President of University of Waterloo brings disruptive innovation model of education to Asia
Waterloo/Hong Kong/Singapore/Jakarta - Adopting the University of Waterloo’s innovative education model could help catalyze Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem, according to the school’s president, who spoke as part of a series of events on a visit to Asia this week.
Speaking at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Professor Feridun Hamdullahpur outlined Waterloo’s efforts to transform higher education to support real-world talent development, startup formation, foreign direct investment and high-end commercialization and manufacturing.
“We call it additive education. We achieve it by wrapping the student experience in enriching layers of academic excellence, co-operative education, research intensity and entrepreneurial opportunity,” said Professor Hamdullapur. “This produces the kind of alumni and high-impact research our world needs."
Waterloo region in Canada was recently named amongst the top 25 startup ecosystems in the world and in the top 5 startup ecosystems for talent by Compass a San Francisco-based company that provides reporting and benchmarking software to startups around the world. The Compass study cites the University as the reason that the regional ecosystem ranks high in talent quality, availability, and cost.
Earlier in the week, Professor Hamdullahpur spoke at a Wearable Technology Forum at Hong Kong Cyberport alongside graduates from the University who are now founders or CEO’s of startups that are defining new fields and industries that will shape the world in which we live.
At Cyberport, Professor Hamdullahpur was joined by:
Jason Chiu, CEO of cherrypicks, a global leader in mobile innovation
Aaron Grant, Co-Founder of Thalmic Labs, creators of the Myo gesture control armband
Peter Whitby, CEO of O2 Canada, a health respirator company
William Chan, Managing Director Big Dipper Studio
Dave Yip, Director, Gamatech
During the visit to Hong Kong, Professor Hamdullahpur met with representatives of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Earlier this year, Waterloo and HKUST introduced dual doctoral degrees in engineering that will allow select students to simultaneously earn a PhD from each institution.
“We are delighted to welcome such a distinguished university to Hong Kong and into Cyberport’s network. With same value as University of Waterloo, we recognize the importance of innovation,” said Herman Lam, CEO of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited. “With respective competitive advantages and offerings from both Waterloo and Hong Kong, we can drive collaboration in many industries, accelerator and investor networks, and help our startups leap on their global ambitions.”
Professor Hamdullahpur also travelled to Singapore to sign a new partnership agreement with Singapore University of Technology and Design. The agreement allows six students from each University to internationalize their degrees by studying overseas for a full term, while still earning credits at their home institution.
The visit to Asia concluded in Jakarta where His Excellency Donald Bobiash, Ambassador of Canada announced Canada’s support to the University of Waterloo for an initiative aimed at helping build a stronger insurance and pension industry in Indonesia to stimulate sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.
“The University of Waterloo has one of the largest and strongest actuarial science programs in the world,” said Professor Hamdullahpur. “We are proud to work in collaboration with the Government of Canada, Manulife and Indonesian universities and agencies to deliver innovative academic programming, outreach activities and work-integrated learning opportunities in Indonesia.”
Professor Hamdullahpur also had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of Waterloo alumni in Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta.