In response to China’s rapid economic and population growth, the Chinese government took a number of important initiatives to support the nation’s technological and economic development. One of which is the implementation of the State Key Laboratory Scheme in 1984, led by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The majority of these laboratories are affiliated with elite universities and specialize in multidisciplinary areas including medicine, physics, chemistry, ocean engineering, mathematics, material science, structural engineering, etc.

State Key Laboratories hold a prestigious status because only top laboratories that demonstrate remarkable quality and vigour in research, under the Ministry of Science and Technology’s evaluation and assessment, are approved as Partner State Key Laboratories. SKL are well respected by scientists and researchers as integral parts of the nation’s science and technology research system. They provide a basis for primary research development by bringing together outstanding researchers and by fostering scholarly exchange in the nation.

A selected number of universities in Hong Kong, with the approval of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, have established State Key Laboratories in the city. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, for example, is home to five SKL that specialize in oncology, digestive disease, synthetic chemistry, phytochemistry and agrobiotechnology.

The Institute of Digestive Disease (IDD) has its own State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease. It was established in July 2013 in partnership with the Fourth Military Medical University of China (FMMU). The premise of this establishment is to promote research and improve the level of diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases in Hong Kong and Mainland China through the two institutions’ collaboration. Both are leaders in research of digestive disease and have a long-term collaborative relationship. These two factors lay a concrete foundation for the Laboratory. Together, IDD and FMMU envisage making ground-breaking research discoveries that will provide solutions to the growing threat of digestive disorders.

To fulfil this mission, the Laboratory conducts basic, translational and clinical research on gastrointestinal cancer, peptic ulcer bleeding, chronic liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

The research team of the Skate Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease is comprised of professionals from various academic fields—gastroenterology, surgery, pathology, interventional radiology, oncology, and molecular and cellular biology. This multidisciplinary team brings together different areas of expertise to maximize the benefits of synergy between various specialities.

In a wider context, the State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease will strength ties between Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese scholars to ensure long-term sustainable collaboration.