UM’s two state key labs pass assessments with flying colours

The two state key laboratories at the University of Macau (UM), namely the State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI (AMS-VLSI Lab) and the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine (QRCM Lab), today (6 July) passed their second assessments after 6 years of operation conducted by experts in the fields of Chinese medical sciences and integrated circuits. The experts recognised UM’s international academic influence in the areas of Chinese medical sciences and integrated circuits and praised UM for its training of researchers. Both labs will continue to receive support from the Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) of the Macao SAR.

Zhao Guoping, head of the assessment team for the QRCM Lab, said that over the past six years the lab has developed into an innovative research base in Chinese medicine quality that meets international standards, adding that the lab has become an important research platform in Chinese medical sciences. He pointed out that the research projects conducted by the lab has laid the groundwork for the realisation and perfection of the standardisation technology for Chinese medicines, and has enhanced the lab’s international academic influence in the field of Chinese medical sciences. Research in innovative TCM-based drugs shows great promise. In addition to achieving outstanding results in many areas, including the preparation and analysis of trace active elements of Chinese medicines, the discovery of new mechanism of action and novel targets, quick testing of harmful exogenous residues, the establishment of international quality standards for Chinese medicines, and the development of advanced technologies in Chinese medicine preparations, the lab has also trained a group of high-calibre innovative talent with a global mindset. 

Wang Xi, head of the assessment team for the AMS-VLSI Lab, noted that the lab has clear research priorities. It is focused on two main research areas, namely analog-to-digital converters and low power radio frequency chips, while simultaneously studying power management and microfluidic chips. Over the past six years, the lab has undertaken 25 research projects, including projects supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China’s Science Fund for Young Scholars, projects supported by the FDCT, projects supported by UM, and projects related to Macao-Hong Kong-Taiwan collaboration supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. Through these projects, the lab has developed strong research capabilities. Between 2011 and 2017, the lab presented a total of 18 papers at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which is considered ‘Chip Olympics’. The lab also received the ISSCC Silkroad Award twice (no more than two papers receive this award every year). The lab also received the Best Paper Award at the European Solid-State Circuits Conference 2014, making UM the only Asian university to receive this award. Currently, two members from the lab are IEEE fellows. Many members from the lab have served as judges or consultants at international academic institutions. It is also worth noting that 70 per cent of the faculty members from the AMS-VLSI Lab are from Macao and have received education at UM at different levels (undergraduate, master’s, and PhD). 

The assessments were organised by the FDCT based on the decision reached at the tenth meeting of the committee on collaboration in science and technology between Macao and mainland China. According to Ma Chi Ngai, president of the Administrative Committee of the FDCT, ten experts, five in Chinese medical sciences and five in integrated circuits, were invited to conduct complete, objective assessments of the two state key labs in various areas, including research priorities, team building, projects undertaken, research results, talent development, administrative efficiency, equipment utilisation, academic exchange, and progress of the implementation of development strategies. Upon assessments, the experts also provided constructive opinions.