Faculty Development Scheme (FDS) - Project Abstract

Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H01/14
Project Title: Task Sequencing with Different Task Types and Conditions in Task-based Language Teaching: A Longitudinal Study on Immediate Task Performance and Long-term Proficiency Development
Principal Investigator: Dr BUI Gavin Hiu-yuet (Hang Seng)

Task-based language teaching (TBLT) as a variation of the communicative approach has developed substantially in both research and pedagogy over the past 30 years. Less encouraging, however, has been the tendency to have task research depart from regular classrooms and to instead develop sophisticated experimental study designs conducted in laboratory-like contexts. Most TBLT studies merely focus on task performance to assess the immediate effects of intervention. It remains unclear to what extent tasks would facilitate second language acquisition in the long run. This study aims to explore both the immediate and the long-term effects of tasks per se and task sequencing in the English learning classrooms of a college in Hong Kong. It will investigate how combinations of task types and conditions in different task sequencing orientations influence students' task performance over three semesters, yielding evidence about the sustainable effectiveness of the tasks. Given its longitudinal design, this study will also evaluate and validate a data analytic framework called Hierarchical Linear Models, which is suitable for growth observations over a long period. Conventionally, task performance has been measured for complexity, accuracy and fluency, however this study will also examine the lexical aspects of learner performance, as these should also be recognised in the second-language development of students. This study is expected to provide pedagogical implications for TBLT, based on its empirical research results. At a broader level, it will also contribute to theoretical development in task-based language teaching and, more generally, in the field of applied linguistics.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H02/14
Project Title: Executive Function Skills and Early School Success in Young Chinese Children from Low-income Families
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Chi-keung (Shue Yan)

The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between executive function (EF) skills and early school success for young children from low-income families in Hong Kong. Specifically, this study focuses on examining the effects of socioeconomic disparity on EF development and early school success for economically disadvantaged children in Hong Kong. This study adopts a longitudinal design across the second (K2) and third years (K3) of kindergartens. This study attempts to address three key research questions: 1) Do young children from low-income families show lower levels of EF and slower growth in EF relative to their middle-class peers in Hong Kong? 2) Does better growth in EF predict early school success for young children from low-income families in Hong Kong? 3) Do maternal and paternal parenting styles relate to positive EF development and early school success for economically disadvantaged children? The findings of this study will have theoretical, practical, and policy implications concerning the importance of EF development for the early school adaptive performance and success of economically disadvantaged children.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H02/14
Project Title: Media, Experts and Politics of Knowledge: the Making of 'Tourism Capacity' as Social Risk
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Chi-kit (Hang Seng)

This project aims to understand the construction and negotiation of social risk concerning tourism capacity in Hong Kong society.

In recent years, tourism capacity has emerged as an acute issue in Hong Kong in the arenas of public discourse, policy deliberation, the relationship between China and Hong Kong and cultural and identity politics. Concern over the impact of incoming tourists - particularly Chinese mainlanders via the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS, a policy allowing mainland people travel to Hong Kong on an individual basis) - provokes heated debates in the media and people's everyday dialogue. Mainland tourists are regarded as the culprits in various social threats to Hong Kong, including a deterioration in the quality of life, soaring rental costs and price indices, increased crime levels and even the threat of Beijing 'colonising' the city by population flow. I aim to examine why the people of Hong Kong regard mainland tourists as a social risk, and what are the reasons and processes behind the creation of such social risk.

This proposed study is socially significant because the social risk of tourism capacity has become a perennial issue in the policy areas of tourism, immigration, urban planning and land use. Theoretically, the study is highly significant, as it will cover important issues concerning the making of social risk. In particular, it will contemplate risk society theory (Beck, 1992), which addresses how social risk becomes part of the politics of knowledge that stakeholders of all kinds who bid for resources, social influence and publicity must tackle. Informed by risk society theory, I will concentrate on the following theoretical inputs:

(1) the role of the media in constructing social risk;
(2) the role of experts in explicating knowledge pertaining to social risk;
(3) the politics of knowledge, which turns social risk into more than just deliberation over 'objective' social facts; and
(4) how social risk necessitates a constructivist approach to understanding social formation.

Risk society theory states that we are subject to the unintended consequences of modernisation, which induces unprecedented new risks that are beyond scientific assessment. The side effects of incoming mainland tourists and the rising social risk of tourism capacity manifest the unintended consequences of the growing trans-border population flow and the regional economy. In this regard, the media serves as a key actor in framing the risk of tourism capacity and making it a visible issue to the public. In the process of media construction, the making of expert knowledge by a network of news sources and journalistic norms is crucial. The media needs expert sources to construct 'objective' news, on which evidence of and speculation about social risk are based.

In addition to media representation and expert discourse, I will also investigate the politics of knowledge with respect to the risk-making process. Risk stems from social formation involving stakeholders other than the media and experts. The issue of tourism capacity draws attention and action from discontented residents whose lives are affected by tourists, political parties, social groups, trade industries and the state. Conflicts of ideas and interests among them turn the risk-making process into a politics of generating social knowledge for public discussion and policy justification. Obviously, the notion of capacity goes beyond the 'objective facts' of scientific assessment, such as the capacity of road systems and hotel accommodation. The project will thus focus on the interplay between 'objective facts' and the politics of knowledge among the major actors of risk construction. It will also envision a model that explicates social risk as a constructivist approach to understanding social formation.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E01/14
Project Title: On 2-d rectangular packing problem with aspect ratio considerations
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Chi-Kong (Hang Seng)

This project aims at developing algorithms for extending the current state-of-the-art in two-dimensional rectangular cutting and packing (2D-CP) problem. The problem involves the placement of rectangular pieces in a single container box without overlapping. The common goal is to either maximize the total area of the packed rectangular pieces given a fixed size container (called the bounding box packing problem), or to minimize the size of the bounding container box for holding all pieces (called the area minimization problem). The problem has practical applications in a number of manufacturing and job allocation problems, for instance, in VLSI floor planning problems and in metal or paper cutting industry.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H01/14
Project Title: A study on strategic leadership in Hong Kong kindergartens
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Chi-wai (OUHK)

The market of early childhood education in Hong Kong is basically a private market although influences from the Hong Kong Government is emerging. The implementation of the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme (PEVS) in 2007, which has brought about a performance review on kindergartens, has become the most prominent mechanism through which the Hong Kong Government is exercising its intervention in the early childhood education market. In the meantime, there are increasing demand for accountability, call for improvement in the quality of pre-school education, societal changes and the uncertainties arising from a globalized Hong Kong society. All these might have made subtle changes in the work relationship between principals and teachers and the kindergarten principals' ways of leading their schools. The leadership styles and strategies adopted by them might have been changed to meet the challenges. Kindergarten principals need to be a strategic leader that they are able to create a viable future for their schools. This will be particularly important to them because the early childhood education is basically a free market.

Unlike the primary and secondary education sectors in which the majority of schools are publicly funded, there is no school places allocation scheme for admission to kindergartens. Parents are free to choose a kindergarten for their kids and kindergartens enjoy freedom in admitting students. Kindergartens also enjoy much greater freedom than public sector primary and secondary schools in using their resources. But on the other hand, the Hong Kong Government is exerting its influence on the management of kindergartens through the implementation of PEVS and other administrative measures. Privately-run kindergartens and publicly funded primary and secondary schools are of different scenarios in school management and leadership. Since the previous studies about school leadership in Hong Kong were mainly about primary and secondary schools of which most of them are publicly funded, this study attempts to fill the gap in Hong Kong's school leadership and explore how strategic leadership is being practised in kindergartens which form a market akin to a free market but facing with increasing government influences.

Another deliverable of this study will be a scale for evaluating kindergarten leaders' strategic leadership characteristics. It will help kindergarten leaders diagnose their weaknesses in exercising their leadership and then develop their own plans for making improvement accordingly.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B01/14
Project Title: Product placement in Hong Kong television programmes: Brand persuasiveness and regulatory issues
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Fong-yee (Hang Seng)

Product placement involves the integration of branded products into media content. The Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority (now the Communications Authority) relaxed the restrictions governing product placement in 2005. Consequently, Hong Kong audiences have witnessed a surge of placements in television programs. The excessive level of placements together with the lack of regulation has led to serious concerns from the government and the general public about its effects on consumers, and the need for further regulation. Specifically, there have been calls for prior notification of product placement at the beginning of programs and after commercial breaks. Despite making a range of contributions to our understanding of consumer reactions towards product placement, few studies have examined the role of prior notification of product placement deals, and the majority have been conducted in Western contexts where consumers are likely to exhibit different reactions than Hong Kong consumers (Chan 2012). Prior notification itself is arguably a controversial practice, because while it exists to forewarn audiences about surreptitious marketing activity, some argue that it may actually alert audiences to the practice and give unwarranted attention to placed brands that would otherwise have been ignored by consumers (Bennett, Pecotich and Putrevu 1999). In addition to prior notification, placement context is another area which needs more research attention. Humour has been shown to be an effective peripheral cue aiding persuasion in traditional advertising (Chan 2011; Zhang 1996). It is believed that it may also benefit non-conventional marketing communication. The proposed research will test the effect of humour on the persuasiveness of brands placed in television programmes and the effect of its interaction with prior notification, which has yet to be empirically examined. The study adopts a two-stage research design. In stage 1, a content analysis of prime-time programs broadcast on free-on-air Chinese television channels will be administered to examine current product placement practices in local television. Stage 2 involves a full-factorial experiment to investigate the main and interaction effects of humour and prior notification on placement effectiveness. The findings from this study have important implications for marketers, educators and policy makers.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B02/14
Project Title: Identifying the "Fit" between Word-of-Mouth Content and Word-of-Mouth Context: A Multi-Method Investigation
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Haksin (Hang Seng)

New communication technologies media have multiplied the opportunities for consumer interaction, thus greatly expanding the influence of word-of-mouth (WOM) communication. Despite its obvious importance, however, the substantive content of WOM has seldom been examined systematically. This research seeks to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the "fit" between different WOM content categories and real-life WOM contexts -- through both controlled experiments and content analysis of online WOM data. The findings will advance the emerging theory of buzz marketing and offer context-specific guidance for practitioners.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H04/14
Project Title: The Dynamics of Activism in Postcolonial Hong Kong: An Interactive Approach
Principal Investigator: Mr CHENG Wai (OUHK)

This project aims to study the dynamics of activism in a pseudo-democracy undergoing multiple transitions. It examines the diffusion and escalation of transgressive actions in post-2006 Hong Kong, during which time contention has intensified and changed in form. It also analyses the mechanisms and processes by which some claims are politicised and some local or isolated issues are evolved into popular events, whereas others are not.

Hong Kong has long been regarded as an apathetic society in which socio-political contention is minimised, absorbed, or kept latent. Unlike some of the other developed areas that were severely affected by the global financial crisis in 2008, Hong Kong?s economy has continued to boom and its government has remained efficient. However, in recent years there have been an increasing number of unorganised, spontaneous, and perpetual struggles in the city-state that not only aimed to resist the policies of particular administrations, but also to defy the legitimacy of the regime as a whole.

In post-2006, concerns over universal suffrage, the environment, cultural heritage, the rural community, education curriculum, minority rights, and public broadcasting have proven to be contentious. This wave of activism has been rather effective in legitimising claims and sanctioning concessions, some of which could not be achieved by lawmakers and professional lobbyists. Political parties and institutionalised civil society organisations are increasingly neither the initiators nor the leaders of these salient contentious events. This trend indicates the conventional institutions? inability to solicit loyalty and articulate interests, and warrants our attention as to how and why different social actors have begun to be mobilised along a wide range of issues and to perform vigorous actions.

