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HKU has a wide range of expertise for collaborative and contract research, which can be searched through the institutional repository of the University – The HKU Scholars Hub.

HKU’s international network is enhanced through active participation in such bodies as Universitas 21 and the Association of Pacific Universities, and such initiatives as Distinguished Visiting Professors, Visiting Research Professors and joint doctorate programmes. Ten major laboratories in collaboration with institutions in mainland China are based at HKU, including five State Key Laboratories – a key component in China’s science and technology research – and five Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)-HKU Joint Laboratories. The University has set up the HKU Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation (HKU-SIRI) and the Zhejiang Institute of Research and Innovation (HKU-ZIRI) in Lin'An, Hangzhou.

The impact of HKU’s research is highlighted in different profile indicators, including the number of HKU scholars in the top 1% according to ISI's Essential Science Indicators, as well as through developments in technology transfer and knowledge exchange.