HKMU Institutional Repository
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(for projects granted by Research Grants Council)
HKMU Institutional Repository
(for projects granted by Research Grants Council)
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr WOO Ka Shing (B&A)

    Abstract

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Woo, K. S. & Chan, Y. L. (2016). Examining the Moderating Role of Chinese Cultural Values on the Relationship between Emotional Labour Acting Strategies and Related Micro-expressions. Paper presented at the Australian New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Conference, Australia, December 2016. Retrieved from http://www.mang.canterbury.ac.nz/ANZMAC/ANZMAC%20proceedings%202016.pdf
    Chan, Y. L. & Woo, K. S. (2016). Examining the Impact of Chinese Cultural Values on Emotional Labour Acting Strategies. Paper presented at the Australian New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Conference, Australia, December 2016. Retrieved from http://www.anzam.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf-manager/2801_ANZAM-2016-239-FILE001.PDF
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Angus WONG Kin Yeung (S&T)

    Abstract

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

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

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Hou, L., Wong, K. Y., Yeung, K. H. & Choy, S. S. (2016). Using trust management to defend against routing disruption attacks for cognitive radio networks. Paper presented at the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics-China (ICCE-China), Guangzhou, China, December 2016. Retrieved from http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7849766/?reload=true
    Hou, L., Wong, K. Y., & Yeung, K. H. (2016). Exploring the Impact of Node Cooperation Level on Routing in Cognitive Radio Networks. Paper presented at The Sixth International Conference on Advances in Cognitive Radio, Lisbon, Portugal, February 2016. Retrieved from https://www.thinkmind.org/download.php?articleid=cocora_2016_1_20_80024
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr CHAN Chi Wai (E&L)

    Abstract

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Chan, C. W. (2017). Leading today’s kindergartens: Practices of strategic leadership in Hong Kong’s early childhood education. Educational Management Administration & Leadership. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.ouhk.edu.hk/doi/full/10.1177/1741143217694892

    Conference Papers
    Chan, C. W. (2017). Contextual intelligence in school leadership. Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Conference on Social Sciences and Management 2017. Taipei, Taiwan, March 2017.
    Chan, C. W. (2016). A pilot study about the strategic leadership practices of kindergarten leaders in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 2015 International Symposium on Teaching, Education, and Learning. Nagoya, Japan, July 2016.
  • Principal Investigator

    Mr Edmund CHENG Wai (A&SS)

    Abstract

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

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

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Cheng, W. & Yuen, S. (2017). Neither repression nor concession? A regime’s attrition against massive protests. Political Studies, 65 (3), 611-630. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0032321716674024
    Cheng, W. & Chan, W. Y. (2017). Explaining spontaneous occupation: antecedents, contingencies and spaces in the Umbrella Movement. Social Movement Studies, 16 (2), 222-239. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14742837.2016.1252667
    Cheng, W. (2016). Street politics in a hybrid regime: The diffusion of political activism in post-colonial Hong Kong. The China Quarterly, 226, 383-406. Retrieved from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/china-quarterly/article/street-politics-in-a-hybrid-regime-the-diffusion-of-political-activism-in-postcolonial-hong-kong/FEF8107574306D4ADC7D65A3D562B2BF

    Conference Papers
    Cheng, W. (2015). Reinventing Civic Pride: Rationality and Utopianism in the Umbrella Movement. Paper presented at The Second Association-in-Asia Conference, Academia Sinica, Taipei, June 2015.
    Cheng, W. & Yuen, S. (2014). The Umbrella Movement and its Impact on Hong Kong’s Civil Society. Paper presented at the Workshop on Hong Kong’s Social Transformation, Academia Sinica, Taipei, November 2014.
    Cheng, W. (2014). How Feedback Matters? The Diffusion of Activism in Postcolonial Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Workshop on the Boundaries of Democracy, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, October 2014.
  • Principal Investigator

    Professor CHIU Yu Lok (A&SS)

    Abstract

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

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Book
    Chiu, Y. L. (2016). Modern South-coming Intellectual’s Impression of Hong Kong and Their Nationalist Awareness, 3 Volumes《近代南來文人的香港印象與國族意識》三卷. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.jointpublishing.com/publishing/catalogue/humanity-academic/world-vision/history/9789620440854.aspx
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Winnie CHOR Oi Wan (A&SS)

    Abstract

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Chor, W. (2018). Sentence final particles as epistemic modulators in Cantonese conversations: A discourse-pragmatic perspective. Journal of Pragmatics, 129, 34-47. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378216617305374
    Chor, O. W., Yap, F. H. & Wong, T. S. (2016). Chinese Interrogative Particles as Talk Coordinators at the Right-Periphery – A Discourse-Pragmatic Perspective. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 17(2), 178-207. Retrieved from http://www.jbe-platform.com/content/journals/10.1075/jhp.17.2.02cho

    Book Chapter
    Chor, O. W. (2015). Epistemic modulations and speakers stance in Cantonese conversations. In M. Harvey and A. Antonia (Eds.), The 45th Australian Linguistic Society Conference Proceedings - 2014. (pp.104 – 130). The University of Newcastle. Retrieved from http://ogma.newcastle.edu.au:8080/vital/access/manager/Repository/uon:21580

    Conference Papers
    Chor, O. W. & Yap, F. H.(2017). Cantonese interrogative particles as (inter)subjective stance markers: a discourse-pragmatic perspective. Paper presented at the 15th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA). Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 2017. Retrieved from http://ipra.uantwerpen.be/download.aspx?c=.CONFERENCE15&n=1537&ct=1537&e=18722
    Chor, O. W. (2016). Sentence final particles as epistemic modulators in Cantonese conversations – a discourse-pragmatic perspective. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics (HAAL). The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, June 2016.
    Chor, O. W. (2016). Implicit deicticity and negative attitudinal marking: The case of nei di and go di [Demonstrative + Classifier] constructions in Cantonese discourse. Paper presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (SEALS-26). Manila, the Philippines, May 2016.
    Chor, O. W. (2016). Knowing is seeing – on the grammaticalization and subjectification of tai2 “see” in Cantonese. Paper presented at the 28th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-28). Brigham Young University, Utah, US, May 2016. Retrieved from https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/a6646b_1746514d8536488f9801f8dfd858bf76.pdf
    Chor, O. W. & Yap, F. H. (2016). Ho2 as a talk coordinator in Cantonese conversations - a discourse-pragmatic perspective. Paper presented at the 20th International Conference on Yue Dialects. Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, December 2015. Retrieved from http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/chi/yue20/abstract_book_web_1.pdf
    Chor, O. W. (2016). Expressing epistemic and evidential meanings in Cantonese: Subjectification of the perception verb tai2 ‘see’ and related constructions. Paper presented at the 48th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics. University of California, Santa Barbara, US, August 2015. Retrieved from http://www.linguistics.ucsb.edu/icstll/ICSTLL48%20Abstracts.pdf
    Chor, O. W. (2016). Epistemic modulations and speaker stance in Cantonese conversations. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society (ALS). Western Sydney University, Australia, December 2014. Retrieved from http://www.als.asn.au/sites/default/files/ALSNewcastle2014Abstracts.pdf
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr LI Kam Cheong (URC)

    Abstract

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

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2019). The effects of mobile learning for nursing students: An integrative evaluation of learning process, learning motivation, and study performance. International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, 13(1), 51-67. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1504/IJMLO.2019.096471
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2017). Mobile learning in nursing education: Catering for students and teachers’ needs. Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, 12(2), 171-183. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1108/AAOUJ-04-2017-0027

    Book Chapters
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2018). Evaluation of the use of mobile devices for clinical practicum in nursing education. In Cheung et al. (Eds), Blended Learning: Enhancing Learning Success (pp. 215-226), Springer. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94505-7_17
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2018). Preference and readiness of nursing students for mobile learning. In: Li et al. (Eds), Innovations in Open and Flexible Education (pp. 97-107). Springer. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-7995-5_9
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2017). Effects of mobile apps on learning motivation and study performance of nursing students. In: S.K.S. Cheung, L.-f. Kwok, W.W.K. Ma, L.-K. Lee, H. Yang (Eds), Blended Learning: New Challenges and Innovative Practices (pp. 259–269). Springer. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59360-9_23

    Conference Papers
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2016). The effects of mobile learning on students’ learning motivation and study performance. Paper presented at the 30th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities. Philippines, October 2016.
    Li, K. C. & Wong, T. M. (2016). A review of indicators of success in mobile learning. Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Open and Flexible Education. Hong Kong, July 2016.
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2016). Preparing for mobile learning in nursing education: Perspectives of students and teacher. Paper presented at the 29th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities. Malaysia, November 2015.
    Li, K. C., Lee, Y. K., Wong, S. L., Yau, S. Y. & Wong, T. M. (2015). Mobile learning in nursing education: Preference and readiness of nursing students. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Open and Flexible Education. Hong Kong, July 2015.
  • Principal Investigator

    Professor Robin YANG Ruo Wei (E&L)

    Abstract

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Yang, R. R. (2018). Sorry Used by L2 Adult Learner: Managing Learning Opportunity and Interpersonal Relationship in Classroom Interaction. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(2), 48-55. Retrieved from http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ijel/article/view/71616
    Yang, R. R. (2017). Sorry as a Marker for Self-negation Used by Learners in Language Classrooms. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 5(6), 391-399. Retrieved from http://www.hrpub.org/download/20171130/LLS1-19310310.pdf

    Conference Papers
    Yang, R. R. W. (2017). Sorry as an indicator of self-negation used by learners in L2 classroom. Paper presented at the Fifteenth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities. London, the U.K., July 2017.
    Yang, R. R. W. (2017). Sorry used by L2 learner: Managing learning opportunity and interpersonal relationship in classroom interaction. Paper presented at the 18th International Conference on Linguistics & Language Research (ICLLR). Rome, Italy, June 2017. Retrieved from https://gplra.org/proceeedings/19.pdf
    Yang, R. R. W. (2016). Analysis of learner code-switched self-repetition in L2 classroom talk. Paper presented at the BAAL Language Learning and Teaching SIG conference. Lancaster, the U.K., June 2016. Retrieved from http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/baal-sig-learn-teach/files/2015/10/BAAL-SIG-LLT-Programme-Booklet-for-website-FINAL.pdf
    Yang, R. R. W. (2015). Strategies for other-repair in L2 Chinese classroom. Paper presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Languages & Linguistics. Athens, Greece. July 2015. Retrieved from https://www.atiner.gr/abstracts/2015ABST-LNG.pdf
    Yang, R. R. W. (2015). Conversational repair and its relationship with L2 acquisition: Analysis of online tutorials for adults learning Chinese. Paper presented at the Canada International Conference on Education. Toronto, Canada, June 2015.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Sandy CHOI Pin Pin (S&T)

    Abstract

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

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Choi, S. P. P., Yeung, C. C. Y. & Lee, J. K. L. (2018). A Phenomenological Study of the Work Environment in Long-Term Care Facilities for the Older Adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 0733464818776786. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0733464818776786
    Choi, S. P. P., Yeung, C. C. Y. & Lee, J. K. L. (2015). Beyond numbers and ratios: A study of the manpower shortage phenomenon in long-term care facilities for the elderly in Hong Kong. The Journal of Nursing Home Research, 1, 45-46. Retrieved from http://www.nursing-home-research.com/ABSTRACT%20NH_.pdf

    Conference Papers
    Choi, S. P. P., Yeung, C. C. Y. & Lee, J. K. L. (2015). Beyond numbers and ratios: A study of the manpower shortage phenomenon in long-term care facilities for the elderly in Hong Kong. Conference of the Nursing Home Research International Working Group. Toulouse, France, December 2015.
    Yeung, C. Y. (2016). Beyond the “Quantitative Boundary”: Using Van Kaam’s controlled explication method to delineate the phenomenon of staff shortage in Hong Kong residential aged care. The 22nd Quantitative Health Research Conference of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology. Alberta, Canada, 15–19 October 2016.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Kevin HUNG King Fai (S&T)

    Abstract

    In the past, numerous parties have used traditional exercises as interventions for improving physical activity levels in individuals. These were found effective in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension. Recent studies have shown that exergames can provide an alternative means of physical activity intervention. The term ―”exergame” refers to the newly emerged category of games which combines video games with physical exercise. Instead of using handheld controllers, the participant needs to control and play exergames with body movements and gestures, which are captured by a camera or motion sensors. Noting the potential health benefits, various clinics have started investigating the use of exergames to promote long-term and sustained health. Their preliminary results have confirmed that exergames can indeed help reduce sedentary lifestyle, enhance balance competence and improve physical functioning in healthy people, the elderly and stroke patients. Because exergames are popular and easily accepted by people of a wide range of ages and cultures, many believe that they have the potential to be officially used in physical therapy, physical fitness training and sports training. More health organizations now seriously consider exergames for health care provision. For example, in a 2011 summit organized by the American Heart Association (AHA), there was a special address about the development of exergames to promote healthy lifestyle.

