The cradle of advanced technology research

Founded in 2000, the Macau University of Science and Technology (“MUST”) has developed into a multi-disciplinary university in Macau in just more than a decade. In recent years, MUST, investing huge resources especially in the research of space science and Chinese medicines, has made high-speed developments and gained exciting achievements.

The Vice-president of MUST, Professor Pang Chuan said in an interview, “A few years ago, we ranked below 80 among universities in the cross-strait four regions of mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Last year, our ranking moved up to 32 and we are the youngest in the top 50 universities in the Greater China region. This reflects the significant advances of our academic levels, results of the hard work made by our team of academic staff and students.”

Professor Pang stressed that a balanced development in scientific research, quality and service is the main theme of MUST. He explained, “We obtained approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology in the year 2011 to establish the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicines (a MUST partnership laboratory). Later in 2014, we became the first partner of the Chinese Academy of Science (“CAS”) outside mainland China to set up the Lunar and Planetary Science Laboratory, a partner laboratory of Key Laboratory of Lunar and Deep Space Science of CAS. These developments have promoted a great deal of exchanges, learning and opportunities in scientific research projects between MUST and mainland institutes. For instance, we were very lucky to have the chance to analyze and process lunar exploration data sent from Chang-E satellite.

From time to time CAS staff would come and be visiting professors in MUST. Also, our students often have chances to visit CAS or other scientific research units on the mainland to practise and conduct experiments. In recent years, the number of research papers of MUST has increased by more than five times, which is proof of the rapid growth of MUST brought about by the enormous synergistic effect of cooperation.”

Professor Pang also said, “Academic research should not be confined to the campus. We also put emphasis on practical contributions which scientific research results can make to society. For example, we organized the Fair for Transfer of Research Outcomes for the first time last October, not only to showcase the achievements of our research in innovative technologies but also to reach out to the business sector so that our research results can either be commercialized or used by companies to upgrade their products. These help to push economic growth in our society. More than 80 entrepreneurs were invited to the fair. On the activity day alone, agreements of cooperation for more than 30 projects of new inventions or patent transfer were officially signed. The result was very encouraging.”

Apart from putting emphasis on scientific research, MUST also pays close attention to the needs of the community and expands its humanities and social science disciplines accordingly. Professor Pang said, “The School of Business, for example, excels both in student enrolment as well as education level. Others like the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Faculty of Humanities and Arts, Faculty of Law and School of Pharmacy are also very popular. The placement rate of graduates stands very high with more than 90% of local graduates successfully finding a job or starting a business. There are also quite a number of graduates who choose to pursue further education.” He added, “We frequently engage in collaboration with the Macau SAR government and mainland entities. We take part in initiatives ranging from surveys, research to consultancy work relating to people’s livelihoods and corporate affairs. Having a thorough understanding of the actual situation here in Macau, we also play an advisory role to or act as a think tank of the Macau SAR government. At the beginning of the year, we obtained approval from the Ministry of Education to set up key research partnership sites of humanities and social science study. We will be working with mainland tertiary institutes in areas of ocean study, media and intellectual property rights. This will further enhance collaboration and exchange between the two sides.”

At the time of the interview, the construction of the new teaching complex of MUST was underway in full swing and the complex is expected to be open this year. Professor Pang pointed out, “Last year, we launched the pharmacy programme which attracted a rush for admission. There are currently other new programmes in the pipeline and they will be rolled out later. With the completion of the new teaching complex, there will be more space available for more diversified development. On the other hand, as the higher education law is expected to pass shortly in Macau, the trend is for MUST to go international. The university will cooperate with top universities both on the mainland and overseas, and will offer jointly-run degree programmes or double major degree programmes. It has always been the mission and direction of MUST to find its root in Macau, to avail itself of the support of the motherland, to engage in the world, and to nurture talents of the highest standard."