Building Research Innovation for Community Knowledge and Sustainability (BRICKS) Conference, September 2019

Theme: Unleashing social innovation to enhance the social impact of higher education institutions

Date: 12 September 2019, Thursday
Time:  08:45 – 16:30
Venue: Jao Tsung-I Academy 

Conference Programme and Speaker Biographies

Surveying the Landscape of Social Innovation and Higher Education in Hong Kong (Main Report)

Surveying the Landscape of Social Innovation and Higher Education in Hong Kong (Executive Summary)

For presentation files, please find them in the below.


The increasing complexity of the challenges that societies are facing today demand truly collaborative approaches in attempting to find solutions to them. Whether it is rapidly ageing societies, the future and changing nature of work or the health and well-being of young people, the issues facing society today require bringing together capabilities from a wide range of actors representing all corners of society.

The traditional spheres of society – the state, the private sector and civil society are increasingly blurred, and the roles of traditional institutions are changing. Higher Education Institutions as centres of knowledge and innovation play a critical role in connecting new knowledge and ideas with the social innovators and entrepreneurs who can turn them into practical solutions in our communities. It is in this context that the BRICKS (Building Research Innovation for Community Knowledge and Sustainability) programme was conceived.

BRICKS is an initiative that aims to find innovative solutions to social challenges in Hong Kong by fostering collaboration between higher education institutes, NGOs, social enterprises and other organisations that deliver social impact. It is funded by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund (SIE Fund) and is led by the British Council in a consortium with all eight of Hong Kong’s publicly-funded universities and higher education institutions, the Good Lab, and the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), with strategic support provided by Professor Alex Nicholls, Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. 

Conference Aims

The BRICKS conference brings to a close the pilot phase of the project and will see the launch of a study into the role of Hong Kong’s higher education institutions in contributing to social innovation through research, teaching and community engagement. The study explores the emerging research and teaching trends as well as the systemic and institutional barriers that prevent collaboration. It also includes a series of recommendations for how to enhance the role of the university as an engaged, active and impactful institution.

The launch of the study and its recommendations will present an opportunity for dialogue throughout the one-day event and will see leaders from the academic community from Hong Kong, Asia and the UK come together to share approaches and learning from the growing fields of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. 

Conference Themes

  • Research Impact: How can Higher education institutions build collaborations to enhance the social impact of research? How can research track academics engage with beneficiaries, service/end users and customers in the design and development of research so that knowledge is created in collaboration with and can therefore benefit communities?
  • Teaching Impact: Are we teaching undergraduates the right skills to be effective at navigating the increasing complexity of society and the social problems that we face? How can we develop the skills of our future leaders to be better able to connect with the worlds of business, government and civil society in addressing the challenges of the future?
  • Community Engagement: Times Higher Education (THE) have recently launched a league table based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which ranks universities according to their contributions to achieving these universally agreed goals. How can the university as a whole play a more active role in contributing to their local communities holistically and utilizing all the assets at their disposal?

 List of Steering Committee Members