    Despite the promising results from studies and worldwide efforts, two challenges remain to be tackled before exergames can be widely and effectively deployed in the above applications. First, there is currently no standard or guideline for the prescription of exergame-based physical activity intervention. There is limited information about the relationship between game types, corresponding energy expenditure, body movements and muscle activities. Previous studies have only compared different gaming levels and inter-game energy expenditure, concluding that intensities of exergames varied greatly. However, the factors affecting energy expenditure have not been systematically analyzed. Some have related the amount of limb movements to energy expenditure, but their results were based only on researchers’ observations rather than quantitative analysis. Without the information, it is impossible for health professionals to make an informed selection of games for the targeted health benefits. Second, previous studies have revealed that players’ levels of energy expenditure in exergames are generally lower than in traditional exercises, suggesting the limitation of current exergaming platforms in providing adequate intensities of interventions. One reason for this is the absence of force haptic feedback. The existing game control interfaces are solely based on passive sensing (e.g. capturing body movements with a camera or with a handheld device). They can at most provide tactile haptic in the form of vibration, but not force haptic feedback. Compared to real sports, players’ interactions in exergames are less physical and this factor discourages the widespread use of exergames in sports training. Considering the above problems, the present project aims to:

    - design and develop an exergaming system with tactile and force haptic feedback;
    - use the developed exergaming system to investigate the effects of tactile and force haptic feedback on energy expenditure and muscle activities during exergaming; and
    - use the developed exergaming system to investigate the relationship between body movements, energy expenditure and muscle activities during upper-extremity-focused exergames and lower-extremity-focused exergames.

    The novel haptics components will be made by combining a series of small electromagnetic brakes (EBs) with 3D-printed braces worn on the player‘s limbs. It is hypothesized that i) the addition of force haptic feedback in an exergame system will result in higher energy cost, which is closer to that in traditional exercises, and ii) exergames involving more muscle activities will produce greater energy expenditure. After this exergaming system is finalized, it will be used in subsequent projects for setting guideline for prescribing exergame interventions. The results will provide scientific evidence to the exergame industry for designing more effective health-benefitting games.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Wan, N., Hung, K., Cheung, H. Y., Liang, R., Chu, C., Choy, S. O., Ng, D. & Chow, D. H.K. (2017) Development and Evaluation of a Haptic-based Upper-limb Orthosis for Rehabilitation ICICI-BME 2017. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Instrumentation, Communication, Information Technology & Biomedical Engineering. Bandung, Indonesia. November 2017
    Rongle, L., Wan, N., Hung, K., Choy, S. O., Chu, C., Ng, D. & Chow D. H. K. (2017). China Development of an Upper-limb Orthosis with Force Haptic Feedback for Rehabilitation. Paper presented at the 11th IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society International Summer School & Symposium on Medical Devices & Biosensors. Shenzhen, July 2017.
    Hung, K., Wan, N., Choy., S. O., Chu, C. & Chow, D. H.K. (2016). Design of an Exergaming System with Haptic Feedback for the Investigation of Energy Expenditure and Muscle Activities. Paper presented at the IEEE 14th International Conference on Industrial Informatics. Poitiers, France, July 2016.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Eric SZE Tung Po (S&T)

    Abstract

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

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

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

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

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

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Chan, K. K., Kwok, C., Sze, E. & Lee, F. (2018). Evaluation of the Use of TRIzol-Based Protein Extraction Approach for Gel-Based Proteomic Analysis of Dried Seafood Products and Chinese Tonic Foods. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(7), 1998. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/19/7/1998/htm
    Chan, R. C.H., Lam S. S. W., Fong F. L. Y., Chan D. T. W., Lee F. W. F. & Sze E. T. P. (2018) Optimization of protein extraction and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis profiles for the identification of Cordyceps sinensis and other similar species. PLoS ONE, 13(8), e0202779. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202779

    Conference Paper
    Sze, E. T. P. (2017). Authentication of Cordyceps sinesis and other counterfeit species by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Food Safety & Regulatory Measures, Milan, Italy, June 2017.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Rebecca LAU Suk Yin (B&A)

    Abstract

    Teams are becoming more prevalent in organizations nowadays. Researchers have long identified the benefits of employees' close social exchange relationships in which support, feedback, information, and other social resources are shared. The benefits include higher commitment to the organization, improved satisfaction with the job, and enhanced job performance. Nevertheless, situations do exist in which some employees prefer to stay distant from their coworkers, and are unwilling to offer social resources to others. Given the benefits of employee-sharing to individual attitudes and behaviors, why are there still some employees who are unwilling to get involved?

    This study's first aim is to provide an answer to this question by taking a personality perspective. People have different personality traits, and we believe that these differences may explain why some people are more willing than others to exchange social resources. In particular, three traits are explored: (1)the propensity to trust, i.e. the degree to which one is willing to trust others;(2)reciprocation wariness, i.e. the degree to which one is worried that one will be taken advantage of in a social relationship; and (3)exchange ideology, which refers to the extent to which one follows the norm of reciprocity, i.e. the social norm to return a favor when one is received.

    After answering the question "why are some employees unwilling to get involved?" the question that follows is "what can be done then?" Here, we take it one step further to explore how organizational settings may affect the association between personality and team members' social exchange relationships. Two contextual features are investigated: task interdependence and shared leadership. Task interdependence represents the degree to which a task requires employees to coordinate activities or exchange information to get it done. Shared leadership is a leadership style in which team members share the responsibilities of a leader, each thus taking a role as a leader. We believe that, by increasing task interdependence and shared leadership among team members, employees -even if they are inclined not to share because of personality characteristics-become more motivated to exchange with each other. This exploration, we believe, is of the utmost importance as it offers practitioners managerial insights. Employers, in most cases, cannot select employees on the basis of personality. If they are aware that certain contextual features may stimulate employees to share and exchange social resources, they can design the work context accordingly to encourage their employees to become more involved in social relationships. In addition, this will help demonstrate the relevance of trait activation theory and social identity theory in the examination of employees' social exchange relationships.

    Finally, we try to answer one more question: "can employees improve work-life balance by getting more involved in social exchanges?" The concept of work-life balance is no longer new to employers and employees. Nevertheless, it is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve it fully. Employers have been advised to develop various organizational interventions to help employees strike work-life balance. Many of these interventions, however, incur costs which may be difficult to justify or may put small firms in difficult financial situations. In this study, we propose that stimulating the development of close social exchange relationships among team members may help. As employees are more engaged in social exchanges with their team members, they get more social resources that are related to their work, hence promoting more efficient and effective completion of their tasks. In addition, through these close relationships, they also receive family-related information and help from their coworkers which can enhance the functioning of their family role. As a consequence, when the functioning of both the work and family roles is enriched, the conflict between these two roles is minimized, resulting in a higher work-life balance experience.

    A cross-sectional research design is proposed to test the relationships mentioned above. Data will be collected from employees working in various occupations and organizations in Hong Kong. It is hoped that this study will shed light on why some employees are unwilling to 'return the favor' in teams and how managers can design the work context accordingly to promote social exchanges which eventually will benefit not only the organization (by improving employees' job performance) but also the employees (by achieving work-life balance).

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Lau, R.S., Cheung, G. W. & Cooper–Thomas, H. D. (2021). The influence of dispositions and shared leadership on team–member exchange. Journal of Managerial Psychology. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-01-2020-0025

    Conference Papers
    Lau, R. S. (2018). Achieving Work-Life Balance through Team-Member Exchange. Paper presented at the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) Conference 2018. Adelaide, February 2018.
    Lau, R. S. (2017). The Intersection of Innovation in Human Resource Management and Work-Life Balance. Paper presented at the Institute of International Business and Governance (IIBG) 2017 Annual Academia-Industry Exchange. Hong Kong, December 2017.
    Lau, R. S. (2016). Personality and Contextual Influence on Team-Member Exchange. Paper presented at the Australian New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Conference 2016. Brisbane, December 2016.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Eddie LAW Kuok Kei (B&A)

    Abstract

    Much of the knowledge management (KM) literature focuses on knowledge workers in formal office settings and treats knowledge as an objectified and commodified asset. However, the theoretical lens of 'knowledge-as-situated-practice', which focuses on how individuals come to apprehend and define knowledge that is embedded and situated in everyday work practices, has challenged such conventional wisdom. For example, Gherardi and Nicolini (2002) have demonstrated the social and cultural character of the learning of safety knowledge by building-site novices. Later, by anchoring the same theoretical perspective, Kamoche and Maguire (2011) have examined how coalminers attempted to legitimize and 'trade' their socially constructed risk assessment knowledge (pit sense) with the management for job security and found evidence of the management treating the workers' contextual tacit knowledge as a hindrance to the pursuit of economic gain. These findings demonstrated that there is much to be learnt regarding the emergence and sharing of situated knowledge in non-traditional settings, and that its legitimization and appropriation are often contested by the management.

    The proposed research seeks to better theorize the 'knowledge-as-situated-practice' perspective by focusing on its contentious nature with regard to its legitimization, sharing, and appropriation within webs of power relations in a non-traditional, peripheral context - the scaffolding industry. A scaffold is a kind of temporary structure used in construction work to provide access and platforms to enable work to be done by other construction workers. The erection and dismantling of a scaffold tower requires sophisticated knowledge and thorough risk assessment emerging from and embodied in the senses and interactions of scaffold workers.

    Three core objectives guide our research. First, we will examine how scaffold workers identify their working knowledge as constituted in everyday practices, and how they conceptualize the legitimization and value of the knowledge they possess. This analytical approach will shed further light on the emergent, yet under-researched, view of knowledge as social accomplishment of workers. Second, we will attempt to understand in what forms, and by means of what mechanisms, scaffold workers articulate and transfer their socially constructed, embodied and sensory knowledge to others, particularly novices. This will allow us to better depict the sharing and inheritance of the seemingly ambiguous form of situated knowledge. Third, we will examine how the appropriability of knowledge is contested and determined between the scaffold workers and the management. While intellectual workers might withhold their knowledge to retain their 'bargaining power' vis-?-vis management, scaffold workers might be less inclined to take such a risk, and enjoy potentially less power. We see a compelling need to explore this dilemma in further research. Given the highly complex nature of the research setting, a qualitative research design is deemed suitable for exploring the phenomenon in question. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with scaffold workers, the management of scaffolding companies and relevant government officials responsible for promoting safety on construction sites. The interviews are used to collect insights and information on how scaffolding and risk assessment knowledge is defined, shared and learned among scaffold workers, as well as whether and how its legitimization and appropriation would come under threat when the management or the government introduce "more bureaucratic procedures rationalized on the basis of commercial outcomes and health and safety" (Kamoche & Maguire, 2011, p. 725).

    The proposed research will contribute to the literature by unpacking how situated knowledge is legitimized, shared and appropriated by workers under the threat of imposition of modern scientific safety measures. It thus enables us to unravel potential or latent conflicts and ambiguities attendant to the management of situated and sensory knowledge. It also casts light on the KM practices in the under-researched peripheral contexts in which conventional wisdom may not be appropriate and helps advance the emerging paradigm of the importance of situated and sensory knowledge.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Law, K. K. & Kamoche, K. (2017). The legitimization, learning, and appropriation of risk assessment knowledge amongst bamboo scaffolders. Paper presented at the 33rd European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) Colloquium. Copenhagen, Denmark, July 2017.
    Law, K. K. & Kamoche, K. (2017). Situated Knowledge in Power Relations: Its Legitimization, Sharing and Appropriation. Paper presented at the 23rd Organization Science Winter Conference, Park City, Utah, USA, 2-5 February, 2017.
  • Principal Investigator

    Ms Pauline HUNG Hie Yiin (B&A)

    Abstract

    This project examines the impacts of family firms on CEO compensation and dividend policy, and whether family shareholders make use of compensation and dividend practices as alternative means to expropriate firm resources, or both. The Hong Kong economy is dominated by family firms (SCMP, 2002). In October 2014, of the 50 leading Hong Kong firms, 22 are family firms (market value: $4,734,298 million), representing 19.35% of total market capitalization. Through the years, executive compensation has been an unresolved issue among the practitioners and academia. Recently, excessive CEO pay has become a topic of debate, particularly after the financial tsunami. Dividend policy is important as dividend payment represents the return of investment for shareholders and potential investors which affects the attractiveness of the shares. In this project, we explore how these corporate policies are designed in family firms.

    Agency problems exist when there is separation of ownership and management (Type I) and majority-minority shareholders conflicts (Type II). Type II agency problems between majority and minority shareholders are evitable for family firms. Family firms with concentrated ownership have been criticized for severe entrenchment problems due to owner opportunism in expropriating firm resources at the expense of minority shareholders. For Type I agency problems relating to owner-manager conflicts, their severity depends on whether family-owners have enlarged their influence by serving as managers. In family firms, it is common for family-owners to appoint family-members to hold board and executive positions. This situation of ownership domination with control often exacerbates the agency problems.

