Faculty Development Scheme (FDS) - Project Abstract

Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/P01/21
Project Title: Key fundamental issues about the preparation of multiple-layer Janus functional nanofibers through electrospinning
Principal Investigator: Prof BLIGH Annie Sim-wan (Caritas)


The design of novel functional nanomaterials is increasingly dependent on the creation of new complex architectures and, more importantly, the understanding of structure performance relationships at the nanoscale. Numerous novel strategies for production of functional nanomaterials, including those for biomedical applications and controlled release drug delivery have been investigated based on the complex nanostructures such as core-shell, side-by-side (often termed as Janus) and their combinations. However, how to robustly produce these complex nanostructures poses a big challenge to the researchers in the fields of physics, chemistry and material engineering.

Building on our success in developing several kinds of multifluid electrospinning processes to generate complex nanostructures, allowing for tailoring the functional performances of the resultant nanofibers, here we propose the preparation of new tri-layer Janus nanofibers using a new 3-fluid side-by-side electrospinning process, aiming to figure out two key fundamental issues. One is the nanofabrication mechanism of tri-layer Janus nanofibers using the tri-fluid side-by-side electrospinning process, particularly the influence of un-spinnable fluid on the formation of an integrated tri-layer Janus structure. The other is the structure-performance relationship based on the tri-layer Janus nanofibers. The knowledge gained from this work should benefit the developments of new multifluid electrospinning processes and provides more strategies for conceiving multiple-functional applied nanoproducts.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS25/H05/21
Project Title: A Novel Approach to Developing a Virtual Garment Fitting Prediction Model Using Artificial Neural Network
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Ah-pun (THEi)


3D virtual simulation prototyping software combined with computer-aided manufacturing systems are widely used and are becoming essential in the fashion industry in the earlier stages of the product development process for apparel design. These technologies streamline the garment product fitting procedures, as well as improve the supply chain environmentally, socially, and economically by eliminating large volumes of redundant samples. Buyers can easily evaluate virtual samples that are showcased with full rotation views and visual draping effects without relying on physical prototypes before confirming orders. The approved designs can be transferred to the production line immediately, which shortens the communication, development, and production lead time between suppliers and buyers. Issues of non-standardized selection on garment sizing, ease allowance, and size of 3D avatar for creating 3D garments have been addressed by many researchers. Understanding the relationship between body dimensions, ease allowance, and apparel sizes before adopting virtual garment simulation is fundamental for satisfying high customer demands in the apparel industry. However, designers find difficulties providing the appropriate garment fit for customers without fully understanding the motivation and emotions of customers’ fitting preferences in a virtual world. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to investigate apparel sizes for virtual fitting, particularly looking at garment ease with consideration to body dimensions and the psychographic characteristics of subjects. The study also proposes to develop a virtual garment fitting prediction model (VGFM) using an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) for improving virtual garment design in terms of its fitting and sizing. We conducted a preliminary study, supported by the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong Seed Grant Scheme (Project No.: SG1918104), and found that psychographic dimensions of subjects are significant factors for understanding fit preferences in virtual garment fitting. This factor improves the prediction accuracy on the trial VGFM for T-shirts. To further develop the VGFM, data collection on body dimensions using a 3D body scanner and identification of psychographic characteristics through a questionnaire from 150-200 subjects will be deployed. Additional garment items such as a blouse, shirt, jacket, and pants will be added to the co-design experiment using a 3D simulation software and Optitex for creating the preferable fitted prototypes for the subjects. The data will be used for the model establishment process using an Artificial Neural Network. Another group of 150-200 subjects will take part in the final process of model validation using the same experimental procedures until the model is accurate, reliable, and consistent in virtual fitting prediction. The Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) approach will be adopted for the fitting context for model validation. GAN is a special type of neural network model that contains two networks trained simultaneously. One focuses on the generation and the other on discrimination. Applying GAN to the fashion industry has mainly been for the design phase, e.g., generating fashion sketches and image-to-image translations, etc. Yet, no prior research has applied GAN to the virtual size fitting context, and thus our VGFM will provide a good foundation for such application with the potential to bring advancement to virtual size fitting model development. The results of this project provide sustainable value in providing an ideal communication tool between manufacturers, retailers, and consumers by offering “perfect fit” products to customers. The project will also achieve the concept of mass customization and customer orientation, and generate new size fitting data that could bring a new level of end-user satisfaction.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H18/21
Project Title: Investigating the Dynamic Relations of the Six Self-Compassion Components with Academic Stress Across Chinese Primary, Secondary, and University Students in Hong Kong: A Longitudinal Study
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Chi-keung (Shue Yan)


The aim of this proposed longitudinal study is to investigate the relations of six constituent components (self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, self-judgment, isolation, and overidentification) of self-compassion (SC) with academic stress across primary, secondary, and university students in Hong Kong. Self-compassion is defined as a tendency to treat oneself with kindness and compassion when one encounters suffering, inadequacy, or failure (Neff, 2003). Pervious study by Neff et al. (2005) found that SC was negatively associated with performance goals and showed a significant mediation effect with lesser fear of failure and higher perceived competence. Recent studies showed that SC reduced academic stress of medical students (Kemper et al., 2019), lowered the risk of depression among South Korean university students even feeling of academic burnout (Lee & Lee, 2020), partially mediated the negative effect of perfectionism on test-related hope for Hong Kong primary students (Fong and Cai, 2019). Nevertheless, these studies used global SC scores that cannot unpack the differential mechanisms of the six SC components on academic stress of students.

Studies with Chinese community (Chen et al., 2011; Finlay-Jones et al., 2018) and student samples (Law & Chan, 2019; Sun et al., 2016) consistently indicated that six-factor model (six SC components) fits better with practical and cultural implications. Furthermore, the role of the self-judgment (self-criticism) component is still unclear for Chinese/East Asians with the possible explanations of dialectical self-beliefs and the presence of constructive self-criticism as self-enhancement (Boyraz et al. 2021). In fact, a local study conducted by Sun et al. (2016) found that self-kindness and common humanity benefited female adolescents’ psychological well-being whereas mindfulness and self-judgment was advantageous to male adolescents’ psychological well-being. Law and Chan (2019) only found that isolation and overidentification (but not self-judgment) significantly mediated and intensified the negative effect of performance goals on academic stress among Chinese university students. However, these studies were limited with their cross-sectional and single-group research design.

As academic stress is one of the key factors that strongly associated with the deteriorating well-being of Hong Kong students at various developmental stages, policymakers have raised the concern for the mental health issues amongst students (Food & Health Bureau, 2018). The proposed study, to our knowledge, is a pioneering study to adopt a prospective longitudinal mixed-cohort design to 1) examine the dynamic relations of the six SC components with academic stress over an academic year, 2) investigate the mechanisms of how the levels and changes of the six SC components mediate the relationship between performance-goal orientation and academic stress, and 3) explore the mediating roles of the six SC components on the relationship between performance-goal orientation and academic stress across Chinese primary, secondary, and university students from a developmental perspective. Using stratified random sampling at the school/institutional level, the proposed study is planned to recruit 300 primary students (4th graders) from three schools, 300 secondary students (10th graders) from three schools, and 300 undergraduate students (sophomores/Year 2 students) across three local universities for this longitudinal survey study.

Longitudinal data analyses will be used to 1) discern whether the three positive and the three negative SC components serve as protective or risk indicators for academic stress, 2) provide a deeper understanding on the mediating role of each of the six SC components in buffering or intensifying academic stress over time, and 3) provide important baseline information for developing developmentally-appropriate and culturally-sensitive SC-based intervention to alleviate academic stress of Chinese students in Hong Kong. The findings of this study will have theoretical, methodological, practical, cultural and policy implications and impacts by understanding the mechanism of the six SC components for reducing academic stress and supporting well-being of Chinese students in Hong Kong.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/B01/21
Project Title: Circular Supply Chain Management with Bayesian Information Updating, Government Policies and Strategic Alliance for Sustainability Commitment
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Hau-ling (PolyU SPEED)


Being environmentally sustainable is one of the key directions in business strategy formation and government policy development. Many fashion brands have sought ways to be environmentally sustainable such as using eco-friendly materials for garment production and investing in cleaner technologies to reduce carbon emission in the production process. Recently, some fashion brands have begun to introduce garments recycling programs and converted the garment waste to raw materials for the new product development. In this context, fashion companies are shifting from being linear to circular supply chain structures. A circular supply chain refers to a supply chain system which aims to be environmentally sustainable with the minimized wastage and maximized utilization of resources which can be remanufactured, recycled or reused. The movement to the circular supply chain is also be well-enticed by the government’s policy and strategic alliance. Governments around the world have implemented different taxes and provided financial subsidies for the garment recycling projects. In addition, fashion brands have also formed a strategic alliance for collecting the unwanted fashion products for recycling. Therefore, the government policy and the formation of strategic alliance for sustainability commitment will significantly drive the formation of circular supply chain systems. Even though the products can be recycled, it is critical to determine an appropriate inventory policy which will affect the business performance and supply chain operations efficiency. Bayesian information updating approach can be applied to improve the demand forecast and the corresponding inventory planning. This project aims to construct analytical models to derive the optimal inventory ordering policies in the circular supply chain, explore the value of the market information for inventory planning, examine how government policies affect supply chain performance and investigate the effect of strategic alliance for sustainability commitment.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS25/M03/21
Project Title: A mechanistic study on the combined use of esculetin and probiotics in preventing Parkinson’s disease in mice
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Shun-wan (THEi)


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common and complex neurological disorder which affects about 0.1-0.2% of the population but most often in the elderly population. It is considered the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder in the elderly population. PD is resulted from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. As the disease develops, the motor symptoms become more severe and would significantly lower the self-care ability and quality of life of the patient. Since there is still no definitive diagnosis in the early stage of PD and no effective treatment to slow down the neurodegenerative processes, developing an effective measure to prevent the development and progression of the disease may bring us closer to the goal of reducing the great social and economic burden imposed by PD. In current proposed study, the effectiveness of a novel combination therapy using esculetin (a natural coumarin) and probiotics on preventing PD development in two animal models, namely 1‐methyl‐4‐phenyl‐1,2,3,6‐tetrahydropyridine induced PD mice model (mimics PD induced mainly by environmental factors) and an adeno-associated viral vectors expressing α‑synuclein PD mice model (mimics PD induced mainly by genetic factors) will be evaluated. To further validate the overall beneficial effects of the proposed combination therapy, monotherapy using either esculetin or probiotics will also be used for comparison. Metabolomics analysis will be conducted on brain tissues, serum samples to evaluate the effects of the combination therapy inside the body comprehensively. The correlation of the metabolomics results on different bio-samples and/or gut microbiota data will also be done to provide new insights on PD treatment.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS51/H03/21
Project Title: Becoming Sanmao: Author Performativity, Life-writing Stylistics and Reader Responses – An Integrated Author-Text-Reader Approach to (Re)reading Sanmao (1970s to 2020s)
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Sze-man (UOWCHK)


The project aims to (re)read the life and works of writer Chen Ping (under the pen name of Sanmao) (1943- 1991), a celebrity author and cultural icon in the mid-1970s to 80s whose legacy continues to the present day. Her most well-known work is perhaps her part-travelogue, part-memoir Stories of the Sahara first published in book form in 1976. The project will explore Sanmao's life and works through an integrated author-text-reader approach: (1) Autobiographical insights and discussion of author performativity in the case of Sanmao, e.g. using the concepts of “performing authorship” as coined by Sonja Longolius in 2016, existing scholarship on performatively, intertextuality and paratext, authorship questions, and reader-response studies; (2) Textual analysis especially on style and use of metaphors, and (3) Reader-response analysis through prompting critical and creative reactions inspired by reading Sanmao’s life and works, and examining readers' personal reading experience of Sanmao. The project will in part contribute to situating Sanmao in the international literary scene by making some Chinese-only materials available to non-Asian readership and scholarship, and by bridging Chinese discussions on Sanmao and some theoretical frameworks more conventional to Western discussion. Research outputs will be in the form of academic essays and a sustainable website about Sanmao, providing information in English and showcasing the critical and creative responses from readers of Sanmao generated throughout the project.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E02/21
Project Title: Enhancing Wireless Information Freshness via Physical-Layer Network Coding and Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Tse-tin (HSUHK)


The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging wireless communications and networking technology that can be utilized to connect billions of devices and establish a close connection between our physical world and computer networks. Many time-critical applications, such as autonomous vehicles and industrial control, require the support of ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) to convey fresh information updates. However, information freshness cannot be accurately quantified by traditional metrics such as throughput and delay. Therefore, the age of information (AoI) metric has recently received extensive attention from researchers. AoI is defined as the elapsed time since the most recently received packet was generated. Literature shows that replacing traditional performance metrics with AoI may lead to fundamental changes in the communication system designs.

Most AoI research has focused on the upper layers of communication networks. Lower-layer solutions, such as multiple access schemes for the medium access control (MAC) layer and multi-user interference cancellation schemes for the physical (PHY) layer, have not been thoroughly studied for their impact on information freshness. Existing lower-layer designs cannot guarantee good information freshness when a large number of users access complicated and unreliable wireless channels. This problem seriously hinders the development of time-critical IoT applications. Moreover, information update packets in the IoT networks are usually very short. Shannon’s channel capacity formula in information theory assumes an infinite blocklength and is therefore not suitable for characterizing the performance of short-packet communications.

The purpose of this project is to fill the above-mentioned research gaps. To begin with, we would like to develop a theoretical framework for AoI analyses in various error-prone short-packet wireless communication models. Based on the developed framework, we then design lower-layer algorithms to enhance information freshness by physical-layer network coding (PNC) and non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA). PNC alleviates the multi-user interference problem by utilizing the network-coded packets decoded from superimposed signals. NOMA improves spectral efficiency by serving multiple users at the same time and frequency. Our preliminary simulations show that PNC and NOMA can significantly improve the AoI performance of many channel models. To the end, we would investigate the combination of PNC and NOMA to improve the AoI performance further. If this research achieves favorable outcomes, it will be a solid step in the theory and practice of enhancing information freshness in the next-generation IoT networks.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H05/21
Project Title: XR MALL: Developing learners' interpreting and public speaking skills via an extended reality app
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAN Wing-man (HKMU)


We plan to develop a mobile-based extended reality (XR) application for interpreting and public speaking learning to be titled “XR MALL”. Based on the PI’s two relevant on-going research projects and our previous experience in interpreter training, language teaching, and app design, this pioneering project will also aim to study our app’s impact on student learning. We use the word “iFAST” to illustrate XR MALL’s overall design and potential benefits:

i: Intelligence, Immersion, Interaction: Combining virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) intelligence, XR MALL will create situated learning experience and mediate virtual world exploration which allows student-centered learning through immersive role playing. In the context of interpreting and public speaking training, interaction and immersion in virtual reality learning environments (VRLEs) can be a valuable substitute for a real-world experience as an interpreter or speaker, allowing for providing a first-person experience with an authenticity that can hardly be delivered in a traditional classroom.

F: First, Free, Feedback: It will be the first free all-in-one open access app consisting of an interactive feedback platform, learning resources, video demos, VR practice, AR vocabulary lists, self-assessment materials, and a speech analyzer which generates instant feedback.

A: Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Although the focus will initially be on learners in Hong Kong, the app will allow anyone around the world to learn anytime and anywhere. It will address the problems of lack of practice time and resources for out-of-class study. It has the potential to strengthen interpreting and public speaking competencies, reduce public speaking anxiety, and facilitate various types of learning, such as mobile-assisted language learning (MALL).

S: Speech, Stimulation, Stakeholders: Realistic speech settings will be created for public speaking as well as sight, consecutive, and simultaneous interpreting practice on two levels. Users can immerse themselves in real-time interactive dual-role-play (interpreter and speaker) liaison interpreting activities. Various presentation tasks in virtual workplace and school contexts will be designed for public speaking practice. Users without a VR headset can choose non-VR mode. In terms of stakeholders, it will benefit not only learners among the general public, but also teachers, administrators, teacher trainers, and researchers, by yielding insights for pedagogical implications, innovative educational practice, effective curriculum planning, and new directions for future research and educational technology development.

T: Trilingual, Theory-based, Tool: It will serve as a theory-based trilingual (Putonghua, Cantonese, and English) and bi-directional interpreting learning tool that engages users in a simulated VRLE where they can construct new knowledge through learning-by-doing.

This study aims to investigate the influence of XR MALL on interpreting learning and English public speaking learning of Chinese ESL/EFL undergraduate students. A quasi-experimental design will be adopted to explore its impact upon intervention on the learning process over the traditional method. The 120 participants will include 60 students taking an interpreting course and 60 students taking an English presentation course. For each course, participants will be divided into an experimental group and a control group (each will contain 30 students). In the experimental groups, XR MALL will be incorporated in the classes as a teaching and learning tool, while the control groups will be taught by the same teachers using the traditional approach. Students’ perceptions and the effects of XR MALL on interpreting performance, public speaking performance, learning experience, and cognitive and affective development will be analyzed by a mixed-method approach. The quantitative and qualitative data will be collected by a pre- and post-test, pre- and post-study questionnaires, post-study interview, and user logs. The advantages of using an app such as XR MALL would include a decreased dependence on face-to-face teaching, a facilitation of remote learning and a widening of participation in professional and life-skills training, all of which are likely to prove highly desirable as we move forward in the post-epidemic context. The researchers believe that the use the app makes of the latest XR technology is highly original, and after its initial rolling out it could be expanded or further developed, or indeed serve as a model for other future independent learning apps.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H17/21
Project Title: A Study of the Hong Kong Colonial Government’s Policy to Chinese Burials (1945-1997)
Principal Investigator: Dr CHAU Chi-fung (Shue Yan)


This research aims to explore and review the policy on Chinese funerals and interment pursued by the Hong Kong colonial government between 1945 and 1997. In recent years, private columbarium niches and insufficient graveyards have become two highly controversial topics in Hong Kong society. These topics have undoubtedly aroused public interest in the history of the government's burial policy, and therefore it is meaningful to review the past government policy on Chinese burials.

