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Record-High Applications from Local and Overseas Aspirants Received for HKLSS Mentorship Scheme and Summer Internship Program

		Record-High Applications from Local and Overseas Aspirants Received for HKLSS Mentorship Scheme and Summer Internship Program

The two key annual programs of the Hong Kong Life Sciences Society (“HKLSS” or “the Society”), the Mentorship Scheme and the Summer Internship Program, have been met with enthusiastic responses this year, with a total of 700 applications received by the deadline of 15 January, doubling the number received in previous years. Many of the applicants are from overseas regions, such as the United States, Canada and Australia. To celebrate the Society’s 5th anniversary, HKLSS will be holding the 5th Anniversary Celebration cum Mentorship Scheme Kick-off Ceremony in March, bringing together industry leaders and young students and kick-starting a new journey in which knowledge and experience will be passed down to a new generation, with a view to fulfilling the Society’s mission of cultivating talent in life sciences.

Celebrating the 5th Anniversary and Seizing the Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area

Approaching the milestone of its 5th anniversary this year, HKLSS will organise a series of activities to connect the industry and promote public engagement, furthering its mission of cultivating talent and boosting the development of Hong Kong’s life sciences industry. In the future, the Society will strengthen co-operation with local institutions and enterprises in the Greater Bay Area, holding more study tours, internships and seminars in both Hong Kong and the mainland, so as to encourage young people to seek opportunities in mainland China while basing themselves in Hong Kong. 

Professor Ken Wong, Executive Director of HKLSS, is pleased to see an increase in the number of applications for the two programs. This year, many students from the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings have applied for the programs and many overseas students are interested in returning to Hong Kong for internships. The Society hopes to attract more talent from the mainland and overseas in order to build a dynamic life sciences ecosystem in Hong Kong.

Assembling Industry Elites to Support Young Students

The one-year Mentorship Scheme has always been a highlight among the Society’s events, enjoying immense popularity among the mentees and the industry. Since its inauguration in 2019, the number of the scheme’s mentors and mentees has seen exciting growth year after year. As the program enters its 5th year, nearly 100 professional mentors have been invited to participate in the scheme, including experts in life sciences and biotechnology-related industries, young entrepreneurs and senior management, such as Mr Vincent Cheung, CEO of Nan Fung Group, Prof Daniel Lee, Associate Vice-President (Innovation and Enterprise) of CUHK, Mr Antony Leung, Chairman of Nan Fung Group, Dr Benjamin Li, Founder and Director of Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd., and Mr Andrew Pang, Principal of Ally Bridge Group.

As for the mentees, the Society is now conducting a selection process in which about 100 participants will be chosen from a pool of applicants. The Scheme is targeted at undergraduate and postgraduate students aged 18 or above studying life sciences–related disciplines. Interested graduates or students studying other subjects will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. After the selection, students will be matched with mentors according to their backgrounds and preferences in the areas of business development, entrepreneurship, life sciences–related investments, science communication, research and development, and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). Each mentor will be assigned one to two mentees and will meet with them regularly to share their valuable experience and insights.

Dr Stella Wong, a former mentee of the Mentorship Scheme who will soon become a Young Mentor, said, “I was honoured to be mentored by Dr Benjamin Li, Founder and Director of Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd., who shared with me his journey from a start-up to a large-scale enterprise, as well as his insightful experiences on selecting the right investors for the business, which was extremely rewarding.”

Exploring More Locations in the Mainland with Internships and Study Tours

The Life Sciences Summer Internship Program was also met with an overwhelming response, with the number of postgraduate applicants being the highest ever. The program provides six weeks of internship opportunities for university students each year, taking them out of campus to work in start-ups, venture capital firms, NGOs, and healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, where they will be exposed to cutting-edge research and technology, and are able to explore the development of the field together with industry practitioners.

Having engaged organisations in both Hong Kong and Shanghai last year for the first time, the program will expand further to Shenzhen this year. In addition, the Society will collaborate with biotechnology enterprises in the mainland to organise a one-week summer study tour to Wuxi and Shanghai, providing interns with an in-depth understanding of the life sciences development trends in the Yangtze River Delta and a glimpse of the culture of Hong Kong and mainland enterprises. The program is now in its selection stage and more details will be announced in due course.

Ms Lisa Cai, Director of Pivotal Life Sciences, one of the participating companies, has been in close contact with the interns. She noticed that after joining the program, the interns became aware that they had a wide range of career paths to choose from after graduation, and that research and development or professorship was no longer their only option since their internships had enabled them to develop their careers in many different areas.

Approaching its 5th anniversary, HKLSS will continue to nurture more talent and promote the development of the life sciences industry in the future. For more information about the 5th Anniversary celebrations, please visit this link.