    Agency theory suggests that CEO compensation and dividend payment practices can be used to mitigate owner-manager and majority-minority shareholders conflicts. Incentive compensation can be offered to align the interests of agents and principals to motivate the managers to act in the best interest of shareholders. Cash dividend payment can be used to reduce free cash flow and corporate wealth from the abuse of managers and majority shareholders at the expense of minority shareholders. However, compensation practice and dividend policy can also be manipulated by the controlling shareholders for tunneling purposes. Owing to managerial and owner opportunism, managers and controlling shareholders can extract firm resources through excessive CEO compensation and large dividend payout. Therefore, in view of the significance of family firms in the Hong Kong economy, it is important to understand whether family firms make use of dividend and CEO compensation practices to tunnel firm resources, and the extent of these activities.

    First, we examine the impacts of family control on dividend policy to explore whether the family owners retain firm resources to increase the moral hazard conflicts between controlling and minority shareholders or distribute excessive dividends. Next, we study the differences in compensation for family-related CEOs, hired CEOs working in family firms and non-family firms. Finally, we test whether there is a substituting effect between CEO compensation practice and dividend policy in family firms to investigate whether compensation and dividend decisions are employed by family owners as alternative tunneling devices.

    This project attempts to offer contributions to several strands of the literature: family business, CEO compensation and dividend policy. In the literature, little attention is paid to the relation between dividend and compensation policies in family firms. As there is no tax on dividend income and dual-class share structure, Hong Kong offers a clean setting for such a study to help clarify the mixed evidence in previous research. This project provides evidence on whether family owners engage in tunneling activities and the extent of the expropriation. The findings may have an impact on policy-making on whether more monitoring is needed.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Adithipyangkul, P., Hung, H. Y. & Leung, T. Y. (2020). An Auditor's Perspective of Executive Incentive Pay and Dividend Payouts in Family Firms. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 42, 697-714. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10834-020-09729-1
    Conference Papers
    Adithipyangkul, P., Hung, H. Y. & Leung, T. Y. (2018). Executive Incentive Pay and Dividend Payouts in Family Firms: An Auditor’s Perspective. Paper presented at the 3rd Applied International Business Conference 2018. Malaysia, October 2018.
    Hung, H. Y. (2020). CEO Compensation and Dividend Policy in Family Firms: Hong Kong Evidence. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Research in Business, Management and Finance, Oxford, UK, 27–29 March 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Karen WONG Ho Yan (B&A)

    Abstract

    In a perfect market without any frictions, it is expected that shares will be traded at any given ending price point with an equal likelihood. However, the clustering phenomenon observed in the finance area indicates that stock prices would concentrate on some ri.htmlost digits, particularly round numbers. Psychological evidence argues that stock traders' preference for round numbers is because these thresholds are always taken as cognitive reference points for rough relative comparisons in investment decision-making. If such a round number bias is present in the security market, excess buying (selling) may be observed for 9-ending (1-ending) stock prices adjacent to an integer threshold. For example, a one-cent drop in the share price from $10.00 to $9.99 would motivate investors to generate an illusion of a one-dollar decline, which triggers a buy trade at this price point. On the contrary, if the share price rises from $10.00 to $10.01, a small premium relative to the round number would cause investors to initiate a sell trade at this price point. Furthermore, buy-sell imbalances around round numbers could have an impact on inducing the return predictability. Based on the global intraday high-frequency trading dataset, the impact of round number biases on trading behavior can be firstly evaluated by looking into the buy-sell imbalances and their induced return predictability by price points around round numbers.

    Following the marketing literature, the round number bias in price setting also motivates consumers to buy by means of increasing their purchase intention. Similarly, investors purchase intention might be enhanced if they perceive a price drop from the round number threshold. A higher purchase intention is likely to be associated with a shorter response time that investors take to complete the transaction. The inter-trade time recorded in the tick-by-tick data allows further investigation of investor response time in the face of share prices ending a penny above and below the round number. This is another effect of round number biases on trading behavior examined in the present research project.

    Finally, this study would conduct a country-level analysis on the impact of round number biases on buy-sell imbalances, returns, and transaction time using the global dataset. Specifically, I relate the cross-country determinants to macro variables such as culture, country governance, stock market features, and level of economic development and explore the extent to which investors adjust their trading pattern subject to distinct macro-structure settings.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Chen, T. (2017). Stock return anomalies from ending-digit effects around the world. Global Economic Review, 46(4), 464-494. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1226508X.2017.1355739
    Chen, T. (2017). Investor attention and global stock returns. Journal of Behavioral Finance, 18(3), 358-372. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15427560.2017.1331235

    Conference Papers
    Chen, T. (2017). Are there round-number biases in the international market. Presented at the AIB 2017 Annual Meeting. Dubai, UAE, July 2017.
    Chen, T. (2016). Stock return anomalies from ending-digit effects around the world. Presented at the 23rd Annual Conference of the Multinational Finance Society. Stockholm, Sweden, Jun 2016.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Anna TSO Wing Bo (A&SS)

    Abstract

    English academic writing skills are crucial for all university students, locally and worldwide. Students who are keen on academic writing are more likely to perform well in their studies and become high achievers in higher education. In Hong Kong, most tertiary institutions run compulsory English academic writing courses for Year1students. Unfortunately, English academic writing is often mistakenly viewed as a "transparent medium" (Lillis, 2006), or a set of core skills transferable to all contexts and all disciplines. Year after year, English academic writing, which should have been introduced as social and cultural practices, is unwittingly taught as generic study skills which are detached from authentic writing practices within different academic disciplines. While atomized skills -such as summarizing, mechanical drilling of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.-are included in the syllabuses of most generic writing courses, domain-specific discourses and genre-based writing instruction are often left unexplored. One reason for this is that the one-size-fits-all course setting [the kind of setting used at the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK)] is not compatible with the contextualized teaching approach. Despite the best effort of course designers, one English writing course cannot include a wide variety of text types and discourses from all disciplines. Consequently, academic writing courses that employ the simplistic study-skills approach fail to enhance university students' competency in English academic literacy, in particular academic writing.

    The mastery of English academic literacies means much more than sheer grammatical accuracy. As recent research has suggests, academic literacy is discipline-embedded and discourse-relevant (Hill, Tinker & Catterall, 2010; Kapp & Bangani, 2011). Also, academic writing is a socially situated activity (Russell et al, 2009) that involves meaning-making, identity forming, and power relations between writer and reader (Lea & Street, 1998). To help students improve their English academic writing, teachers of English academic writing need to have a better understanding of their students' literacy histories (Stein, 1998), literacy events and literacy practices (Barton, Hamilton, & Ivani?, 2000).Furthermore, universities have the responsibility to create the literacy environment to help their students gain better access to the discourse community (Ganobcsik-Williams, 2006). ESL learners should be given sufficient opportunities to develop their sociocultural sensitivity and reading and writing strategies for various written genres in their own field of study. The traditional English writing class setting should move beyond the grammatical and lexical deficit model. Also, different writing classes should be tailor-made for students coming from various disciplines.

    With the aim of helping local English second language (ESL) learners to improve their academic writing, this research study will explore Hong Kong students' literacy background and actual experiences of developing English academic literacy, with a special focus on academic writing. Using a mixed research methodology (e.g. Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004), this project will first collect quantitative data through a questionnaire survey of approximately 200 students. Then, it will obtain qualitative data from students' written assignments, subject teachers and tutors' feedback, in-depth interviews and follow-up contacts with students taking ENGLA101F: University English Writing Skills (a 5-credit foundation level course) at the OUHK. The research project aims to investigate how local ESL students make sense of English academic writing practices. It will also identify the major issues and challenges Hong Kong students face as they engage in English academic writing in the first 18 months of their university studies. Recommendations for improving the English academic writing course will also be made.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Chung, S. K. (2017). Computer-assisted Language Learning: Collocation Analysis and Learning in Corpora. The International Journal of Literacies, 24 (2), 33–44. Retrieved from https://cgscholar.com/bookstore/works/computerassisted-language-learning
    Tso, W. B. & Ho, S. Y. (2017). Teaching English Academic Writing in the Second Language Classroom and Beyond. Canadian Journal for Teacher Research, 5. Retrieved from http://www.teacherresearch.ca/blog/article/2017/05/28/325-teaching-english-academic-writing-in-the-second-language-classroom-and-beyond
    Tso, W. B. & Chung, S. K. (2017). Academic literacy development: University students’ perceptions and experiences of English academic writing in Southeast Asia. Pacific- Asian Education, 28, 51–61. Retrieved from http://pacificcircleconsortium.org/PAEJournal.html

    Book
    Tso, W. B., Ho, S. Y. & Chung, S. K. (2016). Academic Writing for Arts and Humanities Students. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education. x + 161 pages. Retrieved from http://hub.hku.hk/handle/10722/224921

    Conference Papers
    Tso, W. B. (2017). Chances and Challenges: Teaching Academic Writing to University Students in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Pre-conference Convention of the International Conference on Education and Workforce Development’17, Higher Colleges of Technology - Abu Dhabi Women's College, Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 2017.
    Tso, W. B. (2017). A Case Study of Academic Literacy Development at The Open University of Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 11th International Symposium on Teaching English at Tertiary Level, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, December 2016.
    Tso, W. B. (2016). Issues in Teaching and Learning Academic Writing at University. Paper presented at the Canadian International Conference on Advances in Education, Teaching & Technology 2016, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, July 2016.
    Tso, W. B. (2016). Academic Literacy Development at University: A Case Study in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 2016 Learning Conference: Education in the Age of the Anthropocene, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, July 2016.
    Chung, S. K. (2016). Computer Assisted Language Learning: Collocation Analysis and Learning. Paper presented at the 2016 Learning Conference: Education in the Age of the Anthropocene, Teaching & Technology 2016, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, July 2016.
    Chung, S. K. (2016). Collocation Analysis of the Word ‘habit’: Corpus-based Approaches. Paper presented at the 2nd Conference on Digital Humanities: Digitization and Reconceptualization of the Humanities, The Open University of Hong Kong, July 2016.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Eden LI Sum Hung (A&SS)

    Abstract

    The proposed research project will investigate political discourses as political acts in Hong Kong. Adopting the systemic functional perspective, it will study the political discourses employed by government officials of the People's Republic of China(PRC) and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region(HKSAR), key figures of various political parties including both pro-establishment and pan-democratic camps, and various interest groups, in their political acts in the course of the "5-Step Process of Constitutional Development", leading up to the election of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR in 2017.

    This proposed study will first collect spoken political discourses in the form of debates, interviews/media sessions and speeches and written political discourses in the form of press releases, news articles, statements, commentaries and editorials in both English and Chinese-the two official languages in Hong Kong. The materials will be analysed at four levels: lexical, clausal, discourse and contextual. Through these analyses, the study intends to answer the following questions: (1) What can the theory of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) contribute to analyzing political discourses as political acts in achieving political objectives and to theorizing the relationships between political discourse and political ideologies? (2) How are the political ideologies of government officials and key figures of political parties and interest groups reflected and embedded in their political discourses? (3)What particular political strategies do they adopt in the political discourses to achieve their objectives? (4) How do they change their political strategies at different political stages leading up to the election of the Chief Executive in 2017?

    The proposed study will make three contributions. First, the findings will provide a comprehensive understanding of how political figures employ political discourses to promote their ideologies at different political stages to achieve particular political objectives. Second, theoretically, the study will explicate how the theory of SFL can directly contribute to analyzing and theorizing political discourses as political acts to achieve political functions in political contexts, i.e. approaching political discourse analysis (PDA) from the systemic functional perspective. Third, pedagogically, it will build up a corpus of authentic political discourses, which we will call The Corpus of Hong Kong Political Discourse, to support the teaching and to serve as the learning materials of three course sat the Open University of Hong Kong: Language and Politics in the Society of Hong Kong as a General Education course; Language, Power and Society as a Language Studies course; and The Politics of Language as a Public Administration and Political Science course.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Li, E. S. H., Lui, P. L. T., & Fung, A. K. C. (2019). Systemic Functional Political Discourse Analysis: A Text-based Study. Routledge. Retrieved from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780429433542

    Book Chapter
    Li, E. S. H., Lui, P. L. T., & Li, J. (2017). The exploitation of first and second personal pronouns in political discourse: A case study in Hong Kong. Proceedings of The 4th International Academic Conference on Social Sciences (pp. 23–24). Singapore.