The funeral culture of contemporary Hong Kong can be broadly divided into two traditions: urban traditions and New Territories traditions. In the early days of colonial Hong Kong, owing to society’s immigrant nature in urban areas as well as the restrictions and inducements of government policies, urban residents gradually developed a funeral culture that was different from that of the local inhabitants of the New Territories. This division became more apparent after the Second World War. The Hong Kong government's strict restrictions on the disposal of dead bodies, the expansion of the public medical system, and many deaths in hospitals, changed the Chinese tradition of holding funerals at home. Unlike in mainland China, where there was forceful state intervention in death, in Hong Kong, the government adopted a "soft" approach to funerals, even providing support to Chinese people in various ways. The support measures included providing a free transport service for cremations in the 1970s, monitoring the daily operations of funeral homes and undertakers, providing more land to public cemeteries, and religious cemeteries for the building of niches for ashes. The limited land supply for cemeteries, combined with the declining religiosity and diminishing adherence to traditional Chinese values among the generations born in the 1970s onwards, resulted in the prevalence of cremation over burials and the simplification of Chinese funerals in Hong Kong. However, there is no comprehensive and systematic study concerning the colonial government's attitude and policy during the Post-war period; instead, there are only a handful of studies that are related to the government's burial policy towards the indigenous residents of the New Territories.

This proposed study will adopt an empirical approach to investigate and analyse the Hong Kong government's policy on Chinese burials with reference to other case studies other than Hong Kong(e.g., mainland China, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan), seeking to verify the truth or falsity of claims based on anecdotal evidence. The primary sources studied will include official data and statistics; relevant government reports and correspondence; the reports and minutes of the Urban Council, which was responsible for burial affairs before 1999; and the archives of the Tung Wah Hospital. Secondary source materials will include various reports in newspapers, popular magazines, and scholarly journals.

The proposed research is expected to benefit researchers doing Hong Kong studies, the HKSAR government, the general public, and heritage conservationists. The proposed study could yield insights that could help government policy makers to formulate funeral and internment policies in the future. It could also help to enrich death education.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/M(P)05/21
Project Title: Heterogeneous reaction kinetics of resazurin bio-reduction on paper-based microfluidics for bacteria detection and toxicity measurement
Principal Investigator: Dr CHEN Jianlin (HKMU)


As an ideal platform to develop cost-effective, power-free and portable diagnostic devices by a straightforward fabrication process, microfluidic paper-based analytical devices (μPADs) have reached a wide popularity as a type of diagnostic apparatus and applied to a wide variety of (bio)chemical analyses. The overlying purpose of μPADs is to provide a low-cost, eco-friendly analytical tool suitable and reliable for field testing and point-of-care diagnosis applications. However, comparing with the reliable results obtained in free solution by conventional laboratory methods, test results, such as for blood glucose, Escherichia coli in food, and pollutants in waterbody etc. by some μPADs, have been reported to show significant discrepancy, leading to lessening of test credibility by those μPADs. Theoretically, there are two critical processes, i.e., transport of fluid containing analytes and (bio)chemical reactions, happened in a μPAD. Although the transport of homogeneous fluid in μPADs has been well studied, few investigations address on the transport of heterogeneous fluid, such as containing bacteria and particles, in μPADs.

Human activity is a major cause of pollution. Many pollutants have been released into environment intentionally or unintentionally, causing toxicity and heavy burden to ecosystem. Bacteria detection plays important position in our daily life, medical diagnostics, industry, and wastewater treatment. Due to the sensitivity to toxicants, the bioactivity of bacteria has been regarded as an ‘indicator’ of biotoxicity. Becoming increasingly popular in recent years, the application of μPADs to bacteria detection and toxicity measurement are two important studies in environmental, clinical analysis, food processing etc. In our preliminary study, we developed a rapid bioassay for bacteria detection and toxicity measurement with assistance of resazurin, an oxidation-reduction indicator that yields colorimetric changes and fluorescent signals in response to intercellular metabolic activity. However, it has been found that the resazurin reduction speed by bacteria in the μPAD is 85% slower than the speed obtained in the free solution and the wet-out process (transport of fluid) in the μPAD shows obvious effect on the reaction. Although the discrepancy is expected as in the paper-based test strip, no theoretical explanation has been addressed on factors contributing to those discrepancy phenomena, especially from the viewpoint of mathematically integrating the critical processes, with the transport of heterogeneous fluid, to comprehensively understand the whole procedure in a μPAD.

To explain the discrepancy of resazurin bio-reduction speed between μPAD and free solution and to improve the performance of the μPAD on bacteria detection and toxicity measurement, this project aims to make a thorough inquiry of the heterogeneous reaction kinetics of resazurin bio-reduction in μPADs as an universally applicable strategy for optimizing performance of μPADs on sensitivity and accuracy. To achieve such aim, we plan to i) mathematically describe the bacterial distribution behavior in μPADs during wet-out process; ii) model the adsorption-diffusion-reaction process of resazurin-bacteria system in μPADs; and iii) integrate bacterial distribution behavior and adsorption-diffusion-reaction processes to reveal the heterogeneous reaction kinetics of resazurin bio-reduction in μPADs. By results of this project, it can not only provide theoretical explanation to the analytical result discrepancy between μPADs and free solution, but also be a mathematical-guided strategy for μPADs design to optimize its performance on different application such as food hygiene and public health.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/B26/21
Project Title: The wisdom to choose: Family CEO’s birth order across institutional contexts
Principal Investigator: Dr CHEN Kelly Xing (HKMU)


Family firms have been recognized as a major form of organization that nurtures innovation across countries. CEOs in family firms are the most influential actors that influence resource allocation to innovation as well as how innovation is implemented. Extant studies have studied the impact on innovation by family CEOs compared with that by non-family CEOs. Some suggest that family CEOs are more likely to facilitate innovation, while others suggest the opposite. These studies have overlooked the variation among different family CEOs. An important and unique characteristic is the birth order of family CEOs, representing an age hierarchy among siblings. Birth orders are associated with different developmental experiences, which affect siblings’ decision-making tendencies that persist into adulthood. Birth order literature suggests that later-born children are more risk-taking, innovative and open to new radical ideas compared with earlier-born siblings. However, whether later-born family CEOs consistently facilitate innovation remains unanswered as they may be constrained by other family owners and do not have the managerial discretion to facilitate innovation. In this proposed study, we aim to investigate (i) whether and when later-born family CEOs are more likely to facilitate innovation compared with earlier-born family CEOs; (ii) what affects the family firms’ selection of later-born versus earlier-born family CEOs.

We build on institutional theory and managerial discretion theory to address the questions. According to the theories, CEO discretion varies across institutional contexts, for formal and informal institutions would affect the degree of an action to be viewed as objectionable and the power of the stakeholders who view the action as objectionable, both of which would determine the constraints faced by the CEOs. In the context of family CEOs, they would have less discretion when they face constraints from other family owners, who may consider family CEOs’ ideas, especially innovative ideas from later-born family CEOs, as objectionable. The perception of objectionability of innovative ideas and the power of family owners will be functions of formal and informal institutions. Therefore, we argue that later-born family CEOs are more likely to facilitate innovation compared with earlier-born family CEOs when formal and informal institutions grant them higher discretion. As for the second research question, we examine how institutions affect the succession of family CEOs. We posit that in institutional contexts that provide higher discretion to family CEOs, family firms are less likely to be constrained by the norm of appointing earlier-born family CEOs and so later-born children are more likely to become family CEOs.

With a unique dataset of over 1,800 entrepreneurial family firms across countries, the proposed study aims to contribute to innovation literature by investigating the birth order of family CEOs as an important determinant of innovation in family business. It identifies institutional factors influencing birth order effect and thus addressing the mixed findings of the birth order effect in the family science literature. It also contributes to the family business literature by enriching our understanding of how the interplay between institutional differences and family constructs can shape strategic decisions. In practice, the study can inspire and encourage family business owners to critically rethink their successor selection strategy, if innovation is a fundamental quality of generational sustainability.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/E04/21
Project Title: Interactions between urban microclimates and high-rise commercial buildings integrated with photovoltaic envelopes to optimize energy and indoor environmental performances
Principal Investigator: Dr LEE Chi-chung (HKMU)


Building sectors in Hong Kong account for over 90% domestic electricity consumption, about two-third of which comes from commercial buildings. The government has been aiming to improve the energy self-sufficiency of Hong Kong by reducing the building energy demand and encouraging the installation of distributed renewable systems. Therefore, the integrated photovoltaic (PV) application becomes a prospective sustainable strategy to improve overall building performances from a broad-sense passive design approach utilizing peripheral natural resources and conditions. However, detailed characteristics of PV envelopes are scarcely incorporated into the peripheral built environment and microclimate for a comprehensive parametric analysis of high-rise buildings. Especially, interactions between PV façades and urban microclimates have not been sufficiently coupled with the individual building design process. Furthermore, more efficient and accurate optimization and decision-making approaches are required for a large-scale application of PV integrated buildings in planning or retrofitting green neighbourhoods/districts.

To address above problems, this research will first establish and validate a dynamic numerical model combining both PV characteristics and conventional envelope design parameters to predict the thermal, daylight and power performance under the mixed-mode ventilation and lighting control scenario. A prototype commercial building with PV envelopes will then be incorporated into a simplified real neighborhood with inter-building effects and calibrated microclimates utilizing the urban weather generator. The coupled model is further applied to district energy and environmental modelling with the assumption of large-scale PV applications to explore their retroaction on urban microclimates. The optimal configuration of PV envelopes in the neighborhood district will be determined through a multicriteria optimization and decision-making process considering the microclimate change, net energy consumption and indoor environmental quality. In addition, refined surrogate models trained by advanced machine learning methods are integrated with optimization algorithms to tremendously improve the computation efficiency for swift and precise decision-making in early design stages.

Based on the proposed research works, a detailed design guideline on district-level BIPV applications will be drafted for developing energy efficient buildings and expanding renewable applications in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. An optimized design of PV facades can help high-rise buildings approach the near-zero energy target and maintain a quality indoor environment simultaneously irrespective of the limitation in traditional rooftop PV applications. Applying the developed models and high-efficiency design optimization approaches to deploying BIPV in district scales can also contribute to regulating the urban microclimate and reducing local carbon emissions. The drafted design guideline is also expected to prompt the commercialization of PV façade related products. This research can therefore effectively promote renewable applications in high-density urban contexts with both academic and pragmatic impacts.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H10/21
Project Title: The boomerang effect in anti-drug advertisements in Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Dr CHENG Shing (HKMU)


Anti-drug advertisements have been globally used to promote anti-drug messages, with the major aim to reducing and preventing drug abuse. However, studies show that anti-drug advertisements can sometimes encourage pro-drug attitudes and behaviors instead of discouraging them. This unintended consequence is called the boomerang effect. Despite the massive investment from the Hong Kong government and the wide coverage of anti-drug advertisements, the efficacy of such advertisements is in doubt. While the total number of drug users being reported to the Central Registry of Drug Abuse (CRDA) has dropped steadily, there exists an increasingly worrying situation of hidden drug abuse (Narcotics Division, 2019). In view of this, a thorough understanding of the actual efficacy of anti-drug advertisements and an investigation into the factors that might lead to the boomerang effect are indeed both necessary and desirable.

Guided by psychological reactance theory and existing literature on perceived realism, with pretest-posttest experiments, this study measures how three factors affect the tendency of the boomerang effect in the Hong Kong context: (1) perceived threat to freedom, (2) perceived realness, and (3) the gender of the audience. To do so, 500 participants will be invited to participate in a pretest-posttest experiments. Among them, 250 will be put in the experimental group. They will first complete a survey that requires their demographic information and measures their drug attitudes. Participants will then be presented with recent anti-drug advertisements produced by the Narcotics Division of Security Bureau HKSAR. Participants will be asked to evaluate the tones of the anti-drug advertisements and the realness of them. Their drug attitudes will then be measured again. Another 250 participants will be included in the control group. They will follow the experimental procedures of the experimental group, except they will be presented with TV announcements that have nothing to do with drugs or anti-drug information. In addition to the experiment, in order to provide a qualitative dimension to the project, the research will conduct individual semi-structured interviews with 20 participants and 8 focus group discussions (5 participants in each focus group) with another 40 participants recruited from the participants of the above experiment. In order to unpack a range of responses, participants with different responses in the above experiment will be recruited to both the interviews and focus group discussions.

Overall speaking, this project is timely and important. Academically, this project explores whether the boomerang effect exists in anti-drug advertisements in Hong Kong context, and if it exists, how the content and style of presentation of the advertisements are associated with the boomerang effect. In practice, the findings will benefit society through enhancing our understanding of the impact of anti-drug advertisements and will provide suggestions for the government for designing more effective anti-drug promotional strategies.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H11/21
Project Title: Depression in high ability adolescents: A cross-cultural study
Principal Investigator: Dr CHEUNG Ho-nam (HKMU)


Adolescents is a potentially a more vulnerable group for mental disorders such as depression. In particular during adolescence when youngsters undergo drastic changes in biological and social aspects, a significant impact on the psychological constitution would be resulted. Gifted adolescents with high cognitive abilities are not immune. In particular, the asynchronous development of social competitiveness lags behind cognitive ability in some high ability adolescents may bring a sense of incompetence in their social aspect. In combination of self and others perception of difference from their peers, they may create extra burden in the highly sensitive period of adolescence. For decades the psychological well-being of high ability adolescents draws increasing attention in research and practice. The depression of high ability adolescents is especially one of the concerns among parents of high ability adolescents because of its serious consequences—academic decline, problems in schools, interpersonal dysfunctions and risks for other mental illnesses. Studies have demonstrated that depressive symptoms manifest differently in children and adolescents as in adults. This manifestation has remained uncertain in high ability adolescents, especially the interpersonal symptoms following asynchrony of social and cognitive development. Most of the studies in the field of high ability are conducted in the United States overlooking cross-cultural study in high ability adolescence populations. In addition, the identification of high ability adolescents in many studies has been dominated by school nominations of those with high academic achievement. High ability adolescents with underachievement are more likely to be underestimated. In light of these, this study aims to address the important knowledge gap of depressive symptomatology in high ability adolescents across cultures in a large sample of adolescents with diversified academic performance. In capturing the comprehensive picture of depressive symptoms, the current study will adopt the Multidimensional Depression Assessment Scale (MDAS) to investigate the depressive symptomatology, especially the interpersonal aspect of depressive symptoms, of high ability adolescents manifested by gender and culture across Asian and Western countries. It will also make use of the well-validated non-verbal ability test, Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) or Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT2) to identify high ability adolescents in terms of cognitive ability. To identify high ability underachievers, the academic performance of adolescents’ mathematics, science and first language at school will also be measured to analyze the adolescents’ achievement to screen out individuals with high cognitive abilities and yet are academic underachievers. The method of screening allows comparison of depressive symptoms in potentially high ability adolescents of higher and underachievers. The results of the study seek to provide more insights into the depressive symptoms of high ability adolescents across cultures and also to capture the full picture of the psychological well-being of high ability adolescents with diversified academic achievement. It also addresses the impact of perfectionism on depressive symptoms in high ability adolescents across cultures. The cross-sectional project would lay a good foundation for future longitudinal study of the trajectory of depression in high ability individuals.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/E02/21
Project Title: Learning Analytics Intervention System for Python Programming Courses
Principal Investigator: Dr CHOI Ping-man (HKMU)


In recent years, the proliferation of e-learning platforms such as massive open online courses (MOOC) and small private online courses (SPOC) has substantially altered the landscape of education. Nowadays, learning has become unprecedentedly flexible: students can determine the place, time, pace and content they desire to learn. However, this trend of flexible learning also poses a great challenge to providing instant and adequate support when students encounter learning difficulties, especially for programming beginners. Fortunately, the e-learning platforms capture enormous learning data and students’ learning activities in real time. Together with advances in learning analytics and educational data mining techniques, it is now possible to provide students with timely learning support through various intervention methods.

Learning analytics (LA) refers to the analysis and interpretation of data related to learner profiles, learning contexts and learner behaviour and interactions. The objective of LA is to provide valuable information to optimise or improve learning designs, outcomes and environments based on the analytical results. An analytics model (also known as an LA cycle) describes the typical five stages of the LA process: capture, report, predict, act and refine. In past years, these stages were often studied in isolation, and research effort was mostly focused on the first three stages, for example, developing an accurate prediction model. However, the intervention strategies and the refinements to the LA model (the last two stages) have rarely been discussed in detail.

Through developing an interactive platform for learning Python programming language, this proposed study attempts to partially bridge this important research gap by holistically considering all the stages in the LA cycle within a unified framework. Specifically, this study will adopt reinforcement learning (RL), a popular and promising machine learning technique, to directly learn mapping, from student learning behaviour to educational interventions, and update the model incrementally and continuously according to student performance. The platform will serve as a showcase example of RL approach to implementing LA process and open up a new research direction for the LA research community.

Understanding the impact of various intervention methods has been treated as the greatest challenge to LA researchers. The proposed RL model will attempt to answer three fundamental questions: when, what and with whom should an intervention take place. In particular, the proposed study will implement a practical LA intervention system for an Introductory to Python e-learning course that delivers timely and adequate learning support to programming beginners. For example, the system can proactively identify struggling students and generate personalized hints for their incorrect exercise answer, and may suggest instructors to build rapport with students by sending an email or making a phone call at an appropriate time. The proposed system is expected to improve not only the students’ success rate in learning Python through MOOC and SPOC, but also teaching and learning support through the marriage of artificial intelligence and LA.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H09/21
Project Title: Art at Home: The Impact of New Media and Online Cultural Production on Home-Based Arts Engagement
Principal Investigator: Dr CHOY Hiu-ying (HSUHK)


The COVID-19 pandemic has largely impacted the cultural and creative industries worldwide due to social distancing rules, travel restrictions, and temporary closure of arts and cultural event venues. Unprecedented risks and crises have been faced not only by the arts and creative professionals who are constrained in the production process, but also the people who face physical and mental struggles to access to the arts.

Considering the popularity of Internet communication technologies, the current project proposes to examine the opportunities and challenges brought by online media for audiences to engage in home-based creative experiences such as live streaming and virtual activities. The opportunities that online media offers the cultural and creative industries to operate in the crisis will be described, along with the implications they entail.

Specifically, the study aims to address the following research gaps.

(i) Within the creative sector, what online relationship management strategies did organisations adopt to engage with their audiences during the pandemic?

