HONG KONG – Ford Motor Company will bring its global Conservation and Environmental Grants program to Hong Kong for the first time, in partnership with the School of Engineering of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
Ford will donate HK$500,000 for the Ford-HKUST Conservation and Environmental Research Grants, which will be matched by HKUST for a total fund of HK$1 million.
Postgraduate students from the university’s School of Engineering will be offered academic grants for research in the fields of environmental and conservation science, as well as conservation engineering, to help promote innovation, environmental conservation and technological advancement. A maximum of 20 projects will be supported during the 2013-14 academic year.
“Ford has a long and proud 84-year-history in the Hong Kong market, and our roots are very deep here,” said David Westerman, regional manager, Asia Pacific, Ford Export & Growth Operations.
“With the Asia Pacific region being the growth engine for our business, it is important that we establish close, long-term relations with the communities that we operate in. These research grants will help us continue doing this in Hong Kong and empower students to conduct research that will benefit us all.”
Founded in 1983, the Ford Conservation and Environmental Grants program was created to empower individuals and non-profit groups in more than 60 countries to conduct research and projects that help preserve the environmental well-being of their communities and provide solutions contributing to a sustainable planet. Since launching, Ford has awarded more than US $5 million in grants to hundreds of environmental projects in more than 60 countries around the world.
In Asia Pacific, Ford has played a pivotal role in advancing environmental initiatives for more than a decade, from protecting wildlife and preventing forest fires to funding cultural heritage projects and replenishing resources in rural communities.
“In Hong Kong, we chose to partner with HKUST, a renowned university and a leader in innovative engineering education. The research grants support the university’s engineering projects encompassing environmental sustainability, with a focus on green motoring and transportation. This is in line with our core values as an environmentally conscious company delivering industry-leading fuel efficiency in every vehicle segment,” Westerman added.
“As a leader in engineering education, we are always looking for opportunities that will inspire our students and help their development,” said Professor Christopher Chao, associate dean of Engineering (Research and Graduate Studies), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “We are delighted by the opportunity provided by Ford through supplying these grants and in appreciation of their support, we have matched their grant so that we can expand its scale and enable as many students as possible to benefit from the funding. We believe the grant program will not only broaden our students’ learning experience, but also further our endeavor to build innovative solutions to the global issues of environmental conservation and sustainability.”
Officiating at the launch of the grants program was Hong Kong-born and educated Chelsia Lau Ka-po, chief designer of Ford China, who will also be on the grants jury panel. Having grown up on Lantau, Lau’s Hong Kong success story will serve as an inspiration for the grant recipients who have a passion for design creation and research and development.
“As a home-grown designer, it’s an honor to be a part of this grants program that will provide new opportunities for students in Hong Kong,” said Lau. “Encouraging innovative thinking and nurturing talent is something that Ford excels at. I look forward to seeing their finished projects.”
Postgraduate students from the university’s School of Engineering can submit proposals now through Aug. 15. A jury panel composed of Ford representatives, faculty members and other opinion formers will screen the applications and select the successful applicants with the winners being announced in late August. The grants will support the expenditures of successful applicants including their research, field study and laboratory needs.