    Conference Papers
    Li, J., Li, E.S.H., Lui, P. & Fung, A. (2016). Building a Corpus of Political Discourse in Hong Kong Society. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics. Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, June 2016.
    Li, E.S.H., Lui, P., Li, J. & Fung, A. (2016). Move, Act and Agenda: Analysing the Discourse of a Televised Political Event in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the European Systemic Functional Linguistic Conference & Workshop. Salzburg University, Austria, July 2016.
    Li, E.S.H., Li, J., Lui, P., Fung, A. & Ching, T. (2016). Who are ‘we’: A case study of the use of personal reference ‘we’ in Hong Kong political discourse. Paper presented at the 9th Malaysia International Conference on Languages, Literature and Cultures. Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, August 2016.
    Fung, A., Li, E.S.H., Lui, P. & Li, J. (2016). Registerial cartography of political discourse. Paper presented at the 9th Malaysia International Conference on Languages, Literature and Cultures. Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, August 2016.
    Lui, P., Li, E.S.H., Li, J. & Fung, A. (2016). Language and Power: A Quantitative Profile of Interpersonal Linguistic Choice in Political Discourse. Paper presented at the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia Annual Conference. Monash University, Australia, December 2016.
    Li, E.S.H., Fung, A., Lui, P. & Li, J. (2016). Theorizing Political Discourse Analysis from a Systemic Functional Perspective. Paper presented at the International Conference on Asian Linguistics. Nguyen Tat Thanh University, Vietnam, December 2016.
    Fung, A., Li, E.S.H., Lui, P. & Li, J. (2016). Representing the ‘rule of law’ in Occupy Central Movement discourse: a systemic functional approach. Paper presented at the International Conference on Asian Linguistics. Nguyen Tat Thanh University, Vietnam, December 2016.
    Li, E.S.H., Chung, T., Lui, P., Li, J. & Fung, A. (2017). Contrasting the uses of first personal plural pronoun in Cantonese and in English in political discourse. Paper presented at the International Contrastive Linguistics Conference 8. National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, May 2017.
    Li, E.S.H., Fung, A., Lui, P. & Li, J. (2017). An appraisal analysis of the language of argumentation in two political events in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 2017 Conference of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand. University of Auckland, New Zealand, November 2017.
    Li, E.S.H., Lui, P., Ng, S., Fung, A. & Li, J. (2017). Subjectivity and Evidentiality in Cantonese: A Text-based Study in Political Discourse in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Second International Symposium on Chinese Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, December 2017.
    Li, E.S.H., Lui, P. & Li, J. (2017). The exploitation of first and second personal pronouns in political discourse: A case study in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 4th International Academic Conference on Social Sciences, Singapore, December 2017.

    Dataset
    Li, J.H., Li, E.S.H., Lui, P.L.T. & Fung, A.K.C. (2018). The Corpus of Hong Kong Political Discourse. . Routledge. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WMaiK5kxBaVj96aKqzVaUlg2JXL_HaLZ/view?usp=sharing
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Polly LAO Kam Ling (E&L)

    Abstract

    The proposed research aims to investigate the nature of knowledge of early childhood teachers necessary for developing children's early mathematical concepts under the influence of technology (MtEceK) in Hong Kong (HK). The purpose of this study is to unpack MtEceK through the practice-based development of a conceptual framework with components identified, and to explore how the components are related in the early childhood education (ECE) context in HK.

    This study fills gaps in three areas: research on mathematics education; research on early childhood education; and research on teacher knowledge. The current research on mathematics education rarely focuses on teacher knowledge in ECE. Research on early childhood education rarely focuses on the knowledge necessary for developing children's early mathematical concepts. Research on teacher knowledge, with consideration of the influence of technology, is rarely contextualized within the mathematics-related teacher tasks in classroom.

    In this connection, with reference to Ball, Thames and Phelps' (2008) and Herbst and Kosko's (2014) research, this study will develop the conceptual framework of MtEceK (the Framework) in four phases. In the first phase of framework conceptualization and contextualization, a hypothesized framework of teachers' knowledge base and its components will be defined and refined, based on the research literature and a series of discussions by an expert panel (EP) and a focus group (FG) of experts and practitioners in ECE and teacher education grounded on ECE teacher practice in HK.

    In the second phase of instrument construction, at least 10 job-embedded multiple-choice and multiple-response items for each component will be constructed with reference to the Framework, the HK pre-primary curriculum guide (CDC, 2006) and the list of mathematics-related teacher tasks generated from group discussion. Cognitive pretests will be conducted with the EP and the FG; and items will be revised on the basis of the results from the cognitive pretest. Problems will be resolved in EP and FG meetings to ensure the interpretability and validity of items. A pilot-test for the revised items will be carried out with at least 30 in-service early childhood teachers who are enrolled in the elective courses of the Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education Programme (BEDECE) offered by the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK). Cronbach's alpha and biserial correlation will be applied to establish the statistical fit and reliability of the items.

    In the third phase of testing and analysis, after excluding poorly performed items and consideration of the time limitation, an instrument with at most 35 items will be compiled for testing. To maintain a relatively stable context for comparison between the item piloting and instrument testing, the OUHK's BEDECE core courses students will be targeted to take the testing of instruments. Data from at least 80 respondents will be collected. After checking the internal reliability and exploring the correlations among components and correlations between components and demographic variables, the Framework and its related definitions of components will be refined after discussion with the EP.

    In the last phase of reporting and dissemination, a teacher knowledge framework with components defined, a validated instrument and an HK MtEceK database will be produced, in addition to a dissemination seminar and at least one academic paper. Overall, the study will contribute to the academic field by extending research on teacher knowledge of mathematics education to ECE; and initiating research on teacher knowledge for early mathematics learning, thus providing a new framework and instruments with an Asian perspective and potential research use in other countries. Interpretation of teacher knowledge is culture-specific and contextually sensitive. While the existing research findings and the instruments developed in Western countries are of limited applicability to the HK context, this study will contribute to the quality of early mathematics in HKECE by informing professional development needs in teacher education and by relating teacher knowledge to teacher practice and tasks in classrooms. In the long term, it may also contribute to policy-making through territory-wide profiling of teacher knowledge.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Lao, K.L. (2018). Technology-related teacher knowledge for early mathematics education: What are they in the eyes of practitioners? How to measure. Paper presented at the 29th Annual Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. Washington, USA, March 2018.
    Lao, K.L. (2018). Are Our Early Childhood Teachers Ready for Early Mathematics Education. Paper presented at the 16th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education. Hawaii, USA, January 2018.
    Lao, K.L. (2017). What Are the Mathematics-related Teacher Tasks in Early Childhood Settings. Paper presented at the 69th OMEP World Assembly and International Conference. IOpatiji, Croatia, June 2017.
    Lao, K.L. (2017). Teacher knowledge for early mathematics education in a technology-rich environment - in the eyes of practitioners. Paper presented at the 28th Annual Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. Austin, USA, March 2017.
    Lao, K.L. (2016). Knowledge for early childhood educators to facilitate children's mathematics learning under the influence of technology. Paper presented at the 21st Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics. Thailand, December 2016.
    Lao, K.L. (2016). MtEceK ­ A Project to Investigate Teacher Knowledge of Early Childhood Teachers in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. Savannah, USA, March 2016.
  • Principal Investigator

    Professor TAM Kwok Kan (A&SS)

    Abstract

    This is a critical study of Chinese Ibsenism as contested ideologies in social framing and self-fashioning, as well as politics in the Chinese (including Hong Kong) theatre and social culture. It will explore the ideological implications in recent Chinese stage productions of Ibsen, particularly with reference to the reinvention of the post socialist self and gender in China and the postmodern experimentations in Hong Kong, in order to arrive at an understanding of the interplay between aesthetics and politics. The study will shed light on the key issues in the Chinese models of selfhood hinging on concepts of the Ibsenian self.

    Ibsenism has been playing a key role in the Chinese quest for a new definition of the self since the 1910s. It was first considered a new philosophy of individualism and a new identity of the self to replace the Confucian collectivist identity. Stage productions of Ibsen in the early 20th century focused mainly on the concept of individualist self-identity and non-Confucian self-autonomy.

    With the rise of socialist ideas in China in the 1930s, Ibsenism was redefined according to class ideology when class conflicts surfaced as matters of life and death in Chinese politics. Different interpretations of Ibsenism emerged as debates between individualism and collectivism in Chinese newspapers and journals. Numerous versions of Ibsen's A Doll's House were staged for a new experimentation with the concept of class in the redefinition of an individual. This strand of Ibsenism was extended into the 1960s with the individual characterized as a product of class consciousness. Ibsen's Nora and other characters were then seen in the new light of socialist characterization.

    Since the opening up of China in the 1980s, Ibsenism, however, has been subjected to new interpretations. Experimentations with Western concepts of gender and feminism can be found in the latest stage productions of A Doll's House, The Lady from the Sea and Hedda Gabler shown in China and Hong Kong. Ibsen's other plays that deal with the concept of self and self-identity, such as Peer Gynt, Ghosts and The Master Builder, were added to the theatre repertoire in China as well as in Hong Kong, and became new sites of contestation in representing complexities of the self with psychical depths.

    Chinese Ibsenism has inherited from Bernard Shaw's "Ibsenism" in its emphasis on the social ideas in Ibsen's drama, but also deviated from it in that Chinese Ibsenists (including Hong Kong Ibsenists) have tended to re-brand Ibsenism as a Chinese moral authority for debates over sociopolitical dimensions of life. As part of the Chinese theatre, Hong Kong Cantonese theatre, particularly that before the 1980s, has also seen a great impact of Ibsenism in both form and matter. Since the last decade, Hong Kong theatre directors, however, has begun to reinterpret Ibsen from the perspective of psychological complexity in his drama.

    Developing from my previous work and also different from the work of other scholars, I propose in this project to study the Ibsenian self and its manifestations in China/Hong Kong as both artistic and ideological constructs. The purpose of this study, hence, is to reexamine Chinese Ibsenism in its re-emergence as contested ideologies involving complex relations between the self, gender, class, state, culture and stage representations. The project seeks to address the following issues:
    1. In what ways has Ibsenism been redefined in China's post socialist era and how does this redefinition bear on the theatrical experimentations in China and Hong Kong?
    2. What visions of the self and gender have been experimented with in such productions?
    3. What discourse lies behind the new stage experimentations?
    4. What ideological implications are hidden in the new aesthetics of stage productions?

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Maggie CHU Ying Ying (B&A)

    Abstract

    In recent years, there has been a heated debate about waste management in Hong Kong. Every year, more than 6 million tons of municipal solid waste are produced, putting a big burden on our existing waste management facilities, particularly the three landfills. Worse still, the present consumption-led lifestyle has speeded up the growth of many types of solid waste. Products often end up unused or partially used before being sent to the landfills. People often buy products without regard to their actual needs - for example, ordering too much food in restaurants; or throwing away a fully functional phone, merely for a change in style. Despite the controversy over the government's proposed means of dealing with the waste problems in Hong Kong, there is a common consensus that waste must be reduced by changing consumer behavior. How can we encourage more responsible consumption? The proposed project aims to address this issue. In particular, we assume that consumers' decisions to reduce waste are governed by negative emotional reactions that are associated with wasting, in particular, shame and guilt. We will examine the underlying process by which these emotions affect consumer behavior and the factors giving rise to these emotions.

    Although shame and guilt are related, they differ in a number of important psychological dimensions (Han, Duhachek, & Agrawal, 2014; Lindsay-Hartz, 1984; Niedenthal, Tangney, & Gavanski, 1994; Tangney, 1990; Tangney, Miller, Flicker, & Barlow, 1996). For example, when people feel guilty, they perceive themselves to have engaged in bad behavior and thus become motivated to take action to undo the harm they have caused. When people feel shame, however, they see themselves as "bad persons" more generally, and this gives rise to a tendency to avoid situations in which they are likely to be evaluated negatively. In the context we are considering, therefore, these emotions can have different implications for behavior. That is, guilt tends to motivate more constructive behavior (e.g., to reduce purchase quantity next time and to reuse an old phone), whereas shame tends to result in more passive responses. However, guilt and shame can often coexist. Therefore, an understanding of what gives rise to these emotions and the conditions in which each has the predominant effect is important.

    Previous research seems to suggest that the experience of guilt and shame are both preceded by some sort of social comparison. However, the target of comparison tends to be different. People feel guilty particularly when they find themselves over-privileged in relation to others (Baumeister, Stillwell, & Heatherton, 1994) - for example, when one wastes uneaten food while others are starving (i.e., a downward comparison). On the other hand, the experience of shame entails a comparison with others that unveils one's inferiority (Lindsay-Hartz, 1984), such as comparing oneself with others who have acted responsibly (i.e., an upward comparison). In combination, if the situation activates these different comparisons, they can have different effects on consumption behavior.

