Institutional Development Scheme (IDS) - Project Abstract

Institutional Development Scheme (IDS) Research Infrastructure Grant - Project Abstract

Project Reference No.: UGC/IDS(R)11/19
Project Title: Establishment of Distributed Artificial Intelligence Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research (Caritas)

The development and deployment of artificial intelligence is progressing rapidly throughout the world. Because AI is increasingly affecting many aspects of human life and will impact many professions, interdisciplinary research in AI is therefore needed. An AI laboratory is to be established to enable different schools to conduct research with deep learning and with possibility of using distributed learning technology.

  • The School of Computing and Information Sciences will take the lead to equip an AI laboratory with the needed basic hardware and software license and provide other schools and departments with the basic know how in conducting AI research.
  • This laboratory will produce some core modules which can cater for diverse needs in different AI research. Multiple powerful AI machines can meet the needs of intensive operations in deep learning. More intensive operations with big data will be performed at even more powerful servers. Still even more extensive operations will be performed by renting the services of suitable commercial AI platform.
  • AI experts in different fields will be invited throughout the year to give AI lecture series to include training of interdisciplinary research. AI weeks will be conducted to give more intensive training. Such training aims to enable research in the different Schools and Departments. Other Institutions will also be invited.
  • The School of Computing and Information Sciences will collaborate with other schools to conduct preliminary interdisciplinary research using AI and then follow with more interdisciplinary research proposals.
  • A conference or symposium will be organized or jointly organized to present the research results from both within Caritas Institute of Higher Education and from other institutions to achieve exchange and interactions.
  • Preliminary research results with distributed AI research will be used to plan more research and to submit follow-up distributed research proposals.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IDS(R)16/19
Project Title: University Research Facilities for Basic and Applied Coastal Wetland Research in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (OUHK)

The current National 13th Five-year Plan calls for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). With 11 cities in the area, eight of which are coastal cities, the plan involves collectively strengthening logistics integration, developing scientific innovation and green production centres and building a green and sustainable quality living zone that is resilient against environmental challenges. The protection and conservation of coastal wetlands is one of the key objectives of the newly announced GBA development plan. This objective is crucial to the sustainable development and success of the GBA because the loss of coastal wetlands in the area would lead to significant social and economic losses. Hong Kong is one of the key stakeholders in the efforts to protect coastal wetlands. The world-renowned Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve is located on the Hong Kong side of Inner Deep Bay with the Guangdong Neilingding Island Futian National Reserve (GNIFNR) lying on the opposite shore. The two wetlands together have special ecological value to the city and the area. Also, as one of the leading cities in the area with the mission of providing quality living to attract international talent, Hong Kong has an inescapable obligation to contribute to the conservation of coastal wetlands in the area.

The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK), with a long and excellent track record in environmental research, aims to contribute to Hong Kong’s efforts in coastal wetland conservation through this project — the establishment of the University Research Facilities (URF) for basic and applied research on coastal wetlands in the GBA. We propose the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for environmental research, and the organisation of a seminar, a workshop and an international conference for knowledge dissemination and exchange among stakeholders. The mission of the URF will be to line up coastal wetland researchers in the GBA to foster scientific research in coastal wetland ecology and conservation. The URF will serve as a regional platform to rally and inform scientists, government officials, and NGO workers with evidence-based information on the formulation of coastal wetland conservation policies. This proposed project is also in line with OUHK’s strategic development to systematically develop and strengthen its research infrastructures in environmental science. Building on the success of the Institute for Research in Innovative Technology and Sustainability (IRITS), which was established in 2015 with support from the Research Grants Council, the project will enhance research on coastal wetland conservation in the GBA along three research themes — (1) omics study, (2) cell physiology and signalling, and (3) environmental monitoring; and contribute to the city’s and the GBA’s environmental protection efforts.

This proposed project will expand and strengthen OUHK’s research capability for environmental monitoring and protection research, which is currently constrained by the small number of general laboratory equipment and facilities. The URF, combining existing equipment and facilities in OUHK with the proposed acquisition, will leverage the integrated advantages of OUHK in environmental research. The facilities will also be open to other academics in the region to facilitate collaborations and knowledge exchange. The URF will nurture new ideas for cutting-edge coastal wetland research and put OUHK in a stronger position to contribute to coastal wetland research and conservation in the area.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IDS(R)24/19
Project Title: Establish the Research Centre for Advanced Design, Materials and Manufacturing Technologies (RCADMM) in PolyU SPEED (PolyU SPEED)

If Hong Kong wishes to remain competitive in the export-led market, our industries need to switch from low-cost Original Equipment Manufacturer to high-value-added Original Brand Manufacturer. It is important to create our own brand name of top-quality products to maintain excellent status in the international market, which implies the urgent need for multidisciplinary expertise of innovative high-end product design. Being the most densely populated international city, there are many technical problems encountered in Hong Kong relating to the operation on transportation and utility systems. These problems may impose significant and negative impacts on the community and environment if they are not handled properly. The solutions are usually obtained from safe, reliable, sustainable and effective engineering design. The above facts emphasize the importance of engineering design to Hong Kong. Successfulness of an engineering design project involves application of complex engineering physics and sciences including materials technology, mechanics, dynamics and control, thermo-fluids and manufacturing engineering to obtain solutions.

To help Hong Kong solving technical problems and nurturing expertise in these areas, PolyU SPEED will develop the Research Centre for Advanced Design, Materials and Manufacturing Technologies (RCADMM) to enhance relevant research activities by:

1) Helping and consolidating individual research efforts.
2) Obtaining and utilizing resources and facilities for research projects in focused areas.
3) Providing consultancy services and seminars/workshops/conferences to the publics.
4) Enhancing research outputs of high impact and training research personnel/students.
5) Encouraging research collaboration and developing research and industrial networks.
6) Forming critical masses in the identified research areas as the long-term target.

The self-sustained RCADMM aims to achieve the following objectives by practicing the above research activities in the focused areas within a 3-year cycle:

1) To enhance our experience, ability and status in performing research work.
2) To acquire funding from various possible sources to support research activities especially in dealing with the community and environmental problems.
3) To provide professional services to the Government/industry/community sectors in solving related problems and providing relevant seminars/workshops/conferences.
4) To work for or with the industry/community in developing materials/devices/systems to deal with the corporation/market needs.
5) To contribute new knowledge to academic sectors by presenting research findings via international conferences or refereed journals.
6) To underpin teaching with knowledge created from research and development works. Efforts will be made to provide final year projects, to update and improve subject syllabuses and programme curricula, and to nurture research personnel/students.

In the first 3-year cycle (1/2020 –12/2022), the RCADMM plans to achieve the following targets (deliverables):

1) Acquisition of research funding in every year by: (i) submitting at least four proposals to RGC’s Faculty Development Scheme (FDS); and (ii) submitting at least four proposals to apply for PolyU CPCE Research Fund (internal financial support will be provided as seeding money for FDS proposals in the next year).
2) Presentation of research outputs in every year by: (i) publishing at least sixteen quality journal and conference papers; and (ii) organizing at least four workshops/seminars (with one seminar upgrading to become a regional/international conference).
3) Provide research experience to at least sixteen research personnel/students annually.
4) Underpin teaching by research regularly via updating/improving programme curricula and subject syllabuses and providing final year projects.
5) Development of collaboration network with universities and industries by performing joint research/consultancy projects during this 3-year cycle.
6) Development of critical masses in research in the areas of: (i) Advanced design technology; (ii) Advanced materials technology; and (iii) Advanced manufacturing technology in this 3-year cycle.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IDS(R)41/19
Project Title: Development of Institutional Research Capacity - First Phase: Building Infrastructure and Research Capacity of Academic Staff (YCCECE)

The College will set up a Research Office which will, under the leadership of the College, provide support in developing an institutional framework for research comprising the necessary policies and guidelines and processes for governing the conduct of research in order to ensure that the research work at the College for both academic staff and students is quality assured and conducted to required standards set and maintained by the college and external advisers.

The Research Office will also play the following important roles: (i) helping professorial staff to conduct high quality research and apply for research funding; (ii) supporting junior members of the academic team to develop knowledge and skills for conducting research; and (iii) supporting student for conducting action research in the final year of their program.

For these developments, the Research Office will be engaged in identifying opportunities for external research funds; assisting with the preparation of external grant applications; identifying and connecting with potential collaborators; assisting with conducting research by providing research assistants and other support; providing workshops on the external grant application process, research methods, writing reports, and submitting research outcomes to academic journals, etc.; advocating for our academic staff with external research sponsors and collaborators; administering all aspects of the sponsored research process including ensuring compliance with applicable rules and laws; fostering the creation, management and technological transfer of intellectual property; reporting research performance internally; and developing and managing platform for disseminating research outcomes.


Institutional Development Scheme (IDS) Collaborative Research Grant - Project Abstract

Project Reference No.: UGC/IDS(C)14/B(E)01/19
Project Title: Development of Renewable Energy for Decarbonising and Modelling Sustainable Transport and Logistics Operations in Smart Cities of Greater Bay Area (HSUHK/THEi)

The need for sustainable low-carbon transport and logistics has become one of the top priorities in most countries since emission targets were set at the Conference of Parties to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). Many have also set policy goals to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 or 2040. Carbon mitigation in the transport and logistics sector was emphasised in the recent World Economic Forums, as this sector is the second-largest carbon emitter in the world. Promoting the development of renewable energy as an integral part of mitigating climate change was also stressed in the Policy Address of Hong Kong in 2018. With a target set in Hong Kong to reduce carbon intensity by between 65% and 70% by 2030 compared with the 2005 level, exploration of the use of renewable energy in major vehicles in transport and logistics is critical to achieve Hong Kong’s long-term decarbonisation strategy and to become a smart city with low-carbon transport and logistics. This project aims to develop a vehicle product carbon footprint model for selected types of vehicles used in transport and logistics, design a renewable energy hydrogen-powered fuel cell prototype for motor cars and trucks, develop a sustainable transport research database, and analyse the economic and environmental effects on Hong Kong and cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA). The project deliverables will have great value and high impact in academic research, industry and the community. The novel vehicle product carbon footprint method, the development of solid-state hydrogen fuel cell as a renewable energy source for vehicles and the economic and environmental impact of advanced vehicles on Hong Kong and cities of the GBA will provide valuable academic insights and findings. The project will supplement teaching materials on sustainable transportation, corporate social responsibility and shipping and transport logistics with useful materials and case studies. It will also provide a good reference for policies of sustainability in transport and logistics. In the long run, the project will contribute to achieving zero-carbon transport and logistics in the smart cities of the GBA, including Hong Kong.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IDS(C)15/H01/19
Project Title: Youth Identity Status and its Psychosocial Correlates: A Longitudinal Study in Hong Kong (Shue Yan)

This study aims to explore the “identity status” of the youth and the psychosocial factors influencing it in Hong Kong. Youth identity status concerns the condition of an identity (e.g., completeness, stability) and its formation process in young people. Research findings in the West have found that youth identity status affects the attitude and behaviour of young people. In Hong Kong, very few studies have examined the identity status of young people and its effects on their psychosocial functioning. Youth identity status is examined with regard to the work by Erickson and Marcia since the 1960s, and the latest modification of Marcia’s scale by Luyckx and colleagues in 2008 will be used. Psychosocial factors are drawn from youth’s several major domains of life, including “prosocial behaviour and civic engagement”, “deviant behaviour”, “use of social media”, and “career uncertainty”, and they are expected to affect youth identity status, as well as be affected by it. Two student samples (N=2,000 each) will be drawn from secondary schools and universities and tertiary institutions, respectively. A longitudinal research design will be adopted, involving four waves of data collection, spaced out by three six-month intervals. Findings of the study will help us understand how the process of youth identity formation may affect their attitude and behaviour in the life domains, and hence will have impacts on youth policy.


Project Reference No.: UGC/IDS(C)25/E02/19
Project Title: The Design and Development of a Vertical Remote Sensing System for Tailpipe Emissions (VRSE) System in Single-lane Applications (THEi)

This project aims to resolve the challenges by developing an innovative approach to design and build a prototype Vertical Remote Sensing of Emissions (VRSE) System with the use of optical remote sensing devices with the aid of computer modelling for optimized performance.

The VRSE System can increase the effectiveness of a diesel vehicle emissions measurement. There will be other benefits such as being more cost-effective because it can be set up at a strategic location, which can substitute the regular rotation of the deployment of a horizontal sensing system over different locations, reduced vulnerability of the sensing equipment to the passing vehicles, etc. If the system can work on diesel vehicle emissions, it can also be used to detect the emissions of petrol and LPG vehicles with the same advantages over a horizontal sensing system.