Prof Pascale Fung, Electronic and Computer Engineering, received the 7th Outstanding Women Professionals Award from the Hong Kong Women Professionals and Entrepreneurs Association. Organized every three years since 1999, the Outstanding Women Professionals and Entrepreneurs Award honors and celebrates the achievements of women in Hong Kong and recognizes women who have made significant contributions to their professions, Hong Kong’s business environment, and society. They are women of integrity and high moral standards, providing outstanding role models to business leaders, peers and youth alike.
The award has two categories, namely Outstanding Women Professionals and Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs. Prof Fung is one of the two awardees in the professionals category and three other awardees were named in the entrepreneurs category. Judging criteria for the professionals category are professional excellence, integrity and ethics, and community service.
Prof Fung is a renowned academic in artificial intelligence. For years, she has been active in promoting women’s rights and diversity in academia and society. Among her early achievements is the launch of the world’s first Chinese natural language search engine in 2001. She proposed the applications of machine learning and mathematics on natural language understanding, and became a pioneer in the core area of AI. In 2015, she was elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for her “contributions to human-machine interactions” and Fellow of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) for “fundamental contributions to the interdisciplinary area of spoken language human-machine interactions”.
She is one of the 25 international experts in the Global Future Council on AI and Robotics of the World Economic Forum, providing forward-thinking suggestions on the development of AI and Robotics technology applications to national leaders, senior corporate management, economists and scholars. An advocate of women’s rights, Prof Fung insists on speaking the truth. She discusses social issues on her blog and in public speeches, and participates in demonstration for women’s rights. She founded the Women Faculty Association at HKUST in 2011 to promote diversity and equality in terms of gender, discipline, cultural and personal background. The initiative was among the first in Asia.