    We speculate that the experience of shame will lead consumers to reduce waste if doing so enables them to gain social approval (i.e., to be accepted and more positively evaluated by others). This is because shame is characterized by a feeling that one's wrongdoing (e.g., having consumed irresponsibly) is socially exposed and disapproved of by the observing others (actual or imaginary). Therefore, when reducing waste can serve as a means to gain social approval, the shame-laden consumers would be more likely to do so. But since the desire to regain social approval is not core to the experience of guilt, its effect on consumer behavior should not depend on this contingency. To conclude, the potential findings of this project would provide policymakers with important insights into how to stop wasteful consumption by influencing people's experience of guilt and shame associated with wasting.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Chu, M. Y. Y. (2017). Don’t Be A Big Waster! Regulating Consumer Behaviors Through The Experience of Guilt and Shame. Paper presented at the 39th Annual ISMS Marketing Science Conference, Los Angeles, 7–10 June 2017.
    Chu, M. Y. Y. (2017). Encouraging Green Behaviors By Evoking Guilt and Shame Emotions in Social Advertising. Paper presented at The Asia Pacific Tourism Association (APTA) 2017 Annual Conference, Busan, 18–21 June 2017.
    Chu, M. Y. Y., Yim, F. H. K., Wan, L. C., Chan, E. K. Y. (2018). Do Moral Emotions Make People Responsible Consumers? A Preliminary Investigation of Incidental Guilt and Shame. Paper presented at 2018 Global Marketing Conference, Tokyo, 26–29 July 2018.
    Chu, M. Y. Y. (2018). How Emotions Turn People into Irresponsible Consumers: The Negative Implications of Chronic and Context-induced Shame. Paper presented at the International Conference and Workshop on Experiential Approach to Consumer Decision Making, Taichung, 27–31 December 2018.
    Chu, M. Y. Y., Wan, L. C. (2019). All Hands on Deck: Motivating or De-motivating Responsible Consumption? The Divergent Influences of Moral Emotions. Paper presented at the 2019 Academy of Marketing Science Annual Conference, Vancouver, 29–31 May 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Franklin LAM Sze Sing (B&A)

    Abstract

    Corporate sustainability has been at the top of the management agenda for many global corporations. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting provides important information for investors to evaluate the sustainability of corporations. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) has recently revised the Listing Rules to require companies to either comply with ESG disclosure requirements or explain any non-compliance. This generates pressure on corporations to scrutinize and reshape their corporate social responsibility (CSR) program to cater to sustainable development.

    Corporate philanthropy is a major form of CSR. The practice not only benefits society, it may also enhance the corporation's reputation leading to long-term advantages. However, the theories proposed in the literature disagree on whether philanthropic giving would contribute to financial performance. Although a number of recent overseas studies have provided some empirical evidence suggesting that corporate philanthropy has positive impacts on corporate financial performance, the results may not apply to Hong Kong enterprises for the following reasons. First, most of the studies utilized US data with only a few using mainland China data. With a different social and political environment than those in the US and mainland China, the financial impact of philanthropic initiatives may vary significantly in Hong Kong. Second, the data were collected before 2009. The social consciousness of consumers has risen drastically worldwide as well as in Hong Kong in the last five years. New and contemporary data are required for substantiating the relationship in Hong Kong. Last, prior studies mainly focused on the monetary measure of philanthropic activities. But corporate philanthropy goes beyond mere donations. The relationship between non-monetary donations and financial performance also deserves investigation.

    This project aims to examine the relationship between corporate philanthropy and corporate financial performance based on companies listed on the main board of the HKEx. The listed companies consist of local companies (Hong Kong companies) and mainland companies that seek listing in Hong Kong (mainland companies). Philanthropic information regarding the monetary donations and non-monetary donations of listed companies will be hand-collected from their annual reports, CSR reports, sustainability reports and websites. The database developed can be used to evaluate: (1) the relationship between different types of donations and financial performance in Hong Kong companies and mainland companies; (2) the impacts of the social and political environment and ownership structure on the relationship; and (3) the effects of stringent control on ESG reporting on the relationship. This project will not only contribute to the relevant research on corporate philanthropy, but also provide practical insights on making philanthropic investments in corporations and the regulatory control of relevant information reporting. The database will serve as a brand new resource for future research on the corporate philanthropy of Hong Kong-listed companies.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Lam, S. S., Hung, H. Y. P., Choi, P. M. S. (2022). Corporate Philanthropy and Firm Performance Relationship – Socio-Political and Government Control Effects. Asian Journal of Business and Accounting, 15(1), 41-69. Retrieved from https://ajba.um.edu.my/index.php/AJBA/issue/view/2066
    Conference Paper
    Lam, F. S. S. (2018). The impact of socio-political context and government control on corporate philanthropy and firm performance. Paper presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Accounting and Finance (AF 2018), Singapore, 23–24 July 2018.
  • Principal Investigator

    Professor HO Kin Chung (S&T)

    Abstract

    The Environmental Protection Department (EPD), and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of Hong Kong Government have been collecting and logging different environmental data along coastal waters in Hong Kong for a few decades. Based on these measured and collected data, we shall design and develop a "Big Data" computing system for forecasting the occurrences of harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs pose threats to the marine habitation and economy in the coastal areas around the world. It would be very desirable to devise and develop a novel monitoring and forecasting system for identifying any potential HAB events. The effectiveness of this monitoring and forecasting system relies on the accuracy of HAB estimation and detection algorithm.

    In this project, we shall create an operating Big Data computing system to be used for identifying harmful algal blooms. Many computation models rely on numerous sampled and logged raw data, such as pH, the amount of dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature and other physical characteristics of the water. To achieve this target, we shall initiate the creation of an early phased in-house Big Data system, which will be constructed through the interconnection of multiple computing units. In this project, we shall verify the functionality of this system, and deploy it for implementing different models of harmful algal blooms. And in the future, this system will be expanded and built to handle much larger amount of raw data with different HABs models and mathematical algorithms. The computation models for HABs will be selected and coded to generate numerous data points, which will be evaluated and used to feed into different machine learning (ML) algorithms. That is, the data collected from both the EPD and AFCD may go through multiple computation processes due to the different types of machine learning algorithms in terms of both supervised and unsupervised learning designs. The findings from the different algorithms could give different results regarding the occurrences of algal blooms. The goals of this proposal are to: (1) create an operable early phase Big Data system; (2) select formulae from different HAB models that accept the collected data information; (3) investigate collected data and the feasibility of mapping HAB model formulae into ML algorithms; (4) develop a simple ML algorithm into program code that will run in the Big Data computing system. We look forward to designing and building a highly reliable and high-performance Big Data computing system for HAB.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Book Chapter
    Law, E. K. L. & HO, K. C. (2017) Remote Sensing and Big Data for Environmental Affairs," in Smart Cities and Green Environment. Environment Publication House, 39–58.

    Conference Papers
    Law, E. K. L. & HO, K. C. (2018). Neural Networks Trained with Known Algal Bloom Events and Satellite Images for Bloom Detection. Paper presented at the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Conference 2018. Napier, New Zealand, July 2018.
    Law, E. K. L. (2017). Remote Sensing and Algal Blooms: A Study of the Coastal Areas in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 2nd Annual Conference of OUHK Institute of Research in Innovative Technology & Sustainability. Hong Kong, August 2017.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Vanliza CHOW Mei Yung (E&L)

    Abstract

    The proposed research will investigate the language used in nursing discourse on an intra-disciplinary level using across-method triangulation.

    The study will examine two sets of data about two nursing specialties, namely oncology and paediatric nursing, in order to explore their language specificness. The first set of data will consist of nursing journal articles of these two specialties. Articles specifically about patients, the role of nurses and the care they provide which were published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing and European Journal of Oncology Nursing between January 2010 and December 2016 will be downloaded and compiled into two written sub-corpora. Meanwhile, another set of data generated from interviews with 25 oncology and 25 paediatric nurses in Hong Kong will also be compiled into two spoken sub-corpora and analysed in the same way. The ethnographic data drawn from interviews will complement the sub-corpora to provide special lexis, including metaphors, which characterises the knowledge of the two nursing specialties, particularly in the context of Hong Kong.

    The proposed study using triangulation of data and methods will contribute to explore the special lexical items and their respective language patterns characterising the two selected nursing specialties, especially the patients, nurses and kinds of care provided in them, particular in a Hong Kong context. The findings would also increase our awareness of the use of metaphor to construct nursing knowledge on an intra-disciplinary level. These two kinds of knowledge would then help to facilitate English learning and teaching for specific purposes (hereafter ESP) in the nursing field in Hong Kong.

    A pilot study has been conducted to grasp a preliminary picture of the possible specific lexical items and their respective phraseologies describing these two nursing specialties. The findings revealed that special language patterns (including metaphors) describing the work of pediatric and oncology nurses were used. A larger scale study would allow more lexis and language features encoding the knowledge of the two nursing specialties, particular in a Hong Kong context, to surface.

    The whole investigation of the two sets of data will be divided into four phases: i) a quantitative analysis in which the words and their frequencies used in the two written and two spoken sub-corpora will be counted in order to uncover any specific use of words in describing the patients, roles of nurses and the care they provide in the two nursing specialties; ii) an in-depth investigation of the lines describing the words 'nurse(s)', 'patient(s)', 'oncology', 'pediatric', 'health care' and 'care' extracted from the four sub-corpora to explore whether any of these words may co-occur with any specific lexis, especially verbs (renamed as process types in systemic functional linguistics, SFL hereafter) and the language patterns in describing the patients, nurses and the kinds of care delivered in these two nursing specialties; iii) a search for the use of metaphors in these lines extracted from the four sub-corpora to analyse what, if anything, these metaphors reveal about the knowledge of the two nursing specialties; and iv) a comparison of the results generated from the two written and two spoken sub-corpora to examine any special lexis and metaphors used to construct knowledge of the two nursing specialties, especially about their patients, roles of nurses and the care they provide, particularly in the context of Hong Kong.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Chow, M. Y. V., Littlemore, J. (2022). Metaphorical conceptualizations of cancer treatment in English and Chinese languages. International Journal of Language and Culture. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1075/ijolc.21051.cho

    Book Chapter
    Chow, V. M. Y. (2018). The representation of nurses in oncology and paediatric nursing research articles: who are they and what do they do?. Proceedings of the 4th Asia-Pacific Corpus Linguistics Conference (APCLC 2018) (pp. 80–87), Takamatsu, Japan.

    Conference Papers
    Chow, V. M. Y. (2017). Exploring the use of metaphors in oncology writing. Paper presented at The 3rd international symposium on figurative though and language, Croatia, 26–28 April 2017.
    Chow, V. M. Y. (2017). Investigating the use of metaphors in nursing discourse. Paper presented at 2017 International conference on ESP, Taipei, 3–4 November 2017.
    Chow, V. M. Y. (2017). A corpus-based study of the use of figurative language in oncology nursing. Paper presented at the International applied linguistic conference, Auckland, 27–29 November 2017.
    Chow, V. M. Y. (2018). Exploring the language use in nursing discourse on an intra-disciplinary level. Paper presented at Hawaii International Conference on Education, Hawaii, 5–8 January 2018.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Terence SHUM Chun Tat (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Hong Kong is a major first asylum port in Asia for refugees who originate from different South/Southeast Asian and African countries. Many of them have travelled to different cities and countries before arriving in Hong Kong. Refugee issues in Hong Kong have gained considerable attention in the past few years. Yet, few have been concerned with their migration journeys, its meaning for the refugees, and its relation and psychosocial impact to their daily encounter with Hong Kong society. Based on qualitative research method, the proposed research will examine the experience of the asylum-seeking journeys among refugees in Hong Kong and the meanings which are attributed to the journeys. It will demonstrate the actual process of journeying from homelands to Hong Kong and how it feels to be a refugee. It will address memory, fear, identity reconstruction, community building and personal growth of refugees during the journey.

    Hong Kong government considers all refugees as 'illegal immigrants' and the refugees are often negatively portrayed as passive victims and welfare-dependent individuals in the media reports and public discourse. The proposed research will give voice to refugees' unique experience by examining the migration stories from the point of view of refugees. By studying the lived experience of the journeys and their survival strategies in Hong Kong, this research will examine how their everyday life experience in Hong Kong is affected by what happened on the journeys and by its meaning for the individual. It will make an important contribution to the literature and teaching on forced migration, refugee studies and Hong Kong studies. This research will offer a new perspective for understanding refugees in a first asylum port and will also have policy implications to the government who can shape the humanitarian policies that are more responsive to the refugee experience.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Book
    Shum, T. C. T. (2019). Asylum-seeking Journeys in Asia: Refugees in Hong Kong and Bangkok. London: Routledge.

