between CUHK and HKUST.

Professor Niland said that he had had stimulating meetings in both universities, most recently with the Senate, and the Reference Group of HKUST. He noted that the Reference Groups included representatives of staff, students and alumni and that they had made their positions on a possible merger very clear.

In commenting on the visit to HKUST, Professor Niland said he was pleased to have had a frank and sometimes robust exchange. He looked forward to further discussion and reasoned debate on this important but very sensitive issue. He was also very appreciative of the clarifications and supplementary remarks on the issues, concerns and conditions set out in the Report of the Task Force established to consider the idea of a merger between HKUST and CUHK. He noted that the Reference Group and the Senate had emphasized that these matters had to be thoroughly addressed.

Professor Niland said he had invited CUHK and HKUST to examine and spell out the advantages and challenges of institutional integration. He hoped that both institutions would provide considered inputs to augment or amplify the issues raised in the two Task Force Reports.

The IIWP welcomes members of the higher education community to express their views and raise matters of concern in writing to the Working Party.

Professor Niland reiterated that he hopes the eventual Options Document, to be drafted after the November meetings for the UGC meeting in January, will provide a useful framework for feedback from relevant parties.

Friday, September 19, 2003


Terms of Reference of IIWP

In the light of the Sutherland Report and subsequent developments, including the response of government and the study reports prepared by CUHK and HKUST, the UGC establishes an Institutional Integration Working Party (IIWP), which is tasked to :

  1. explore the feasibility of the idea of institutional integration in the university sector of Hong Kong, and in this respect, enunciate its possible objectives, potential benefits and likely difficulties, taking into account the needs of Hong Kong and recent international experience with institutional integration;

  2. identify the key potential benefits and drawbacks of possible institutional integration involving the CUHK and HKUST, and potential related elements and institutions;

  3. formulate for consideration by the UGC at its January 2004 meeting advice which will enable the UGC to make recommendations to the Government at an early stage thereafter;

  4. in addressing the above tasks, the IIWP will :

    1. consult closely with CUHK and HKUST and

    2. bear in mind that the ultimate objective of any institutional integration must be to improve the quality and competitiveness of higher education in Hong Kong, with a view to positioning Hong Kong as the education hub in the region.