The Competition
The HKUST President’s Cup is an annual competition that invites students to embark on a tenacious pursuit of excellence in research and innovation. Inaugurated in 2002, the competition provides a unique learning experience to students – it encourages students’ creativity, cultivates students’ interest and expertise in research, and recognizes students’ excellence in achieving innovativeness. The competition is open to undergraduate students of all years and all disciplines. Students are welcome to join individually or as teams.
The Entry
Students compete for the prestigious President’s Cup through a series of written and oral presentations to illustrate their ingenious ideas to the judges. Each year around late September, the President’s Cup calls for applications from students. The entry is submitted as a Concept Proposal of an academic paper or survey report in any field or a new invention, innovation, software or novel idea. It can be based on final year projects, case studies and term papers.
The Award
There are three classes of awards: President’s Cup, Gold and Silver. The eminent winners get an extravagant treatment for winning the prestigious awards. Winners not only are entitled to trophies, certificates and cash prizes*, a gathering with the President is arranged for the winners to present their projects to the President and exchange ideas on related topics. Winners are also invited to the HKUST Congregation where they are presented with the President’s Cup trophies on stage. On top of that, the award-winning projects may be recommended to participate in the Challenge Cup, a national academic competition held every two years, subject to the rules of the competition.
*Amounts of cash prizes for President’s Cup 2017 are HKD 10,000, HKD 6,000 and HKD 3,000 for the three classes of awards respectively. The amounts are subject to change for future competitions.
Selection Process
The competition consists of three rounds: First Round, Semi-final and Final. Winners of all three classes of awards are determined at the final round.
First Round
To enter the competition, participants must submit a concept proposal. All submitted entries are judged by the Selection Committee based on the following selection criteria:
Only a number of entries are shortlisted for the Semi-final. The number of shortlisted entries varies from year to year and is determined by the Selection Committee.
Semi-finalists spend about three-and-a-half months on their projects to produce a final report for evaluation of the judges. The submission of the final report is followed by the President’s Cup Project Exhibition, which is open to public and usually held on campus in mid-April. Each project is designated a booth for presentation in the form of a poster exhibition along with onsite demonstration of the new invention or display of any project deliverables, such as models, photographs, leaflets, booklets, etc. Semi-finalists must be readily available at a scheduled time for direct communication with the judges.

Based on evaluations of both the final report and the project exhibition, the Selection Committee determines which projects to proceed to the final round.
The final round is an oral presentation open to public usually scheduled in early May. Finalists are required to give a 15-minute oral presentation followed by a Q & A session for Selection Committee members to ask questions.
Judges are to deliberate at a scheduled meeting after the final round to determine the winners.
Timeline for President’s Cup 2017
November 4, 2016
First Round: Submission Deadline for Concept Proposals
November 30, 2016
Announcement of Semi-Finalists
List of semi-finalists will be available on the President’s Cup website.
March 24, 2017
Semi-Final: Submission Deadline for Final Reports
March 29 to April 11, 2017
Semi-Final: Project Exhibition*
March 31, 2017
(1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Evaluation of Posters in Project Exhibition
April 25, 2017
Announcement of Finalists
List of finalists will be available on the President’s Cup website.
May 12, 2017
(9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
Finalists' Presentation*
May 15, 2017
Announcement of Winners
List of award winners will be available on the President’s Cup website.
May 23, 2017
(9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)
Meeting with the President
Only for award winners.
* Open to public
Application Procedures
  1. Entries must be based on the work done by current HKUST full-time undergraduate students within one year of the date of application.
  2. Exchange students at HKUST are eligible to participate under the condition that the submitted entry is a “group entry” with at least one regular HKUST student being a collaborator of the project.
  3. Entries can be on application basis or nominated by faculty members or fellow students. In any case, each entry must be endorsed by the project supervisor(s) or faculty member(s).
  4. Entries that are the following are considered NOT eligible:
    1. Collaborative work with postgraduate students / non-students / non-HKUST students
    2. Projects that have previously won any awards in international and/or national competitions
    3. Survey reports or academic papers that have previously been published in any journal, except for conference abstracts.
Entry Categories
Students are welcome to submit entries of the following categories:
  1. Academic paper or survey report in any field
    - can be based on final year projects, case studies, and term papers
  2. Invention / Innovation / New software / Novel idea
Making an Entry
To enter the competition, participants must submit a concept proposal of their project before the deadline.
A concept proposal:
- Can be submitted as
  1. An individual entry; or
  2. A group entry, where a group can consist of no more than six members.
- Should be written in English and should not exceed 3 pages
(including the title page, any appendices and references).
Should include:
  1. A title page stating clearly the project title and personal details of the author(s)
    (i.e., full name, student ID, school, department, major, year of study, email and phone number);
  2. A digest of the proposed project (indicating the main ideas of the entry);
  3. Work plan and projected date of completion; and
  4. Endorsement of the project supervisor(s) or faculty member(s).
    The Concept Proposal Template can be downloaded here.
Participants must submit all of the following to make a successful entry:
  1. ONE original hard copy of the endorsed concept proposal
  2. SIX photocopies of the endorsed concept proposal
  3. ONE scanned copy of the endorsed original in PDF format
Submissions of (i) and (ii) can be made by hand to Office of the Dean of Students (Room 4592, Lift 29-30) during office hours; (iii) can be submitted by email to prescup@ust.hk.
5pm, 4 November, 2016 (Friday).
All submissions should reach the Office of the Dean of Students by the deadline. More details on submission requirements and downloadable forms and templates can be found here.
Submission Requirements
Guidelines and templates are available for download on this page. Participants should observe the requirements carefully.
Selection Committee
The Selection Committee is appointed by the Office of the Dean of Students and is responsible for:
- Overseeing the management and operation of the President’s Cup;
- Selecting entries for the semi-final, the final and the awards.
List of Winning Projects
(To view reports and poster of winning projects from previous years, please visit HKUST Library’s Digital University Archives)
President’s Cup 2017
Project Title
President’s Cup Winner
Smart Soft End Effector
TSE Yu Alexander (MECH)
FENG Chenxi (MECH)
Prof Yu WANG (MAE)
Prof Lilong CAI (MAE)
Gold Award
Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) by Smartphone App
LAIMAN Evan Roberto (COMP)
STANZA Tan Erez Pablo (COMP)
WIJAYA Reynaldi Octavianus (COMP)
Prof SANDER Pedro (CSE)
Prof CHAU Ying (CBME)
Silver Award
Artificial Intelligence in Agent Based Simulation Modeling for Airline Seat Upgrade Auction
Prof GALLEGO Guillermo (IELM)
Special Mention
Aqueous Sodium-ion Battery
Prof CIUCCI Francesco (MAE)
Special Mention
Development of a Low-Cost Underwater Acoustic Communications System
NAKKA Dhesant Jogi (ECE)
Prof WOO Kam Tim (ECE)
Words from Past Winners
IWASAKI Kenta, 2016 President’s Cup Winner
(BEng, Class of 2019)
Project Title: Synthesizing Handel-esque Musical Pieces using Novel Corpus Extraction Methods with Deep-Recurrent Neural Networks
[Group Entry]

