3 HK scientists win national science and technology award

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Three young Hong Kong scientists were among 50 top national researchers awarded the 2021 Xplorer Prize, one of the nation's highest grants for young researchers, on Monday.

The three are Yao Wang, professor at the Department of Physics at the University of Hong Kong, Huang Mingxin, professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong, and Lu Yi-chun, associate professor at the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Each of them will be rewarded with 3 million yuan ($464,700) by Tencent Charity Foundation in the next five years.

According to the grant's organizer, 1,135 scientists applied for the award from across the country.

This year, a total of 69 applications were received from scientists from Hong Kong and Macao, a record since the nonprofit award opened to them in 2020.

A total of six Hong Kong scientists have won the prize in the past two years.

Also Sunday, two Hong Kong scientists Yuen Kwok-yung and Joseph Sriyal Malik Peiris, both from the University of Hong Kong, were also awarded the Life Science Prize in the 2021 Future Science Prize – known as "China's Nobel Prize".

They were recognized for discovering the SARS-CoV-1 as the causative agent of the global SARS outbreak in 2003 and the transmission chain of the pathogen, which helped the mankind deal with the MERS and COVID-19 coronavirus. They were awarded a total of $1 million.