To promote the scholarly legacy of Dr. Joseph NEEDHAM through a future community of “Needham Scholars”, HKUST and Joseph Needham Foundation for Science & Civilisation Hong Kong (JNFSC) join hands to launch a Merit Scholarship program to draw high-caliber students to contribute to the field of science, especially in the STEM areas, with a focus on humanity at the same time.
Supported by JNFSC, The Joseph Needham Merit Scholarship recognized seven outstanding HKUST students in the 2019/20 academic year. These students come from diverse disciplines, and have been admitted to PhD degrees at top universities, including Columbia University, Emory University, Leipzig University, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Max Planck Institute of Bioscience/University of Göttingen, Michigan State University, and The University of California, Santa Barbara. The awardees are high achievers, and more importantly, committed to promoting the understanding of science and humanity. Each recipient will be awarded a special yearly stipend for up to four years and will be given the title of “Associate Member” upon receipt of their PhD degrees.
Chairman of JNFSC Dr. Peter L. LEE said, “This partnership serves as a pilot to encourage students to pursue advanced scientific studies by attending prestigious conferences and meeting acclaimed scholars to accomplish their research goals. Both HKUST and JNFSC believe that this special program could recognize students’ potential as future scientists motivated by a strong sense of humanity. We are confident that the awarded students will strive to serve future generations with similar vigor, dedication and commitment to excellence after studying abroad.”
HKUST President Prof. Wei Shyy expressed gratitude to JNFSC. “In addition to fostering innovative research, the collaboration with JNFSC will enable HKUST to further our education goals by enhancing students' holistic development. I am sure this scholarship would also allow our students to expand their network overseas and learn from the best minds globally.
About Joseph Needham
Dr Joseph NEEDHAM, F.R.S., F.B.A. Scientist, Humanist and a Great Intellectual
The late Dr. Joseph NEEDHAM (1900-1995) was a prominent biochemist and social activist who dedicated most of his life to the history of science and technology in China. He is well known for his great work, the 26 volumes “Science and Civilization in China” series. His main question, now known as the “Needham Question”, asks “why modern science had not developed in Chinese civilization but only in Europe given China’s remarkable scientific achievements before the 15th century”.
Dr Joseph NEEDHAM, together with his many distinguished collaborators, demonstrated that China and the Near East had made many outstanding contributions in the transformation of ancient to modern science. In all his activities he displayed a broad vision and the courage to pursue utopian projects and entertain nonconformist social views.
About The Joseph Needham Foundation for Science & Civilisation Hong Kong (JNFSC)
Following his retirement as Master of Gonville & Caius College of the University of Cambridge in 1976, Dr. Joseph Needham needed a permanent library to house his massive collections of books (some of rare editions), manuscripts, publications, and artifacts from his lifelong association with Cambridge and his numerous sojourns in China beginning in the early 1940s as well as to other countries. A number of close friends and supporters in the US and Hong Kong began to work with Dr. Needham’s brain trust, the East Asian History of Science Trust in Cambridge, which was established in mid-1960s solely to manage his monumental work “Science and Civilisation in China”. The EAHST Cambridge was chaired by Mr. Peter Burbidge, Vice President of the Cambridge University Press and publisher of the multi-volumes “Science and Civilisation in China” series since 1954. Mr. Burbidge was one of Dr. Needham’s closest advisors in the world of publications.
To support fund raising to build the permanent EAHS library (now the Needham Research Institute, http://www.nri.cam.ac.uk/) in Cambridge, the East Asian History of Science Trust Hong Kong (EAHST) was registered in 1979 by Professor F. Peter Lisowski, Mr. T. Y. Lee, Dr. Peter L. Lee under the guidance of Mr. Peter Burbidge, Chairman of the EAHST UK. To facilitate library construction fund remittance from HK to Cambridge, the EAHST HK was renamed EAHSF in 1980. The final addition to the Needham Library was completed in 1991, 4 years before the death of Dr. Needham.
With mission accomplished, the EAHSF HK was renamed JNFSC in early 2018 to reflect the vision and goals to promote the Needham scholarly legacy with the local academic community, such as engaging secondary school students in STEM education series since 2014. The initiation of the Joseph Needham Merit Scholarship program with HKUST is another of JNFSC’s core projects.