Based on selected event data, in-depth interviews, content analysis, and ethnographic accounts, this project will trace and analyse the mechanisms and processes by which some grassroots claims and performances have transformed into transgressive contentions in post-2006 Hong Kong. It intends to produce a systematic description of the changes in the scale and style of contentious events between 1997 and 2005 and between 2006 and 2015; to assess any recurring combinations that may account for the diffusion or escalation of salient contentious events; to examine the exchanges and interactions among different groups of contentious participants in terms of claim making and mass mobilisation; and to evaluate how feedback from previous events shapes the performance or framing of subsequent events.

This study is expected to produce new evidence concerning the repertoire of contention in relations to participatory decision-making at field and the role of spontaneous activism in the course of democratic transition. Its interactive approach will also contribute to the debate concerning grievance-based and opportunity-based theories in contentious politics. Its findings will provide new data and practical insights for local policymakers regarding the magnitude and nature of contention in the midst of a legitimacy crisis.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS13/E02/14
Project Title: Accelerating Nonrigid Image Registration using local information measures and GPU implementation
Principal Investigator: Dr CHEUNG Kwok-wai (Chu Hai)

In medical image analysis, registration is a common preprocessing step for many planning, navigation, data-fusion and visualization tasks, which require the fusion of two images of similar or different modalities. Image registration aligns two images such that corresponding points can be related, for example to combine information provided by different image acquisition devices or monitor disease progression over time. For this purpose, one image is deformed to match the other one. Rigid registration applies affine transformation to one of the images to achieve an alignment. Satisfactory result can be achieved only in some special cases in which the anatomical structures of images are rigid. In general, nonrigid registration using more complex nonrigid transformation models are required. A major problem with nonrigid registration methods is the high computational cost with registration times in the order of hours for typical 3D images. It is inconvenient and even prohibitive for some applications especially in the intraoperative scenarios.

The aim of this project is to develop techniques for improving the efficiency of nonrigid registration. Novel local mismatch measure using mutual information will be investigated and applied in speeding up multimodal image registration. Mutual information is probably the most common similarity metric for multimodal image registration as it allows registration of images obtained from different acquisition devices. However, the computational cost is prohibitively high for some applications as it is a global similarity measure with computation involving the data of whole images under registration. To remedy the problem, local mutual information mismatch measure based on local region pixels will be applied in B-spline transformation model, which has been applied successfully to a wide range of nonrigid registration problems. Based on parallelization of nonrigid registration process, another goal of this project is to implement the developed algorithm on system with Nvidia GPU processor and general-purpose multicore architectures to achieve higher efficiency compared to sequential implementation running on a general-purpose processor.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H06/14
Project Title: Modern South-coming Intellectual's Impression of Hong Kong and Their Nationalist Awareness
Principal Investigator: Prof CHIU Yu-lok (OUHK)

The project intends to elaborate the close relationship between the modern Chinese intellectuals who came to Hong Kong from China (henceforth "South-coming intellectuals") and their sense of national identity as reflected in relevant Hong Kong literary works. Such observation is of increasing importance in studying the rise of Chinese nationalism as well as reconstructing the China state theory from late Qing onwards. By examining their impressions of Hong Kong through poetry, diaries, monographs and local records written in different periods, we will be able to understand the mentalities of these people in response to a changing China.

A focus of this project is to observe the identity crisis experienced by the South-coming intellectuals in the context of the country's instability. The Chinese literary people in late Qing blended rich knowledge from Confucian classics with innovative Western knowledge. Amidst the rise of the nation-state and nationalism, and guided by their personal experience in Hong Kong, many of them expressed their mixed feelings in writing, thereby providing rich literary resources to assist us in deconstructing basic intellectual thoughts regarding the relationships between the country and the citizen, the state and the ethnic groups, as well as centralization and regionalism. Moreover, a thorough investigation of these South-coming intellectuals' traditional values, worldviews, and expectation of modernity regarding the colonial and westernized situation in Hong Kong would help explain the intellectual environment in the mainland and other overseas Chinese societies.

Intellectuals who visited Hong Kong in the 19th century demonstrated their political awareness of the need for reform and revolution in their literary works. Following their footprints in Hong Kong, late Qing elders in the early 20th century preferred to avoid political controversies and instead traced Hong Kong's historical and ethnical ties with the mainland China in a more scholarly way. The national sentiment climaxed in the third phase when writers of different backgrounds came to Hong Kong during 1920s-1940s to promote various political and social ideas during wartime.

As a contextual study, the project aims at systematically investigating modern intellectuals who had connections with Hong Kong and Lingnan and who featured prominently in Modern Chinese History. Through a precise study on the South-coming intellectuals, future learners will have a better understanding of regional studies and nationalism. The project findings are intended to be published in book form and will serve as a practical teaching aid for civil education in local secondary schools.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/M01/14
Project Title: A phenomenological study of the attributes of the practice environment in Hong Kong residential care homes for the elderly
Principal Investigator: Dr CHOI Sandy Pin-pin (OUHK)

The growing ageing population has prompted the local authority to increase the supply of residential care places, with the aim of addressing the escalating service demand in long-term care services. Along with the efforts devoted to meeting the service need, considerable attention has been drawn to the challenge of increasing voluntary turnover among residential care staff. Strong concern has been expressed about the need to improve the quality of the practice environment in residential care homes, so as to attract new entrants and retain existing staff. Mounting evidence from previous studies points to an inseparable link between the attributes of the practice environment and staff outcomes in residential care settings. No systematic research has been conducted into these aspects in the local context, and this study is intended to fill the gap by identifying the attributes of the practice environment which influence staff satisfaction and retention in the residential care service sector.

This study aims to delineate the attributes of the practice environment through explicating the lived experiences of staff working in the residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs) in Hong Kong. The inquiry will be guided by Van Kaam's phenomenological method, which is rooted in psychology and was previously adopted by two research team members to study the phenomenon of increasing voluntary turnover among frontline nurses in local public hospitals. Potential participants will be recruited through the maximum variation sampling strategy, which involves a purposive selection of participants with different work roles and experiences. These include registered and enrolled nurses, health workers and personal care workers with different experiences of working in subvented, contract or private RCHEs, comprising those with long years of service and those who have resigned from their current positions.

Around 40 to 50 participants will be invited to take part in an individual semi-structured interview, and aspects related to their work and practice environment - such as job demands, co-worker relationship, career development, job satisfaction and turnover intention - will be extensively examined. All the interviews will be transcribed verbatim, and the descriptive findings will then be analyzed through a systematic process of listing, preliminary grouping, reduction, elimination, hypothetical identification, application and final identification. The ultimate goal of the analysis is to develop an empirically grounded conceptual framework, which explicates the positive and negative attributes of the practice environment underlying RCHE staff's sense of satisfaction and turnover intention.

It is believed that the findings will have implications for formulating appropriate strategies to improve staff satisfaction and retention, while also contributing to an empirical foundation to guide similar studies and further initiatives to advance the practice environment in RCHEs in the future.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H07/14
Project Title: Epistemic modulation and speaker attitude in Cantonese: A discourse-pragmatic perspective
Principal Investigator: Dr CHOR Oi-wan (OUHK)

Virtually all natural languages have their own means to convey meanings of various kinds, from those that are more objective or impersonal (e.g. meanings concerning time and quantity), to those that are more subjective, conveying different shades of the speaker's moods and perspectives (e.g. how the speaker evaluates a certain situation, how evident the speaker's conclusion of a situation is.) Recent studies have revealed a wide range of strategies that speakers adopt to signal their attitude towards what they are reporting (an aspect of stance marking), as well as to indicate their degree of certainty (or lack thereof). Speakers make use of lexical means such as modals (e.g. may, might), adverbials (e.g. probably, certainly), epistemic phrases (e.g. I think, I believe), as well as other lexically transparent expressions (e.g. I just hate that, I simply love that) to explicitly communicate their epistemic attitude and subjective mood. Besides, speakers also frequently indicate the degrees of commitment to their claims by acknowledging the source and reliability of their information (e.g. as stated in the most recent report), a phenomenon known as evidentiality (Willett 1988; Aikenvald 2004).

A number of recent studies have shown that epistemic modality and evidentiality are closely related, with evidential markers often used in conversations as discourse-pragmatic markers to modulate the strength of the speaker's epistemic claim and to help externalize his or her attitude (Kim 2005, 2011). Based on data from historical and contemporary corpora, natural conversations and interviews, the present study will complement previous research on evidentiality and stance marking, and attempt to uncover the range of strategies that Cantonese speakers employ to indicate their attitude. In particular, this study will focus on how various grammatical resources and strategies, including grammaticalized evidential markers, particles, and discourse markers, can be used to externalize the speaker's subjective mood and to modulate his or her epistemic commitments, from a discourse-pragmatic perspective. More importantly, the present study will seek to find out what these grammaticalized markers add to our utterances, and how they have come about from a diachronic perspective. Since the speaker's attitude and epistemic judgments mostly appear in interactional contexts, data will be analyzed within an interactional linguistic framework that draws upon techniques used in discourse analysis (DA) and conversational analysis (CA). The theory of grammaticalization will also be adopted for diachronic analysis.

While this project will mainly focus on Cantonese, the findings will have important implications for cross-linguistic comparisons.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B04/14
Project Title: Team cognitive diversity and creativity: The role of team learning and inclusion
Principal Investigator: Dr CHOW Irene Hau-siu (Hang Seng)

The proposed study will examine the mechanisms and conditions by which cognitive team diversity is positively related to team creative performance. More specifically, team learning is expected to mediate the relationship between cognitive team diversity and team creative performance, and inclusive climate is expected to moderate the indirect effect of team cognitive team diversity on creative performance such that employees exhibit greater creative performance with a moderate level of cognitive diversity in a strong rather than weak climate of inclusion. Theoretically, this study will advance our understanding of the mechanism between cognitive team diversity and creative performance. Practically, it will offer managerial guideline for enhancing team learning and inclusiveness in fostering a creative workplace environment.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E02/14
Project Title: Model-based Unsupervised Image Segmentation
Principal Investigator: Dr CHOY Siu-kai (Hang Seng)

Image segmentation is widely recognized as a challenging problem in computer vision and has wide applications in various areas such as scene analysis, image editing and medical imaging. One of the main approaches to this problem is to divide an image into a collection of blocks that are subsequently organized into groups with similar image features, thereby achieving initial segmentation. The initial segmentation is then further enhanced by boundary localization. Crucial to the successful segmentation of images using this method is the selection of grouping schemes and image features. The most popular grouping techniques and choices of image features are based on unsupervised learning algorithms and histograms. Although traditional clustering algorithms and raw histograms often perform well in different areas, these clustering algorithms are sensitive to initial clusters, and the number of clusters is unknown a priori while raw histograms are usually high-dimensional, which makes them less efficient in practical contexts. Therefore, there are compelling reasons to develop a more advanced clustering algorithm and a more effective representation to replace raw histograms in image segmentation applications.
In the proposed project, we will investigate a robust and effective clustering algorithm and develop a universal parametric random histogram modeling technique for a wide range of applications. In particular, we will study the mathematical optimization framework to integrate a parametric random histogram model with an agglomerative fuzzy k-means algorithm with spatial information for image segmentation applications.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/B02/14
Project Title: In-role and extra-role knowledge sharing among information technology professionals: A self-determination perspective
Principal Investigator: Dr CUI Xiling (Shue Yan)

