HKUST research project won Gold Awards at the 7th China International College Students’ “Internet+” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition

Congregations! HKUST research and entrepreneurship team recommended by the HKUST Entrepreneurship Center, won Gold Awards at the 7th China International College Students’ “Internet+” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competitionh hosted by the Ministry of Education, the Competition is a yearly event organized to encourage outstanding young innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to exchange innovative ideas and inspire entrepreneurship. Since its debut in 2015, the Guangzhou-based event has developed into the world’s largest innovation and entrepreneurship competition for college students. In 2021, with the theme of "Dare to Differ, Dare to Win", the 7th competition attracted 9.56 million participants and 2.28 million projects from 4,347 colleges in 121 countries. 

The winning project was led by Prof. GAO Ping, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Acting Head of the Advanced Materials Thrust at HKUST(GZ). The team developed an ultrathin polymer nanofilm which is not only 25 times stronger than stainless steel with the same mass but is also extremely transparent, gas-permeable, and water-proof with adjustable porous properties, making it suitable for use as wearable devices, medical protection, desalination, electronics, solar cells, and many other cutting-edge technologies. 

This nanofilm developed by the team – measuring just 20 nanometers or less than one-thousandth the thickness of a hair strand - is made from the ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) – a light-weight material used in a bullet-proof vest.  It was very difficult to reduce UHMWPE to nanoscale as the powder-like material breaks at a certain level under the conventional methodology which stretches it in opposite directions to change the intrinsic orientation of the disordered and entangled polymeric chain. Meanwhile, its conformity, antibacterial, transparent yet strong properties have also made it an ideal material for various biomedical causes, including a new generation of wound dressing that requires no daily replacement and allows direct application of medicine.  

The HKUST Entrepreneurship Center will strive to provide different entrepreneurial programmes, including the Technoperneurship Programme, aiming to transform recent PhDs into technopreneurs and translate research outcomes into real-world impact through technology venturing. Incorporating entrepreneurship courses, applied research, and pre-incubation, the Programme is the first of its kind in Asia to nurture future technopreneurs for the leap into a successful businessman. The Programme welcomes recent Ph.D. graduates of HKUST who are determined to turn their research outcomes into real-world impact through entrepreneurship.

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