(ii) Which audiences were likely to engage with online cultural and creative experiences from home during the pandemic?

(iii) How did the above patterns of organisational strategies and individual engagement vary from the patterns prior to the pandemic?

(iv) What did home-based arts engagement mean to the audiences when coping with their emotions during the pandemic?

(v) What were the implications for the cultural and creative industries specifically and public policy in general?

This study will adopt a mixed-method design integrating online surveys of digital audiences, focus groups with creative practitioners, and online participant observation of online arts engagement communities.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H19/21
Project Title: Towards a reflective approach to developing academic vocabulary: An intervention case study in the higher education context
Principal Investigator: Dr CHUNG Hiu-yui (HKMU)


While vocabulary is essential for communication, it is worrying that vocabulary learning continues to pose considerable challenges for learners of English as a second or foreign language. With respect to the mastery of lexical knowledge, there is empirical evidence indicating that Hong Kong students, including those in higher education, suffer from several vocabulary deficiencies that may hinder their academic performance. For example, it has been found that university learners possess limited vocabulary. When they do learn vocabulary, they use limited vocabulary learning strategies. Further, they focus mostly on word meaning and pay negligible attention to other important aspects of word knowledge such as collocation and word associations (e.g. synonyms, antonyms, etc.). These deficiencies deserve our attention because English is the medium of instruction at most Hong Kong universities, and a comprehensive understanding of vocabulary in the language is of fundamental importance in a range of disciplines, including education and languages, science and technology, to name only a few. Promoting vocabulary learning in higher education is crucial, as university students’ limited vocabulary knowledge and learning strategies may hinder their academic pursuits and communication in the workplace in future.

To address the problem of vocabulary learning, it is important to examine learners’ beliefs, which play a pivotal role in influencing how learners make sense of their learning and in guiding their behaviour. However, only a handful of studies have specifically explored learners’ beliefs about vocabulary learning, not to mention how such beliefs change over time. The aim of the proposed research is therefore to fill this research gap and contribute to vocabulary learning in higher education by investigating how undergraduates develop beliefs and strategies to enhance vocabulary learning through reflection, which has demonstrated potential to promote metacognition and improve learning effectiveness. Undergraduates will be recruited to join a programme which adopts a reflective approach to vocabulary learning. Their trajectories of learning will be investigated by examining the development in their professed beliefs about vocabulary learning, their learning behaviour, and the breadth and depth of their vocabulary knowledge over a prolonged period of time. With the mixed-methods approach to research design, the study will make use of questionnaire surveys, semi-structured interviews, reflective entries, vocabulary logbooks, pre- and post-intervention vocabulary tests, and field notes to create a nuanced understanding of learner change, if any, and the factors that facilitate or inhibit the development of beliefs and learning.

The implications of the proposed study are threefold. Theoretically, it will contribute to scholarly understanding of belief development by investigating the trajectories of vocabulary learning and the factors shaping learner change. Methodologically, it responds to the call for more qualitative studies of language learning emphasising the importance of context and individual differences in language. Its investigation of the trajectories of learning and learner beliefs about vocabulary will lay the groundwork for future related studies. Pedagogically, the study will identify the vocabulary learning needs of undergraduates in Hong Kong by providing a highly contextualised picture of the participants’ beliefs and practice regarding vocabulary learning. It will also offer novel insight into how reflection can be used as a mediational tool to facilitate change in learners’ beliefs and practice.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/H03/21
Project Title: The Interrogative Systems in Tibeto-Burman Languages of the Cool Mountain Area
Principal Investigator: Dr DING Hongdi (PolyU SPEED)


This project is to describe the interrogative systems in Tibeto-Burman languages of the Cool Mountain area, Southwest China. The Cool Mountain area, namely the Greater Cool Mountains and the Lesser Cool Mountains, is a mountainous region across the border of Sichuan and Yunnan, two provinces with the highest linguistic diversity in China. At least 11 Tibeto-Burman languages are found in this area. This project investigates how these languages ask for ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘what’, ‘how many/how much’, ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘when’, whether these interrogatives are nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, or phrases, what their structures are, how they are used in sentences of these languages, and what their basic, cross-over and non-interrogative functions are, and why some interrogatives with verbal origins appear in the Tibeto-Burman languages.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/E09/21
Project Title: An Investigation of Reliability-Aware Wireless Edge Caching Networks (WECNs) with Bundle Recommendation
Principal Investigator: Dr FU Yaru (HKMU)


The explosive development of distributed mobile networks is driving the emergence of many intelligent applications, for instance, virtual reality / augmented reality, mobile interactive games, and ubiquitous high-definition video service, which are in general latency-sensitive and accompanied by a huge amount of data stream. Due to the often-unforeseeable network congestion and limited backhaul link capacity, it becomes increasingly impractical for mobile users to access the demanded contents from the remote servers, thereby imposes significant challenges in terms of meeting the stringent requirements of latency-sensitive applications. To address these tremendous challenges, wireless edge caching has been proposed as a promising enabler. Specifically, via pre-fetching popular and reusable contents and placing them at the edge nodes (ENs), including base stations, access points, and mobile terminals, highly effective networks with low service latency and enhanced users’ experience can be realized.

In such wireless edge caching enabled networks (WECNs), the ENs are distributed in a geographical area and are connected to each other via wireless links, so they become unreliable due to the hardware problems, software upgrades or network congestion. In this regard, how to ensure the network’s reliability is an issue to be resolved urgently. Another major concern about WECNs is the storage resource utilization efficiency. On one hand, the storage capacity of the ENs is insufficient. On the other hand, the amount of data is very huge. Considering that the users have highly heterogeneous preference distributions for the same contents catalogue, the effectiveness of edge caching will be significantly reduced.

In this project, we first design appropriate repairable coding scheme to ensure the reliability of WECNs, namely, the users can successfully repair and retrieve their desired contents even though the cached packets of each content in multiple ENs are corrupted at the same time, taking the heterogeneous features of different ENs into account. Then, we will design bundle decision algorithms for recommendation-enabled WECNs to recommend contents to users from a widened and flexible horizon as in reality users are usually exposed to a set (bundle) of items and they may request multiple items in one single request. After that, we will design the joint personalized bundle recommendation and cache placement algorithm to maximize networks’ effectiveness, such as cache hit ratio and achievable revenue, by considering the constraints of successful content retrieval and repair, total repair cost requirement, cache capacity budget per EN, and users’ recommendation quality and quantity.

In summary, this proposal aims to provide high-reliability and high-effectiveness WECNs, covering from the fundamental analysis of fault-tolerant coding constructions, to the joint bundle recommendation and caching decision algorithms. Due to the distinct nature of foregoing problems, in the design of the corresponding solutions, different methodologies include graph theory, game theory, probabilistic technique, and combinatorial optimization are applied. All the investigations will be collectively used to reap the benefits of wireless edge caching. The designed schemes will be validated by extensive and comprehensive numerical simulations under both synthetic and real datasets.

Besides, our developed solutions can be utilized in real entities that play as both content services provider and network services provider, such as Google Global Caches and Netflix Open Connect Program. This contribution not only benefits networks but also end users. For networks, the reliability (faults self-tolerance and repairable) is ensured, which reduces the maintenance cost. For subscribers, they can enjoy better data service experience.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B04/21
Project Title: The CEO Pay Ratio: UK Evidence
Principal Investigator: Dr GOH Lisa (HSUHK)


In recent years, regulators in several countries have been pushing publicly listed companies to contextualize their executive compensation with that of the broader workforce, i.e. to disclose a “CEO pay ratio” – a ratio of the total compensation of the CEO to that of the average or median employee. In this research project, we plan to examine three key questions using a sample of data from the United Kingdom, which started requiring listed companies to disclose their CEO pay ratio, effective from 31 December 2019. Compared to the CEO pay ratio implemented in the United States in 2018, the disclosure rules set by UK regulators on the CEO pay ratio calculation facilitates comparability between companies. First, we plan to examine how shareholders respond to the CEO pay ratio in their say-on-pay voting decisions. Second, we plan to examine how a firm’s CEO pay ratio and level of say-on-pay voting dissent affects compensation choices and the CEO pay ratio in subsequent years. Third, we plan to examine how corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices affect the views of shareholders towards the CEO pay ratio, and how ESG practices affect any subsequent change in pay practices. We aim to contribute to a small body of research on the CEO pay ratio and to contribute new evidence from the UK, where disclosure rules facilitate comparability. Evidence from government consultation processes on the CEO pay ratio shows that the topic is of significant interest to corporations, employees, researchers, regulators, and other industry practitioners.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E06/21
Project Title: Dynamic Pick Face Replenishment & Pallet Consolidation Model for Landing in the Next E-Fulfilment Normal
Principal Investigator: Dr HO To-sum (HSUHK)


Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, customer behaviour around the world looks completely different today than it did even one year ago. For example, retail sales via e-commerce channels in both the United States and European Union recorded rapid growth (i.e., 15% and 30% respectively) in 2020, while the gross value of retail sales was in decline (OECD, 2020). The same trend could also be observed in Hong Kong. The changes in customer behaviour and the burgeoning of e-commerce purchasing indicated shrinking sales at physical stores and the emergence of the ‘next normal’: B2C e-commerce business. Amidst these changes, the value chain of the retail industry may be reconfigured and Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) are urged to transform their routine operations (i.e., orders placed by wholesalers or retailers) into a sound e-fulfilment process (i.e., orders placed by individual customers via e-commerce) with effective strategies.

Considering the needs of next-day or even same-day deliveries as an e-fulfilment process, ensuring a fast and efficient retrieval of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) from shelves, has become crucial for today’s LSPs. To meet the trends of the ‘next’ e-fulfilment ‘normal’, LSPs need to be transformed with additional capabilities for handling discrete and fluctuating e-order demands. However, most LSPs in Hong Kong, especially small and medium (SME) -type LSPs, use rented warehouses to provide their services. They are unable to afford the large investments that would be entailed in adopting an automated storage and retrieval system and a sophisticated order picking system in rented warehouses; this limits their competencies and capabilities in handling e-orders.

This project aims to design and develop an e-fulfilment decision model for overcoming the new challenges presented to the logistics industry by today’s B2C e-commerce business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed model allows LSPs to generate the optimal pick face replenishment strategy and fully utilize resources for handling the fluctuating demands of e-orders without needing to re-construct the whole premises and infrastructure. Considering the limited datasets obtained by SME-type LSPs, this project also contributes to establish an industry-wide solution for estimating quantity per SKU to be held in the pick face area. With the aid of the proposed decision model, the capabilities of the e-fulfilment process are enabled for LSPs, resulting in better competitiveness and service coverage when the ‘next normal’ emerges in the B2C e-commerce market.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H09/21
Project Title: The Mechanism of Textual Production and the Poetic Significance of the Woodblock Prints of Selection of Tang Poetry in the Edo Period
Principal Investigator: Dr HUI Kin-yip (Shue Yan)


The proposed research takes an innovative and critical approach to the study of print culture and poetics in the Edo period (1603–1867) in Japan. This project will focus on how Selection of Tang Poetry [Tangshi xuan 唐詩選], an anthology of Tang poetry attributed to Li Panlong 李攀龍 (1514–1570, a member of the literati in the Ming dynasty), circulated in Japan in the pre-modern era after being shipped directly from China. Selection of Tang Poetry was one of the most reprinted literary anthologies of the period, and was the topic of zealous discussions by the Ancient Rhetoric School [kobunji gaku 古文辞学] in Japan. The book provided numerous literary models for the contemporary poet to follow, and was regarded as a crucial guidebook at a time when the publishing industries of Japan were flourishing. Through primarily a case study of the circulation of the anthology, this project also seeks to bring together the study of literary criticism, book history, reading history, and print culture.

In recent years, East Asian classics written in the Sinitic script have drawn a lot of scholarly attention. Using reprints of Selection of Tang Poetry as a point of departure, this project seeks to introduce a comparative framework and examine how publications in the East Asian cultural sphere-shaped various interpretations of this text.

Literary anthologies are one of the most important forms of literary criticism. They shed light on the interaction between elite and popular culture. While established literati often use anthologies to show their poetry preferences, these anthologies enjoy a readership that reaches beyond any single community. Selection of Tang Poetry is an excellent subject for study, since numerous publishers have sought to advocate their own perceptions of poetry through editing. In order to ensure the popularity of their publications, these publishers frequently provided annotations and illustrations when they reprinted the anthology. Thus, in studying the circulation of Selection of Tang Poetry, this project investigates how literary criticism and commercial printing interacted with one another from the 16th to the 18th century.

This project will begin by juxtaposing different versions of Selection of Tang Poetry printed in the Edo period. It will shed light on the poetics advocated by various literati and the text of commentaries appropriated by the publishers, as well as how the poetic ideas from different discourses and text resources were manifested in the various reprints of this literary anthology. In addition, this case study will allow us to evaluate the significance of print in both China and Japan, and re-examine any cultural similarities and differences.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/E15/21
Project Title: Modelling of Pupillary Muscles’ Range Nonlinearity Effects on Pupil-based Evaluation of Autonomic Nervous System
Principal Investigator: Dr HUNG Kevin King-fai (HKMU)


The world’s population is rapidly ageing, leading to the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and heavy burden on the society in the form of manpower shortage and escalating healthcare costs. There is an urgent need for long-term and personalized health care. Many have shown interest in tackling this challenge with mobile health (m-health), which is using wearable sensors, mobile computing, and communication technologies to provide healthcare services anytime anywhere. The goal is to enhance chronic disease management, improve patients’ quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs. A typical m-health system consists of wearable sensors for measuring physiological signals, a wireless module, and cloud server. To start each health monitoring session, the user may be required to set up the system and attach sensors onto specific locations on the body. However, in a typical scenario where the user is an old person living alone, this procedure can be challenging. Some users may also find the sensors intimidating and obtrusive. The inconvenience has become a bottleneck for the widespread use of m-health. Therefore, there is continual search for alternative physiological signals that are of prognostic value and at the same time can be monitored more conveniently.

Eye monitoring stands out as a feasible option. It can be realized with a smart eyewear which is unobtrusive to daily activities and is comfortable to wear. The eyes, often referred to as ‘windows to health’ actually contain a wealth of information that reflect the underlying health condition. For this reason, observations of the eye structure, pupil size, and pupillary dynamics are common in health assessments. Pupillary light reflex (PLR) is widely used for evaluating condition of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is important for regulating functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Because the pupillary muscle plant is driven by the ANS, PLR signal features are considered reliable indicators of ANS health. Another type of pupillary dynamics is pupil size variability (PSV), which refers to the continuous fluctuation of pupil size without visual accommodation or light stimulation. This phenomenon results from the coupling of cardiovascular regulation signals from the brainstem to the pupil. Interestingly, PSV contains the same frequencies as heart rate variability (HRV), which is an important trend data for assessing ANS condition and predicting mortality. Considering the prognostic value of PLR and PSV, and the availability of eye-measuring smart glasses, it seems that continuous measurement of pupillary dynamics can become an alternative m-health solution.

However, before this could be realized, two problems need to be solved. First, pupillary dynamics captured in a mobile scenario would be susceptible to changing brightness of the surrounding environment. Second, the pupillary plant exhibits a property called range nonlinearity (RNL), which causes the level of pupil size fluctuation to change nonlinearly with mean pupil size, and at the same time suppresses the faster-changing pupillary actions. If conventional pupillary dynamics analysis methods are still used, the ANS evaluation results would become inaccurate and inconsistent. Therefore, a compensation method is needed; its design will have to rely on better understanding of the biomechanical mechanisms behind the pupillary plant’s RNL and lowpass filtering properties, as well as how these properties and the ambient brightness level combinedly affect the PLR and PSV signals. This project aims to deepen our understanding of the above-mentioned mechanisms through computational modelling. First, a basic model of the pupillary muscle plant will be developed to investigate the effects of ambient brightness levels on the mean pupil size and PLR. Second, an ANS block will be added for simulating PSV under varying brightness levels. Characteristics of the RNL and lowpass filtering properties will be analyzed. Finally, based on findings from the simulation work, a technique for compensating the effects of varying ambient brightness level and RNL on pupillary dynamics will be developed and evaluated. This project contributes by making pupillary dynamic-based evaluation of the ANS a feasible alternative for health monitoring in a mobile setting. Ultimately, it will help promote the widespread use of m-health in the community for enhancing health and quality of life.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS23/H04/21
Project Title: Effectiveness of Traditional and Modern Taekwondo Training on Behavioural, Physical and Motor Skills Development among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Principal Investigator: Dr KWOK Heather Hei-man (HKBU SCE)


Reports have described a high prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children. In Hong Kong, 18.5 per 1000 children are affected by ASD. This neurodevelopmental disorder is characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication, repetitive and stereotypical behaviour patterns. Children who engage in stereotypical behaviour face a higher risk of isolation and exclusion by their peers. ASD is also associated with delays in motor skills development. Children with ASD were also found to have lower physical activity levels than their peers in the general population; consequently, these children are at risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and obesity. Accordingly, researchers have aimed to develop different interventions to address the undesirable behaviour patterns and motor delay of children with ASD.

For children with ASD, exercise can have positive effects in different areas, including improvements in emotional wellness and motor skills, and reductions in stereotypical and problematic behaviours. However, children with ASD have predominately a sedentary lifestyle. Hence, a cost-effective measure that can motivate children with ASD to engage in exercise is needed. This work is proposed as a forerunner to an effective achievement goal theory-based exercise intervention for children with ASD. Hopefully, the motivational nature of this theory will enable the development of such a programme. Children with ASD who practice different forms of martial arts were found to exhibit improved motor skills and behavioural management skills. Accordingly, this proposed intervention will focus on the use Taekwondo as its biomechanical nature helps to reduce the occurrence of stereotypical behaviours of children with ASD. A previous study observed a difference when comparing the effectiveness of programmes based on traditional and modern approaches to Taekwondo practice in general populations. This proposed work will serve as a pilot study to investigate the effectiveness of traditional and modern approaches to deliver martial arts instruction in the ASD population. A total of 114 participants will be classified into two intervention groups (n = 38 per group) and one wait-listed control group (n = 38). Participants from the two intervention groups will participate in a 16-week Taekwondo training programme; one group each will be coached using the traditional or modern approach. Pre-, post- and follow up testing of the participants in all three groups will be performed at baseline, after completing the 16-week intervention and after the 16-week follow up period, respectively, to evaluate the impacts of both approaches to Taekwondo coaching on the behavioural, physical and motor skill development of children with ASD.

As a pilot study in the development of an achievement goal theory-based exercise training programme for children with ASD, the results obtained in this proposed study will provide valuable insights into the development of an exercise programme based on martial arts and the adoption of a suitable teaching approach for children with ASD.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B13/21
Project Title: How Do Companies Adapt to Extreme Weather? Evidence from Corporate Uses of Internal Cash Flow
Principal Investigator: Dr KWOK Kaz Wing-chun (HSUHK)


With the rise of extreme weather events in recent decades, climate change has become a global concern. An annual survey of people across forty nations conducted by Pew Research Center in 2015 reveals that majorities of the poll regard climate change as a very serious problem. More than half of the poll concerned climate change will inflict harm to them during their lifetime. Adverse climate change has shaken everything from public health to global economy. Thus, it is important for us to understand, not only its economic impacts, but also how corporations make decisions in response to climate change.

The climate economy literature has primarily focused on the economic consequences of climate change. Academic research on how adverse climate change may influence firms’ financial decisions, however, is scant. Adverse climate change should affect corporate decisions because it poses serious threats to firms’ assets, earnings, operations and financing costs. This project aims to investigate how adverse climate change may influence financial decision making of publicly traded corporations around the world. Specifically, we study whether and how firms around the world may integrate their cash flow uses with other corporate policies in response to adverse climate change.

These questions deserve attention because cash flow is the lifeblood of public firms. In 2018, all U.S. public firms collectively generated $3.03 trillion of cash flow from operations, amounting to approximately 15% of nominal GDP. Firms can invest their internal cash flow, pay out dividend, reduce external financing, or hold cash as precautionary savings. These uses of cash flow are determined jointly by firms; shaping corporate real (investment) and financial (cash and external finance) decisions (Tobin, 1988). Therefore, how firms allocate their internal cash flow can influence the extent and speed with which they recover from adverse climate events. Moreover, recent studies have documented the asymmetric effects of adverse climate change on economic outcomes among richer and poorer countries (Dell, Jones, and Olken, 2012), and among firms with different level of resources to withstand extreme weather (Addoum, Ng, and Ortiz-Bobea, 2020). Thus, it is important to know whether and how firms in different industries and geographic regions may respond to adverse climate change in making their corporate decisions. Finally, the literature often examines the allocation of cash flow for only a particular use, little research thus far has studied whether and how firms jointly make their cash flow allocation decision for various uses to absorb adverse changes in business environment. Taken together, this project will fill some gaps between climate economy and finance literature and explore how firms may adapt to adverse climate change through an “internal finance channel”.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E04/21
Project Title: Riding to Success in Cold Chain Digitalization: A Digital Twin based Closed-Loop Logistics Decision Model
Principal Investigator: Dr LAM Hoi-yan (HSUHK)


Due to the rapidly growing demand for reliable and high-quality cold chain logistics following the global pandemic, increasing concern has led to the development of a robust and comprehensive cold chain logistics system, in order to meet designated handling requirements and specifications. Different from general logistics services, time-temperature-sensitive products, such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences products, need to be refrigerated at extremely low temperatures during transportation and distributed within a short time period within the cold chain. Concerning the strict handling requirement of such time-temperature-sensitive products, appropriate cold chain packaging methods, monitoring devices and shipment routes must be specially designed by the Cold Chain Logistics Service Providers. Currently, most of the passive packaging materials and monitoring devices are designed for one-time consumption, such that the cost of reverse logistics in the supply chain network, can be eliminated. However, after receiving the pharmaceuticals and life science products, the downstream supply chain partners would simply dispose of the packaging materials. This results in poor sustainable development regarding cold chain logistics. Consequently, a certain amount of solid waste is created each time goods are received, with a significant environmental impact on society. Hence, this research proposes a digital twin-based closed-loop logistics decision model for handling time-temperature-sensitive shipments. The result of this project will reshape the cold chain in the digital age, benefit society in terms of sustainability and environmental impact and hence contribute to cold chain logistics development in Hong Kong.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/E02/21
Project Title: Development of a Cloud-Based System to Facilitate End-User-Oriented Design (EOD) for Effective Sustainability Practices Implementation in High-Rise Residential Buildings
Principal Investigator: Dr LAM Wai-ming (PolyU SPEED)


Hong Kong is famous for high-rise buildings with well-known skyscrapers in large-scale developments. Much of the population live in high-rise residential buildings, which are energy guzzlers. The building materials for these structures are embodied with energy by all the processes, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport, and product delivery. The embodied energy accompanying with carbon dioxide emission causes adverse impacts to our environment when released during demolition. Hence, it is important to select low-carbon materials and apply low-energy technologies in high-rise residential buildings for sustainable development. However, the regular practice where building designers treat design and maintenance as two unconnected activities and faulty design can shorten the lifespan of a building, finishing, and built-in fittings.

Building performance issues are rarely evaluated at the design stage in full. Faulty design can shorten the lifespan of a building, finishing and built-in fittings. If the applied finishes are not durable or it is difficult to maintain proper cleaning, they may be replaced within a short period after occupancy. The HKSAR Government has determined to reduce 65% of carbon intensity by 2030 and is promoting a “Use less, Waste less” culture. However, the construction industry lacks a communication platform to reflect end-users’ requirements and maintenance problems to building designers. The missing link ends up in mismatched design and contributes more construction waste. This research will study design strategies to reduce abortive work due to faulty design and application of green materials in residential buildings.

A cloud-based End-Users Oriented Design (EOD) platform will be developed in the proposed research project towards facilitating EOD for effective sustainability practices implementation in high-rise residential buildings. The cloud-based EOD platform will allow real-time communication and feedback from owners and management staff on end-users’ requirements and include maintenance issues to building designers. Developing green construction technologies and materials are opportunities to create a green economy and smart cities. Towards achieving the study’s aim, several research approaches will be employed, ranging from quantitative and qualitative research to the design science research (DSR) approach from which the proposed cloud-based EOD platform will be developed using high-level programming languages such as PHP and JScript. The diverse views of project stakeholders such as architects, building managers, owners, local authorities, property management staff, and end-users on their respective expectations in residential design, the need to maintain basic furnishing only - lean premise design (LPD), sustainability, and maintenance issues will be solicited in the course of the proposed study. The experiences that housing owners can choose their preferred finishing from a selected list in Canada and building residential premises without interior finishing or even internal non-structural partition in the Chinese Mainland will be used as reference studies.

The proposed project has several practical deliverables to the academic community and the industry, such as the development of LPD scheme guidelines and measures, establishing the key latent defects associated with the mismatch of building designs and the end-users requirements, development of the Project Stakeholders Evaluation Model (PSEM) towards facilitating sustainability practices and LPD scheme implementation in high-rise residential (HRR) buildings, and the cloud-based EOD platform. The successful implementation of the cloud-based EOD platform in practice will help digitalize the process of facilitating the integration of sustainability and the LPD scheme to be favourably considered in the Hong Kong context.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H04/21
Project Title: How do ethnic minorities cope with cancer in Hong Kong? The role of public health services, social network and religion
Principal Investigator: Dr LAU Flora Pui-yan (Shue Yan)


There is ample research in the West illustrating cases where ethnic minority patients have either underutilized palliative care services or have received lower quality care when they have cancer. This is as a result of various reasons such as a lack of health literacy, ineffective communication with medical professionals, language barriers, mistrust of the services, or alternative religious values that are contrary to professional medical practice. A number of researchers (Leininger, 1978, 2002; Tsai et al., 2004; Fischer et al., 2007) have called for culturally competent palliative care in which the cultural and religious beliefs of ethnic minority patients are an integral part of the system. While there has been abundant discussion of ethnic minority and palliative care in the West, the issue has not been discussed in Hong Kong at all, despite the fact that the population of ethnic minorities has been steadily growing (Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, 2016).

The aim of this research is to explore how ethnic minority cancer patients and their caregivers cope with their illness in Hong Kong. It also aims to analyse the role of informal social networks as well as religion and faith in the treatment processes. The core questions of this research are: are cancer treatment services in Hong Kong culturally competent, and to what extent do they cater to the needs of ethnic minority patients? What do ethnic minority cancer patients and their caregivers need, and what are the effective ways to address their needs? In what ways does informal social network and religion and faith play a role in the process of fighting cancer?

Qualitative in-depth interviews will be used in this research. A total of 70 interviews with various subjects will be conducted: 30 South Asian (namely Pakistani, Nepalese, and Indian) cancer patients, 30 major caregivers named by each individual patient, and ten medical practitioners including oncologists, medical social workers, and medical staff of self-help groups in public hospitals. The interviewees will be approached and referred through voluntary healthcare associations, medical practitioners, religious groups, and personal contacts.

This study is expected to make the following contributions to the existing research. First, it will bring the topic of cancer care, which is a rarely studied but undoubtedly significant issue, into the field of local ethnic minorities research. The findings will also contribute alternative insights into the existing social network analysis. Second, the findings of this study will help the healthcare sector to design improved cancer policies, especially on palliative care for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS21/H01/21
Project Title: Study of family factors, self-esteem, and indecisiveness on Hong Kong secondary school students
Principal Investigator: Prof CHUI Yat-hung (CTIHE)


Independence is crucial for personal development and well-being. Knowing how to make important and appropriate decisions is an indicator of independence. In adolescence, young people must make various decisions regarding different aspects of their daily life, such as their studies, interpersonal relationships, and career planning. With support and guidance from family members and significant others, as well as their own cognitive maturation, young people can develop certain decision-making abilities. However, if an individual cannot make up his/her mind and regularly has difficulty in making decisions, he/she may suffer from the problem of indecisiveness.

Over the past decades, researchers have studied indecisiveness and have examined different aspects of the decision-making process, focusing on the concept of indecisiveness and its determinants. In some scientific literature, differences between the concepts of indecision and indecisiveness exist. Roughly, indecisiveness is a trait exhibited by individuals who have difficulty making decisions across different aspects or in various situations, whereas indecision refers to people’s difficulty deciding on a single aspect. Research has also revealed that individuals may suffer from undesirable outcomes due to indecisiveness. For example, individuals who demonstrate indecisiveness often worry about making the wrong decision or have problems with procrastination. Researchers have tried to study factors that may induce indecisiveness, such as individual differences and other relationship-related factors (e.g. family influences).

According to the ecological model, individuals live in different systems and interacting with different people in and from different systems (e.g. family, school, and various other networks) may positively or negatively affect individuals’ development and well-being. Based on the family ecological model, researchers have also found that positive family factors may contribute to an individual’s development, such as by building decisiveness, instilling confidence in decision­making, and teaching individuals to take accountability for the consequences of their decisions. Similar to other developmental factors, numerous studies have revealed that family factors affect individuals' decisiveness and independence, and that self-esteem may work as a mediator between family factors and individuals' indecisiveness. However, inappropriate parenting styles may also have negative impacts on individual decision-making process and ability.

Although some isolated studies have examined the relationships between family factors and adolescent indecisiveness, even fewer studies have examined this issue in the Chinese context. Meanwhile, most of the studies conducted in the Chinese context have focused on career/study indecision. Furthermore, few studies have been conducted to validate the measures in the local context. Obviously, learning more about the relationships between family factors (especially parenting) and adolescent indecisiveness can not only enrich academia, but also promote better frontline practices and services and benefit the family policy-making process.

To fill the research gaps, the proposed study attempts to examine the relationships between how parent-child subsystem qualities (parental behavioral control, parental psychological control, and parent-child relationship) and self-esteem contribute to adolescent indecisiveness among Hong Kong secondary school students via a longitudinal and quantitative research method. To obtain a clearer picture of changes over time, it will adopt a 2-wave longitudinal research design.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/E17/21
Project Title: Multimodal Deep Learning for Rumor Detection on Social Media
Principal Investigator: Dr LEE Lap-kei (HKMU)


Social media has become the major channel for people to access information and share their daily life, opinions, emotions, etc., with the public. Social media simplifies the way of information spread, which is convenient and does not have temporal and spatial restrictions. Therefore, massive amounts of information are spreading online, among which some of them may not always be true, e.g., rumors, fake news, etc. The false information may be propagated more frequently and faster compared with the true information with the help of social media. The spread of rumors has a negative impact and even may dominate public opinions.

Rumor detection aims to identify the false or inaccurate information online, i.e., the rumors, which are defined by the social psychology literature as a story or a statement whose truth value is unverified or deliberately false. In this project, we aim to detect rumors from online social media by exploiting multimodal data, such as text, images, etc. The necessity and significance of dealing with or exploiting multimodal data are two-fold. Firstly, multimodal data is usually exploited compressively to attract readers and to tell better stories. Secondly, the complementary property is naturally among the data in multiple modalities, thus benefiting the comprehensive understanding of the story. Thirdly, the difference of discriminative power between text and images has been ignored, as text usually is relatively easier for machines to extract semantic information. Finally, the approaches for known events data may not be applicable to the data with new events.

In terms of dealing with multimodal data, there are two critical challenges. The first is to bridge the “semantic gap” among the heterogeneous data modalities, making machine learning models difficult to be used directly. The second is modeling the underlying relations among the data modalities. In the context of rumor detection, quite a few works have been proposed fusing the heterogeneous modalities which may suffer from a few deficiencies. Firstly, quite a few works manually extract features, which requires a fair amount of manpower, and the features may be limited in terms of expressive abilities. Secondly, recent deep learning models simply concatenate textual and visual features in a neural network framework, while neglecting the complementary relationship between the different modalities.

To this end, we aim to design a self-attentive fusion mechanism to fuse the multimodal data in the feature level, which assigns corresponding weights to the complementary modalities, for bridging the gap among the modalities. In order to model their underlying relations, we will train modality-specific networks jointly by introducing distance constraints to model the semantic distance among the heterogeneous data modalities. In particular, considering the event characteristics of rumors, we plan to introduce a latent topic memory network to store the shared topics among rumor and non-rumor events, based on which each coming post can find its similar topic, benefiting the identification of rumors.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS25/P01/21
Project Title: Pioneering environmental sensing technologies in microclimate research: evidence-based study of urban green infrastructures combatting urban heat island and climate change
Principal Investigator: Dr LEE Shing-him (THEi)


More people are living in cities than in rural areas. To combat global climate change and urban heat island, many researchers explore the benefits of urban green spaces in regulating temperature. Green roofs and green walls have been proven effective in mitigating thermal conditions. The project focuses on green roofs and green walls, and will comparatively analyse their performances against bare roofs and bare walls.

Many researchers deploy sensors on or near the facets of green roofs or green walls to quantify their effectiveness. But such equipment is often expensive, bulky and complicated to use. Worse still, many experiments are unable to be replicated due to cost constraints. Data obtained from the central points of single building facets were often extrapolated over large areas. Moreover, the influence of the surrounding urban fabrics would be left unchecked. The validity and representativeness of findings are questionable.

This project will overcome the mentioned weaknesses in equipment and experimental design. This 36-month long project is equally divided into 12 project milestones. Project milestones 1–4 will revolve around the invention of an affordable, compact, functional and modular monitoring system consisting of microclimate sensors and data loggers. The latest microsensors and microcontroller will be used. A pilot test will be carried out to examine the consistency of the data obtained from temperature and humidity microsensors. In addition, a pilot test will evaluate how accurate the microsensors are when compared against a conventional sensor.

Project milestones 5–9 will feature a one-year large-scale microclimate monitoring. Test cells, which are cement-pasted pine board boxes of 1m×1m×1m (L×W×H), will be used for controlled experiments. Four scenarios, namely bare roof, bare wall, green roof and green wall will be simulated by the test cells placed across six research sites; two in Kowloon, two in Hong Kong Island and two in the New Territories. The bare roof and bare wall scenarios will be represented by the same test cell design, whereas the green roof and green wall scenarios will feature different test cells. Arachis pintoi and Lonicera japonica will be planted on the green roofs and green walls respectively. At each site, five replicas for each scenario will be provided, amounting to 90 test cells. For the test cell, outdoor-to-indoor temperature profiles in the centre, off-centre and corner positions will be measured. In addition, barometric pressure, relative humidity and soil moisture content will be measured. Vegetation survey will be carried out monthly. Spatial variables characterising the research site will be inquired using Geographical Information System.

A highlight of this project is that it will set a world record for the largest scale of microclimate monitoring of green roofs and green walls. Moreover, the monitoring system invented in this project can reduce equipment cost by 95% when compared to an identical monitoring campaign using existing equipment, without compromising measurement accuracy. The main deliverables of this project will be (1) eight research journal articles, (2) three conference papers and presentations, (3) three press releases, (4) three media interviews, (5) three 10-minute promotional videos, and (6) two teaching kits.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/E02/21
Project Title: A Unifying Framework for Structural Efficiency Measurement: Theories and Applications
Principal Investigator: Dr LEE Shu-kam (Shue Yan)


Efficiency is key leverage for sustaining the profitability of individual firms and industry, and in managing resource allocation within and across economic regions. The term “efficiency” represents the current performance of a production unit compared to the best that production unit can perform. The term “inefficiency” means a production unit is not performing at the best that it can perform. Industry applications of the current literature focus mainly on individual efficiency, not the efficiency of the whole group. This proposed project, therefore, aims to develop an unified framework for measuring group efficiency (structural efficiency), which can be decomposed into four exhaustive and mutually exclusive components: (i) efficiency in the internal utilization of inputs within individual production units (aggregate technical efficiency), (ii) efficiency in the combination of outputs within individual production units (aggregate allocative efficiency), (iii) efficiency in resource allocation within subgroups (intragroup re-allocative efficiency), and (iv) efficiency in resource allocation among subgroups (intergroup re-allocative efficiency).

Identifying the main source of inefficiency of a group informs decision makers on the correct measures necessary to eliminate inefficient production. However, there is ample room for improvement in measuring the efficiency of a group under different scenarios. For example, (i) a centralized decision maker should aim at minimizing inputs with the policy targeted amount of service (output) provided in the public sector, and so the traditional methods that assume maximizing output objective may lead to irrelevant policy implications; (ii) technologies and prices in different regions are heterogeneous, assuming the same technology and prices when making the resource allocation decision among regions may cause biased flows of resources in favour of regions with better technologies; and (iii) in business management, there are inputs that are fixed within the contract period, e.g., rental costs. Ignoring the constraint that non-re-allocatable inputs in strategic planning may mislead managers to formulate unattainable production targets. In this study, our proposed model for structural efficiency measurement with subgroups incorporates all four of the above missing elements among the existing models in the literature. This proposed unifying framework integrates different prices, varying production objectives (different orientations), heterogeneous production technologies, and immoveable (fixed) inputs into the general model.

We will apply this new framework to several empirical case studies: (i) the public sector – the Hong Kong public hospital sector, which has a policy target of service output; (ii) regional economies in mainland China, which feature heterogeneous technologies and prices; and (iii) the catering industry in Hong Kong, which functions with fixed inputs. For academic researchers, this new framework will reveal the aforementioned missing elements of the performance measurements of a group of production units in the current literature. For practitioners, additional policy implications unavailable in existing methods would be exposed. Further, government officials and business practitioners will be better informed to make superior strategic performance improvement decisions.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/M02/21
Project Title: Community Structure and Metaproteomics of Microorganism Assemblages Collected from Pneumatohpores of Avicennia marina in Mangrove Ecosystem
Principal Investigator: Prof LEE Wang-fat (HKMU)


Mangrove wetlands are one of the most important and productive ecosystems. For example, they are important to support lives and nutrient recycling. Microorganisms play an essential role in maintenance of mangrove ecosystem, for example microalgae act as one of the significant components of primary production in wetlands. In recent years, their roles in maintaining and functioning of a wetland ecosystem have gained a lot of attention, but the information is very limited.

Aerial roots are roots growing away from the gravity and exposed to the air for breathing. Certain mangrove species require the aerial roots to cope with the oxygen poor condition in the mangrove mud. One of the most common type of aerial roots found in mangrove wetlands is pneumatophore. Interestingly, the pneumatophores are colonized with a high diversity of microbial groups comprising microalgae and bacteria. However, there was a lack of information regarding such pneumatophores associated microbial communities. Their ecological roles and the association with pneumatophores are poorly understood. Pneumatophores can be commonly found in Avicennia marina which is a pioneer and native mangrove species found in the coastal wetland of Futian National Nature Reserve in Shenzhen, China. In recent years, A. marina has been seriously affected by competitions with other species, pollution and anthropogenic activities, thus threatening their health and conservation. It has been speculated that the existence of epiphytic microorganisms may be beneficial to the mangrove species. Therefore, there is urgent need to investigate the possible association between them.

It is hypothesized that the pneumatophores provide special habitat/condition for the colonization of the microorganisms, and there are interactions between the microorganisms and pneumatophores that sustain the colonization of the epiphytic microbes and the growth of mangrove plants. The proposed study will investigate the community structure of dominant microbial groups (microalgae and bacteria) collected from pneumatophores of Avicennia marina in selected clean and polluted sites in the Futian National Nature Reserve under different seasons of a year. The microbial community structure will be compared and correlated to different environmental variables and parameters of pneumatophores including different distances away from the main trunk, number of lenticels (minute pores) and vertical segments of the pneumatophore. The species composition and abundance of the dominant microbial groups will be determined with the metagenomic sequencing using next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach. In order to understand the ecological roles and association between the microbial groups and pneumatophores, a series of field experiments will be carried out. Eight experimental models will be set up in the field to determine the effects of pneumatophores associated (natural) and dissociated (excised pneumatophores) to the parent mangrove plant on the microbial community structure. Recolonization of microalgae and their interactions with bacteria on excised pneumatophores under the condition with and without the access of free-living microalgal cells from tidal water and sediment will also be investigated. In parallel to the field experiments, metaproteomic study will be performed to reveal the dynamics, metabolic activities and molecular behaviours among the pneumatophores – microalgae – bacteria communities. Valuable insights on the distribution and abundance of the microbial community structure, and the possible functional roles and interaction mechanism between the pneumatophores and their associated microalgal and bacterial assemblages will be obtained from the proposed study. More importantly, results of the study will contribute to the formulation of a strategic plan for the development and conservation of mangrove wetlands. In the long term, successful completion of this project will have significant implications for management of coastal wetlands, especially China and south-east Asia.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/B08/21
Project Title: Investigating the Motivators and Obstacles of Mobile Health Apps Adoption and Continuance by Elderly: A Longitudinal Study using Extended Expectation-Confirmation Theory
Principal Investigator: Dr LEUNG Wilson Ka-shing (PolyU SPEED)


Although advanced medical services facilitating more people to live longer, the ageing problem has now become a critical challenge for governments worldwide, including Hong Kong. A recent Hong Kong government report reveals that population ageing will accelerate significantly in the next twenty years, projecting that the proportion of elderly people will increase to 31% in 2036 from 17% in 2016. This structural change in Hong Kong society further aggravates the conflict between the demand for elderly-related medical care services and the limited medical care resources.

One possible solution to mitigate this conflict is to promote healthcare technology usage by the elderly. With the rapid development of mobile communication technology, many mobile healthcare applications (mHealth apps) are available in smartphones, which deliver various healthcare and clinical services via the mobile channel, enabling elderly people to manage their health and experience healthier lives. The Hong Kong government has noticed the use of healthcare technology can benefit elderly people and has invested HK$1 billion to promote elderly-related healthcare technology since 2017. However, its adoption rate is quite low, not to mention its continuance usage. Applying our research experience in healthcare technology adoption, this research team, which formulated by the researchers in the area of information systems, public health, marketing, and education, collaborates with elderly service organizations to investigate the factors influencing elderly users’ initial acceptance of mHealth apps and their continuance usage.

Investigating users’ perceptions in the pre-usage stage and the post-usage stage is critical to explain technology acceptance and continuance usage. To the best of our knowledge, there is no empirical study to explain the discrepancy between elderly users’ expectation and their perceived performance of using mHealth apps from a longitudinal perspective. To fill this research gap, a three-stage theoretical model drawn from expectation-confirmation theory, diffusion of innovation theory, and technology-individual-environment framework is developed to explain elderly users’ intention to use mHealth apps and their continuance behaviours. Both surveys and qualitative focus groups will be used to collect data. With the assistance of two elderly service organizations, our multistage model will be examined by recruiting elderly people from their elderly centres. Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) will be used for our data analysis. We will conduct a focus group investigation to augment the insights gained from the survey results. Overall, our findings not only contribute to the literature on elderly healthcare technology adoption, but also provide managerial guidance for the government, the elderly service organizations, and tertiary education about how to promote mHealth technology usage among the elders effectively.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/E02/21
Project Title: Instance-aware Cartoon Stylization of Photo and Videos
Principal Investigator: Dr LI Chengze (Caritas)


Recently with the development of the mobile web and social network, we have already seen a huge demand for the artistic creation of digital visual content. On the one hand, casual users are already getting used to traditional image filters. They would like to render their life stories in the style of cartoons and comics and share them with other people. On the other hand, the cartoon industry is growing rapidly at the same time. However, making cartoons is not easy. It usually requires a lot of time and effort, such as rendering, editing, and composing. Also, the creation of cartoons requires expertise in art and design.

This project aims at an automatic conversion from natural photos and videos to artistic cartoon styles. The proposed research shall boost the creative potential of any end-user who is willing to share their daily stories and lifestyles with the world. Moreover, this research also can help the industry to facilitate the creation of new 2D media content by cutting the time and human cost of traditional media production.

The underlying challenge of this project mainly comes from the difficulties in understanding visual content and the way of creating a cartoon style. To solve this problem, we propose to build a deep-learning based framework that applies cartoon styles to images and videos precisely and efficiently. We construct a new large-scale database of cartoon style conversion and train the framework to learn the deep understanding of image contents and the way of creating a cartoon style. We shall expect the framework to output visually appealing and expressive cartoon styles for arbitrary visual contents. With the framework constructed, we will also seek to develop the software toolkits and other tools to benefit the end-users and the industry.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H08/21
Project Title: Cultural Exchanges in the Cold War: Visiting Tours and Affective Connections in Sinophone Asia (1950s-1980s)
Principal Investigator: Dr LI Cho-kiu (HSUHK)


As the term “New Cold War” gains currency in describing China-US relations and global politics, memories of the last Cold War are increasingly used as a reference for people to see the present and the future. However, the last Cold War is often simplified as a bygone story about the opposition between the US and the USSR. The aim of this research project is twofold: first, to continue and extend the Cold War scholarship, investigating how the global political bifurcation of the Cold War has profoundly shaped different cultures and societies; second, to examine how cultural exchanges and affective connections were maintained and built in the Cold War. The Cold War is often remembered as a period of political contestations, blockage, and ideological battles; in contrast, this project explores its connective and affective dimensions, which remain largely unexplored.

This project investigates the visiting tours between different Chinese-speaking societies in Asia. Touring—organized round trips with different visiting and hospitable activities—is a form of human mobility and cultural practice. In the global political bifurcation during the Cold War, many tours played a crucial role in shaping cultural imaginations and public feelings. Some Cold War tours were media spectacles of cultural diplomacy that propagated the easing of political conflicts and ideological differences. Moreover, visiting tour is also a form of cultural memory widely shared and reiterated by people who had a memorable experience of visiting their family relatives living on another side of the Cold War border. Nevertheless, the history of Cold War tours and their cultural politics are rarely a research focus. This project will reconstruct the cultural history for different visiting tours which connected people in different locations of Asia’s “Sinophone circle”—a linguistic and affective network consisting of people living in the socialist People’s Republic of China, the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Republic of China in Taiwan, British Hong Kong, Portuguese Macau, and the decolonizing Southeast Asia. The transborder exchanges within Sinophone Asia and their affective linkages could serve as a case study that shows how humans acted in response to political and ideological bifurcation in history.

Through extensive collection and analysis of visual and print materials (media propaganda, travel writings, and auto/biographies), archival research, and in-depth interviews, this project reconstructs (1) the broad picture, or the “tour-scape,” of Cold War tours; (2) how spectacular tours in cultural diplomacy were organized, curated, and propagated to maintain and create affective connections between the two blocs; and (3) how tours serve as a form of cultural memory in the making of affects, identities, and different values. Empirically, the study shall contribute to a better understanding of the Cold War and the history of regional exchanges in Asia. Theoretically, the study adds to the growing body of scholarship on cultural tourism and affect. It delves into how different guest-host relations and structures of feelings were established, shedding light on the possible conceptualization of a connective and affective Cold War.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/E04/21
Project Title: Design and Implementation of Acoustic-controlled Ventilation Louvre with Metamaterial Technology
Principal Investigator: Dr LIANG Shanjun (PolyU SPEED)


A comfortable indoor environment for working and rest requires a relatively quiet atmosphere. In a compact city like Hong Kong, exposure to environmental noise is a severe problem. The limited distance between buildings and roads, the wide use of air conditioners, the engine noise from buses and cars all contribute to noise pollution. A sound barrier is a common approach to reduce noise effect, but it sacrifices ventilation performance. Ventilation and sound insulation are a contradiction as the noise always travels through the vents. Moreover, the limited space makes it difficult to implement sound barriers or green areas for noise attenuation.

The acoustic metamaterials introduce novel ideas in material science using tiny unit cells in subwavelength scale to obtain unconventional equivalent parameters. By controlling the geometry and arrangement of the unit cell, it has huge flexibility in wave control. The obtained sound device can also be unconventional, such as negative refraction or sound focusing with a flat lens. It is worth noting that a metamaterial-based sound barrier is possible with small scales and large open areas.

This project aims to introduce acoustic metamaterial technology to the acoustic louvre to obtain a novel sound device with high ventilation and noise insulation performance. By embedding the helicoid or spiralling acoustic metamaterials into the acoustic louvre's blades, a slow-wave-propagation metamaterial can be obtained based on the precise control of the effective parameters. By adjusting the geometrical parameters that govern the device's shape, the transmitted modes can be cancelled, leading to a total reflection boundary. Meanwhile, the large open area ensures ventilation efficiency. Therefore, the acoustic devices based on the proposed methodology have the following advantages over traditional ones.

  • Thinner. Based on the metasurface concept, the ventilated sound barrier has the potential of being less than 1/4 wavelength thick, which occupies a smaller space than traditional devices.
  • Ultra-open. The metamaterial technology is based on the coupling of waves rather than building hard boundaries to block the sound wave. Therefore, the open area can be more than 40%, contributing to better ventilation performance.
  • Silencer. The metamaterial-based acoustic louvre has better acoustic insulation performance in the working frequency band than the conventional devices that rely on sound wave attenuation. A nearly total reflection can be achieved at some frequencies, which gives a large space to broaden the working frequency band.
  • Modular design with tunability. As pin connections fix the proposed structure's unit cells and the blades have the same profile as the current ventilation barriers, they can replace the current devices without additional construction engineering. The acoustic performance can even be readjusted by turning the blades freely.

In the proposed project, we firstly build a theoretical model of the metamaterial-based acoustic ventilation louvre. Then the main Part is to thoroughly investigate its characteristics by a series of the experimental parametric study. With the key parameters obtained from the parametric study, we can optimize the device's performance for different working conditions. Finally, we can provide targeted solutions for a specific practical scenario due to the operating frequency band and ventilation requirement.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/H09/21
Project Title: The Islamicate Soundscape of Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Dr LIE Nga-sze (PolyU SPEED)


Sonic cultures (including music and religious recitation) play an important role to the daily life of Muslim communities. The actual practice of such sound productions can vary considerably according to ethnic and sectarian differences. Studies of Hong Kong’s Islam and Muslim communities have concentrated on various aspects of Muslims’ lives but there has been hardly any mention of practices of sonic cultures, which constitute an important part of their everyday and religious experience. Another issue that shall require consideration is the perception of Muslims minority by the non-Muslim local majority through the performance or mediation of these sonic cultures. As of the time of writing, no such study is available on the topic in Hong Kong.

The main research question is how members of different Muslims communities in Hong Kong use Islamicate sound, that is to say, Muslim sonic practices, to articulate and negotiate their own identities, caught between their homeland, the diaspora community, the global Muslim community (Ummah), and Hong Kong, their adopted land. The second question is whether they adopt alternative strategies in presenting themselves sonically to a non-Muslim audience, and if so, what are their intentions and strategies.

The project will document the sonic cultures of the Muslim communities in Hong Kong, through an ethnographic study of these communities. Taking the mosques as the departure point, the practice and transmission of commonly accepted religious sounds as used in community life for the widest range of Muslims in Hong Kong will be studied. As a second step, sectarian practices such as that of the Sufi mystics and of Shia communities will be studied. A third area of study is the non-religious sonic cultures, that is to say, music of the Muslim communities. In all three aforementioned areas, the role of women will also be of particular interest. Besides the intra-Muslim use and perception of their own sonic culture, we shall also place their understanding in the wider context of the local non-Muslim majority’s perception and understanding of these cultures and to elucidate their relations.

Research for this project will be carried out mainly by ethnographic research among the different Muslim communities, centred around public sound-making communities including mosques, devotional song singing groups and Sufi gatherings through participant-observation. Formal and casual interviews shall be conducted with the practitioners, teachers, students as well as leaders of the community. Analysis will be conducted on the performances of these sonic productions, not only by analysing the sonic products, but also by analysing the performance as lived experience in its preparation, performance and reception, by drawing upon the methods of performance studies. Fieldwork will also be conducted in non-religious occasions including intra-community/intra-ethnic festivities with sound performances, with performances also analysed as lived experience, and with interviews with performers and participants.

Archival study will also be conducted in different areas of study. For religious sonic cultures, archives of printed and written materials along with any audio-visual archive of representative performances from different periods in history; for the study of performances in arts festivals, including marketing collaterals, programme notes, reviews and other press clippings, as well as how individual performance fits in the overall programme of such festivals will be analysed, in order to uncover the guiding ideologies and narratives that surround the programming of each performance, but also to trace a historical evolution of such ideologies and narratives, and to place it in the context of the evolution of Hong Kong relationship with the Islamic world and the local non-Muslim majorities relationship with local Muslim communities.

Finally, as practitioners of musics from the Islamic world, the investigating team of this project shall perform auto-ethnographic fieldwork, documenting and reflecting on the motivation, choices, constraints, reception, etc. of performance of these strands of musics.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/E01/21
Project Title: Deep Comic Screening via Tone-aware Semantic Layer Analysis
Principal Investigator: Dr LIU Xueting (Caritas)


Comic is a world-wide popular art form enjoyed by people of all ages. However, creating a comic book is time-consuming. It generally takes a professional comic artist one or several days to finish a single comic page. Usually, creating a comic page takes three steps: sketching, inking, and screening. The artist will first convey the idea and concept by quickly sketching a rough drawing using freehand strokes and then trace a clean inked line drawing. Finally, screentones will be applied to the inked line drawing to enrich the visual content. While the screening process is highly tedious and repetitive, there still lacks automatic tools to release the artist from this tedious process. So, comic companies and famous comic artists generally hire several assistants to help with the tedious and repetitive screening task. An automatic comic screening system is highly desired in the comic industry for saving time and labor.

However, automatic screening a comic line drawing is extremely challenging. There are many different screentones of various shapes and tones. Finding the proper screentones to fill the white areas in a line drawing in non-trivial. Firstly, not necessarily all areas need to be filled with screentones, e.g., human faces and hands are usually screentone-free. Secondly, the tone of the screentone should correctly express the object’s color and shades, e.g., a dark object should be filled with a low-tone screentone, and vice versa. Thirdly, screentones might be affected by semantic usage, e.g., stripes are commonly used to express the shades. Lastly, areas belonging to the same object should be filled with the same screentone, e.g., the two sleeves of a shirt should be filled with the same screentone. But all the above characteristics of screentones are highly related with the high-level semantics, which is extremely difficult to be analyzed, especially for line drawings where most of the pixels are either black or white and exhibit similar local characteristics.

Recently, the deep learning technologies have greatly advanced the development of various image analysis and image synthesis applications. Nevertheless, the existing deep learning solutions face significant problems when dealing with line drawings and screentones. Firstly, the input line drawing is relatively simple and uninformative, which only contains a solid white background and some sparse black lines. In the meantime, the target comic image is much more complex that contains color, material, and lighting information presented by screentones of different appearances and densities. The existing methods generally fail to resolve this large information gap. Secondly, screentones are composed of high-frequency elements such as lines and dots. However, the generation of the output image is interpolative with deep neural networks, so the existing methods generally generate blurry outputs.

Despite the difficulties of generating screentones with intensive strokes from simple line drawings, we propose a novel learning-based solution to automatic generate the screentones for an inked line drawing. The key idea of our design is to split the difficult line-to-screentone process into two easier-to-solve problems by taking the tones as an intermediate representation between line drawings and screened comics. So, the line-to-screentone task now consists of two processes, a line-to-tone process and a tone-to-screentone process. While the information gap between line drawing and screened comic is large, the information gap between line and tone or tone and screetone is much smaller, which could be potentially learned and predicted by the deep convolutional neural networks.

With the proposed system, we believe the tangible outcomes, e.g., publications and algorithms, should directly benefit the comic industry, the research society, and comic customers. Moreover, the research project would also provide invaluable chance in developing the skills of the teachers and the students related to digital entertainment and artificial intelligence technologies, which is also part of the curriculums and programmes offered by the school and the institute.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS13/E01/21
Project Title: Photovoltaic Panel Model Parameters Estimation and Monitoring by Using Artificial Neural Network
Principal Investigator: Prof LO Wai-lun (Chu Hai)


In this project, we will propose a Photovoltaic Panel (PV) model parameter estimation system by using the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) approach and the output voltage and current (VI) are monitored by Digital Data Acquisition Module (DDAM) from which the circuit’s model parameters are estimated. The VI approach for PV panel modelling has the advantages of convenience, real time and low cost. In this project, a Digital Data Acquisition Module and an Artificial Neural Network for PV panel modelling will be developed. The capture VI data will be used to estimate the PV panel parametric model parameters by using ANN. The non-linear mapping of VI characteristics to model parameters is curve fitted by the ANN. Furthermore, the structure and parameters of ANN will be optimized by Metaheuristic Computation algorithms in High Performance Computing (HPC) Clusters. The performance of the proposed algorithms will be evaluated by experimental studies on a PV panel setup in which PV panel is illuminated by light source with controlled intensity. Output VI characteristics under load fluctuation will be captured by the DAMM and the data series will be sent to the host Computer by using communication device. The ANN is trained for a non-linear mapping that can correlate the VI time series with the PV circuit model parameters. The ANN training and the structure optimization will be carried out in host computer or HPC, ANN parameters will be sent back to the local DAMM for PV panel model parameters monitoring purposes. The outcomes of this research project can be applied to PV panel model parameters estimation system and PV panel health monitoring system.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS25/E05/21
Project Title: A Machine Learning Framework for Vulnerability Assessment of Buildings
Principal Investigator: Dr LUK Sung-hei (THEi)


Numerous tall buildings with unique structural forms have been constructed in the last few decades in the U.S., Asia, and the Middle East in order to meet the needs of high population growth and rapid economic development. Classically tall building examples include the 508m tall Taipei 101 in Taipei (2004), 484m tall International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong (2010), 828m tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai (2010), 632m tall Shanghai Tower in Shanghai (2015), and the 599.1m tall Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen (2017). The trend of constructing tall and complex buildings is still increasing all over the world. For example, the 1000m tall Jeddah Tower will be completed in Jeddah very soon. One particular interest is to identify their seismic performance under different levels of earthquake during their design life. This could help to set up the long-term management plan for retrofitting.

The proposed project aims to develop an efficient, accurate yet practical approach for the purposes of vulnerability assessment of buildings. The proposed method can directly evaluate the risk of building under damage or collapse when it is subjected to a particular level of earthquake. This can be achieved by means of the applications of seismic fragility curve assessment with the support of appropriate machine learning algorithms. The outcome provides valuable information for assessing the seismic performance of buildings. On the other hand, it is also highly suitable for massive vulnerability assessment of a particular area in a city. By using the propose method, buildings at risk can be identified immediately without detail analysis. This is expected to benefit the industry by reducing the time for tedious structural assessment as well as the design process.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E07/21
Project Title: Scheduling of Heterogeneous Autonomous Mobile Robots for Robotic Cells Manufacturing in Smart Manufacturing
Principal Investigator: Dr MA Hoi-lam (HSUHK)


Nowadays, applications of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have become more prevalent than ever. AMRs refer to the autonomous robots, which have the mobility and capability of navigating themselves without requiring any physical or electro-mechanical guidance devices. As such, it provides huge flexibility. Moreover, AMRs can be equipped with a robotic arm or a special tool, which allows them to perform specific tasks. Back in 2012, Amazon had already started using AMRs to support their order picking operations. Since that, AMRs have been widely applied in logistics industries, e.g., Alibaba, JD.com. In recent years, its applications have also appeared in supporting manufacturing operations, known as smart manufacturing. Enabled by the support of information and communication technology (e.g., sensors, the Internet of Things, 5G), AMRs can be able to move around to support various tasks. In enhancing robotic cells manufacturing efficiency and flexibility, it is particularly useful in the manufacturing shop floor, which consists of several robotic cells. In the past, even though two robotic cells may have been installed with the same type of robotic arms, these two robotic arms cannot be shared between the two robotic cells because they are installed and fixed at two different locations. Uninstalling from one place and re-installing at another is not wise because it is time consuming and costly. However, with the support of AMRs, the fixed robotic arm can now be installed as the robotic arm of the AMR, and which is freely moveable among different robotic cells. This provides huge flexibility to the production shop floor. The main objective of this proposed project is to develop a solution approach for this new scheduling problem, which is the scheduling of heterogeneous AMRs with the considerations of deadlock and blocking problems, to avoid disruptions caused by deadlocks or blockings.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H02/21
Project Title: Exploring Teacher-Supported Peer Feedback: Developing Student Feedback Literacy and Writing Quality
Principal Investigator: Dr MA Jingjing (HSUHK)


Tertiary students need to become competent in academic writing (Schillings et al., 2019). Peer feedback has often been used to promote students’ learning of academic writing (Huisman, Saab, van den Broek, & van Driel, 2019). Despite the benefits of peer feedback, such as enhancing students’ writing quality, developing self-regulation in learning, and fostering self-efficacy and motivation (Hyland & Hyland, 2006; Tsui & Ng, 2000; Zheng, Cui, Li & Huang, 2018; Zhang, Song, Shen, & Huang, 2014), its potential is underutilized, as can be seen from mixed findings regarding its usefulness (Guardado & Shi, 2007; Zhou, Zheng, & Tai, 2019; Zhu & Carless, 2018). To fully reap the benefits of peer feedback, teachers need to provide support for this activity to develop student feedback literacy, that is, the capacities and willingness to engage in peer feedback activities (Han & Xu, 2019a). Against this background, the proposed research project aims to investigate the underexplored role of teacher support both before and during peer feedback process in promoting student feedback literacy and writing quality.

The proposed project aims to examine in depth the following issues: (1) whether and what teacher support is provided in L2 (Second Language) writing teachers’ current peer feedback practices in a tertiary institution in Hong Kong; (2) the influence of such teacher support, if any, on student feedback literacy and writing quality; and (3) the influence of a feedback innovation, that is, dialogue-mediated teacher-supported peer feedback, on student feedback literacy and writing quality, as well as factors affecting student feedback literacy.

The project is situated in the context of tertiary-level academic English writing, where peer feedback is increasingly utilized (Zhu & Carless, 2018). A case study approach will be adopted, given the situated nature of student feedback literacy and the ecological validity of the findings. The project comprises two stages. Stage 1 involves the exploration of the first two issues mentioned in the previous paragraph while stage 2 focuses on the last issue. Multiple sources of data will be used, including classroom observation, student focus group interviews, semi-structured interviews with teachers and students, student drafts, peer comments, student internal feedback, teacher-student dialogue around student internal feedback, and supplementary data sources such as classroom documents.

The theoretical and pedagogical implications derived from the project will contribute to the knowledge and practice of enhancing student feedback literacy and quality of academic writing through teacher-supported peer feedback. The project also serves as a useful case to inform policy making regarding the facilitation of student feedback literacy in writing teachers’ instructional practices and professional development.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E01/21
Project Title: Quantifying Privacy Risk of Mobile Applications through Machine Learning
Principal Investigator: Dr MA Yu-tak (HSUHK)


Smart phones have become part of our body in the modern society as we always carry around and use our smart phones throughout a day. However, this “body part” could be maliciously collecting and leaking our very personal information unbeknown to us. It is because smart phones are embedded with numerous sensors which can capture our every action. When we install curious, or even malicious, mobile applications (apps) on our smart phones, and grant their permission requests, these apps can utilize the embedded sensors to collect and infer our personal information, preferences, and habits, such as sleeping habits, personality traits, or even medical conditions.

In this project, we implement a system which can assess the privacy risk of mobile applications with respect to their data collection and handling. There are three major contributions of this project. First, we will design a machine learning-based framework to determine the privacy risk of mobile applications. Second, we will implement the framework and assess the privacy risk of mobile applications with empirical studies. Last but not least, the developed privacy assessment platform will be open to the general public as a webpage for them to understand the privacy risk associated with the apps they are using.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/E12/21
Project Title: Vertical Dispersion Model of Road Traffic-emitted Particulate Matters and Noise
Principal Investigator: Dr MAK Kai-long (PolyU SPEED)


Vehicular emissions of particulate matters and noise are produced concomitantly. Various epidemiological studies point to the negative physiological and psychological impacts road traffic has on humans. Majority of research attention has been placed on the horizontal dispersion of vehicular emissions. In contrast, research effort on their vertical dispersion has been relatively sparse and results are usually not consistent. Without sufficient understanding and a lack of effective means to model and control vertical dispersion of particulate matters and noise, the efficacy and effectiveness of control measures are questionable. Many factors come into play in influencing the dispersion pattern of traffic noise, gaseous compounds and particulate matters, and many of these factors are hard to be quantified or incorporated into a model with precision. Concentration and dispersion characteristics can be heavily influenced by local factors and even building-specific. Research studies in recent years point to the particularly harmful effects of ultrafine particles (“UFP”), which may be formed in a photochemical process. Inconsistency in measuring concentration and dispersion by height are observed in the results of many studies because they seldom categorise particulate matters by their sizes in their analyses, and UFP concentration is often masked by a general concentration measurement. Attempts have been made to establish a mechanism in predicting UFP concentration by studying relationships with the gaseous compounds and with traffic noise levels. Hong Kong’s urban environment is unique, where a large proportion of our population dwell in high-rise buildings. In a steep urban street canyon with high aspect ratios, particulate matters are trapped within the canyon by the vortex of airflows, making dispersion out of the canyon more difficult. It is, therefore, of great interest and relevance to understand and characterise the vertical dispersion of selected road traffic-emitted particulate matters and noise. Given our subtropical climate with high solar radiation and humidity, we will identify whether there is any observable nucleation events of UFP through time-series and diurnal analyses. In addition, we collect traffic noise measurements at locations to investigate the noise reduction contribution of different types of road pavement. Finally, with the data gathered, we will perform analyses using CALINE4 and other software and statistical models to explore relationships between these emitted particulate matters and noise and develop a prediction model on their vertical dispersion rate and vertical gradient decay. We are hopeful that our improved understanding will be useful in Government air quality and traffic management assessment areas and urban planning and building architectural considerations, all contribute to a better quality of life for urban dwellers in Hong Kong.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H06/21
Project Title: Heritagizing the Qingyuan Mushroom Cultivation System: Understanding Agricultural Heritage Construction and Sustainability in China Using the Actor-Network Theory
Principal Investigator: Dr MAK Veronica Sau-wa (Shue Yan)


This project aims to examine the role of a network of actors in constructing an ancient mushroom cultivation tradition in Qingyuan, Zhejiang, as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS), as well as its impact on the sustainability of the traditional agricultural knowledge system and cultural practices. In 2002, because of the global problem of the agricultural environment and food security, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched GIAHS to promote and conserve the wealth and breadth of accumulated traditional agricultural knowledge and culture as a globally significant treasure. Despite the aim of GIAHS being to identify and safeguard agricultural systems which sustain and conserve biodiversity and the genetic resources necessary for food and agriculture, rural livelihoods, and the systems of culture and knowledge, the selection and inscription process, as well as its cultural impact is a neglected research topic in China. This project will fill in the research gap, and will adopt a multi-site, mixed-method research approach to collect two-wave data to shed light on the issue of heritagization (heritage construction) and conservation in China.

In this proposed project, I plan to adopt Latour’s framework of ANT to understand heritage construction and sustainability of the century-old Qingyuan mushroom cultivation system. This study will be the first attempt to follow the heritage actors (scientists, government officers, and farmers) to understand heritage construction and conservation of a GIAHS in China. Deploying ANT rules, this project will examine the three key processes of heritage network building and management: enrolling actors, fact-building, and circulation of meaning. While many of the current studies on heritagization tend to focus on the separate interests and strategies of the stakeholders to achieve different goals, this project will follow the practices which the actors used to enroll and mobilize other actors, to bring them around to their points of view, to join their heritage network, to build up the seemingly “objective” scientific and agricultural “fact,” and lastly, to circulate the meaning surrounding the cultivation system, so as to construct and conserve it as the only globally-endorsed mushroom cultivation heritage system in the world.

This study will involve three groups of respondents: 15 scientists (in Beijing, Hong Kong, Jinlin, and Qingyuan), 15 Chinese officers (in Qingyuan), 15 mushroom farmers (in Qingyuan) who are involved, and another 15 farmers who are not involved in the Qingyuan mushroom heritage network. In-depth interviews will be conducted with the scientists and government officers, while ethnographic research and participant observation will be carried out with the farmers. This mixed-method research approach provides an opportunity to understand the heritagization process by collecting their oral histories with respect to identification and classification of certain features of the Qingyuan mushroom cultivation system as heritage, to its inscription as a nationally important agricultural heritage system and GIAHS, and how the heritagization process and sustainability is related to scientific research, government funding, and the bonding among the farmers, scientists, and government officers in the network.

In addition to making an academic contribution to the debate on the nature of heritage, the process of heritage construction, and its impact, by tracing the associations and daily activities of the actors in the heritage network, this study will have practical implication for agricultural and heritage policy-makers to formulate policies that will support bonding creation and collaboration among government officers, scientists, and farmers, thereby improving the economic and social status of the farmers, and conserving the disappearing traditional mushroom cultivation practices and culture in China.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E05/21
Project Title: Dual Channel Logistics Strategy with the Integration of Crowdsourced Vehicles for Ad Hoc Demand
Principal Investigator: Dr MO Yiu-wing (HSUHK)


Managing the dual channel of logistics resources has become more critical than ever, not only to achieve cost savings via enhanced process efficiency in operations, but also to utilise idle resources within and outside operations for social sustainability. With the success of crowdsourcing logistics platforms in recent years, many companies have sought to outsource some of their logistics orders to crowd networks. However, when compared with internal logistics resources, resources in the crowd network involve higher uncertainty, which creates many challenges for companies in determining the allocation of logistics orders to the crowdsourced platform for the fulfilment of ad-hoc demand. There is a lack of a holistic approach for integrating internal logistics resources among various storage facilities with crowdsourced vehicles via decision intelligence systems.

In this research project, we aim to design an integrated decision framework for managing the dual channel of logistics resources through the adoption of decision intelligence systems. With the support of decision intelligence systems, including systems simulation, data-driven models, and geospatial data analytics, the integration of internal and crowd logistics resources is expected to lead logistics operations to the next stage of operations management. The main contributions of this study are therefore focused on the management theory of dual channel logistics resource management. Apart from the management theory, we will collaborate with a company in this project. The collaborated case study would also serve as a guideline for practitioners.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/E05/21
Project Title: Modelling of Quantitative Dynamic Fit of Respirators for Healthcare Workers
Principal Investigator: Dr NG Sun-pui (PolyU SPEED)


The COVID-19 outbreak is a worldwide challenge to public health and the frontline healthcare workers are the key unit of health systems to fight against the coronavirus. Although the layered non-woven fabrics of a N95 respirator can effectively reduce pathogen transmission by filtering at least 95% of airborne particles, these particles can still enter a wearer’s respiratory system through the gap between his/her face and respirator. In previous literature, it was found that the passing rate of the respirator fit test can be significantly dropped to 46% after the wearers performed a sequence of body movements. Therefore, this project aims to explore and identify the features of faceseal leakage caused by facial/body movements through the combination of 3D modelling and experimental fit tests. The 3D geometrical characteristics of human faces and respirators will be scanned in both static and dynamic conditions. In the meantime, quantitative fit tests (QNFT) by means of the difference between a control agent’s concentrations inside and outside the respirator will be conducted. Interfacial pressure between the respirator and the wearer’s face will also be measured during facial/body movements for assessing the dynamic fit of the respirator. Finally, biomechanical finite element models will be developed to evaluate the interactions between the respirator and human face through the simulation of the applied mechanical stresses and the interfacial pressure distribution on the faces. The outcomes of this project can be used to improve the existing design of respirator sizes and shapes in order to enhance the respirator fit performance in dynamic facial/body conditions.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/P04/21
Project Title: Sequential Change-Point Detection in High-Dimensional Vector Autoregressive Models
Principal Investigator: Dr NG Wai-leong (HSUHK)


With the rapid development in big data technology and accelerated digital transformation processes in recent decades, collecting large amounts of real-time data becomes convenient and common in the areas of engineering, finance, econometrics and applied statistics. This phenomenon poses a great challenge for practitioners in different areas to be able to sequentially detect any structural changes in a large number of data streams. For example, in the areas of industrial safety and reliability surveillance, monitoring any abrupt changes in the temperature of industrial components can reflect possible abnormalities and frauds in the components. In financial risk management, detecting structural changes in volatility of asset returns provides information for possible instabilities of financial risk (see Andreou and Ghysels (2006)). In investment and portfolio management, portfolio managers measure the risk of an asset by its beta from the well-known capital asset pricing model. Detecting changes in portfolio betas allows them to make appropriate actions and decisions to restructure their portfolio (see Aue et al. (2012) and Golosnoy (2018)). In medical applications, monitoring the physiological and health conditions of intensive care patients allow physicians to take immediate actions when emergency conditions occur (see Fried and Imhoff (2004)). Also, detecting structural breaks in real-time can help practitioners access the capability of estimated models in explaining the future data. Thus, the study of detecting structural changes in the underlying process is important, and this problem is known as the sequential change-point detection.

Although fast detection of structural changes occurred in the data streams is important for taking timely decisions and actions in many applications, to the best of our knowledge, sequential change-point detections in high dimensional time series are largely unexplored. Recently, Gösmann et al. (2020) proposed a sequential monitoring scheme in high dimensional time series by aggregating the component-wise sequential detection scheme but it is designed for detecting mean-change only. Horváth et al. (2020) developed a sequential monitoring scheme for distributional change, however, for independent observations only. In this proposal, the main objective is to develop a sequential change-point detection procedure for high dimensional vector autoregressive (VAR) processes. We aim at sequentially detecting any changes in the coefficient matrices of the high dimensional VAR processes with controlled false alarm rate and develop a bootstrap procedure to improve the performance of the proposed sequential monitoring scheme.

In this proposal, we plan to proceed as follows.

  1. (Sequential change-point detection procedure for high dimensional VAR models) Regularized estimation methods for high dimensional VAR models will be applied and a residual-based sequential monitoring scheme will be developed for detecting changes in coefficient matrices.
  2. (Decision boundary for asymptotic level and consistency) The asymptotic behavior of sequential monitoring scheme will be studied under the null hypothesis of no-change and alternative hypothesis of changes in coefficient matrices. Decision boundary of the monitoring test statistics will be determined based on the asymptotic theory.
  3. (Performance improvement by bootstrap procedures) A bootstrap procedure for determining accurate decision boundaries will be developed to improve the finite sample performance of the proposed sequential monitoring scheme.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H18/21
Project Title: Learner engagement in listening-and-speaking tasks in the face-to-face and the synchronous computer-mediated communication conditions
Principal Investigator: Dr QIU Xuyan (HKMU)


Face-to-face interaction communication (FTF) and synchronous voice-based computer-mediated communication (SvCMC) are two communication modes that have been widely adopted for second language (L2) classroom activities in the face-to-face and online teaching contexts. SvCMC has been found to better develop L2 learners’ linguistic competence, promote L2 strategy use, and encourage active collaboration and participation (Ziegler, 2016; González-Lloret, 2020), but learners may find it challenging to implement complex tasks online (Baralt, 2010) and are less likely to negotiate meaning despite non-understanding (Van der Zwaard & Bannink, 2016). In comparison, in FTF, learners may feel more motivated to assist each other, exchange more ideas and arguments, and better sustain their learning interest (Bao, 2020; Baralt et al., 2016). The different natures of FTF and SvCMC imply that the ideal designs and arrangements of L2 tasks in the FTF and SvCMC conditions may be different, and we need to investigate the relative affordances that each of the two conditions offers. This issue has also received increasing attention in Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT), as TBLT is an approach which emphasises on developing L2 learners’ communicative competence with listening-and-speaking tasks, and different communication modes can affect task performance differently (Carver et al., 2021; González-Lloret & Ortega, 2014).

Compared with rich data about the effects of communication modes on L2 output, how the two conditions affect L2 learners’ task engagement is under-explored. Given that engaging learners in tasks can lead to active participation and facilitate L2 learning (Mercer, 2019), it is meaningful to investigate learner engagement in different task conditions (Lambert, 2017) so as to boost our knowledge of how to engage learners with different tasks. Task engagement refers to learners’ ‘heightened attention and involvement’ during learning activities (Philp & Duchesne, 2016, p. 51). Although few task engagement studies (e.g., Dao & McDonough, 2019; Qiu & Lo, 2017) are found in the current literature, the findings reveal that task design and implementation variables and task types could be the influential factors on L2 learners’ engagement which warrants a more thorough exploration.

In this research project, the effectiveness of TBLT in the FTF condition and that in the SvCMC condition will be compared. It aims at drawing a comprehensive picture of the effects of task types and task complexity conditions on L2 learners’ engagement in listening-and-speaking tasks in the FTF and SvCMC conditions. More specifically, with a mixed-methods research design, this project focuses on three main aspects: 1) To investigate the effects of different task types (i.e. descriptive tasks, narrative tasks, decision-making tasks) on 80 Hong Kong English as a second language (ESL) learners’ engagement in listening-and-speaking tasks in the two conditions; 2) To examine the influence of task complexity (i.e. simple versus complex) on the learners’ engagement in listening-and-speaking tasks in the two conditions; and 3) To explore the interaction effects between task types and task complexity on the learners’ engagement in listening-and-speaking tasks in the two conditions. Multiple data sources will be collected, including oral discourse of task performance, self-rated engagement level, interview data and questionnaire data, which will be quantitatively and qualitatively analysed to achieve the research purposes.

The findings of this research will expand our knowledge of the relationships between L2 task engagement and different task types, different complexity conditions and different communication modalities and yield pedagogical implications regarding how L2 listening-and-speaking tasks can be designed to engage learners in using L2 to fulfil the task purposes. More importantly, the findings will reveal different dimensions of L2 learner engagement (e.g., cognitive, emotional, and social dimensions) under the FTF and SvCMC conditions so that language teaching practitioners can learn about how their learners can be engaged in the learning process in the online and the face-to-face teaching contexts respectively.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H08/21
Project Title: The waste trade and the informal street economy: Negotiating identity, value, and social integration among Pakistani migrants in Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Dr SHUM Chun-tat (HKMU)


While Hong Kong’s economic affluence has given rise to mass consumption and mass-waste lifestyles among one sector of the population, the lower strata of society struggle to survive. In Sham Shui Po, one of the poorest districts in Hong Kong, groups of waste laborers classify, repair, and sell a wide range of discarded consumer goods in informal second-hand street markets every day. These markets attract people from all walks of life who seek purchases for personal consumption, resale, or further recycling. The trading of discarded goods in the street markets provides a means to make ends meet for the urban poor, including Hong Kong Chinese and ethnic minorities. Among the informal laborers in the street markets of Hong Kong, migrant waste laborers are the least acknowledged.

For more than a decade, a subset of the Pakistani population—a dominant South Asian migrant group in Hong Kong—has been appropriating this urban space during the late afternoons and evenings, creating a living from their marginalized social position as ethnic minorities who work with waste. However, little is known about the practices, meanings, and societal impact of these private, informal, and small-scale recycling activities. Drawing from in-depth interviews and participant observation with Pakistani informal waste laborers in the second-hand markets of Hong Kong, the proposed project will examine their roles and activities in this “unregulated” part of the urban economy. Specifically, it will explore the reasons behind their participation in the informal second-hand trade, how they overcome barriers in their daily recycling activities, and how they reshape their economic lives and establish social value from a marginalized position as migrant laborers in the waste economy.

Waste is often associated with dirt, uselessness, and redundancy; the people who work with it are therefore perceived as dirty, invaluable, and underprivileged. In Hong Kong’s public discourse, ethnic minorities are portrayed negatively and viewed as a potential source of burden and instability among the public, which hinders their social integration process. For the Pakistani waste laborers themselves, however, the implications of waste goods, their relations to it, and their social networks to people in informal second-hand economy may offer new insights into how they revalue waste goods and renegotiate their social status as waste laborers in the context of marginalization.

The proposed research will provide an instructive perspective for examining how Pakistani waste laborers engage in strategic actions in these open communal spaces to create meaning, value, and new relations of exchange both locally and transnationally. By studying their everyday social interactions and exchanges in the informal second-hand economy—from collecting, to sorting, to storing, to selling second-hand consumer goods in street markets—this research will make an important contribution to the literature and teaching on ethnic minorities, the informal economy, and migrant integration. It will provide a new perspective for understanding the societal impacts and contributions of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. Further, it will entail policy implications as to how the Hong Kong government can address its waste problem in partnership with ethnic minorities, which in turn can further enhance ethnic equality in mainstream society.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/H12/21
Project Title: What is the Role of Internet Memes in Political Discussion?
Principal Investigator: Dr TANG Gary Kin-yat (HSUHK)


The rise of Internet memes is a phenomenon that has drawn extensive attention from the academia. Internet memes refer to user-generated mimicry on the Internet that may be in the form of music, videos, gifs, images, etc. Among the various forms of memes, gifs and images are the most common because of the convenience involved in their production and circulation. Some templates of memes, including ‘curious dog’, ‘success kid’ and ‘confession bear’, are especially popular in Western countries. Other than for everyday conversation on the Internet, the use of memes is also common in political discussions in online forums, on Facebook pages and on Instagram. For example, the ‘old buddies meme’ (老友memes, facebook.com/hkelderlymemes) was one of the earliest Facebook pages in Hong Kong that expressed political discontent related to inter-generational conflicts via memes.

Although Internet meme usage is still a nascent online phenomenon, it has already elicited widespread scholarly attention because of its surging popularity. Several key characteristics of Internet memes have been identified. For example, they are bottom-up participatory media that can easily go viral. Moreover, they facilitate the dissemination of emotion more than information. Many scholars have examined the impacts of Internet memes from a critical perspective. While a well-functioning public sphere relies on rational and deliberative discussions from well-informed citizens, the development of Internet memes goes against this expectation. Some scholars are concerned about the populist tendency of the contents of Internet memes and their potential in breeding antagonism among social groups. At the same time, other scholars highlight the polysemic nature of user-generated contents and argue that Internet memes do not necessarily harm civic culture.

To bridge the literature gap, this research focuses on the genre’s affordances of Internet memes to examine their role in political discussions. The nature of Internet memes as a participatory and viral media is favourable for disseminating simple pieces of information that can serve as a catalyst to recall memories of news events and build in-group identification. To explore the role of Internet memes in political discussions at a theoretical level, two research questions will be asked: (a) How are Internet memes used in the framing of online public opinion? (b) To what extent can Internet memes encourage political discussions?

A mixed-method approach will be adopted. Content analysis and textual analysis of the memes found in online forums will be conducted to examine the framings that Internet memes tend to facilitate. To carry out an in-depth investigation of the impact of Internet memes on political discussions, online ethnography will be conducted. The researchers will engage in online political discussions by using memes and observing the effect that the memes can create. Third, experiments will be conducted to test the effects of memes on the frequency of political discussions. The affordances of Internet memes in recalling memories and building in-group identification will be included to enrich the interpretation of their impacts. We expect the research findings to bring a substantial theoretical contribution in understanding the impact of memes on digital culture and political discussions. In the practical sense, the findings can also be valuable and may serve as an immediate reference for the education sector to prepare for the cultivation of digital literacy and for government units to design strategies for online public communication.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/E14/21
Project Title: Accurate 6D Object Pose Estimation for Automatic Robotic Manipulation in Complex Industrial Environments
Principal Investigator: Dr WANG Weiming (HKMU)


6D object pose estimation, i.e., rotation and translation, is an essential component in a variety of real-world applications ranging from augmented reality and robotic manipulation to scene understanding. For example, precise object poses are required in augmented reality in order to render virtual objects into physical environments and enable virtual interaction with real objects. In the scenarios of robotic manipulation, the robot needs to know the orientation and position of an object to perform grasping and moving operations safely and effectively.

A lot of methods have been proposed to tackle this problem. However, due to the complexities of industrial environments, it is very challenging to accurately and robustly estimate 6D object poses for automatic robotic manipulation. The most typical challenge occurs in cluttered scenes where severe occlusions and truncations are observed and it is hard to estimate 6D poses of partially visible objects as important features are usually occluded or truncated by surroundings. The second challenge is related to small and thin objects, such as screws, nuts and washers. It is difficult to extract useful features from these objects for pose estimation because they generally appear in low resolution in the observed image. The third challenge comes from the shape discrepancies between different object instances, even though they are within the same category. Performance of well-trained models drop dramatically when they are applied to novel objects with large shape variations. Last but not least, training a network model with acceptable accuracy typically requires a large amount of annotated real-world images, which is labor intensive and time-consuming. Thus, it is crucial to develop novel network models that achieve state-of-the-art performance with limited or even without manual annotations.

In this project, we shall conduct comprehensive research on 6D object pose estimation in complex industrial environments, covering all the challenges mentioned above. We shall fully exploit both color and geometry features in RGB-D images, as well as advanced deep learning technologies, to develop dedicated network models for these challenges. First, we shall propose a dense correspondence-based network model to estimate 6D poses of occluded and truncated objects in heavily cluttered scenes. Contrary to keypoint-based methods that are sensitive to severe occlusions and truncations, the proposed model is able to construct dense 3D-3D correspondence from partially visible objects for accurate pose estimation. Second, we shall modify the above model to deal with small and thin objects by introducing a non-local network into the model. The non-local network serves as a self-attention mechanism to enrich the contextual semantic information of small and thin objects so that both local and global features can be leveraged to enhance object pose estimation. Third, we shall propose a shape prior-based network model to deal with intra-class shape discrepancies in category-level object pose estimation. The shape prior encodes common geometric characteristics that are shared by all possible objects within a category, and thus novel objects with large shape variations can be reconstructed from the shape prior according to individual details. Fourth, we shall develop a self-supervised learning framework to progressively improve the performance of network models that are initially trained with limited synthetic data. The system is able to automatically annotate real-scene images with precise object poses for self-supervised training. Finally, we shall integrate the above network models into a unified system with friendly user interface and develop a series of industrial applications to perform automatic robotic manipulation based on accurate object pose estimation.

The project deliverables are a series of novel network models that can accurately and robustly estimate 6D object poses in complex industrial environments, as well as a self-supervised learning framework for model training. We shall conduct comprehensive experiments to evaluate the performance of our network models.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/E08/21
Project Title: AutoQFD: A Smart Quality Function Deployment Method for Product Development
Principal Investigator: Dr WANG Yue (HSUHK)


Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a widely used toolkit to develop or improve products to better satisfy customer needs. It has also been widely used in other industries, such as service, healthcare, and software. While being proud of the history, QFD faces some difficult problems in today’s business. A QFD process is usually complicated, labour-intensive and time consuming. A smart and automatic QFD platform is proposed in this project to meet these challenges. The proposed methodology can automate the QFD process in a speedy manner and requires much less resources of expertise from companies. We will leverage the massive amount of product review text to inference the knowledge between customer requirements and product engineering characteristics. Natural language processing, deep learning and transfer learning techniques will be deployed to train a general QFD model for a product category, such as consumer electronics. Users just need to fine-tune the generic model using a small amount of product-specific data in the category, such as mobile phone, to get a product-specific QFD. In summary, AutoQFD enables users to train their customised QFD models with limited time, data and domain knowledge.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/H12/21
Project Title: The Imagination and Literary Practice of a “Third World” Hong Kong: The Introduction and Appropriation of the Latin American Literature in the 1970s Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Ka-ki (Shue Yan)


This research project aims at studying the introduction and appropriation of Latin American literature in Hong Kong in the 1970s through an analysis of such articles in local newspapers and literary journals. The adaptation of Latin American literature has created numerous important literary works and marks a milestone in the development of both Hong Kong literature and the formation of local identity. It is also an important case study which could illuminate the unique advantage of Hong Kong literature regarding the instantaneousness, sensitivity, and vision of the import of foreign literature. Current studies on the relationship of Latin American and Hong Kong literature mostly focuses on the individual adoption of magical realism of certain modernist and postmodernist writers. However, such reception as a phenomenon and how it begins has not been sufficiently investigated, and could not be done so unless the primary materials on local periodicals are combed through.

Before postcolonialism swept through Hong Kong academia, many local writers had already reflected upon relevant issues such as colonial governance, Chinese nationalism, and localness, sometimes by questioning the dominance of “Western” culture, and instead show great interest in “Third World” culture. Latin American countries attract these local writers’ particular interest because of their anti-colonial nationalist movements and literature experiments at that time. Some Hong Kong writers take the initiative of introducing them to local readers, and in doing so, they also redefined Hong Kong in the world order by imagining themselves among the anti-colonial “Third World”.

This proposed study integrates some methods of the translation studies and translingual practice into periodical studies to approach the research objectives. It will contextualize the introduction of Latin American literature in the local periodicals during the 1970s. It will compare how writers from various political and aesthetic stances understand and appropriate them, including the long-ignored translating forces from leftist writers. It will also examine the translingual practice of how these foreign literatures are transformed and integrated with local literature development. It contributes to various key issues in the study of Hong Kong literature, including the specific features of 1970s Hong Kong literature, cultural identity, postcoloniality, the interaction between local and foreign literature, and the relationship between local and global context. It will serve as an important case in the study of periodicals, Hong Kong literature, and literary translation in Hong Kong.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/H17/21
Project Title: Developing a National Identity in Young Children: Values and Practices of Kindergartens, Local Chinese and Non-Chinese Families of Different Backgrounds in Hong Kong
Principal Investigator: Dr WONG Ming-sin (HKMU)


From China to Singapore, developing a national identity is one of the essential political tasks of nations, but the ability to develop this sentiment is not unproblematic. It becomes an even more challenging quest for the governments to promote national identity in multi-ethnic nations and regions. Indeed, the declining sense of the national identity of Hong Kong people has long been viewed as an alarming problem by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government. Ever since she assumed office in 2017, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has vowed to reform education “from the bottom” to nurture a sense of “I am Chinese” national identity among the youth from as early as kindergarten. Although the kindergarten sector in Hong Kong is essentially a private market, recent education policies have tightened the control of the sector through financial incentives for both kindergartens and families. At the same time, non-Chinese-speaking (NCS) families have been encouraged to send their children to study in kindergartens that adopt Chinese as the medium of instruction and have their quality assured by the HKSAR Government. The purpose of the proposed research project is to investigate how different types of kindergartens in Hong Kong and local Chinese and NCS families, situate themselves and respond to the increasing demand of the authority in terms of developing the national identity in young children.

A mixed-method approach will be employed, and the research will consist of two interrelated phases. Phase 1 will be a multiple case study involving participants of eight purposively selected kindergartens. Four of these kindergartens (either Chinese-medium and free or English-medium/bilingual and fee-charging) will have a significant number of NCS students. The remaining four will be ordinary Chinese-medium free kindergartens. The study will involve in-depth interviews with 32 kindergarten practitioners (including principals and teachers) and 40 parents, critical analysis of learning and teaching materials in kindergartens and at homes, and analysis of class and home videos. The results will offer a rich understanding of the values and practices of practitioners and parents of different types of kindergartens and ethnic backgrounds in Hong Kong. It will also be used to develop value and practice frameworks of kindergarten practitioners and parents and inform the development of a large-scale questionnaire survey in Phase 2. The objective of Phase 2 will be to explore the general trend of values and practices of Hong Kong kindergarten practitioners and parents and determine whether they would differ in relation to the types of kindergartens, ethnic backgrounds, and socio-economic status of the respondents. A representative sample of 10% of all Hong Kong kindergartens will be recruited by stratified random sampling in the 2022/23 academic year. The practitioners and parents of the sampled kindergartens will be asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire online. A part of the questionnaire will contain questions common to both kindergarten practitioners and parents to allow comparison between the two. The other part will contain questions grouped according to the value and practice frameworks developed in Phase 1 and reflect the two types of respondents’ unique concerns. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses will be applied to understand the overall situation in Hong Kong and address the commonalities and distinctions in the views of respondents.

The empirical evidence generated by the proposed project will expand our theoretical understanding of the complexity of developing the national identity and the relationships and expectations among different parents, kindergartens, and the government within the context of multiple educational restructurings. It will also provide reliable references for policy and public discussion of how to support national identity development, and point out a new direction for developing kindergarten practitioners’ and parents’ cultural awareness and respect for different identities. The project will have broad implications for analyses of the role of parenting and schooling in terms of national identity development, and of evolving meanings of being “Chinese”, both locally and in the broader region.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS16/B12/21
Project Title: Examining the impact of moving mediation (Tai Chi) on relieving emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue for emotional labour in shift work
Principal Investigator: Dr WOO Ka-shing (HKMU)


Approximately one fifth of the workforce is shift worker in our 24/7 business world, engaging in different types of work shift schedule such as afternoon shift, evening shift, and night shift that spans across early morning. With sleep duration of less than six hours, as compared to the average of eight hours, a large majority of these shift workers suffer from a serious and persistent problem of sleep deprivation (https://www.cdc.gov/). As a consequence, they are more susceptible to acute shift work disorders than their day shift counterparts. Surprisingly, relevant studies on the impact of shift work on employees, in particular those frontline service employees (or emotional labour), are limited, albeit the explosive growth of our night economy.

Shift work can be a double blow to frontline service employees. On the one hand, they have to deal with the disparity between what they actually feel and what they are required to display when interacting with customers. In many cases, they have to act out the necessary display behaviour in order to comply with the display rules (e.g., display of friendliness and suppression of anger) imposed by their employers. The disparity between internal feeling and external display behaviour creates tension and emotional exhaustion to these frontline service employees, leading to perception of work withdrawal. On the other hand, night shift work contradicts to circadian rhythms. Human beings are cued to be awake by the day light and to sleep by the night fall. This periodicity of awakening and falling asleep around the 24-hour cycle forms circadian rhythms. The disruption of circadian rhythms creates different sources of stress (e.g., high blood pressure and fatigue) that are deleterious to the employees’ mental and physical health. Strategies should be in place to mitigate these hazardous effects, both psychological and physiological, on employees’ well-being.

Given the detrimental effects of shift work, we examine by means of two studies in this project. They are related to (1) the daily experience of emotional exhaustion (mental) and fatigue (physical) of frontline service employees who have to deal with circadian disruptions, emotional disparity between felt emotions and required emotional display (in Study 1), and (2) whether Tai Chi, as a form of mind-and-body integration coupling both meditation and physical exercises, alleviates the negative effects of shift work (in Study 2). Against this backdrop, three specific aspects relating to shift work are explored in this project: (1) whether circadian preference casts an impact on emotional regulation, (2) whether the extent of ambient light exposure affects the physical fatigue at the end of work shift, and (3) when comparing with mindful meditation, whether Tai Chi as an individual intervention in promoting relaxation and physical fitness helps align the felt and displayed emotion, and buffer against both emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue. Tai Chi, as a movement-based meditation, aims to achieve a state of relaxation through low-impact body movements, specific breathing patterns, and meditative techniques. The results of this project will not only contribute to the literature by investigating a significant but yet unexplored topic of emotional labour, but will also provide managerial implications to practitioners on how to improve the well-being of frontline service employees in a city that never sleeps.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/E08/21
Project Title: Development of a Multi-agent Behaviour Model and Optimization of Charging Station Map for Implementation of Electric Taxis in Hong Kong - a Pilot Study
Principal Investigator: Dr WU Andrew Yang (PolyU SPEED)


In the Chief Executive Policy Address of HKSAR in 2020, a target for Hong Kong to become carbon neutral by 2050 was committed. This commitment will benefit Hong Kong residents in various aspects, including better air quality and natural environment. In order to achieve the target, promoting the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) is considered as one feasible solution for clean air on the roadside. Promoting EVs in the public transportation sector and taxi services have grown in importance in the Greater Bay Area. The transportation behaviour in Hong Kong is unique and different from other international metropolises. This research proposal aims to develop a multi-agent behaviour model of local driving patterns, and to find out the optimal mapping of charging stations for EV taxi service in a pilot district of Hong Kong with a hierarchical clustering approach of traffic flow problems. Technical and economic constraints with locally unique features for Hong Kong, such as limited land space and congested traffic networks, will be considered.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/B15/21
Project Title: Destination Competitiveness in a Post-COVID-19 World
Principal Investigator: Dr XU Jing (PolyU SPEED)


In the post-COVID-19 world, crisis management is more important than ever before. Tourists will pay more attention to their safety for travelling. This study will explore and test how destinations showcase their crisis management to build up competitiveness. Thus, this study seeks to enrich the destination competitiveness theory and knowledge. Other than the theoretical implications, practically this research can help advise the tourism industry and various stakeholders on revitalising their destinations. For example, it could help revitalise Hong Kong’s economy in that the tourism industry has long been its pillar industry but has come to almost a standstill now. The significance of the problem makes it so urgent for this project to provide needed guidance for revitalising the tourism economy and competitiveness in a post-COVID-19 world.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/B03/21
Project Title: Auditing During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Principal Investigator: Dr YAU Belinda Ling-na (HSUHK)


The outbreak of the current novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has swept over many countries and seriously disrupted economic activities and changed our life style. The early stage of the outbreak from January 2020 to March 2020 was concentrated in China and coincided with the audit busy season. Due to the strict travel restriction in Hong Kong and the Mainland China, audit plan was profoundly disrupted especially when the main operation of client firm is situated in the Mainland. This provides a unique opportunity to examine how auditors perform alternative audit procedures when onsite audit becomes infeasible by testing pre- and post-COVID-19 audit. Using survey with industry practitioners as well as hand-collected Hong Kong audit report data and manual categorization, this proposed research project aims to first provide descriptive evidence on how auditors carry out audit under COVID-19. By reading 2018 and 2019 audit reports of Hong Kong listed companies, we will examine and describe the audit work in response to the same key audit matter (“KAM”) in 2018 and 2019 respectively. It allows us to understand to what extent auditors take alternative audit procedures and what types of alternative audit procedures are applied in addressing different types of KAM. Besides, we will examine how audit engagements’ attributes and auditors’ characteristics affect alternative audit work choice.

Second, due to the travel restriction between Hong Kong and the Mainland China, onsite audit may become infeasible and Hong Kong auditors have to rely more on alternative audit procedures if they want to meet the reporting deadline on 31 March 2020. Alternatively, they may delay their reporting to conduct certain onsite audit work when travel restriction has been relaxed. This provides an ideal setting to take DiD research design to examine to what extent audit quality could be affected by the choice of alternative audit work and reporting delay. Specifically, we will focus on (1) discretionary accruals, (2) meet/beat analysts’ forecast, (3) restatement rate (4), auditors’ concern on going concern basis and subsequent event disclosure, and (5) auditors’ adjustment on client firm’s unaudited preliminary earnings.

Third, we will investigate whether COVID-19-induced auditing-change will be profound and long lasting. We will examine how audit fees are affected by alternative audit procedures. In addition, the need for a client-auditor realignment may increase post COVID-19. We will investigate client firm’s decision to switch auditor post COVID-19, focusing on geographical aspect and technological aspect.

Overall, this study aims to provide some evidence on alternative audit procedures when onsite audit is impractical. COVID-19, which does not originate from either client firm or auditor but disrupts audit plan substantially, provides a unique setting to investigate how audit engagements’ attributes and auditors’ characteristics affect audit improvisation and alternative audit work choice, which has been hardly examined in prior studies and would be a significant contribution to audit literature. It also allows us to examine how auditors trade off between enhancing audit quality and meeting reporting deadline, which sheds light on extant audit research.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS14/P02/21
Project Title: Partially Separable and Sparse Optimization: Theory and Applications
Principal Investigator: Dr YU Kwok-wai (HSUHK)


Big data has become increasingly important and beneficial in various disciplines. Sparse optimization is a popular and practical technique for solving big data problems, which is to find a sparse solution of an under-determined linear system, and has been successfully applied in various fields, such as variable selection, compressive sensing, image science and machine learning. In the development of sparse optimization, three topics attract much attention in recent years: (1) the linear system is too restrictive in practical applications, and sparse solutions of nonlinear measurements arise in various applications such as log-likelihood maximum in sparse logistic regression and sparse inverse covariance selection, quadratic basis pursuit in diffraction imaging and sparse portfolio selection, and bilinear compressed sensing in dispersive communication; (2) partially sparse optimization (also named as trimmed Lasso or tail minimization), only penalizing the small elements, is a quite effective nonconvex sparse promoting technique; (3) partially separable structure is quite common in practical sparsity structure, such as in total variation restoration, group Lasso and fused Lasso.

In this project, we will consider three topics mentioned above simultaneously and investigate the partially separable and partially sparse optimization (PSIIO) problem of nonlinear systems. In particular, we will investigate its mathematical theory, including the consistency theory of the model and the convergence theory of optimization algorithms, and also discuss its applications to finance and systems biology. In the theoretical aspect, we will introduce a notion of sparse strong convexity (SSC), which is a generalization of the classical sparse eigenvalue condition (SEC) from linear system to nonlinear system. Under the SSC assumption, we will establish the exact recovery property and recovery bounds for the global minima (including model error, absolute deviation and ℓ2 recovery bound) to quantitatively estimate the stability of the PSIIO problem. Moreover, we will discuss the recovery bound and the second-order growth property for certain local minima. In the algorithmic aspect, we will propose an alternative direction method of multipliers with continuation technique (ADMMC) to solve the PSIIO problem. Under the SSC assumption, we will show that the proposed ADMMC converges at a geometric rate to the ground true solution within a tolerance proportional to the noise level and the recovery bound. The convergence theory will provide a positive theoretical evidence to the sparse recovery availability of the partially sparse algorithms and the ℓp regularization algorithms, and fill the gap of certain nonconvex regularization methods. In the application aspect, we will apply our theoretical results and numerical algorithms to solve the multi-period sparse portfolio selection and multi-species transcriptional regulatory networks (TRNs) inference problems. The successful application to multi-species TRNs inference will help biologists to promote the TRNs inference technology and to understand the gene expression at a much higher resolution.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS15/E01/21
Project Title: Development and Pilot Test for an AI-based Mobile App to act as Speech Language Pathology Robot for Long-term Treatment of Cantonese-speaking Children with Developmental Speech Sound Disorders
Principal Investigator: Dr YUEN Connie Man-ching (Shue Yan)


Developmental speech sound disorder is a common communication disorder among young children and highly affects early childhood development and even their future educational, professional, and social success. Based on the literature review, researchers reported that at most, 24.6% of young children in the world were estimated to have speech delay or speech sound disorder (SSD). Among these children, 48.1% of 3- to 10-year-old children and 24.4% of 11- to 17-year-old children had speech sound problems only. Children with developmental SSD do not have other symptoms, and they can improve their speech intelligibility after regular training. Since Cantonese is primarily a spoken language, and written Cantonese is not acceptable in standard written Chinese, it increases the difficulty for young children in Hong Kong to learn and understand spoken Cantonese, especially for Cantonese-speaking children with SSD. Training materials for Cantonese-speaking children with SSD are much less available compared with other languages.

Once children with SSD are identified, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) select initial therapy programs for children with regular review and adjustments on therapy. An appropriate treatment program is carried out by SLPs, parents, and teachers together. The success of therapy highly relies on the effectiveness of long-term home training. There is a need for beyond-clinic measurements to support parents to accompany their children during speech therapy training at home, and to provide SLPs with better insight into the training progress of children with SSD. Furthermore, due to the insufficient number of SLPs in many places, more resources to support the work of SLPs are required; for example, helping SLPs to collect and understand the correct conditions of patients quickly during short in-clinical treatment periods. At the same, children might feel bored during long-term regular training at home and would therefore require motivation and encouragement from their parents.

To address the above problems, I propose an AI mobile app to act as a speech language pathology robot to provide training to children with SSD at home. The mobile app has a cartoon face, collects visual data from a camera and voice data from a microphone, and provides visual instructions through a screen and audio instructions through speakers. Therefore, the mobile app can act as a robot. However, parents do not need to buy the robot or learn how to use it – they simply download the mobile app, which can be accessed easily in a home setting. The mobile app can automatically monitor the training progress of children with SSD by collecting video data and voice data, and by analyzing these data in an intelligent cloud-based platform. Additionally, the analyzed results in the cloud can be used by SLPs for in-clinic consultation sessions, thus SLPs can understand the training progress of the children easily, quickly, and accurately, and provide better therapy for the children.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS24/B17/21
Project Title: Creating Zero Medicine Wastage and Sustainable Healthcare Supply Chain: A Closer Cooperation between Private Clinics and Pharmaceutical Companies
Principal Investigator: Dr YUEN Sheung-man (PolyU SPEED)


Without a doubt, health care is one of the major social issues in the community. A cost-effective, integrated and sustainable health care supply chain is our ultimate goal to protect the citizens and nationwide. Although we have a quality and up-to-standard healthcare system in Hong Kong, the private healthcare supply chain (particular in private clinics) is still scattered and not efficient at all. The total cost of wasted medicines in the private healthcare sector reaches HK$22 million each month. The lack of professional knowledge of inventory management and handling of wasted medical products are part of the reason leading to “constant wastage”. Therefore, it is vital to develop the cooperative relationship between private clinics and pharmaceutical companies to rectify the situation. Cooperative buyer-seller relationship and reverse logistics practices not only minimize inventory and wasted medicine, but also improve the healthcare system of Hong Kong.

The study will report the results of focus group interviews and a questionnaire survey of private clinic/doctors and drug suppliers to identify the factors determining the cooperation among private clinics, pharmaceutical companies & logistics service providers in Hong Kong, as well as develop a new framework for buyer-supplier cooperation and adaptation.

Our findings would be of interest to the stakeholders in the sector, especially logistics and procurement management for medicine in private clinic. Some recommendations would provide for developing a cost-effective, integrated and sustainable healthcare supply chain in the private healthcare sector in Hong Kong. It is expected that the findings would be helpful for filling the literature gap and provides a solid foundation for further studies of minimizing medical wastage and healthcare supply chain.


Project Reference No.: UGC/FDS11/E03/21
Project Title: Facility Location Games with Ordinal and Cardinal Preferences
Principal Investigator: Dr ZHAO Yingchao (Caritas)


Algorithmic game theory is a research field that integrates game theory and algorithm design. The major target is to design good algorithms in strategic environments. In this project, we are going to study a well-established problem in algorithmic game theory called Facility Location Games. In the most classic setting, the government (service provider) selects locations to place its facilities on a street where some strategic agents (consumers) with private information live. Agents want to be as close as possible to the facility but they may report wrong information to the service providers in order to get more benefits. The objective of the service provider is to collect the agents' information and use a deterministic or randomized mechanism to decide where to build the facility so that certain objective values are approximately optimized and the agents will not gain benefits by reporting false information.

In recent years, many extensions to the original facility location games have been proposed and studied by researchers. Most of them assumed that agents had uniform preferences, which cannot model the complex scenario in real application. In this proposal, we plan to study more diversified preferences of the agents, and the utility or cost of an agent with preference might be determined by a single facility or by many facilities. Suppose that the government plans to open two schools (or kindergartens) in a district, where one school pays more attention to music education, and the other school mainly focuses on physical education. The parents, who plan to send their children to school, have their own perspectives on education, and thus have different preferences. The parents make decisions (on which school to choose) based on their preferences and the locations of the two schools: if their favorite school is much farther away from home compared to the less preferred one, they would choose the less preferred one instead, which implies a tradeoff between the distance and the preference. This is an example of single-facility-dominated facility location game, where the cost or utility of the parents depends on the single facility (the school) they choose. Consider another case that the government plans to build a hospital and a clinic in a district. If a patient needs to visit the doctor in the hospital twice a week, and visit the clinic once a week, then we can model the case as an instance of many-facility-dominated facility location game. According to the frequency they visit to hospital and clinic, we could assume that the patient prefers 67% on the hospital and 33% on the clinic. The utility of this patient should be a weighted sum over the utilities received from each facility, which is determined by many facilities. This is known as fractional preference. We extend to the following scenario where the government has a budget of money to assign to the hospital and the clinic, which can be used to maintain or improve the facilities. An immediate question is how to assign the budget in order to better serve the patients.

In this project, we study the facility location games with ordinal and cardinal preferences. For ordinal preference case, the agents are required to report a ranking over the facilities, and their costs are decided by the facility that provides the least cost; for cardinal preference case, the agents are required to report a fractional (or proportional) for each facility and the government needs to decide a budget allocation to these facilities. Under well-defined system objectives, we aim to design deterministic and randomized strategy-proof mechanisms with good approximation ratios, and provide lower bounds. In addition, we study both cardinal and ordinal preferences when the government needs to both locate the facilities and allocate the budget. Our study of these new preference dimensions will enrich our understanding of possibilities that can arise with agents' preference matrix with respect to facilities. Therefore, the study could provide a more complete picture of facility location games with the existence of diverse preferences. We also define unified cost for agents with cardinal preferences and agents with ordinal preferences, so that it is possible to allow these two types of agents to co-exist, further elevating the problem scope to a higher level of generality.