The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced today (15 November) the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the University of Hong Kong (“HKU”), the University of Cambridge and the International Vaccine Institute (“IVI”) to establish the global headquarters of the new Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute in Hong Kong. It is the city’s first institution dedicated to bringing the latest translational vaccine technology to Hong Kong through collaboration between local and global academics and institutions. The signing of the MOU follows the Chief Executive’s 2023 Policy Address announcement of initiatives to strengthen capacity to combat communicable diseases and promote vaccine development.
Witnessed by the Secretary for Health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government Professor Lo Chung-mau; Club Chairman Michael Lee; Pro-Chancellor of HKU and Founding Chairman of the Friends of Cambridge University in Hong Kong Dr the Hon Sir David Li; the Chairman of the Council of HKU Priscilla Wong; and the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the IVI George Bickerstaff, the MOU was signed by Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht- Bresges; the President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU Professor Xiang Zhang; Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine of the University of Cambridge Professor Patrick Maxwell and the Director General of the IVI Dr Jerome Kim.
The Secretary for Health of the HKSAR Government Professor Lo Chung-mau said, “I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to The Hong Kong Jockey Club for their exemplary philanthropy. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated graphically and comprehensively the critical importance of vaccine innovation and development as well as global health co-operation. The establishment of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute marks an important milestone in this mission.”
Club Chairman Michael Lee said, “Hosted by the University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute will bring world-leading scientists and research teams from the International Vaccine Institute and the University of Cambridge to Hong Kong to work on translational vaccine research. With vaccines being the most powerful means of disease control, we want it to become a platform for fostering collaboration and cross-pollination of cutting-edge technologies.”
The Chairman of the Council of the University of Hong Kong Priscilla Wong said, “It is so right that we are here to think about the future, and how to prevent, and prepare for future epidemics or pandemics. With the MOU, I am sure that together, we are able to advance vaccine research in the region, ramp up strategic and innovative solutions to address global health challenges, support evidence-informed decision-making for health policy, and strengthen trust in science.”
George Bickerstaff, Chairperson of IVI’s Board of Trustees said, “We are incredibly excited to join forces with The Hong Kong Jockey Club, the University of Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong to create a vital new hub for vaccine science and education. The establishment of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute is an exemplar of positive partnership between research, academia and philanthropy coming together for public good. IVI is grateful to The Hong Kong Jockey Club for the support and opportunity to take part in this essential initiative.”
The establishment of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute signifies the Club’s strong support for local and regional efforts to strengthen epidemic preparedness through vaccines. The institute’s major areas of work include epidemiology; modelling; data analysis and health economics; vaccine process development; vaccine platform development; immunology; capacity building; and global partnerships.
In support of the HKSAR Government’s epidemic preparedness initiatives the Club has approved a donation of HK$3 billion. Apart from establishing The Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute, the Club’s donation will support efforts by the Health Bureau and the Centre for Health Protection to strengthen post-COVID epidemic preparedness as well as national capacity building in human resources for health.
The Club’s support for the establishment of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute, like all of its charity donations, is made possible by its unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate employment, tax and charity support for the community.