    Conference Papers
    Shum, T. C. T. (2018). Embodied bordering in the journeys to asylum: an ethnographic research on refugees in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Global Migrations Conference 2018, by Centre for Global Migrations, Otago, 20–22 February 2018.
    Shum, T. C. T. (2019). Asylum-seeking journeys: transnational migration, embodiment and emotional encounters among refugees in Hong Kong. Paper presented at IMISCOE Spring Conference: Transforming Mobility and Immobility: Brexit and Beyond, Sheffield, 28–29 March 2019.
    Shum, T. C. T. (2019). Emotional encounters in prolonged displacement: emotional well-being of refugees and anxiety refugee governance structure in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Society For Hong Kong Studies Annual Conference 2019, Hong Kong, 22 June 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Ailie TANG Kit Yee (B&A)

    Abstract

    The mobile gaming app market is a multibillion-dollar space. The app game Pokémon GO, for example, has become a worldwide phenomenon not only as a social sensation but as a high profitable business model. While most mobile gaming apps are free to download, companies can earn profits from in-app advertising that generates revenue from advertisers. The total number of players in a game illustrates its profit capacity because the greater the player population, the more advertisers will come and contribute to the profit. While word of mouth (WOM) is essential to increase player population, keeping current players is also of paramount importance. It is thus important to investigate the cognitive determinants of the conative behavior (intention to continue playing and WOM).

    Utilizing the theoretical lens of self-determination theory and goal framing theory, this study aims to investigate and develop an intervening mediation model of cognitive determinants (social influence, perceived enjoyment, and sense of achievement) and conative behaviors (intention to continue playing and WOM). This study seeks to advance knowledge in the gaming app business literature and its linkage to self-determination theory and goal framing theory. The work on establishing and validating theoretical constructs should lay a foundation for future development of gaming app business research by drawing researchers’ attention to this area. The theoretical framework also provides guidelines to practitioners who plan to enter the lucrative app game market.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Tang, A. K. T. (2019). A systematic literature review and analysis on mobile apps in m-commerce: Implications for future research. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 37, 100885. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elerap.2019.100885

    Conference Paper
    Tang, A. K. T. (2019). Personality traits of app users and their effects on engagement in mobile gaming apps: conceptualization and scale development. Paper presented at the International Conference on Internet Studies, Nagoya, Japan, 6–8 April 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Samuel CHOI Ping Man (B&A)

    Abstract

    Limit order books (LOBs) enable a centralized, order-driven trading mechanism which has been widely adopted in global securities markets. The degree of LOB transparency greatly affects market efficiency and is one of the most studied topics in financial market design. Various levels of pre-trade and post-trade information on the LOB provide investors with different trading insights and thus regulators are concerned with what degree of transparency it is best suited for the stock market. Previous studies on the impact of market transparency on trading profitability were relatively scarce. In this project, we propose utilizing a reinforcement learning (RL) framework to measure trading profitability to examine how the transparency of LOBs affects the performance of algorithmic trading strategies. It may provide some empirical evidence for whether transparent or anonymous LOBs are more beneficial to the overall market quality.

    Technological trading strategies such as algorithmic trading (AT) and high frequency trading (HFT) have become widespread in recent years and it is reported that the majority of stock orders and transactions are currently executed by computers in major stock markets such as the United States and Japan. Technological trading not only improves market liquidity but also increases market volatility. To safeguard market integrity, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange introduced a volatility control mechanism in 2016. As AT and HFT traders can take immediate action according to the disclosed information, they may be able to gain an advantage that further affects market efficiency and performance. It is therefore desirable to explore to what extent investors’ returns will be affected by the level of LOB transparency.

    This research proposes an RL framework to measure the impact of LOB transparency on the profitability of stock trading. We will analyze and utilize the Hong Kong stock market’s transparent LOB, which offers market information for a subscription fee. In particular, the broker identity, and modified and cancelled orders will be incorporated into the RL model to facilitate the prediction of stock price movements. This study will thus provide new perspectives for assessing the impact of the transparency policy of LOB in stock markets. It will also enhance our understanding of the efficiency of AT in transparent markets.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Choi, S. P. M., Chan, Y. H., Lam, Lam, F. S. S., & Hung, H. Y. (2021). Analyzing the importance of broker identities in the limit order book through deep learning. Big Data, 19(2), 89–99. https://doi.org/10.1089/big.2020.0053

    Conference Paper
    Choi, S. P. M. (2019). Measuring the Price Predictability of Broker Identities in the Limit Order Book – a Deep Learning Approach. Paper presented at ICBIB 2019: International Conference on Big Data in Business, London, UK, 29–31 October 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr YU Xuying (A&SS)

    Abstract

    China in the 20th century has witnessed two “fevers” of national learning (guoxue). One refers to the movement of “Rearranging the National Heritage” (zhengliguogu) in the 1920s; the other is a comprehensive revival of national learning in the academic, public and official fields in the 1990s. The first rise of national learning marks a paradigmatic shift from traditional scholarship to modern scholarship by scientization, specialization, and de-ideologicalization of national learning. The second rise of national learning in the post-socialist condition consists of two parts: the academics’ “scholastic turn” towards the pure, disengaged and standardized national learning of the early 1990s, and a renaissance of Confucianism in the public as well as the state promotions of the late 1990s. From an elitist interpretation of national heritage to popular culture, the second fever has seen a process of popularizing, obscuring, and ideological reinstating of national learning.

    Both fevers can be regarded as post-enlightenment phenomena. Appearing near the end of the New Cultural Movement that has been labeled as the enlightenment movement in the modern China, and with the task changing from “repudiating” to “rearranging” Chinese tradition, the first fever signaled a decline of enlightenment discourse. Although proposing a critical examination and systematic re-evaluation of national heritage does not mean a conservative turn, it does reveal Chinese modern intellectuals’ identity shift from the enlightenment thinker to scholar. In response to the post-socialist condition, contemporary intellectuals’ advocacy for replacing intellectual history with the history of scholarship, and pursuing apolitical scholarship, is not only a call of rethinking the enlightenment, but also a silent retreat from the public sphere. The scholastic turn and the regime’s advertising the rejuvenation of national culture together with the commodification of Confucianism, have contributed to the rise of conservatism in the 1990s, which is opposite to the “New Enlightenment” Movement in the 1980s.

    By contextualizing and comparing these two fevers, this research sets out to complete three tasks. Firstly, to decode how “national learning” as a discursive-political device has been produced and reproduced with layers of meaning. Secondly, to examine how it opens up strategic possibilities for intellectuals to legitimize themselves, struggle for their positions in multiple-level spaces, and make their mark on history. Thirdly, to sketch the trajectory of the modernity discourse of China shifting its focus from the Western model to an alternative modernity by uncovering the tension between enlightenment and national learning.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Yu, X. (2020). Roles of western learning in fevers of national learning in twentieth-century China. In K. K. Y. Chan & C. S. G. Lau (Eds.), Chinese culture in the 21st century and its global dimensions: Comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 181–201). Singapore: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-2743-2_11

    Conference Papers
    Yu, X. (2020). Huntington in China. Paper presented virtually at The 4th Annual Jiangnan Conference on China Studies, 30 October 2020.
    Yu, X. (2019). The Discourse of Alternative Modernity in Contemporary China: A Post-enlightenment Phenomenon. Paper presented at The 22nd congress of the International Comparative Literature Association, Macau, China, 29 July–2 August 2019.
    Yu, X. (2019). The Role of Western Learning in Two Fevers of “National Learning”. Paper presented at “Airing the States”: The Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature Biennial Conference, Changsha, China, 17–19 July 2019.
    Yu, X. (2019). Two Universalisms in the Fever of “National Learning” in the May Fourth Period. Paper presented at “4 May 1919: History in Motion” International Conference, Mons, Belgium, 2–4 May 2019.
    Yu, X. (2019). 〈20世紀國學熱中的西學因素〉. Paper presented at Chinese Culture in the 21st Century and its Global Dimensions, Hong Kong, China, 13–15 March 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Rebecca LEUNG Mo Ling (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Following the publication of her first novel in 1943, Eileen Chang (張愛玲, 1920–1995) went on to become an active member in the cultural fields of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Even after her death in 1995, she still exerted a profound impact on literature today. In many of her works, Eileen Chang illustrated how she perceived Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Shanghai. Her perception obviously shaped the ways she portrayed the three places, which resulted in the rise of their diverse images in her writing. On the other hand, after Eileen Chang published her first novel, she and her subsequent works continued to be shaped by the cultural fields of the three places. Between 1943 and 2016, an enormous amount of reports concerning Eileen Chang appeared in newspapers, magazines, and websites. A wide range of topics were discussed, including the author and her writing, her interaction with other intellectuals and scholars, her movies and film promotion, etc. These reports provide a wealth of data that could shed light on the structure of different cultural fields. For example, the reports showed how Eileen Chang and her writing interacted with different members in the cultural fields such as publishers, editors of newspapers and magazines, scholars, readers, etc. Further analysis could be conducted in relation to nationality and gender. In this context, this study aims to examine how the ‘imagination’ process of Eileen Chang was affected by multiple cultural fields in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Through analyzing the newspaper reports published in the three places, the effects will be examined in the following four time periods: 1943–July 1952, August 1952–1969, 1970–1989, and 1990–present. In addition to exploring how Eileen Chang shaped the images of the three places, this study will focus also on how the three places in turn shaped Eileen Chang during different periods of time. Emphasis will be placed on analyzing the interplay between the structure of multiple cultural fields and Eileen Chang herself. Also, we will discuss how various forces in the cultural fields ‘shadowed’ and ‘imagined’ Eileen Chang.

    The significance of this proposed study lies in its provision of a new direction for research about Eileen Chang. Most studies in the past focused primarily on analyzing the texts written by Eileen Chang and the impact of her works. This study, however, will be the first to examine ‘how Eileen Chang shaped the three places on the two shores’ and ‘how the three places on the two shores in turn shaped Eileen Chan’. Through comparing the cultural fields of the three places on the two shores, we will be able to demonstrate how Hong Kong played unique roles in shaping Eileen Chang.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Leung, R. M. L. (2023). 〈從報刊看1949年前上海文化場域中的「張愛玲想像」〉. 《世界華文文學論壇》.
    Leung, R. M. L. (2022). 〈數字人文視野下的現代文學史料研究──以張愛玲研究為例〉. 《田家炳中華文化中心通訊》, 2022年9月第10期, 14–16. https://www.hkmu.edu.hk/as/tc/research/tkpccc/publications/
    Leung, R. M. L. (2021). 〈論1952-2016年香港和台灣文學場域中報刊對張愛玲及其作品的想像和形塑之異同和意義〉. 《書目季刊》, 55(3), 73–88. doi:10.6203/BQ.202112_55(3).0005
    Leung, R. M. L. (2020). 〈論1970-1999年台灣文學場域中報章對張愛玲及其作品的想像和形塑〉. 《文史台灣學報》, 14, 93–123. doi:10.29511/TSLH
    Leung, R. M. L. (2020). 〈論1943至1949年上海文學場域中報刊對張愛玲及其作品的想像和形塑〉. 《臺北大學中文學報》, 28, 459–518. doi:10.29766/JCLLNTU

    Book
    Leung, R. M. L. (2022). 《想像與形塑──上海、香港和台灣報刊中的張愛玲》. Taiwan: Showwe Information. https://store.showwe.tw/books.aspx?b=135234

    Conference Papers
    Leung, R. M. L. (2019). 〈論1943至1949年上海文學場域中報刊對張愛玲及其作品的想像和形塑〉. Paper presented at 2019文化研究年會暨國際學術研討會, Taiwan, China, 9–10 March 2019.
    Leung, R. M. L. (2019). 〈論1970-1999 年台灣文學場域中報刊對張愛玲及其作品的想像和形塑〉. Paper presented at the 朝向台灣「新文學」:2019 台灣文學學會年度學術研討會, Taiwan, China, 19 October 2019.
    Leung, R. M. L. (2019). 〈論1952-2016年香港和台灣文學場域中報刊對張愛玲及其作品的想像和形塑之異同和意義〉. Paper presented at 人文之「後」國際研討會:2019台灣人文學社年會, Taiwan, China, 23–24 November 2019.
    Leung, R. M. L. (2021). 〈重回歷史現場──論 1949年前上海報刊中的張愛玲〉. Paper presented at 第14屆通俗文學與雅正文學——「媒材與傳播」國際學術研討會, Taiwan, China, 15–16 October 2021.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr WONG Chi Hung (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Not only is Du Fu’s (杜甫, 712–770) poetry influential in China, it has also attracted the eyeballs of countless readers worldwide. In the history of Chinese literary criticism, a myriad of literati have attempted to annotate Du Fu’s poetry, and figuratively mentioned in the field of Du Fu studies “Du [Fu’s poetry] is annotated by a thousand specialists” (qianjia zhudu 千家注杜). These annotations have greatly shaped our understanding of Du Fu and his poetry, as well as the evolution of Du Fu studies in later generations. Recently, some of the ancient annotated editions of Du Fu’s poetry have been collated and published.

