Inter-Institutional Development Scheme (IIDS) - Project Abstract

Project Reference No.: UGC/IIDS25/B01/15
Project Title: Business Sustainability and Corporate Governance - Performance, Reporting and Assurance
Principal Investigator: Prof CHENG Peter Shu-tong (THEi)

The role of corporations in our society has evolved from profit maximization to create shareholder value and in recent years to protect interests of all stakeholders including investors, creditors, employees, customers, suppliers, government, the environment and society. In today's business environment, global businesses are under close scrutiny and profound pressure from lawmakers, regulators, the investment community, and their various stakeholders to focus on sustainability measures and accept accountability and responsibility for their multiple bottom lines (MBL) of economic, governance, social, ethical, and environmental (EGSEE) performance. Firm performance is measured not only by the financial income, but non-financial sustainability key performance indicators pertaining to environmental, social and governance activities.

Business sustainability can be viewed as the integrated and holistic corporate strategy and reporting of the firm's performance in the five EGSEE dimensions with particular focus on shareholder value creation, performance enhancement and accountability assurance. Until the late 1990's sustainability and corporate governance reports have been largely voluntary as part of the firm's supplementary disclosures. Finland was the first country to adopt a mandatory sustainability reporting law in 1997. Other countries adopting similar laws include, for example, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2005 announced that corporate governance reporting is a code provision for Hong Kong listed companies. The Exchange has recently announced that an integrated sustainability and corporate governance report will be required for Hong Kong listed companies starting 2015.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was launch in 1997 to bring consistency and global standardization to sustainability reporting. Other reporting standards are the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which has developed the ISO 26000 guidelines for social responsibility reporting, International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) in promoting integrated reporting on sustainability performance and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) in establishing guidelines for sustainability reporting and assurance. Sustainability performance, integrated reporting, effective assessment and assurance mechanisms will remain the main challenges that the accounting profession faces in fulfilling the listing requirements of sustainability and corporate governance reporting. These challenges provide research opportunities in investigating value-relevance of corporate governance and business sustainability performance and disclosures.

The proposed Conference will focus on the "performance, reporting and assurance" functions of business sustainability and corporate governance by bringing together academics, accounting practitioners, professional bodies and regulatory agencies to discuss and share the economic and theoretical underpinnings, industry best practices and experiences after the first year of implementation of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange listing requirements regarding corporate governance and business sustainability. The Conference also presents research opportunities and challenges by covering research papers dealing with current and emerging topics in corporate governance and business sustainability research and encouraging scholarly discussion and constructive criticism.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IIDS16/H01/15
Project Title: Learning analytics and higher education development: Towards a research agenda
Principal Investigator: Dr LI Kam-cheong (OUHK)

This project aims to enhance local academics' capability in using learning analytics for research and conducting research on learning analytics, through organizing a series of events including seminars, research clinics and workshops. Analytics refers to the collection and analysis of data to inform optimal decisions. Learning analytics-the use of large quantities of data and analytics in educational research-has become increasingly popular for understanding and optimizing a learning environment in the past decade. It enables the generation of valuable information from massive volume of students' learning data for conducting educational research with novel perspectives and innovative techniques.

The rapid development of learning analytics has been driven by the current situation of the higher education sector. The growing emphasis on institutional and students' performance management and the use of quantitative metrics in academia have motivated a data-driven culture. The popular use of learning management systems has provided educators with abundant data related to student learning, and maturing big data techniques have made feasible the interpretation of this massive volume of students' data. Keeping abreast of the latest development in learning analytics will enable academics to capitalize on the available data and techniques for conducting relevant research and improving the delivery of teaching.

In this project, renowned scholars and leading experts specializing in learning analytics will be invited to share their expertise with local academics. The proposed series of events covers three areas of learning analytics. The first area focuses on the development trends, opportunities and challenges, future research directions and relevant promising research topics. It aims to give academics insights into the latest development of this emerging field as a foundation to explore learning analytics from researchers' perspectives.

Since learning analytics does not merely have the potential to be a research topic but also possesses the capacity to support research studies, common analytic databases and tools in the field will also be introduced. The second area focuses on the technology of learning analytics, which can be utilized to support research in education. Experienced practitioners will be invited to explain the analytic cycle, introduce available databases and popular tools employed in the field, and demonstrate their use.

In the third area, well-known researchers in the field will be invited to share their experience of implementing learning analytics in their projects. Potential designs of analytics-driven projects and successful cases will be presented and discussed, with the aim of encouraging academics to conduct not only theoretical, but also empirical studies in related areas.

