Friday was a historic day for Karolinska Institutet. As the first public university in Sweden we officially opened a research centre outside of Sweden. Establishing activities abroad is a clear sign that we are building for the future. Marking this historic event, an inauguration ceremony followed by a scientific symposia was held in Hong Kong, Friday. The establishment was made possible through a generous donation covering all costs associated with the Ming Wai Lau center.
There are of course challenges being associated with being the first public university in Sweden to establish activities abroad, and we need to carefully consider the various issues we may be facing. Swedish regulations will apply also in Hong Kong, but we must also comply with applicable local law. An open climate, good leadership, high ethical and moral values and compliance with rules and regulations should characterize KI regardless of location.
Karolinska Institutet is more than 200 years old and we have always valued international contacts and a natural next step in our internationalization of education and research is to establish activities in other countries. Our goal is to attract teachers, researchers, students and partner universities from around the world, and I am convinced that competition for global talent and resources will become even more important in the future. This is why our international interactions and collaborations with other universities are critical to our continued development and success.
The Ming Wai Lau centre includes two nodes, one in Stockholm and one in the vibrant environment of the Science Park in Hong Kong. The hub in Hong Kong will have a strong focus on technologies and will include support for research programmes and recruitments, as well as allowing for strategic
planning of infrastructure, necessary for sustainable successful research.
Before the inauguration ceremony we had a tour of the facilities. I must say, that it was a special feeling entering and touring facilities being part of Karolinska Institutet on another continent. The inauguration ceremony was followed by a scientific symposia with presentations from some of the PI:s (principal investigators, i.e. research leaders) and more junior scientists associated with the centre, and also presentations by academic leaders from universities in Hong Kong and how they see that they can interact with Karolinska Institutet.
My thanks go to all those involved in getting these pioneering activities up and running as well as planning this historical day. If success can be judged by enthusiasm, the center is bound to deliver on our vision to improve human health for the benefit of the individual as well as society at large.