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iRead Foundation Makes Donation to PolyU to Support Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences and to Advance Scientific Research in the Field

7 May 2024

iRead Foundation makes a generous donation to PolyU to support the Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences. Dr Miranda Lou, PolyU Executive Vice President (4th from left), Dr Laura Lo, Associate Vice President (Institutional Advancement) (3rd from right) and Prof. Li Ping, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities (3rd from left), met with Ms Li Wen, iRead Foundation Founder and Executive Board Chair (4th from right).

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has received generous funding from the Shenzhen iRead Foundation (iRead Foundation) to support the Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences (the Chao Prize) and to advance the development of language sciences.  Following the donation, PolyU and iRead Foundation will also explore opportunities to foster their academic and public engagement collaborations.

Launched by the PolyU Faculty of Humanities last year, the Chao Prize comprises two awards, namely the Lifetime Achievement Award and Early Career Contribution Award. The awards are presented biennially, starting from 2024, to senior and junior scholars who have made distinguished contributions to research and education in language sciences.

iRead Foundation is committed to enhancing the development of the reading ability and quality in children. Recognising the aspiration of and the social value brought about by the Chao Prize, the Foundation has made a donation of US$800,000 to fund the cash prizes given to the Prize recipients for five consecutive prize cycles starting from the inaugural one in 2024. With this generous support, the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients will be awarded US$100,000, while the Early Career Contribution Award recipients will be awarded US$50,000.

Ms Li Wen, iRead Foundation Founder and Executive Board Chair
, hopes to advance scientific research on children’s reading and language development through the donation. She said, “Language is a significant tool for children to communicate and acquire knowledge. We believe the development of language sciences is crucial to the enhancement of children’s reading and writing. Through language research, we are able to gain a deeper understanding of how language development impacts children’s mental and physical growth, as well as their learning patterns. With this understanding, we can develop better reading resources for children and help them develop positive lifelong reading habit.”

Prof. Li Ping, Dean of the PolyU Faculty of Humanities
, sincerely thanked iRead Foundation for their generous donation which enables the University to increase the amounts awarded while also adding visibility to the Prize. He said, “PolyU truly appreciates the efforts of the Foundation to promote children’s reading and language abilities. We look forward to collaborating with them in fostering research and exchanges in the fields of language studies and reading development.” Through the Chao Prize, the Faculty is poised to bring together renowned scholars in the field of language sciences around the world, making itself a hub of language sciences research.

The awardees
of the inaugural Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences have been announced and the Prize Presentation Ceremony, hosted by the PolyU Faculty of Humanities, will be held this month. For more information, please visit

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