    Du Fu’s poetry illustrates the decline of the Tang dynasty (618–907) through abundant content, in which many scholars believe that he is the greatest Chinese poet of all times and have been fervently exploring his life and poetry. By studying the commentaries made by a numbers of annotators, researchers are able to both probe the hidden meanings and metaphors of Du Fu’s poetry and examine the academic style of different times and different commentators.

    It is true that ever since Du Fu’s poetry was introduced to Japan, the Japanese literati have shown profound interest in citing his poetry in their Chinese poetic writings and interpreting his writing style. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Shao Fu’s (邵傅, fl. 1587) Collected Explanations on Du’s Eight-line Regulated Verse (Dulu jijie 《杜律集解》) has been imported and translated, and this book, simply put, is an annotated introduction to Du Fu’s eight-line regulated verse (lushi 律詩). Edo sinologists have also critically annotated Du Fu’s poetry based on Shao Fu’s works. These annotated editions are Utsunomiya Ton’an’s (宇都宮遯庵, 1633–1707) Supplementary to Collected Explanations on Du’s Eight-line Regulated Verse (Gōto zōkō Toritsu shūge 《鼇頭增廣杜律集解》), Daiten Kenjō’s (大典顯常, 1719–1801) Elucidations of Du’s Eight-line Regulated Verse (Toritsu hakki 《杜律發揮》), and Tsusaka Tōyō’s (津阪東陽, 1757–1825) Detailed Explanations on Du’s Eight-line Regulated Verse (Toritsu shōkai 《杜律詳解》).

    Although many studies have shed light on Du Fu based on materials found in Asia, the Japanese materials have not yet been thoroughly explored. This project thus aims at collating and annotating the three Japanese annotated editions mentioned above, to dig out the characteristics of Japanese sinology and Du Fu studies, to see how they interpret Du Fu’s poetry, and to examine the relationship between Chinese and Japanese documentology. We will fill these research gaps by introducing Japanese materials to the audiences and delving into the Japanese interpretation, and ultimately presenting the relationship between Chinese and Japanese Du Fu studies, in order to arouse the interest of scholars in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Wong, C. H. (2019). 〈江戶時代杜甫研究與接受──大典顯常的《杜律發揮》〉. 《杜甫研究學刊》, 140, 66–73.
    Wong, C. H. (2019). 〈津阪東陽《杜律詳解》研究──杜甫傳、文獻運用和詩學觀點探析〉. 《文學論衡》, 35, 28–40.

    Conference Papers
    Wong, C. H. (2019). 〈江戶時代杜甫律詩的接受:以邵傅《杜律集解》和宇都宮遯庵《鼇頭增廣杜律集解》為討論中心〉. Paper presented at 數字時代的文學與文化學術研討會暨四川省比較文學學會第十二屆年會, Chengdu, China, 19–21 April 2019.
    Wong, C. H. (2019). 〈津阪東陽《杜律詳解》研究〉. Paper presented at 古典體詩教學、創作與研究國際學術研討會, Hong Kong, China, 9–10 July 2019.
    Wong, C. H. (2019). 〈江戶時代的杜甫形象:個性、詩史與詠杜創作〉. Paper presented at 第八屆近現代中國語文國際學術研討會, Taiwan, China, 6 December 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr HUNG Chi Kum (A&SS)

    Abstract

    This project will focus on two magazines in Hong Kong, Daren (《大人》,1970–1973) and Dacheng (《大成》,1973 -1995), as its objects of study. Dacheng came down in lineage from Daren and the two should be treated as successive generations of the same publication that was in press for 25 years with a total of 304 issues. They were edited by an eminent Shanghai litterateur Shen Weichuang (沈葦窗) and thus were similar in style and content. Contributors of the magazines were conspicuous and came from diverse professional backgrounds including literature, military, and politics. The list of contributors is long. They include, to name a few, famous painters Chang Dai-chien (張大千) and Lin Feng-mien (林風眠); Peking opera actress Meng Linghui (孟令輝), also known as Meng Xiaodong (孟小冬); art critic Zhu Pu (朱樸), also known as Zhu Xingzhai (朱省齋); litterateurs Jin Xiongbai (金雄白), also known as Zhu Zijia (朱子家), Gao Zhenbai (高貞白), also known as Gao Boyu (高伯雨) or Lin Xi (林熙), Chen Cunren (陳存仁), Li Huang (李璜), Zuo Shunsheng (左舜生), and Liang Shih-chiu (梁實秋); and lyricist and writer Chan Dip-yi (陳蝶衣). Their anecdotes from first-hand experience provide valuable primary sources for modern and contemporary Chinese Studies and Hong Kong Studies, as well as contributing to the areas of Chinese literature, history, and culture.

    This project will approach the topic by studying newspapers and periodicals (報刊研究), a well-established methodology used in Chinese Studies. The idea is to make use of valuable resources found mainly in Chinese newspapers and magazines to study different aspects of the arts and humanities, similar to a more recent branch of study known as Periodical Studies. The findings will be analyzed from both textual and contextual perspectives, using Daren and Dacheng as a database of published articles for a thematic study of post-war Hong Kong cultural history. This project will also attempt to outline the personal history and social network of the chief editor, Shen Weichuang, in order to investigate the role and significance of the editor and his publications in the context of Chinese periodicals. Furthermore, this project will situate Daren and Dacheng in a broad historical background and, through comparison of the two magazines with other periodicals on culture and history, trace the relationship between Japanese-occupied Shanghai and post-war Hong Kong. The findings of this project will be presented or published to enrich the discourse on post-war Hong Kong literature and culture. This project will also generate an index of Daren and Dacheng to be made available online free of charge to scholars and readers worldwide.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal articles
    Hung, C. K. (2019). 從「去國」到「還鄉」─《大人》、《大成》中的小報文人陳蝶衣. 《城市文藝》, 102(2019年9月).
    Hung, C. K. (2019). 從「去國」到「還鄉」─《大人》、《大成》中的小報文人陳蝶衣. 《明報月刊》, 204–213. Hong Kong: Mingpao Monthly.

    Conference Papers
    Hung, C. K. (2018). 掌故的政治─高貞白《大華》與香港六十年代. Paper presented at Creative Transformation of Chinese Tradition: An International Conference, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 10–11 November 2018.
    Hung, C. K. (2018). 上海小報文人與香港. Paper presented at Life and Literacy Criticism: The 4th Cross Straits Seminar of Literature and Arts in Chinese, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 8 December 2018.
    Hung, C. K. (2019). 從「遺民」到「後遺民」─《大人》 (1970–1973)、《大成》 (1973–1995)與香港文化論述. Paper presented at Chinese Culture in the Global Context International Conference 2019, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 13–15 March 2019.
    Hung, C. K. (2019). 萬人一身: 《大人》 (1970–1973)、《大成》 (1973–1995)中的「集體」與「個人」. Paper presented at Cantonese Connection: Periodical Studies in the Age of Digitalisation, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 17–18 May 2019.
    Hung, C. K. (2019). 先生亦流寓: 《大華》 (1966–1971)、《大人》 (1970–1973)、《大成》 (1973–1995)與戰後香港文化. Paper presented at The XXII Congress of the ICLA──Literature of the World and the Future of Comparative Literature, University of Macau, China, 29 July–2 August 2019.
    Hung, C. K. (2020). 《大人》 (1970–1973)、《大成》 (1973–1995)中的跨海記憶. Paper presented at 跨越兩岸的中國學: 統合的辨證方法─第40次韓國中國學會 中國學國際學術大會, 韓國中國學會, Korea, 14 August 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Louisa LEE Yee Sum (B&A)

    Abstract

    The intangible cultural heritage of an area can uniquely position it as a tourism destination and fuel a lucrative tourism industry. However, because the literature on heritage management is primarily place-focused, a limited theoretical understanding of the relationship between intangible cultural heritage and tourism development is noted. Mass and unplanned tourism can harm city destinations by promoting inauthentic tourist encounters and cultural commodification. Thus, tourism planners need to develop strategies in preserving the intangible cultural heritage for tourism consumption. These strategies will require several threads of investigation, including how to develop effective strategies for capitalising on the use of intangible cultural heritage for tourism development, how to present intangible cultural heritage as a tourism product and identifying the roles of different stakeholders in the touristification process. The proposed project will use a knowledge management approach to understand the process of touristifying intangible cultural heritage sites in city destinations and examine how intangible cultural heritage can be leveraged to enhance tourism planning and development. A case study of Cantonese opera will be conducted using grounded-theory and a qualitative methodology. The findings will have significant theoretical and practical implications for tourism-related teaching, learning and policy planning.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Lee, L. Y. S. (2022). Community of practice: The making of knowledge dynamic in intangible cultural heritage. Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality, 17(3), 338–350. https://doi.org/10.1108/CBTH-11-2021-0278

    Conference Papers
    Lee, L. Y. S. (2022). Tourism roles in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage: A community perspective. Paper presented virtually at Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) 2022 Hybrid Conference, 7–9 February 2022.
    Lee, L. Y. S. (2021). Mapping Intangible Cultural Heritage as Tourism Product: The Case of Cantonese opera in Hong Kong. Paper presented virtually at Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) 2021 Conference, 9–12 February 2021.
    Lee, L. Y. S. (2020). Residents' perceptions on touristifying Cantonese Opera in Hong Kong. Paper presented virtually at 51st Annual Travel and Tourism Research Association International Conference, 16–18 June 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Mr Christophor TSUI Sai Kit (B&A)

    Abstract

    We will examine the relationship between the readability, tones and ambiguity of the initial public offering (IPO) prospectus and IPO underpricing in Hong Kong from 2010 to 2016. First, we will develop computer programs to calculate a plain English index to determine the tone and ambiguity of the prospectus. Underpricing is a function of the closing price of the first trading day and the offering price of the new stock. We will then perform a regression analysis on underpricing with prospectus readability, prospectus tone, prospectus ambiguity, underwriter reputation, firm age before listing and a dummy variable (MAINBOARD).

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Tsui, C. S. K. & Li, K. C. K. (2021). IPO Underpricing and Prospectus Readability: A Machine Learning Approach. Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 23(7). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.33423/jabe.v23i7.4867
  • Principal Investigator

    Mr Kevin CHU Wing Ki (B&A)

    Abstract

    The high value placed on economic prosperity and growth puts enormous pressure on the environment and ecosystem. With the tremendous growth rate of the economy, environmental deterioration resulting from the over-consumption of natural resources is anticipated. If mankind pursues its irresponsible consumption patterns, the depletion of the ozone layer, water pollution, acid rain and desertification will be the inevitable consequences of environmental degradation. For decades, sustainability has been a concern for both governments and businesses. As a result, a growing number of companies have integrated sustainability into their business operations and an increasing number of environmentally friendly (EF) or 'sustainable' products have entered the market. For example, consuming EF or organic products that are produced without using synthetic chemicals is expected to have minimal impacts on the environment. In recent years, governments have also tackled global warming through multilateral negotiations, regulations and legislations. Despite the efforts of both businesses and governments, many consumers do not translate their positive attitudes towards environmental protection and their growing environmental consciousness into their actions. Many studies in the fields of environmental psychology and marketing address this attitude-behaviour gap, also known as the green gap.

    To fill the green gap, most research attempts to profile green consumers investigate the relationships between beliefs, attitudes, social norms and behaviours and identify motivational drivers. However, few studies analyse the attribution of causes and responsibilities for environmental problems to governments and businesses and its potential impacts on individual green consumption behaviour. Therefore, this proposed project will aim primarily to investigate the perceived ability and level of responsibility of businesses and governments to tackle environmental problems, and how these can motivate people to act pro-environmentally. Second, this study will explore why and how people's beliefs and attitudes towards businesses and governments about their environmental responsibilities contribute to the current patterns of green consumption behaviour, which in turn will shed light on the motivational and practical complexity of green consumption behaviour.

    First, the proposed study will provide recommendations to policymakers, public relations practitioners and marketers to develop messages on the roles of businesses and governments to engage individuals in pro-environmental acts. Second, the study will inform all sectors on the current green consumption patterns of educated youths – whether they dispose, reuse, recycle used objects and/or purchase sustainable products. Finally, the qualitative data collected will provide insights for theorising potential interrelationships between different types of green consumption behaviour.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Chu, K. W. K. (2020). The green gap of high-involvement purchasing decisions: an exploratory study. Asian Journal of Business Ethics, 9, 371–394. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13520-020-00115-6
    Conference Papers
    Chu, K. W. K. (2019). Compensatory or Complementary? An Exploratory Study on How the Government and Business Efficacies Interact with Young People’s Pro-environmental Intention. Paper presented at the 2nd annual Sustainability and Development Conference, Ann Arbor, US, 11–14 October 2019.
    Chu, K. W. K. (2021). Defragmentation of Determinants of Sustainable Food Consumption: A Literature Review for Practitioners. Paper presented at the IIBG 5th Annual Academia-Industry Exchange: ‘Business as usual: How do we turn the new normal into normal?’, Hong Kong, China, 3–4 December 2021.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr LAM Wai Man (A&SS)

    Abstract

    This research investigates social and political traditionalism in Hong Kong people's political identity and values and their regime support, and whether these factors influence democratic legitimacy in Hong Kong. The examination of social traditionalism will focus on people's attitudes to (1) social stability, (2) social conflicts and harmony, (3) social pluralism, (4) individual interests and groups' collective interests, and (5) their evaluation of the current Hong Kong situation on these aspects. The investigation of political traditionalism will consist of (1) people's criteria of political legitimacy, (2) people's attitudes to (a) the roles of government and political leaders, (b) government accountability and responsiveness, (c) political liberalism and equality, (d) authoritarian alternatives, (e) individual interests and national interests, and (3) their evaluation of the current Hong Kong situation on these dimensions. Regime support will be measured by the extent of Hong Kong people's support for the incumbent government, whereas democratic legitimacy will be studied by examining the suitability of democracy for Hong Kong and its priority over other political forms (Chu 2013: 8-10; Welsh and Chang 2015: 456).