Knowledge sharing (KS) has become a critical issue for information technology professionals. However, some findings of previous research on the antecedents of KS are not consistent, which suggests that the nature of the KS may differ. Therefore, we aim to investigate the different types of KS and their antecedents in this study. Based on the literature review, we propose two types of KS among information technology professionals, namely, in-role and extra-role KS. We also investigate their antecedents based on self-determination theory and their consequences. We hypothesise that extrinsic, introjected and intrinsic rewards, beneficial and relationship reciprocity, and self-efficacy influence the two proposed types of KS behaviour in different ways based on their different natures. Furthermore, the two forms of sharing behaviour are expected to influence performance at both the group and organisational levels.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS13/E04/14
Project Title: Eye-tracking Aided Digital System for Intelligent Strabismus Diagnosis and Therapy Training: Principle and Prototype
Principal Investigator: Dr FU Hong (Chu Hai)

Strabismus, also known as heterotropia, is a common ophthalmic disease in which the two eyes cannot be properly aligned with each other. This vision disorder affects about 4% of the population for both adults and children, making it one of the most common eye diseases in preschool children in Hong Kong and other counties. If not well treated, strabismus may cause amblyopia (also called "lazy eye"), poor depth perception, and even permanent vision loss. Most of diagnosis methods currently in use are subjective or semi-subjective and much depend on the experiences. Sometimes intermittent or recessive strabismus is difficult to perceive. These make many young patients miss the best time for treatment. Studies show that appropriate eye movement trainings can effectively treat most of the strabismus. However, there is no such eye training system in which the process of training can be timely and systematically evaluated. Therefore, there is a substantial need to develop an objective, digitalized and intelligent system for strabismus diagnosis and therapy training.

We propose an eye-tracking aided digital system for intelligent strabismus diagnosis and therapy training. In the proposed work, we plan to use eye tracking technology to track and record the eye movements digitally. Then we will explore the featured eye movement pattern of strabismus and model the relationship between extraocular muscles and eye movements. Intelligent diagnosis and therapy training will be conducted based on the analysis of eye movement data. Three key issues will be investigated, including gaze estimation of strabismic eye, strabismic pattern mining, as well as relationship between extraocular muscles and eye movements. A prototype system will then be built up and implemented, and system qualification review will also be carried out.

The outcome of the proposed work will provide a new alternative for strabismus diagnosis and therapy training. In the aspect of diagnosis, it will increase the efficiency of diagnosis and reduce the healthcare cost, so that makes it easy to conduct screening of strabismus among a large population, for example, all the students in a primary school. The findings and methodology obtained in this work could also be considered as valuable reference for other vision disorders, such as amblyopia, depth perception problem and tracking problem. In the aspect of therapy training, training and evaluation on the response will be integrated seamlessly and interactively. Therefore, the effectiveness of therapy training will be enhanced.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H07/14
Project Title: The missing link: An investigation of Moism, the School of Names, and the School of Diplomats, and their place in the history of ancient Chinese psychology
Principal Investigator: Dr FU Wai (Shue Yan)

The proposed study will be a historical study examining the contribution of Moism (¾¥®a), the School of Names (Mingjia¦W®a) and the School of Diplomats (ZhonghuangjiaÁa¾î®a) to psychology in Warring States (ca. 475-221 BC) China. Overcoming the seemingly esoteric and mystic layout of the texts of these schools of thought, the study will provide a new deciphering of three difficult texts, the Mozi, the Gongsunlongzi and the Guiguzi, based on the perspective of psychology. By applying Kurt Danziger's method of identifying psychological objects (Danziger, 2003), in combination with techniques for the cross-validation of texts (Wang, 2008), the study will unveil the psychological constructs adopted by Moism, the School of Names and the School of Diplomats, and uncover ancient empirical approaches to psychology and the psychological techniques used to train spies and diplomats, namely, mnemonics, guided imagery, eloquence training, humour training, drama training, voice training, and attention training. The findings of the study will be beneficial in expanding the curriculum of the history of psychology in Chinese communities, and will open up possibilities for the generation of new ideas about indigenous psychology.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B08/14
Project Title: Integrated modeling approach for increasing Hong Kong Port competitiveness
Principal Investigator: Dr GLOWACKA Karolina Joanna (Hang Seng)

Historically, the Port of Hong Kong has been a major contributor to Hong Kong's economic growth and prosperity. However, since the establishment of the Special Economic Zone in Shenzhen in 1980, Hong Kong has been steadily losing market share of ocean cargo to new, lower cost competitors in the Pearl River Delta. The biggest threat to Hong Kong Port is the Port of Shenzhen, which by the end of 2013 surpassed Hong Kong in terms of annual container throughput. As a newer port, Shenzhen offers more modern facilities, lower terminal handling fees, and has a higher capacity for handling container vessels. Going forward, it is vitally important for the Port of Hong Kong to increase its attractiveness to the shipping lines in order to stop or reverse this decline in market share. We propose an innovative strategy that goes beyond the standard solutions of cutting costs and maximizing port's productivity. While these considerations are important, we argue that they need to be combined with increase in customer service, which can be achieved by offering shipping lines that call on Hong Kong additional benefits in terms of shorter vessel turn-around time. Through this study, we show that this can be accomplished without sacrificing port's profit margins. We also argue that these benefits should not be implemented 'across the board' but should be based on the presence of time incentives in contracts with freight liners.

In this research we consider the inclusion of incentives for early work completion in container shipping contracts. We will develop a detailed simulation model of Hong Kong container port's operations, integrated with the optimization procedure for allocating port's resources in presence of contractual time incentives and disincentives. We will measure the impact of time incentives on early work completion and evaluate the benefits that can be obtained by the port operators, shipping lines, and the overall supply chain. The study will also consider the impact of various factors, such as vessel punctuality, incentive contract adoption rate, vessel size, etc. on these benefits. The results of this study will have a significant potential for increasing the competitiveness of Hong Kong container terminal operators, reducing fuel consumption for the shipping lines, and improving overall supply chain performance.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H08/14
Project Title: In face of life's problems, what does religion mean? Assessing rational choice theory with evidence from Catholic case studies
Principal Investigator: Dr HO Yuk-ying (Shue Yan)

This research project will explore what religion currently means to people via a qualitative case study. We will specifically investigate the ways in which Catholics rely on their religion when they encounter life's solvable and insolvable problems. From the perspective of rational choice theory, religion may serve as a means or resource for people to solve their problems. Religious believers use the resources available to them via church organisations (e.g., charity services), religious rituals (e.g., sacraments of healing) and spiritual practices (e.g., prayers) to acquire what they want or need. This is how we generally understand and use religion when coping with difficulties. However, there is no complete resolution for problems such as living with a terminal illness or raising a handicapped child. In cases such as these, 'solving' the problem is only mitigating the negative effects of misfortune. People must endure the lingering pain and suffering associated with insolvable problems.

At this point, our project will progress from the focus on religious resources to one that reveals the deeper meaning of religion. We shall explore the relationship between suffering and issues related to the human self. Some key questions will be asked, including the following. What are the possible effects that prolonged pain and suffering have on human nature? What makes human self-transformation in suffering possible, and what role, if any, does religion play in the process? These questions will introduce the Catholic concept of redemptive suffering into our study of Catholic beliefs and behaviour, and present two implications. First, analysing how Catholics connect worldly misfortunes to the afterlife will help reveal the meaning of religion at the supernatural level. Second, the virtues embodied in redemptive suffering, such as patience, compassion and self-sacrifice, will enable us to detail the scenarios and behaviour related to moral virtues and the dynamics involved in the human struggle for a better life. We hope that the findings of this project will be useful not only for pastoral care, but also for scholars and practitioners who are interested in the role of religion in social work, counselling and health care.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/H03/14
Project Title: Contextual Analysis of Chinese Language Teachers' Judgment On Student Writing and Exploratory Study in Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Prof HO Man-koon (Caritas)

Helping language teachers to improve their quality and standard of marking has been a perennial problem confronting trainers of student teachers for many years. Besides attending to heavy work duties, language teachers are faced with the burden of rating and marking student assignments and papers which is an added pressure to an already stringent schedule. This also affects the quality of marking and students become the ultimate losers in the long run.

The writer proposes to explore the composition marking behavior and uniqueness of Chinese language teachers in two secondary schools in Hong Kong. The research team will be stationed in the school during the research period to examine the school culture and group communities (e.g. school policy on marking; views of the Principal and the Panel Heads on teachers' attitude towards marking compositions; students and their parents' opinions on who is responsible for marking) and their influence on teachers' marking behavior through onsite observations of these teacher subjects from classrooms, staff rooms, conference rooms through to informal occasions with respect to their marking behavior, interaction and mutual influence processes; and through multiple, in-depth interviews to understand how they formulate and mode their individual marking principles and strategies under the effects and challenges of community group expectations and extant school culture. Think-aloud protocols, though time-consuming by nature, will be used to elicit teachers' verbalized judgment on student writings instead of relying solely on the textual analysis of composition written by students which can be seen as the most remarkable feature which distinguishes the current project from earlier works of similar nature using the product-oriented approach.

This project will be the first ethnographic study of the marking behavior of Chinese Language teachers in the Hong Kong classroom context from the perspective of contextual analysis. Results of the project will help better understand the judgment of frontline Chinese language teachers in determining what to use or not to use in their marking strategies, how they arrive at the final score and factors influencing their marking behavior and scoring decision. Possible suggestions will be provided on how the marking quality of Chinese language teachers could be further improved and upgraded.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS12/H02/14
Project Title: Cross-border Exchanges and Shadow Economy in the Pearl River Delta Region
Principal Investigator: Dr HUNG Po-wah Eva (Centennial)

This study seeks to examine three aspects of cross-border shadow economic activities, namely, the flow of goods, of capital, and of labor, which have developed along the cross-border region of the Pearl River Delta Region in southern China bordering Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Hong Kong and Macau. Since the liberalization of border control (under the so-called Individual Visit Scheme) in 2003 and the liberalization of the casino license in Macau in 2004, daily movements of people and goods across the borders have increased exponentially. Compounded by the food scandals in mainland China, a parallel trade shuttling goods from Hong Kong and Macau across the border to the mainland has ripen. Liberalization of the casino economy in Macau also makes it a convenient venue for capital flight and money laundering from mainland China. In addition, relaxation of migration control of China also affords greater opportunity for the transnational flow of migrant labor, both legal and illegal, and including sex workers, to Hong Kong and Macau. The presence of a shadow economy is clearly in sight, but the actual mechanism of how it works is under-studied. This study aims to describe in thick details the actual practices of these illicit activities and to analyze the organizational and institutional dynamics of the shadow economy. In so doing the broader purpose is to uncover some of the workings of a hidden economic order and to map out its relationship with the formal economy.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H10/14
Project Title: Trauma, Memory, And Healing in Modern Asian Literature
Principal Investigator: Dr JAYAWICKRAMA Sharanya (Shue Yan)

This project examines Asian literature that responds to histories of conflict and catastrophe in order to explore the complex and surprising intersections of literature, history, and ethics. It is designed to be open and attentive to a variety of literary languages, narrative forms, and representations of voice and subjectivity as it questions how different social and historical contexts have generated diverse strategies of literary and cultural representation during and following human suffering. In addition to generating new knowledge about modern and contemporary Asian literature, this project contributes to the globalization of literary studies in the twenty-first century and participates in the imperative to restore a cross-cultural perspective to trauma studies.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS17/M07/14
Project Title: Applicability of Virtopsy in Stranded Finless Porpoises in Hong Kong Waters (Neophocaena phocaenoides) and the Yangtze River (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis ssp. asiaeorientalis)
Principal Investigator: Dr KOT Brian Chin-wing (Tung Wah)

Indo-Pacific finless porpoises (FP) are classed as a vulnerable Hong Kong resident cetacean with a maximum of 152 individuals, and Yangtze finless porpoises (YFP) are presently classed as critically endangered cetaceans surviving only in the Yangtze River with only about 1000 individuals remaining. With approximately 14-29 incidences of FP stranding in HK yearly since 1996, this number of deaths may be significant compared to the estimated size of this local resident population, thus its conservation status is of immediate concern.

Necropsy records and mortality data provide concrete information for monitoring morbidity in animal population. While conventional necropsy is considered the gold standard in post-mortem investigation, it has several clear limitations. Conventional necropsy on cetaceans is invasive, requiring the body to be opened for examination which may induce unnecessary tissue destruction. Inspection, palpation and tissue incision during conventional necropsy may entail potential risks of disease contraction for veterinary personnel. These reasons illustrate the dire need for a review of the ways of handling carcasses with measures to complement the conventional necropsy.

Post-mortem imaging, known as virtopsy, is conducted with sectional imaging modalities, may give invaluable initial or additional information, and is a virtual alternative to the conventional necropsy. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are performed with the aim of examining a carcass in a 3-D matrix, which supplements internal post-mortem examination of a carcass prior to conventional necropsy. It is believed that virtopsy increases the accuracy in the diagnosis of the cause of death in human adults, and contributes findings that are not readily obtained during conventional autopsy. Virtopsy on animals has tended to be limited to research and has rarely been used to confirm clinical diagnoses.

Currently in veterinary medicine, there is a lack of information on non-invasive necropsy techniques, and yet there is convincing evidence supporting the use of virtopsy as a supplement to conventional necropsy in FP or any stranded cetaceans. Virtopsy appears to be more accurate, time saving, and non-invasive than conventional necropsy, with lesser risk of disease contraction for veterinarians and other human rescuers.

This study aims to develop a new set of CT and MRI imaging protocols and techniques, and to apply it to virtopsy procedures for local stranded FP and YFP in mainland China. The result of the study can contribute to the practice of post-mortem pathological investigation by virtopsy, in addition to the conventional necropsy information. Results will ultimately be beneficial to the scientific community by providing better understanding insight into causes of death, while posing precise conservation measures for the vulnerable local resident FP and critically endangered YFP populations.

Our team integrates the expertise of radiological imaging, interpretations, conventional necropsy, animal care and veterinary services, education and conservation of threatened species both in situ and ex situ to investigate a pioneer virtopsy approach with standardised CT and MRI imaging protocols and techniques for FP and YFP to supplement conventional necropsy procedures for better insight into causes of death with radiological pathology investigation. We are confident that with our expertise, this project will achieve useful outcomes for accurate and precise conservation measures aimed at the vulnerable local resident FP and critically endangered YFP populations.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H12/14
Project Title: Risk yet to be socially realized: Light Pollution in Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Dr LAM Yee-man (Shue Yan)

Risk has often been seen as an objective fact. However, risk does not exist in a vacuum. Risk necessitates a socio-cultural process before it can be socially identified and realized. Risk realization involves the media, the experts, and the government for message dissemination and risk identification. In order to be brought into being, risk has to be presented and re-presented. There is a growing body of useful study into many aspects of risk, and this project will add to that body, advancing the study of risk through a unique case study: risk that has been scientifically proven but is yet to be socially manifested - the problem of light pollution in Hong Kong.

This project aspires to investigate these questions: as a case in risk study, why isn't light pollution, a scientifically proven risk, formulated socially in Hong Kong? What are the factors hampering light pollution as risk from its social manifestation in Hong Kong? How can this problem be brought into being the future? To answer these questions, the project will study the discourse of light pollution, that is, how is light pollution discussed by different stakeholders? What are their respective stances and arguments? What are the concerns? What are the roles played by the experts, media, NGOs, and the government? What are the power dynamics? Further, looking at the problem of light pollution from a different angle, one can see that, unlike other pollutions, light pollution has a positive side. Light represents prosperity, progress, and civilization. In the specific context of Hong Kong, light is a spectacle; Hong Kong is famous for its sparkling night view of Victoria Harbour and for its use of massive, multiple, neon signs. This leads us to a more theoretical question: in what ways is light pollution a problem associated with an obsession with the visual, a problem highly related to modernity and postmodernity?

The project will contribute pertinently to the study of risk with a unique case study featuring a scientifically proven risk that has, thus far, failed to be socially formulated in Hong Kong. With risk more thoroughly understood, we would be able to better understand how to respond; we would be able to suggest in what ways the problem of light pollution can be further discussed and managed in the future.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H06/14
Project Title: Review of the current law school curriculum to promote the use of Cantonese in Hong Kong courtrooms
Principal Investigator: Dr LEE Kim-hung (Hang Seng)

English was the sole language of the law in Hong Kong before the 1970s. The judiciary introduced Cantonese as a trial language in the magistrates' courts 40 years ago to reduce the distance between the law and the general public. Today, however, judges and lawyers still resort to English in the Cantonese courtrooms sometimes. One of the reasons is that training in courtroom Cantonese for law students is inadequate. This research aims to review the current curriculum of law schools in Hong Kong on the provision of courtroom Cantonese training, and to suggest further steps to be taken to enhance the Cantonese skills of law students, so that law graduates will be more ready to use Cantonese in Hong Kong courtrooms to ensure easier access to legal proceedings by the Cantonese-speaking public.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/B06/14
Project Title: Nonlinear Cointegration and Relevant Market Definition: A Study of Grocery Markets
Principal Investigator: Dr LEE Shu-kam (Shue Yan)

The grocery industry in Hong Kong has increased its concentration over the last three decades. High concentration may give rise to market power, which in turn causes anti-competitive behaviour and high grocery prices that lower the standard of living among consumers, especially those in low-income households. However, based on the theory of contestable markets, high concentration may not necessarily result in excessive market power. On the contrary, its positive impact can allow the dominating few large supermarket chains to take advantage of the economy of scale and transfer the efficiency gains to benefit the community.

If there is fit and proper competition in the grocery industry, the positive benefits should out-weigh the negative costs to the consumers. To assess the degree of competition in the grocery industry, the common approach in the competition policy literature is to first define the relevant market, which identifies all substitutes that are competing in the market. Fewer substitutes reflect a lack of competition where sub-optimal productive and allocative efficiency would likely occur as a result. Competition authorities in foreign countries have recognised the usefulness of econometric cointegration tests in defining the relevant market and have used the test results to support policy and court decisions.

However, the cointegration tests previously adopted by the anti-competition research studies do not consider transaction costs. The existence of these transaction costs are however important because if the potential gain from price differentials of similar products does not outweigh the transaction costs, the arbitrage process to equalise the two product prices will not take place. Hence, when transaction costs are ignored in the estimation, though these two similar products are competing fiercely in a fit and proper competitive market and their prices synchronise closely, the testing results may still mistakenly conclude that these two products are not competitive substitutes.

This research project overcomes this weakness of the previous studies by embedding the transaction costs into nonlinear price-based cointegration tests that specifies different types of regime-switching and adjustment processes. We adopt these econometric methods to examine the price dynamics in the grocery industry in Hong Kong. If possible, we also apply the same methodology to some other economies of interest.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS13/H10/14
Project Title: Advocation that Selections of Refined Literature should be 3 styles and 76 genres
Principal Investigator: Prof LEE Li-shin (Chu Hai)

Selections of Refined Literature used to be compulsory reading in the age of imperial examination. Therefore, no one dare to criticized it.

It is widely accepted that there are 37 classified styles (others also hold the viewpoint of 38 or 39 genres, even 37 genres) in Selections of Refined Literature from Song Dynasty. No one brings up other contradictory comments till now. However, this hypothesis is obvious opposite to the preface of Selections of Refined Literature which says "due to different styles between poem and ode, the book was arranged chronologically according to distinct genres". There are two specific classification mentioned in the preface-style and genre, while the old view just refer to the term "style".

In my opinion, there should be 3 styles and 76 genres in Selections of Refined Literature. In order to make the issue clearly, I have successively published four papers about 50,000~60,000 words, in which some arguments still need to be enhanced and materials need to be enriched although. This project will expand to 100,000 ~120,000 words and then publish after enhancing and enriching.

This project will be significant that it will not only correct the old wrong hypothesis from Song Dynasty, find Selections of Refined Literature where it should be, but also give people the right knowledge.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H16/14
Project Title: Hong Kong Journalists' Oral History
Principal Investigator: Prof LEUNG Tin-wai (Shue Yan)

Although history is usually based on tangible materials such as printed texts, documents and sound recordings, some histories, such as the history of contemporary journalism in Hong Kong, can only be known through the oral narratives of veteran journalists.

This project will systematically interview senior veteran journalists about their experiences working in the Chinese media in Hong Kong. We will then verify their testimonies, analyse them and place them in their historical context.

The project will interview the following veteran journalists:
i. Mr. Yang Ki (·¨©_), Publisher, Wah Sheung Pao (µØ°Ó³ø);
ii. Ms. Aw Sin (­J¥P), Publisher, Sing Tao Jih Po (¬P®q¤é³ø);
iii. Mr. Pun Tat Kung (¼ï¤@¤u), Deputy Chief Editor, Sing Tao Man Po (¬P®q±ß³ø);
iv. Mr. Shum Choi Sang (§Â¤~¥Í), Publisher, Wah Yiu Yat Po (µØ¹´¤é³ø);
v. Mr. Wai Kee Shun (­³°òµÏ), Publisher, Tin Tin Yat Po (¤Ñ¤Ñ¤é³ø);
vi. Mr. Eric Ho (¦óÂE¼Ý), Publisher / Mr. Shiu Lo Shin (ªò¿cµ½), Chief Editor, Kung Sheung Yat Po (¤u°Ó¤é³ø);
vii. Mr. Louis Cha (¬d¨}ó`), Founder / Mr. Wong Shi Yu (¤ý¥@·ì), Chief Editor / Mr. Cheung Kwai Yeung (±i¦c¶§), Deputy Editor, Ming Pao (©ú³ø);
viii. Mr. Mok Kong (²ö¥ú), Chief Editor, Ching Pao (´¹³ø);
ix. Mr. Fung Shiu Wing (¶¾¥üºa), Publisher/Chief Editor, Hong Kong Daily News (·s³ø);
x. Mr. Yeung Cho Kwan (·¨¯ª©[), Chief Editor, and Mr. Yang Ki (·¨©_) Publisher, Ta Kung Pao (¤j¤½³ø);
xi. Mr. Cheung Chor (±iªì), Chief Editor, and Mr. Hui Sun (³\êP), Hong Kong Sheung Pao (­»´ä°Ó³ø); and
xii. Mr. Cheung Wun Fung (±i¶³·¬), Publisher / Mr. Cheung Ching Wun (±i´¸¶³), Deputy Chief Editor / Mr. Chau Yick (©P«³), Deputy Chief Editor / Mr. Tsang Mun Ze (´¿±Ó¤§), Editorial Writer, Wen Wei Pao (¤å¶×³ø).


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B12/14
Project Title: Psychological Acceptance of Culture Mixing: Effects of Cultural Politeness
Principal Investigator: Dr LI Dongmei (Hang Seng)

Globalization has led to the massive inflow of global brands into local markets. As it is hard to change cross-cultural differences, many global brands adapt to local culture by employing local cultural elements in marketing practices. At the same time, global brands are often seen as symbols of foreign cultures (Torelli, Keh, & Chiu, 2010), thus, it is inevitable that ideas, values, practices, images, and symbols of local and foreign cultures are found simultaneously in the marketplace. This phenomenon is defined as culture mixing (Li, Kreuzbauer, & Chiu, in press). Some examples of culture mixing are Starbucks' coffee mooncakes, McDonald's in the Louvre Museum in France, and a Starbucks' store with a Bing Sutt style in Hong Kong.

Exposure to culture mixing can lead to positive or negative responses toward foreign brands from local consumers (Chiu & Cheng, 2007). Consumers who exhibit positive responses tend to have a learning mindset; they see foreign cultures as intellectual resources that can enrich the local culture. In contrast, consumers who display negative responses tend to be those who fear that foreign cultures will undermine the integrity and purity of the local culture (Cheng, 2010; Chiu & Cheng, 2007).

The prevalence of culture mixing and its diverse influences on consumers' responses toward foreign brands have stimulated an important question: how do marketers enhance local consumer acceptance of culture mixing? Research on the consequences of culture mixing exposure abounds. However, few studies have examined the antecedents of consumers' acceptance of culture mixing. To fill this gap, the proposed research aims to identify situational and individual factors that explain and predict variations in consumers' acceptance of culture mixing.

Building on the symbolic exclusionary theory (Chiu, Wan, Cheng, Kim, & Yang, 2010; Yang, 2011) and the Principal Investigator's dissertation on cultural politeness theory (Li, 2013), we propose that culturally polite marketing communication (e.g., one that expresses appreciation of local cultural practices or positive aspects of local culture) from a foreign brand signals a respectful attitude to the local culture, and local consumers are less likely to perceive such a brand as a threat to the local culture. Thus, consumers will accept mixing of the foreign brand with local culture (e.g., Chinese consumers evaluate Starbucks coffee mooncakes positively). Moreover, we propose that the positive effect of cultural politeness on local consumer acceptance of culture mixing will be particularly strong when: (a) the foreign brand is perceived to be a high-competence brand (e.g., the brand has strong financial performance or is from a strong country); (b) consumers have a weak cosmopolitan identity; they do not see themselves as citizens of the world who do not belong to any specific national culture, and (c) culture mixing takes place in the sacred domain (e.g., a mixing of Christianity and Confucianism).

These hypotheses will be tested in a series of 8 laboratory studies that will be carried out over a period of 2 years. The project will use an innovative experimental paradigm to investigate a new theoretical perspective to deepen our knowledge about the antecedents of local consumer acceptance of culture mixing in globalized marketplaces. The construct and scale of cultural politeness developed in the Principal Investigator's dissertation (see Li, 2013) will be adopted in this project.

This research will also have significant managerial implications in the international business context. The findings will help both Western and Asian companies to better manage their marketing communication in global markets and reduce the risk of generating emotional resistance from local consumers. Finally, our research will contribute to further establishing Hong Kong as a hub for academic research on globalization and consumer behavior in Asia.

This project will provide some undergraduates the opportunity to engage in an important research area and receive training on conducting scientific research. The findings of this project will be useful for designing courses in culture and international marketing that will develop students' international business skills.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H10/14
Project Title: Evaluating the effectiveness of mobile learning in nursing education
Principal Investigator: Dr LI Kam-cheong (OUHK)

This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of mobile learning in undergraduate nursing courses. It follows the Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) model (Koole, 2006, 2009) which has been widely adopted in mobile learning studies. The model construes mobile learning as a process resulting from the interaction of mobile technologies, human learning capacities, and the social aspects of learning. This study attempts to refine the model by addressing two problems of applying it into practice. First, the model has yet to define the relation between the learning process and learners' motivation to engage in mobile learning for explaining practical issues, e.g., the common phenomenon that learners' positive attitudes towards the use of mobile devices do not guarantee their use in actual practice. Second, the relation between the learning process and enhancement of learning performance has remained unclear. For example, little research has yet been conducted on how mobile learning should be implemented to bring about improvements in course performance. These problems have led to difficulties in applying mobile learning, because of the lack of adequate theoretical support for guiding the design, delivery and evaluation of this mode of learning.

The evaluation will focus on students' motivation, their learning process, and learning performance in nursing courses that are offered by OUHK (OUHK). It will leverage OUHK?s substantial experience and data from a decade of practicing mobile learning in its nursing programmes for the evaluation, which will distinguish it from most previous studies of mobile learning that were conducted in experimental conditions and did not involve practices in a course setting. The substantial course size (around 200 students per course) will facilitate relatively complex statistical operations for model building.

The evaluation will be multi-dimensional, focusing on the aspects of learning, teaching and instructional design. First, interviews with students, teaching staff and instructional designers of the courses will be conducted to elicit their views and experience. Then survey questionnaires will be developed based on the interview results, and validated through statistical tests with student samples from the courses. The questionnaires will then be administered on students of a theory course and a practicum course. The interviews, surveys as well as students' log-in records will provide both qualitative and quantitative findings that would shed light on the relationship among the different aspects of effectiveness of mobile learning. The proposed experimental period will fit well with the transition of a relevant course from the conventional learning mode to the mobile mode enabling the project to capture effects of mobile learning through comparisons.

The study will contribute to filling the knowledge gap in understanding the relevant factors affecting the effectiveness of mobile learning in nursing courses, and offer effective instruments for evaluation and use in such a context. It will also generate a more comprehensive theoretical foundation for effective practice of mobile learning. Research outcomes will support instructional designers and teachers in designing and implementing quality mobile learning in nursing courses with a sound theoretical basis. The evaluation instruments of mobile learning effectiveness may be utilized for alerting teachers to potential problems of students' engagement in mobile learning, and for identifying directions for solving problems.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS13/H11/14
Project Title: Filipina Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong: Language Use and Impact on the Hong Kong Speech Community
Principal Investigator: Miss LI Cecilia Suet-sam (Chu Hai)

The 2011 Population Census conducted by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region showed that there were a total of 7.136 million people in Hong Kong (Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong, 2012). Among this population were a total of 284,901 foreign domestic helpers, of which 48% were from the Philippines, 49.4% from Indonesia, and 1.3% from Thailand. Given that there were 2,385,300 households in Hong Kong, on average every eighth household employed one domestic helper. While foreign domestic helpers from Indonesia speak basic Cantonese as they receive training before they come to Hong Kong, those from the Philippines communicate with Chinese people solely in English. Members of this latter group of foreign domestic helpers stay at the residence of the employer, and live in close proximity to the family. While there were few studies that investigated the social and economic implications of integrating Filipina domestic helpers into the Hong Kong society, there has been even less research to date on the linguistic dynamics of this significant number of people in the Hong Kong speech community.

This project therefore aims at examining language use by Filipina domestic helpers, and their impact on the Hong Kong speech community through three levels of analysis. Firstly, to encourage student participation in this research project, a student-led quantitative survey will be conducted to collect data from Filipina domestic helpers on their overall language use patterns especially in the home environment, language attitudes, and language awareness. This preliminary stage of the study helps to shed some light on the impact they may have on the acquisition of English by Chinese children in Hong Kong. Secondly, in-depth semi-structured interviews will be carried out in Hong Kong families which comprise the standard membership of Hong Kong Chinese parents, a Hong Kong Chinese child, and a Filipina domestic helper to further investigate the role of Filipina domestic helpers in the English language learning experience of local Hong Kong Chinese children. Finally, as a microscopic linguistic study, speech recordings will be made of local Hong Kong children who grow up in the care of Filipina domestic helpers to investigate whether the English spoken by the Filipina domestic helpers have structurally influenced Hong Kong English in terms of phonetics and phonology, lexis, and syntax. The intended outcomes of the project are: 1. An analysis of the language use patterns, language attitudes, and language awareness of Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong; 2. Heightened awareness of the presence of a significant linguistic group in Hong Kong and their attitudes through student participation in the preliminary stage of the research process; 3. An evaluation of the role of Filipina domestic helpers in the English language learning experience of Hong Kong children, from the perspectives of the helper, the child, and the parents; 4. A critical linguistic analysis of English used by paired Filipina domestic helpers and children. 5. An enrichment of the limited corpus of writings on Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong and their role in English language learning.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H21/14
Project Title: Angry is not that Angry: Relativity of Emotion Perception and New Development of Emotional Expressions Photobank
Principal Investigator: Dr LO Lap-yan (Shue Yan)

Many studies of categorical emotion perception rely on morphing to generate stimuli. The basic function of morphing is to create a number of transitional faces of the same person that morph from one particular emotional expression to another, thereby providing a continuum of emotions. The rationale for choosing which two particular expressions to morph, however, is rarely mentioned. In the dimensional account of emotion, emotion identification depends on which emotional expressions are compared. Such an account therefore requires multiple morphing combinations rather than an exclusive morphing pattern to capture the relativity of emotion identification. The dimensional account further predicts that the categorical feature between two emotional expressions is less obvious when they are located in the same quarter of a 2 (pleasantness) x 2 (activation) dimensional space. The relative strength of these two dimensions may also differ. There is little empirical work verifying the role of the dimensional account of emotion, a gap the proposed research will fill in a three-phase study. In the first phase, a new photobank of emotional faces with all combinations of morphing sequences will be built. To enhance ecological validity, it will contain both exaggerated version of the expressions found in traditional photobanks and their natural version. In the second phase, the categorical features of the traditional morphing sequence and other morphing sequences will be compared. If the dimensional account of emotion is correct, the time taken to identify the emotional expressions should be longer if the expressions are morphed based on two basic emotions that are located in the same quarter rather than in different quarters. The final phase will involve a comparison of dimensional strength. The emotional expressions within a pair that differs exclusively in the pleasantness dimension are expected to be more discriminable than those within a pair that differs in the activation dimension. The results obtained in the second and third phases will allow verification of the thesis that discriminability is a relative concept determined by the dimensional nature of basic emotions.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H08/14
Project Title: Exploring English teachers' assessment practices and student perceptions of them in Hong Kong's self-financing tertiary institutions
Principal Investigator: Dr MA Jingjing (Hang Seng)

Given that assessment exerts a crucial influence on students' learning experiences and learning quality, it is important to understand teachers' assessment practices and students' perceptions of them to determine how best to use assessment in promoting productive student learning. However, in Hong Kong's self-financing tertiary educational context, little is known about EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers' existing assessment practices, their experimentation with innovative forms of assessment (e.g. assessment for learning), and student perceptions of the existing or experimental practices. This 24-month project aims to gain an in-depth understanding of the aforementioned issues from a learning-oriented assessment perspective within the framework of outcomes-based learning, and it is inspired by a project concerning the implementation of learning-oriented assessment the applicant has conducted in her own English classroom, funded by the Federation for Self-financing Tertiary Education (Ref. SRGS-13-03). A case study approach will be adopted, with data collected from multiple sources such as teacher and student interviews, classroom observation, and textual analysis. The findings of this project are expected to enrich our knowledge of how to improve students' learning of English through assessment in Hong Kong's self-financing tertiary educational context. Pedagogical implications will also be derived.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H09/14
Project Title: Early Fatherhood among Returnees in Hong Kong: Spousal Relations, Child-rearing and Work
Principal Investigator: Dr NGAN Lucille Lok-sun (Hang Seng)

Chinese return migrants now constitute a significant proportion of Hong Kong's migrant population as there has been a high rate of repatriation of skilled, professional middle-class migrants who emigrated to Western countries from Hong Kong before the 1997 hand-over. However, their life experiences, family dynamics, parenting strategies and problems have largely been neglected by both scholars and policy-makers due to their relatively privileged social position and transnational mobility - and also because they are seen by the locals to be co-ethnic. In particular, there are significant gaps in both the migration and family literatures regarding the gendered parenting of Chinese migrants - whereby, specifically, the fatherhood experiences of second-generation Chinese returnees have remained unexplored. As migration changes values, personality and practice at personal, interpersonal and familial levels, the cross-cultural experiences of returnees inevitably affect their own fatherhood journeys in their country of origin. The significance of this study lies in revealing the life experiences of a relatively 'invisible' migrant group and the fathering behaviour of a significant sector of Hong Kong's professional middle class, through exploring their negotiation of work, spousal relationships and caregiving within the context of the family. Our aim is to understand how cross-cultural experiences over the course of life affect early fatherhood among Chinese returnees who are facing a changing habitus following their return to Hong Kong from a foreign country in the West. The research adopts a qualitative approach to explore how Chinese returnees make sense of and 'do' fatherhood. Our ethnographic fieldwork that includes participant observation and up to 45 in-depth interviews with fathers, their spouses and other members of the family (e.g. domestic helpers or grandparents) who are responsible for childcare will be conducted in 15 whole-family case studies. This approach will allow complex family dynamics to be captured holistically and will contribute to new methods in family research in Hong Kong by examining the changes affecting men within the context of the family, rather than a mere focus on women, which has been the traditional way in family studies.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/E03/14
Project Title: Web technologies for 3D content creation and collaborative manipulation
Principal Investigator: Dr PANG Wai-man (Caritas)

3D visualization and printing technologies has emerged for decades. The advantages of employing 3D technologies for all kinds of business and industries including e-commerce, e-marketing, healthcare, education, and manufacturing are obvious. However, the popularity of 3D content on the web is still low nowadays. One of the major reasons is the lack of low-cost solution to construct high quality 3D contents. Moreover, high development cost for 3D visualization and manipulation platform also affects the popularity of developing 3D related website. All these factors prohibit normal web users to create 3D content in a DIY (Do It Yourself) manner.

Therefore, in this project, we will tackle the difficulties related to the cost and quality of 3D model creation, modification and customization on the web environment. The project will address three challenging areas of problems; they are the low-cost depth camera-based 3D data acquisition, fast and high quality 3D mesh denoising, and collaborative 3D content manipulation and customization under the web environment.

Our preliminary idea for 3D data acquisition assumes that consumer level depth camera is employed for capturing 3D surface points of an object, as cost for these devices are becoming more affordable right now. A post-processing step will be introduced for combining 3D points from different views to form a resultant 3D surface model. However, these reconstructed models commonly suffered from serious artifact or noise. As a result, our project will invent novel algorithms for fast 3D mesh denoising, so as to maintain high quality ready-to-use 3D contents for various web-based 3D applications. Finally, to fulfill the needs from na?ve users on modifying and customizing 3D contents, we will develop useful and user-friendly operations for manipulating 3D models on the web. Popular advanced operations like cutting, union, and deformation will be improved with intuitive user interface design and able to work collaboratively with other users under a distributed environment. Some visualization or 3D printing specific operations will also be proposed and included in our project.

To facilitate the evaluation of our proposed methods, we will implement and modulize these methods into software development packages at the end of the project. Moreover, we prepare to demonstrate the practical value and potential benefits of our solutions with a web-based 3D application. One of the possible applications is the development of a comprehensive platform for 3D printing objects with the capabilities of searching, sharing and customization on the web. By solving the above mentioned challenges, we believe the tangible outcomes (publications, algorithms and software packages) from the proposed project should be directly applicable to the community to develop web-based 3D applications with minimal effort. Moreover, the research project will provide invaluable chance in developing teachers and students the necessary skills and capabilities related to the latest 3D graphics technologies which is included in the curriculums and programmes offered by the department and the institute.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H11/14
Project Title: From the Newsroom to the Classroom: Bridging the Gap between Business Journalism Practice and Education in Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Dr SONG Zhaoxun (Hang Seng)

As one of the world's leading international financial centres, Hong Kong is well served by a great variety of business and financial newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and a large number of devoted business journalists. Local colleges and universities have launched business journalism programmes to meet the increasing demand for more professional business journalists.

Media professionals and journalism educators have long debated what is needed in the newsroom and what should be offered in the classroom. Understanding the practice-education gap can inform and benefit college education. However, apart from very sparse research on business journalism practice and business journalists in Hong Kong, no comprehensive studies have examined the newsroom-classroom divide, let alone explored how to bridge or close the gap.

The proposed project aims to fill the research gap in business journalism practice and education in Hong Kong in an in-depth and systematic manner. It addresses important issues such as how media practitioners rate and assess the preparedness of entry-level reporters in covering business and financial news, what essential knowledge or skills they think business journalists must possess, what new techniques and/or essential elements of business journalism they think are inadequate, underemphasised or ignored in the business journalism programme curricula, and how the gap between the newsroom practice and the classroom education can be bridged or closed. In-depth interviews, a focus group and a postal evaluation panel will be adopted as the major research methods in this study.

This systematic and in-depth study, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, will have both academic and practical value. The discovery of the knowledge structure of business journalism practitioners today and the systematic documentation of the current state of business journalism practice and education in Hong Kong will enrich the pool of knowledge. The research findings on the practice-education gap will greatly benefit business journalism education and inform curriculum design and pedagogical development. This study will also help to establish closer relationships and facilitate communication between business news professionals and educators towards a common goal of keeping business journalism vibrant in Hong Kong.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/P02/14
Project Title: Development of rapid testing methods for the authentication of Chinese Materia Medica (CMM) by mass spectrometry
Principal Investigator: Dr SZE Eric Tung-po (OUHK)

The increase in the use of herbal medicines, including Chinese herbal medicines, is a global trend. In Hong Kong, Chinese medicines are not only widely used by the public, but also plays an important role in international trade. According to the Census and Statistics Department, the value of imports and re-exports of Chinese herbal medicines amounted to $2.35 billion and $0.95 billion respectively in 2011.

Falsification or adulteration of Chinese Material Medica (CMM) has become a big issue in the quality and safety of Chinese medicinal products. Examples such as the substitution of Flos Campsis (­â¾]ªá) by poisonous Flos Daturae Metelis (¬vª÷ªá), and the adulteration of falsified species in Cordyceps sinensis (¥VÂήL¯ó) have been reported. Flos Campsis is massively used in preparation of "Wu Hua Cha" or "Five flower tea" (¤­ªá¯ù), a famous Chinese health food preparation. In addition, ultra-high value of Cordyceps sinensis is an incentive to introduce adulterants with similar morphological features by criminals in the market.

The Department of Health (DH) has published six volumes of the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (HKCMMS) since 2002, covering a total of 200 CMM. The "HKCMM Standards" adopts various approaches including microscopic examinations, physicochemical identification and chromatographic techniques to authenticate the CMM. However, the HKCMMS do not cover the above two groups of CMM. Besides, techniques specified in HKCMMS require both extensive knowledge and experience of the personnel in microscopic examinations, or available chemical markers for qualitative and quantitative analysis. For chemical testing methods in HKCMMS, usually a large number of samples together with lengthy testing time are required, which are not cost-effective or practical when applied by medicinal retailers and traders as their quality control processes or routine incoming goods inspection programmes.

To address the questions, the research team proposes to develop new test methods that offers rapid, cost-effective and user-friendly approaches for the authentication of 2 model groups of CMM: 1) Flos Campsis and Flos Daturae Metelis and 2) Cordyceps sinensis and its counterfeit species. Such a method involves the preliminary work to discover biomarkers of the two groups of CMM by using matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer (MALDI-TOF MS), with the aid of proteomic separation techniques. The use of MALDI-TOF MS in screening and identification of CMM is an emerging technique which requires less sample preparation and running cost, but with a faster analysis time when compared with the chromatographic approaches as stated in HKCMMS. Unlike traditional microscopic examination technique, analysts of MALDI-TOF MS do not require extensive knowledge of the morphological structure as well as skills in the sample preparation of the target CMM. The proposed approach by using MALDI-TOF MS can thus serve as an option for the further development in HKCMMS.

Results of this project can also provide further insights for the development of in-situ technique such as molecular chip or genetically modified cell lines for faster qualitative analysis.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/P01/14
Project Title: New Items Count Techniques for Surveys with Sensitive Questions: Theories and Methods
Principal Investigator: Prof TANG Man-lai (Hang Seng)

Obtaining valid answers to questions that are of a sensitive or embarrassing nature is an age-old problem in survey research (e.g. tax evasion in business investigations; or domestic violence in public opinion research). Non-response (i.e. the respondent's refusal to respond) and response bias (the respondent providing untruthful responses) often occur when sensitive questions are asked directly. These two main sources of non-sampling errors significantly affect sampling estimates and, by extension, statistical inference. In particular, non-response bias results in too small a sample size, which reduces an estimate's efficiency, and response bias results in a biased parameter estimate. It is therefore important and practical to develop ''de-jeopardizing" survey techniques geared towards maximizing cooperation, minimizing the respondent's sense that he/she is in jeopardy, and guaranteeing anonymity when sensitive issues are being studied. In this project, we will develop various Item Count Techniques to achieve the aforementioned objectives.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS17/B02/14
Project Title: Forensic Accounting Education in Hong Kong and Mainland China
Principal Investigator: Dr WANG Xinhua (Tung Wah)

Forensic accounting has emerged as a major professional practice area in the US since the accounting regulatory reform in the early 2000s. Both demand for forensic accountants at the job market and the provision availability of forensic accounting education have grown in recent years. Currently 422 universities and colleges offer forensic accounting courses and 97 offer forensic accounting programmes. In Hong Kong and Mainland China, all of the Big Four international accounting firms and a huge number of local accounting firms provide various forensic accounting services.

Hong Kong Institute of CPAs started a Forensic Accounting Interest Group in recent years in light of the expansion of the field. Big Four International firms are actively recruiting forensic accountants. Forensic accounting has been claimed to have "emerged as a major practice area" (Gorge Russell, 2012). During recent years, we also witnessed an increasing number of accounting or securities frauds among Chinese firms listing in Hong Kong or overseas. However, comparing with the United States, forensic accounting education in Hong Kong and the Mainland appears to lag behind. Only two out of 15 universities/colleges in Hong Kong provide forensic accounting courses with no forensic accounting programme. Around 20 out of hundreds of universities in Mainland China provide forensic accounting courses or programmes. This shows that forensic accounting education in Hong Kong and the Mainland is neither common nor developed and that there appears to be a gap between supply and demand of forensic accounting education.

This research first investigates the historical, environmental, and institutional factors that influence the development of forensic accounting education in both Hong Kong and Mainland China. The research further investigates the differences between practitioners' expectation of forensic accounting education and the current availability of forensic accounting education by universities/colleges.

International literature on the development of forensic accounting education finds that legal environmental factors play the most significant roles. It is generally observed that the under-development of forensic accounting education in Mainland China may also have been affected by its corporate ownership structure, the "guanxi" culture (e.g., relationship among closely-knit groups), its judicial systems, and the lack of forensic accounting standards. Initial discussions with practitioners and lawyers seem to suggest that forensic accounting education in Mainland China should focus more on expert reports, forensic audits, computing economic damages, and less on forensic investigation, meanwhile Hong Kong forensic accounting education should focus more on fraud investigation of electronic data, expert witness and anti-money laundering. This research will contribute to the development of forensic accounting education in both Hong Kong and Mainland China.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/E06/14
Project Title: Context-aware learner profiling for e-learning system: classization, groupization and personalization
Principal Investigator: Prof WANG Fu-lee (Caritas)

Advances in Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), web 2.0 communities, social media, mobile and sensor technologies have been phenomenal in recent years. Worldwide, there is a significant proliferation of learning resources with multimodalities such as online course platforms, lecture videos, and learning materials (e.g., web pages, animations and documents). Meanwhile, the number of people who have access to mobile technologies has also grown exponentially. These developments provide people with more opportunities which help them not only learn new knowledge and skills but also communicate and discuss with other users, sometimes even with instructors and tutors of the courses.

These emerging technologies for on-line learning, on one hand, bring more fruitful learning resources and human interactions. Yet on the other hand, they make more difficult for learners to find their desired learning resources effectively and efficiently when confronting with such a large volume of learning data. To assist learners to find their desired learning materials and suitable virtual classes, it is essential to manage and organize information about learners as well as various learning resources. A main stream solution is to construct user- and resource- profiles, e.g., a bag-of-categories (BoC) or the category tree (Tree-based), so as to facilitate personalized learning services. However, the static nature of categories in profile brings forth two problems to be resolved in e-learning applications. First, it is not unusual that existing data are insufficient to construct a powerful learner profile, since only those categories used by the learner are taken into consideration during the process of profiling her/him. Second, not all categories in learner profiles are useful or necessary to be taken into consideration in different contexts.

To tackle these problems, it is paramount to understand well not only learner behaviors but also the hidden relations among their interested resources and current contexts. As revealed by recent social network studies, user behaviors are highly influenced by his/her neighbors who tend to share similar patterns in behaviors and common opinions. Therefore, we plan to propose a hybrid profiling approach to aggregating the multiple hidden relations, such as pre-requisite relations, content relations and social relations, so as to enrich the learner profile with valuable information from his/her neighbors or some potential interested learning resources. Furthermore, in this project, we also plan to devise an explicit context model to fully exploit the value of learner profile so that the problem of static learner profile can be resolved and context-aware learning services and applications can be supported. Specifically, we will classify contexts into three different layers, which are personal-level, group-level and class-level learning contexts. Each layer of contexts may have different effects on the learner profile. To demonstrate the validity and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed framework, we plan to apply the hybrid learner profile and context model to a suite of applications in three different layers (i.e., personalization, groupization and classization) for the e-learning systems, including personalized courseware recommendation, group member discovery, and class content pruning (or augmenting).


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B20/14
Project Title: Supply chain decarbonisation: good industry practices and development of carbon footprint toolkit
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Eugene Yin-cheung (Hang Seng)

The need for decarbonisation is of major importance in every industrial sector. It is especially highlighted in the future development of the logistics and supply chain during the World Economic Forum in July 2013 to reduce the carbon emissions in the logistics and transportation industry. International Energy Agency (IEA) emphasized that the transportation sector, comprising road, rail, air and marine transportation, is the second-largest carbon emitter worldwide, producing 22% of global carbon emissions in 2011. The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has also stated that the combating of pollution is one of his top priorities during his five-year term, with the announcement in January 2013 that new carbon emission legislation will be submitted by the fourth quarter of 2013. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has recently adopted international standards on environment, social and governance reporting, including carbon disclosure project and carbon reporting, and has considered raising the obligation level of companies to comply with the international standards. However, most companies are still not fully complying with the standards. Carbon emission measurements have not been implemented in the most of the logistics, freight forwarding, and transportation companies. There are practitioners who do not have the experience or knowledge to measure, audit, and report their carbon emission activities. It is necessary to further develop a novel carbon footprint toolkit that integrates carbon calculating, carbon auditing, and carbon reporting. The toolkit will be developed to model, monitor and enable the reduction of carbon emissions in the logistics and transportation firms. This toolkit will support the development of green supply chain in the logistics and transportation sector and will equip students with the decarbonisation knowledge before they start their careers in the logistics industry. Seminars and workshops involving local and overseas experts will be held to share knowledge of and experience in the supply chain decarbonisation. An educational reference guide will be produced and disseminated, containing case studies, information from the seminars and workshops and the developed toolkit. The project will benefit companies in the supply chain industry by providing them with the developed toolkit to cope with the environmental protection needs and government policies in the short term. In the long run, students will be able to learn about the importance of supply chain decarbonisation through seminars, workshops and toolkit development, further exploring and developing the most recent knowledge on carbon footprints.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/E05/14
Project Title: Enabling Adaptive and Secure Cloud Connectivity for Cognitive Radio Networks
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Kin-yeung (OUHK)

The rapid development of wireless networks and devices has been generating an explosive and ever-increasing demand for the limited radio spectrum. Cognitive radio networks (CRNs) offer the promise of improving this problem, in which the cognitive radio (CR) devices are able to sense and utilize spectrum holes or available spectrum channels (i.e., those channels temporally unused by their licensed users) for data communications. Since CR devices are commonly equipped with limited storage and processing power, to perform more sophisticated functions, the cloud resources (storage and computation) can be utilized. No wonder more and more International companies have set up their cloud centers in Hong Kong.

Providing connectivity to cloud is essential for the users in CRNs. However, the existing cloud connectivity in CRNs is inefficient and unsecure because the algorithms they are using are not adaptive to the environment changes and are vulnerable to malicious activities. The aim of this project is to solve the problems by designing algorithms that are adaptive to environment changes and able to detect the possible malicious nodes.

In this project, we will first tackle the cloud gateway placement problem by determining the minimum number of cloud gateways needed and their placement so as to minimize the deployment cost while maintaining acceptable quality of service. Then, we will design a default gateway selection algorithm for CR nodes to select cloud gateways so that more efficient cloud connectivity can be achieved. After that, we will design a routing algorithm for CRNs, which is able to adapt to the changing network environment of CRNs including topological changes, dynamic traffic demands, and available capacity of cloud gateway. Finally, we will propose an algorithm to identify those malicious nodes that are disrupting cloud connectivity in CRNs and void them in the future path discovery process.

Due to the different nature of the above problems, in the design of the corresponding solutions and algorithms, different models are used, including optimization model, collaborative feedback model, reinforcement learning model, and belief propagation model. These models will be collectively used to provide efficient and secure cloud connectivity to CRNs.

The solutions proposed in this project will be applicable in real CRNs, which will not only benefit network carriers but also cloud service providers and end users. This is because the network resources can be better utilized and users can experience better cloud services.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H12/14
Project Title: A Philosophical Investigation of the Interaction between Emotion and Mood
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Muk-yan (Hang Seng)

Imagine watching the film Titanic when you are in a depressed mood. You used to think that the film was a childish, unrealistic romantic story. This time, however, you burst into tears, your hands tremble, and a feeling of suffocation seizes your chest. Your sadness over the film is driven by your depressed mood. Now imagine driving on an icy highway and suddenly skidding briefly. Your fear becomes so intense that you worry whether you will get home safely. You become highly alert to other cars, dead animals on the highway, or even a crack in your windshield. Your fear has produced a mood of heightened anxiety. These vignettes provide examples of emotions and moods affecting one another. The question is how.

This project seeks to clarify and reformulate the conceptual relationship between emotions and moods in light of recent research in philosophy, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. I argue that emotions and moods are different adaptive mechanisms essential for our survival. Emotion is an adaptive mechanism for arousing physiological and cognitive changes in response to external stimuli. For instance, fear is a mechanism for arousing physiological responses that prepare us to hide from a threat or to flee, e.g. freezing in place or an increase heart rate, and anger is a mechanism for arousing physiological responses that prepare us to fight against an enemy, e.g. wide-open eyes or piloerection. Conversely, mood is an adaptive mechanism for biasing our cognitive processing according to the state of our bodily resources. For example, when our body is in a bad condition (such as when we are recovering from heart-transplant surgery), we will be in a negative mood (such as melancholy). Our attention will tend to focus on fewer objects. We make associations between ideas and categorize external stimuli more slowly than usual. We are more likely to recollect negative memories. All these biases prevent us from engaging in activities or with situations that could not be handled in our present poor bodily condition.

I suggest that formulating the concepts of emotion and mood in this way allows us to explain how emotions and moods interact. Specifically, the output of emotion, i.e. physiological and behavioral responses, can be monitored by a mood with respect to its influence on our bodily condition; and the output of moods, i.e. cognitive biases, can affect how emotions appraise the environment. The resultant mood-emotion loop explains why one is more likely to be in a specific emotional state when one is in a specific mood and why one is more likely to be in a specific mood when one is in a specific emotional state.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H13/14
Project Title: Systematic Biases in Hong Kong's Mandatory Provident Funds and UK's Individual Savings Account
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Ricky Siu-kuen (Hang Seng)

Cognitive heuristics refer to the psychological short-cuts that people use when making numerous decisions. There is no doubt that heuristics lead to effective decision making. Although heuristics may be used to help make judgements and decisions in complex situations with minimal effort, they could lead to various forms of systematic biases. Interest in the relevance of laboratory-documented systematic and cognitive biases to real-life decision making processes has increased considerably over the last decade. However, a large body research in Psychology, Economics and Management has debated the adverse effects of cognitive heuristics. On the other hand, many countries are expecting to face an aging population issue. Different retirement protection is considered important in terms of maintaining the quality lifestyle upon retirement.

The fundamental issues that will be addressed in this proposed research are: In the context of mandatory retirement protection in Hong Kong, are people's decisions affected by trivial manipulation? Are people in the UK making voluntary retirement investment affected by trivial manipulation? This project aims to answer these questions by focussing on the systematic, well-documented cognitive biases in retirement investment in Hong Kong and the UK. The project will develop five laboratory based simulated real-world experiments in order to examine if individuals suffer from cognitive biases in their investment decisions. The experimental results will have strong potential for practical application, by providing prescriptive advice to investors, guidelines to the governments in terms of regulation and those to financial institutions.

Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/E08/14 (Withdrawn)
Project Title: An Automatic Student Program Assessment Framework with Tailorable and Automated Test Oracle for Computer Science Education
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Tak-lam (Caritas)


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E05/14
Project Title: Improving selection query processing speed of secure cloud database systems by tuple pruning on desensitized data
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Wai-Kit (Hang Seng)

Database-as-a-service is an emerging data management model in which the database is hosted and managed by a third party (cloud) service provider. While there are many advantages in using cloud database systems, security is concerned. The user does not want to put its private data to a third party database system. Encryption is required before sending the data to the service provider. There are different secure database systems that make use of different encryption methods and query processing methods [4, 21, 5]. Since the query is now processed on encrypted data, there is an overhead in query processing. Such overhead is large in most cases. For example, in [4], the system needs to decrypt the tuple and computes the query on the plain tuple (on a secure coprocessor). The decryption cost is large compared to the query processing, which may be just a simple comparison. Such performance penalty becomes a great barrier to make secure database systems practical. Selection queries are one common type of queries in database systems. Besides, many other query types involve a sub-task to perform a selection query. For example, aggregate functions (SUM/COUNT) are commonly computed on some selections. By optimizing query processing speed of selection queries, the general performance of a secure database system can improve signi?cantly. Our idea is to provide desensitized data for each tuple to the service provider. The desensitized data does not reveal the plain values to the service provider but can be used by the service provider to prune unquali?ed tuples before processing on encrypted tuples. The pruning cost on desensitized data is much cheaper than crypto-graphic operations like encryption/decryption used in query processing. After pruning, there are much fewer encrypted tuples to be processed by the secure database. So, the overall query time can be reduced. Data desensitization involves two phases: domain transformation and generalization. The former is to hide the query parameters from the service provider. The query on plain domain, say "A<5", is transformed into a query on the transformed domain, say "X<20". So, the service provider cannot observe the original query parameter (i.e., 5 in the plain query). Generalization makes the data become uncertain. For example, a value 5 may become 1?10. This makes sure that the generalized data is not recoverable to ensure that the attacker cannot recover the plain values from the desensitized data.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/B07/14
Project Title: Deciphering the Myth of Chinese Emotional Display: The Impact of Chinese Cultural Values and Norms on Emotional Labour Strategies and Customer Service Evaluation
Principal Investigator: Dr WOO Ka-shing (OUHK)

Hong Kong has a service-oriented economy with almost 90% of the workforce engaged in various service sectors. It is important that the delivery of service by employees is up to customer expectation, leading to customer satisfaction and loyalty. One of the key success factors in the process of service delivery lies in the emotional regulation of service employees when interacting with their customers. Nowadays, organizations impose, either explicitly through company literature or implicitly by practice, certain requirements on what emotions employees should and should not show during service delivery, including (1) display of positive emotions and (2) suppression of negative emotions. The first rule requires service employees to initiate a series of positive emotional display actions including smiling, greeting, keeping eye contact, and ending with a "thank you" message. The second rule is more straightforward in that service employees are not allowed to show negative emotions even when the customer is displeased. How do service employees react to these two rules? They either fake the necessary emotions (termed "surface acting"), or show their genuine emotions by putting themselves in the shoes of their customers (termed as "deep acting").

In Western cultures, repetitively faking positive emotions through surface acting is found to be detrimental to both employees (in the form of emotional exhaustion and burnout) and customers (for the lack of authenticity). Positive emotional display through deep acting results in employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. We question, however, whether these findings apply in the Chinese culture. Two facets are at stake: (1) does Chinese culture matter in influencing employee emotional display, and (2) in what way does it make Chinese emotional display unique if indeed it does? This project is an early endeavour to investigate these two facets. More specifically, we will examine the impact of Chinese cultural values (i.e., relational harmony, yuan (½t), respect for hierarchy, and shame) on organizational display rules (i.e., positive emotional display and negative emotional suppression) and employee acting strategies (i.e., surface acting and deep acting) as well as their impact on customer evaluation of service quality. This project will not only contribute to relevant academic literature, but will also provide practical implications to managers and service employees on how to deliver "service with a smile, and with a heart" bearing Chinese cultural values and norms in mind.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H15/14
Project Title: Analysis of repair practice and its relationship with L2 Chinese learning in online tutorial
Principal Investigator: Dr YANG Ruo-wei (OUHK)

The proposed research will conduct a Conversation Analysis (CA) based on authentic video recordings of online tutoring sessions (e-tutorials) that were archived in the past years from the Basic Chinese for Non-Chinese Speakers programme at OUHK (OUHK), focusing on repair practice and its relationship with learning Chinese as a second language (L2).

The research aims to investigate the organizational repair and grammatical correction occurred in L2 interactional learning in general, and the different ways in which they were related to L2 Chinese learning in e-tutorial where this study will take place in particular.

There is an increasing body of research conducted from a CA perspective into second language acquisition (SLA), an area that has been called 'CA-for-SLA'. While studies in this area have been much interested in repair, up to date, there is no research carried out with a concern of its dichotomous practice in L2 interaction for learning - organizational repair (to keep the interaction going on) and grammatical correction (to help acquire the language). As the dichotomy of repair is an existing phenomenon, it deserves to be explored in contrasting ways for discovering their respective roles and their integrated relationship with L2 learning. Thus, the proposed project contributes by filling in the research gap through analyzing repair in the setting of e-tutorial for L2 Chinese learning, and mirrors a perceived dichotomy of organizational repair and grammatical correction, as opposed to a unilateral one, for study of CA-for-SLA.

The database for the study is video recording of more than 50 online tutoring sessions with a total time of approximately 60 hours between four tutors (two females and two males) and 17 adult learners (eight females and nine males). Each session involved 2-5 participants. All recordings will be transcribed and analyzed following a CA tradition of qualitative 'single-episode analysis' (Schegloff et al. 1987). In addition, quantitative analysis will be used as a supplementary means to find out evidence to strengthen relevant points.

This study will contribute to the recent CA-for-SLA stream of inquiry by demonstrating how repair may inform our understanding of learning and how CA approach could be applied to analyze interaction for L2 learning. This study will add fresh data to existing works of CA-for-SLA on interactional construction of L2 Chinese - an area where little work has been carried out.

The study will yield two or more articles in internationally peer-reviewed journals. The database developed in this project (a large body of transcribed text with annotation) will provide an abundant resource for further study.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS13/H21/14
Project Title: A study of Cantonese hometown associations and vegetarian halls in 20th-century Vietnam
Principal Investigator: Dr YAU Chi-on (Chu Hai)

The development of Chinese communities in Southeast Asia is strongly affected by the social and cultural traditions of Ming-Qing China. From 19th to the first half of the 20th centuries, it was exactly through associations of their hometown religions that Chinese immigrants to Southeast Asia found spiritual orientation and peace. The chief purpose of these associations was "to worship deities, to share happiness, to take righteous actions, and to be bounded by common agreement". This project will explore the various functions of hometown associations, as cultural, religious, charitable organizations and local cultural heritages. Vegetarian halls were usually founded by Xiantiandao for unmarried female servants. They were to pay a sum of money in return for the rights to spend their old age here.

Hometown associations usually worshipped Guandi and Tianhou, and vegetarian halls that usually worshipped Guanyin. This project will analyze and evaluate the importance of these two kinds of organizations in binding together and orienting overseas Chinese. This project is a systematic and comprehensive study of the hometown associations and Xiantiandao vegetarian halls in Vietnam. The project will trace their origins in South China, document their migration, settlement and transformation in Southeast Asia, and analyzes their importance as the cultural bond of Chinese in Vietnam.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/P03/14
Project Title: Generalized Multicriteria Programs and Their Application in Portfolio Selection Problems
Principal Investigator: Dr YU Kwok-wai (Hang Seng)

Multicriteria programming is an important topic in multiple criteria decision making. Multicriteria programs are usually formulated with a number of conflicting objective functions for solving decision-making problems. In the literature, multicriteria programs have been extensively studied and used in various applications in the fields of financial engineering, management science, telecommunications, transportation, and logistics. The multicriteria nature of the portfolio selection problem has drawn the attention of many researchers and practitioners.

Portfolio optimization has long been investigated by researchers and practitioners alike. Although the literature has generated many different approaches, most portfolio selection problems have addressed the construction of efficient portfolios that consider the trade-off between return and risk by formulating them into single-criterion programs. There are various criteria that must be considered in portfolio evaluation, such as return, risk, transaction cost, size, and liquidity. However, studies of portfolio selection problems from the multicriteria perspective are relatively rare. The objective of the proposed project is to investigate multicriteria programs and develop effective methodologies for solving multivariate portfolio selection problems.

Solving a multicriteria decision-making problem is not an easy task because there exist a large (possibly infinite) number of Pareto optimal or nondominated solutions. While nondominated sets are generally difficult to be located completely and¡@exactly, they can be determined analytically for multicriteria programs with¡@nice and simple structures. Such programs are often seen in the portfolio optimization field. For instance, the mean-variance model can be solved analytically by allowing short selling and assuming the positive definiteness of the covariance matrix. In the proposed project, we will study the bi-criteria portfolio optimization problem under the L¡Û risk measure allowing short selling. We will generalise the portfolio selection model to include a riskless asset, and then develop the corresponding capital asset pricing model and compute the¡@corresponding beta values. We will compare both theoretically and empirically the portfolio optimization model under the L¡Û risk measure and its extensions with the mean-variance, mean-Value-at-Risk (mean-VaR) and mean-Conditional VaR (mean-CVaR) models.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H15/14
Project Title: Research on Editing the Annotations of Wuwei Medical Bamboo Slips and Related Concerns
Principal Investigator: Dr YUEN Kwok-wa (Hang Seng)

Since the early 20th century, archaeology has undergone significant development. As a result, a substantial amount of information about bamboo and wooden slips as well as silk manuscripts has been recovered or published. The details obtained have shed light on multiple specialized disciplines including palaeography, study of Confucian classics, historiography, study of philosophers, etc. Certainly, archaeological evidence has already played a pivotal role in academic research. Not only is there a substantial number of publications pertinent to this topic, remarkable progress has also been made. Despite this, the current study of Chinese medicine is still in need of a more structured approach to research so that analysis of medical manuscripts can be developed as a specialized subject. Research on excavated medical manuscripts, for example, is one of the specialties that require additional committed effort on the part of scholars. The findings generated can be used as a reference for research and application by other investigators in the field.

In addition to the prescriptions on bamboo and wooden slips collected by Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, a growing number of medical manuscripts have been excavated lately. They include the bamboo slips inscribed with medical prescriptions of the Han Dynasty, which are now kept in Peking University. Most of the contents and photos of these manuscripts have yet to be released. On the other hand, due to excavations of the Han dynasty tombs in Laoguanshan, Tianhui Town, Jinniu Area, Chengdu City, 920 bamboo slips and 50 wooden slips have been unearthed recently, which are composed of approximately 20, 000 characters in total (as reported by www.huaxia.com). Among the discoveries are the strips that feature nine ancient medical books. All these archaeological findings have lent a sense of urgency to research on Chinese medical manuscripts. Based on the released medical manuscripts, a foundation can be laid to facilitate future research on new materials unearthed subsequently. The Wuwei Medical Bamboo Slips of the Han Dynasty, for example, constitute one of the most important excavated medical manuscripts in China.

The primary focus of the proposed project is to examine the Wuwei Medical Bamboo Slips of the Han Dynasty. The Wuwei Medical Bamboo Slips, excavated in 1972, were one of the archaeological findings retrieved from a grave of the Han Dynasty in Hantanpo, Wuwei City, Gansu Province. Initially, the unearthed bamboo and wooden slips were fragmentary. After cleaning and cataloguing, the archeologists preserved 78 bamboo slips and 14 wooden slips. These slips were then rearranged in accordance to their contents.

The contents of the bamboo slips include treatments for various medical, surgical, and gynecological conditions, along with the practice and precautions of acupuncture. In addition, a title, "Zhi Baibing Fang", can be identified. Treatments and prescriptions for various orphan diseases can also be found.

This proposal will primarily draw on the information from other excavated manuscripts such as the Mawangdui Silk Texts, the Yinqueshan Bamboo Slips, and the bamboo slips of the Han Dynasty kept in Peking University. Ancient Chinese medical texts such as The Inner Canon of Huangdi will be used to provide supplementary information. The first step is to compile a catalog of word forms, tables of interchangeable characters, and lists of variant Chinese characters. Through comparing and assimilating the data from various sources, a more accurate interpretation of the Wuwei Medical Bamboo Slips can be arrived. Then, the manuscripts will be deciphered, and annotations explaining different vocabulary words will be added. The original texts will be further proofread and edited. It is believed that the research findings can serve as a reference to facilitate subsequent interpretation of other newly excavated medical manuscripts.