To everyone out there questioning if they should join the President's Cup or not, all we have to say is that despite your skill level and wide array of talents, the President's Cup is one of the only competitions out there that lets you realize the hardships and benefits of your research idea in the hands of the public and the academic field. Given our team’s previous experience in entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, programming, and music, we initially thought that what we had in mind was simple to accomplish from the very start. However, in combination with the rigorous academic workload and criticism we faced throughout the following months, we had to remodel entire algorithms and eventually made it with a breakthrough that may possibly change the way we see artificial intelligence and the creative media industry today. Hence why I would like to tell future participants: Given positive insight and a passion, anything can be mended to your way.
LEUNG Ka Chun, 2016 Gold Award Winner
(BEng in Computer Science, Class of 2016)
Project Title: Using the Leap Motion Controller To Translate Sign Language To Speech
[Group Entry]

President’s Cup is a marvellous competition which can share your innovative idea to fulfill your dream. Collaboration between teammates, handling emergency situation, project presentation and self-expression, and of course, technical programming skills and software design are all the fruits we gain during the progress of the President’s Cup.
We had encountered numerous problems in our project and we nearly decide to give up. Problems and difficulties would never stop disturbing you, you just need to overcome all of them. Support of our project advisor and a clear goal kept us persistent and determined to continue. A wonderful plan is just a plan if you don’t work on it. If you decide to do, do it with all your best. If you have a brilliant idea, stay strong and go ahead. You will reach the place you have never imagined.
TANG Chen, 2016 Silver Award Winner
(BEng in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Class of 2016)
Project Title: Grid Optimization of Large-Area OLED Lighting Panel Electrode
[Group Entry]

Participating in President’s Cup was an invaluable experience for us. Our project for President’s Cup was also our Final Year Design Project. Without participating in President’s Cup, we would still be able to achieve similar outcomes and come up with a prototype in similar level. However, we would never be able to learn how to present the project in the best way. By designing the poster and preparing for the presentation, we learnt how to explain the project to not only professionals but also people with limited knowledge in our project background, convincing them of the significance and innovation of our project. Besides, it was inspiring to learn opinions and perspectives of professors from various departments during the poster presentation and the final presentation. They helped us obtain a more comprehensive understanding into our project.
Office of the Dean of Students
2358 6300
Room 4592, 4/F, Lift 29-30
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday 8.45am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm to 5.33pm
(closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays)