Home > Funded Research > Funding Results > Funding Results of Other Schemes > EU-HK Research and Innovation Cooperation Co-funding Mechanism by RGC - 2018/19 Exercise > EU-HK Research and Innovation Cooperation Co-funding Mechanism by RGC - Layman Summaries of Projects Funded in 2018/19 Exercise

EU-HK Research and Innovation Cooperation Co-funding Mechanism by RGC - Layman Summaries of Projects Funded in 2018/19 Exercise

MINDSPACES HK - Responsive Neuro-design for Urbanism, Architecture and Interior Design

Hong Kong Principal Investigator: Prof Maurice BENAYOUN (City University of Hong Kong)
European Principal Investigator: Dr Stefanos VROCHIDIS (CERTH Thessaloniki, Greece)

Architecture and Urbanism have evolved in response to complex social, aesthetic, ecologic and economic challenges. At the same time, city design became a black box, excluding citizens, and non-professionals. Attempts of public involvement are often inaccurate, time and cost intensive. This research project proposes a new model of real-time participation of the public in the architectural design processes where no professional training is required.

This research expands the MINDSPACES (MS-EU) project, funded by the European HORIZON2020-STARTS program. MINDSPACES aims to improve city spaces, work environments, home interiors and elderly housing design. While MINDSPACES proceeds real-time assessment of users' emotional responses via multi-sensing technology, wearable EEG (Electroencephalography), proprioceptive sensing, and behavior analysis, MINDSPACES HK proposes to creating a real-time responsive design technology for multiple simultaneous users. We thus develop a time effective method to involving the citizens - professional or non-professional - into the design of their environment.

Mindspaces HK will deliver tools, workflows and applied methodological approaches with tangible outcomes in the area of design thanks to iterative electroencephalography technologies involving bio data from users and designers, and design generated in real time for end-user experiencing urban scenarios.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-based therapy for Spinal Regeneration (iPSpine)

Hong Kong Principal Investigator: Prof Danny CHAN (The University of Hong Kong)
European Principal Investigator: Prof Marianna TRYFONIDOU (Utrecht University)

Low back pain (LBP) is a common and debilitating condition, affecting millions worldwide. A major cause is intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD), and there is no biological treatment. When conservative treatments fail to relieve pain, the last option is invasive and costly surgical interventions that are not long lasting. In recent years, we are beginning to understand the cellular content of the intervertebral disc (IVD) of which cells in the nucleus pulposus (NP) is a focus. The NP is at the core of the IVD that keeps the disc hydrated, important for the function of the disc, and maintaining the cellular content is the key for a healthy disc. The NP is derived from the notochord in development, and the original notochord cells become notochordal-like cells (NLCs) residing in the NP, and serve as progenitor cells to support disc function. In addition, the onset of IDD correlate with a decline in NLCs as the IVD begins to degenerate. The iPSpine consortium is a European-based research effort to identify a future advanced therapeutic strategy that will results into a radical new treatment of IDD-induced LBP. This consortium will develop novel therapeutic strategy employing pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and smart biomaterials, as a proof-of-concept project aiming to apply the use of iPS cells to treat IDD. Here, we will contribute advance technologies in the differentiation of iPS cells into NLCs, but with cells engineered to be "invisible" to the host immune system for fully compatible allogeneic cell transplantation; that is, a potential universal NLC line for all patients needing treatments for IDD-induced LBP. As iPS cells are pluripotent cells with a risk of a few cells going "haywire", a fail-safe system has been introduced to eliminate these cells if such event occurs. Our ambition is in line with that of the iPSpine consortium; together, we will make a significant contribution for IDD treatment, by removing translational bottlenecks through open innovation and collaborations. Successful implementation will improve quality of life for millions of patients with IDD-induced LBP and better socio-economic outlooks.