The series of events, covering the domain of learning analytics in three areas, will bring together academics in Hong Kong who are interested in this topic, and offer them a platform to interact and share research ideas with international scholars. This will promote research collaboration and motivate innovation in education delivery. For each seminar, there will be a follow-up research clinic session where the speaker will facilitate a small group consultation. Interested academics will be able to discuss their research ideas or proposals related to learning analytics with an experienced researcher/practitioner in the field. There will also be workshops providing participants with hands-on exposure to the use of learning analytics. This series of events is intended to inspire a research agenda and promote the development of learning analytics techniques in educational research, thus enabling local academics to come up with new interpretations in their studies.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IIDS16/H02/15
Project Title: Mobile learning: Innovative research topics and applications
Principal Investigator: Dr LUI Kwok-fai (OUHK)

This project aims to enhance the capability of local academics in conducting research on mobile learning through organizing a series of seminars and workshops. Mobile learning refers to the use of mobile devices for learning which can take place across different settings beyond geographical barriers and time constraints. It is a relatively new but rapidly growing field which is playing an increasingly significant role in education. This project will address the emerging need for conducting research on this topic in the Hong Kong context.

Hong Kong possesses high potential for research on, and the practice of, mobile learning. It has one of the world's most developed communication network infrastructures and the highest mobile penetration rate. Most mobile users are capable of gaining access to data network. Students in Hong Kong have a high level of awareness and competency in the use of information and communications technology. In the higher education sector, most institutions have provided well established Wi-Fi networks, and some of them have practised mobile learning in particular courses through learning management systems such as Blackboard and Moodle, or self-developed mobile apps. The growing prevalence of mobile learning calls for relevant research to be conducted on, for example, the aspects of instructional design and evaluation of learning effectiveness. Enhancing the knowledge and skills of local academics for mobile learning research is thus timely and important, for generating research studies conducive to advancing mobile education delivery.

This project will facilitate local academics to identify promising research topics, and be familiar with the relevant theoretical background and applications of mobile learning research in specific disciplines. The series of events will cover two sub-themes, viz. (1) research practices and challenges, and (2) research applications. The first sub-theme focuses on current practices, challenges and future directions for research on mobile learning; and the second one illustrates applications of relevant theories for research on mobile learning in different disciplines. For both sub-themes, there will be seminars and workshops for knowledge, experience-sharing and discussion. These events will gather overseas and local scholars and practitioners for academic exchanges and research collaboration.

This project will help to create an active research atmosphere on mobile learning. Its academic events will keep local academics abreast of the latest development in this field, enhance their understanding of the theoretical foundation required for conducting mobile learning research, and gather academics from a broad diversity of disciplines to explore the potential of mobile learning research. It is anticipated that participants will be equipped with relevant knowledge and skills to generate quality research on mobile learning, which will eventually contribute to effective delivery of mobile education.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IIDS11/E01/15
Project Title: Seminar and Workshop Series in Digital Entertainment and Toy Computing
Principal Investigator: Dr TANG Kai-tai (Caritas)

Toy computing is a study on design, computation, prototyping and integration of various toys using computing techniques. Recently, toys are becoming more intelligent and penetrating to gadgets such as smart phones, digital cameras, and motion sensing devices. The player can communicate, interact, or collaborate with them to achieve some tasks. Also, modern toys are closely related digital entertainment. Emerging computing techniques such as Augmented Reality (AR) has become popular for developing creative toys. To promote the studies of Digital Entertainment and Toy Computing to the Hong Kong public, we propose to organize a technical event consisted of a series of seminars (public lectures with panel discussions) and hands-on workshops covering a great variety of creative software and hardware techniques include mobile app development, and creative electronic design, etc. The target participants are toy developers, toy manufacturers, academics in the related fields, safety experts, and the students who are seeking jobs in toy/entertainment industries, etc. After the proposed activities, we expect the participants could gain basic knowledge and self-learning resources for producing creative toys and digital entertainment outputs.

Our project benefits toy manufacturers and developers and digital entertainment producers. In recent years, the toy industry is turning from pure manufacturing to creative design marketing. According to the Hong Kong governments' fact sheet, creative industries (include toy manufacturing) have more than 192,000 practitioners and they contributed nearly $90 billion or 4.7% of Hong Kong's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually by November 2013. It is expected to have more people joining this industry because many high-ended toy manufacturers are moving their design base or even the production line back to Hong Kong. However, there is a lack of talented and skilful young people joining this industry. In order to provide enough human resources to local toy manufacturers, the proposed event aims at enriching the toy developers' skills and guiding them to apply creative ideas to toys through computing techniques. The event will serve as a platform for academics and manufacturers to interact and initiate new collaborations. Moreover, it benefits to safety experts because they will learn the state-of-art trends of cutting-edge computing technologies that are useful for them to examine whether these new toys are safe enough for users, especially small children.

Our project also benefits academics and the students who want to join in the toy industry. The government intended to nurture Design and Digital Entertainment experts; so in the 2014 Policy Address, the Chief Executive introduced a new Theme-based Subsidy Scheme (TBSS) (now it is a.k.a. Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP)) to subsidize up to 1,000 students per cohort to pursue designated full- time locally-accredited self- financing undergraduate programmes such as in this discipline, starting from the 2015/16 academic year. The theme of this seminar and workshop series is aligned with the government's policy, and the outcomes of the seminars/workshops and research experiences can be transferred into teaching and learning of the newly introduced BSc. (Honours) Digital Entertainment programme at Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE). The academic staff of different institutes could meet at the event and have a chance to initiate new research collaborations. The event will have a Project Competition for students (mainly undergraduate) to demonstrate their Research & Development outputs to the public, and they may receive useful suggestions from technical/design experts or meet potential employers. In the long run, we intend to consolidate students, researchers (especially the computing and creative media experts), and local inventors to form a community, and promote the innovation and R&D for the toy and digital entertainment industries in Hong Kong. Also, we will make use of the experience to support and enhance the teaching and research in CIHE and OUHK, and strengthen the research collaboration between different tertiary institutes.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IIDS14/B01/15
Project Title: Sustainable Development in Higher Education - Responsible Management, Innovative Programme Design and Green Learning Environment
Principal Investigator: Dr YEUNG Shirley Mo-ching (Hang Seng)

According to the 2015 Policy Address, the issue of manpower is one of quantity and quality. Education has been the one of the key driving forces of Hong Kong's economic growth, providing impetus to growth of other sectors and creating employment. Besdies, the Report on Manpower Projection to 2018, the Government of Hong Kong SAR, and the OECD Action Plan for Youth mentioned in the 3rd UNESCO-APEID Meeting on Entrepreneurship Education are also important documents for this proposal as they mentioned that the education system had to be more relevant in preparing young people for the world of work through developing awareness of educators, policy-makers and industry practitioners about the importance of sustainable development in higher education and the linkage between sustainable development and supply chain management in the operations of key industries.

Besides, it is important to align with the Six Principles (Purpose. Values, Method, Research, Partnership and Dialogue) of PRME, UN Global Compact when implementing sustainable related activities for creating sustainable value for partners to meet social and environmental responsibilities.

The Conference is committed to promote the sharing of professional knowledge and research excellence with industry, business, the public sector, and the community in order to achieve social, cultural, environmental or economic impacts. Renowned overseas and local scholars and experts in corporate governance, in business ethics, in education, and in environment would be invited to serve as speakers to present their current research, good practices and discuss new areas worthy of investigation in each of the conference's topic. Besides, practitioners would also be invited to share the latest trend of green implementation, for example, green campus design to engage learning.

Upon completion of the aforementioned project, it is expected that the following objectives could be achieved:
(i) To create a platform for practitioners and academia to be led by best-practice associated with sustainable development strategies in responsible management, innovative programme/ module design, and green learning environment management;
(ii) To enhance academics' research capability and keep them abreast of related new developments and challenging research topics in sustainable development in higher education;
(iii) To provide innovative insights to various stakeholders to resolve problems arisen in the new context regarding sustainability and social responsibility;
(iv) To provide an opportunity to bring different stakeholders for professional sharing on the global trends and the practices of sustainable development in higher education to achieve social, cultural and environmental or economic impacts.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IIDS14/P01/15
Project Title: Symposia in Data Science
Principal Investigator: Mr ZEL Stanley Tze-fung (Hang Seng)

This project is a series of symposia on the hot trends and cutting edge technology in Data Science. Topics chosen are Data Mining and Knowledge Recovery, Statistical Computing, Actuarial Science, Risk Management, and Bioinformatics and Medical Imaging. The symposia aim to provide a platform for knowledge exchange among scholars and professionals from different institutions and the industry all around the world and promote the importance of Data Science to students and non-experts.