    The researchers will conduct a household survey using the core questionnaire of the Asian Barometer Survey (ABS), which is a cross-national survey of political values undertaken in 19 Asian polities. The ABS taps the political attitudes of people on various political dimensions, including democracy, traditional values, alternative political forms, other value questions, and how they evaluate the political and economic performance of the current regime. Methodology wise, this research will use confirmatory factor analysis, a method to test hypotheses and build theories by fitting the variables for a structural equation model, to analyze the relationships of social and political traditionalism, regime support and democratic legitimacy in Hong Kong. The data collected will be compared with the findings of the previous waves of surveys done in 2001, 2007, 2012, and 2015.

    In addition to the household survey stated above, the research will conduct qualitative interviews with 20 young activists and eight focus group discussions with ordinary young people of different ages, educational levels and occupations in Hong Kong. The qualitative part will delve into the political values and visions of the young respondents, and allow us to have a clearer and more in-depth understanding of their views about the research questions.

    The research will generate three refereed journal articles. The first article will analyze the overall model of social and political traditionalism, regime support and democratic legitimacy. The second one will compare the changing social and political traditionalism in Hong Kong over time across the findings of the different waves of ABS, and across different age categories and political identities. The third one will investigate the democratic legitimacy in Hong Kong in comparison with other Asian participating regions, which will allow us to examine theories on social and political traditionalism, regime support and democratic consolidation.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Lam, W. M., Ma, N. & Wong, S. H. W. (2023). Legitimacy Without Democracy? Sources of Diffuse Regime Support in Post-Colonial Hong Kong. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 58(1), 120-142. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/00219096221125911

    Book Chapter
    Lam, W. M., Ma, N. & Wong, S. H. W. (2023). Political Identity, System Support, and Perceptions of Government Performance in Hong Kong. In Chu, Y. H., Chang, Y. T., Huang, M. H., Huang K. P.(Eds), How Asians View Democratic Legitimacy. National Taiwan University Press.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Jessie WONG Ming Sin (E&L)

    Abstract

    In September 2017, the long-anticipated Free Quality Kindergarten Education Scheme (FQKES) finally replaced the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme (PEVS) which had been implemented for 10 years in Hong Kong. Even though the free kindergarten policy signifies the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government's commitment to kindergarten education and partially releases kindergartens from the pressure of the intense market competition resulting from the PEVS, it also brings about more stringent direct governmental control to the private sector. The strengthened authoritative discourse has introduced new complications to the sector, wherein parents have been the dominant voice. This research project will investigate the professional identity development of Hong Kong kindergarten practitioners, including both principals and teachers, who are caught between the different expectations of the government and parents, against the current policy environment.

    A mixed-method approach will be employed to ensure the results reflected the voices of the kindergarten practitioners and allow a more nuanced understanding of their identity development under the new policy. To identify the attributes of professional identity that are relevant to the current context of kindergarten education reform in Hong Kong, individual and focus group interviews will first be conducted with principals and teachers of four half-day and four whole-day kindergartens, randomly selected from all FQKES kindergartens in Hong Kong. The results will then inform the development of a large-scale questionnaire survey that aims to determine how Hong Kong kindergarten practitioners generally define themselves and their relationships with the government and parents under the FQKES. Stratified random sampling will be employed to recruit a representative sample of 10% of all FQKES kindergartens in the 2019/20 academic year in Hong Kong. All principals and teachers of the sampled kindergartens will be asked to complete either a self-administered Principal or Teacher Questionnaire. These questionnaires, which contain both questions common to the two questionnaires and questions that uniquely reflect the concerns of the two groups, will allow quantitative analyses of the overall situation in Hong Kong and address the commonalities and distinctions in the views of different kindergarten practitioners. To take an in-depth look at the experiences of these kindergarten practitioners and explore their perceptions of factors affecting their professional identities, the principals and teachers of 15 kindergartens, purposely sampled based on their responses in the survey, will be invited to take part in focus groups/individual interviews.

    The empirical evidence generated by this proposed project will have important implications for early childhood education policies and the professional development of kindergarten teachers and principals in Hong Kong. Findings will not only expand our understanding of the professional identity development of educators in the face of a new funding and governance model, but will also provide solid references for the theoretical discussion of how to go about reforming and universalising early childhood services, which are often voluntary and devolved in nature. The study will likely have far-reaching impacts in the fields of educational policy, sociology, and economics.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Wong, J. M. S. (2022). ‘Are we becoming professionals?’ Pre-service early childhood teachers’ perceptions of the professionalism of early childhood teachers in Hong Kong. Early Years, 42(1), 23–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2021.1954604
    Wong, J. M. S., Tong, V. S. Y., & Chan, S. C. M. (2024). Beyond constraints: Interpreting voices to reframe preparation of teachers for inclusive kindergarten classrooms. International Journal of Early Years Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2024.2333301
    Conference Papers
    Wong, J. M. S. (2021). ‘Are we becoming professionals?’ Pre-service early childhood teachers’ perceptions of the professionalism of early childhood teachers in Hong Kong. Paper presented virtually at OMEP Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2021, Hangzhou, China, 5–7 November 2021.
    Wong, J. M. S. (2020). The Professional Identity of Early Childhood Teachers in Hong Kong: Perceptions of Pre-service Early Childhood Teachers. Paper presented at the Southeast Asian Conference on Education, Singapore, 7–9 February 2020.
    Wong, J. M. S. (2019). The Development of Kindergarten Practitioners’ Professional Identity in Hong Kong: Results of the First Phase of Research. Paper presented at OMEP Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2019, Kyoto, Japan, 5–7 September 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Vicky HO Wing Ki (A&SS)

    Abstract

    The rise and fall of Hong Kong's popular music from the 1970s till today is now a familiar narrative. As the Cantopop industry developed in the 1970s, climbed to its most glorious days in the 1980s, then experienced its decline since the mid-1990s, today many might doubt whether the industry still has a sustainable future. The future of Hong Kong's popular music is probably contingent on the creativity of local music. Where is the creativity of popular music to be found? Indeed, some music industry practitioners have pointed out that the diversity and creativity of Hong Kong's popular music today might have flourished even more vibrantly than in the so-called golden era of Hong Kong pop. If the performance of the professional industry is not the only indicator of musical creativity, is it possible we can find other more organic sources of creativity elsewhere? The proposed study attempts to shift the lens from the more commercialized and industrialized aspect of Hong Kong's popular music to the more bottom-up and organic music-making practices, namely those in the busking scene and the YouTube scene. Both street music performances and music-making on YouTube have stirred some public discussion in recent years. The study aims to understand the music-making practices of these everyday talents across the online and offline settings and assess their creative potential.

    The study has four specific objectives. First, it is intended to describe the features of the music-making practices of the musicians in the local busking scene and the YouTube scene. Areas to be looked into include their repertoires, aesthetics, cultural sensibilities, and social interactions with the audiences and other musicians. Second, the study seeks to assess the relationship between music-making and creative identity. The author is interested in knowing how these music-makers would describe their own creative identity and perceive Hong Kong on the benchmark of a creative city based on their music-making and performing experiences. Third, the study will analyze the connections and contradictions in the music-making practices in the online and offline spaces. Finally, the study attempts to explore the possibilities of collaboration between these amateur musicians in the participant community and the professional corporate organizations for the betterment of the local music industry.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Ho, V. W. K. (2021). Negotiating musician identities: Busking musicians and YouTube musicians in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 7th Inter-Asia Popular Music Studies Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 3–6 December 2020.
    Ho, V. W. K. (2020). Street music and urban experiences: Field study of the busking scene of Hong Kong. Paper presented at Groove the City Conference 2020, Luneberg, Germany, 13–15 February 2020.
    Ho, V. W. K. (2019). How the lack of cultural management fails the potentials of street music: Observations from the busking scene in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 15th International Conference on Arts and Cultural Management, Venice, Italy, 23–26 June 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Professor Fred LEE Wang Fat (S&T)

    Abstract

    Karenia mikimotoi is a well-known species of fish-killing microalgae. Blooms dominated by this species are often associated with massive fish and shellfish kills around the world, which have significant economic impacts on the fish farming and shellfish industries. Both mainland China and Hong Kong have suffered greatly from K. mikimotoi blooms. Recently, the blooms have occurred almost every year in mainland China and were responsible for massive mortalities of abalones in Fujian in 2012. The economic losses attributed to the blooms amounted to at least US$300 million. K. mikimotoi has also been regularly detected in Hong Kong waters in recent years. In 1998, a massive and disastrous algal bloom of K. mikimotoi in Hong Kong waters was responsible for economic losses of more than HK$0.3 billion. In 2016, K. mikimotoi blooms caused massive kills of more than 200 tons of fish in several local fish farming zones.

    Despite the serious impacts of these algal blooming events, the exact fish-killing mechanism of this algal species is still poorly understood. Most studies conducted on the fish-killing mechanism of this species have been speculative, and none of them seems to have identified the primary mechanism for its toxicity and fish-killing action. No molecular studies at the gene and protein levels have aimed to identify the underlying molecular pathway in fish exposed to K. mikimotoi.

    The proposed study will investigate the molecular responses of fish gills (in vitro and in vivo) to exposure to K. mikimotoi. Gill tissues from medaka and fish gill cell lines after exposure to K. mikimotoi will be analysed using proteomic technologies. Both gel-based and non-gel-based comparative proteomic approaches will be used to determine and identify differentially expressed proteins. Understanding the molecular responses of fish gills will help to understand the cellular regulation and possible pathways in fish exposed to the fish-killing algae, and should contribute to the eventual development of a proactive strategy for preventing fish-killing incidents. In the long term, successful completion of this project will have significant implications for local, mainland China and even international fish farms and shellfish industries.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Kwok, C. S. N., Lai, K. K. Y., Lam, S. W., Chan, K. K., Xu, S. J., & Lee, F. W. F. (2020). Production of high-quality two-dimensional gel electrophoresis profile for marine medaka samples by using Trizol-based protein extraction approaches. Proteome Science, 18(5), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12953-020-00161-9
    Lee, T. C. H., Lai, K. K. Y., Kwok, C. S. N., Xu, S. J., & Lee, F. W. F. (2020). Comparison of five TRIzol-based protein preparation methods for 2-DE production from challenging marine dinoflagellate samples: A case study on two benthic Prorocentrum species. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 8(5), 363. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8050363
    Lee, T. C. H., Chan, P. L., Tam, N. F. Y., Xu, S. J., & Lee, F. W. F. (2021). Establish axenic cultures of armored and unarmored marine dinoflagellate species using density separation, antibacterial treatments and stepwise dilution selection. Scientific Reports, 11(202). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80638-x
    Chan, K. K., Tam, N. F. Y., Ng, C. M. C. M., Kwok, C. S. N., Xu, S. J., Sze, E. T. P., & Lee, F. W. F. (2021). Proteome response of Meretrix bivalves hepatopancreas exposed to paralytic shellfish toxins producing dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9091039
    Kwok, C. S. N., Lai, K. K. Y, Lam, W., Xu, S. J., Lam, S. W., & Lee, F. W. F. (2021). Proteome analysis of whole-body responses in medaka experimentally exposed to fish-killing dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(21), 11625. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111625

    Conference Papers
    Lam, W., Kwok, C. S. N., Xu, S. J., & Lee, F. W. F. (2019). Growth and Toxicity of Karenia Mikimotoi Strain Isolated from Hong Kong Waters. Paper presented at the 9th International Conferences on Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology, Hong Kong, China, 10–14 June 2019.
    Lee, T. C. H., & Lee., F. W. F. (2019). Algicidal Activity of Two Bacterial Strains Isolated from Karenia Blooming Water Against K. mikimotoi. Paper presented at the 9th International Conferences on Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology, Hong Kong, China, 10–14 June 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Steven XU Jingliang (S&T)

    Abstract

    Today, the major source of drinking water in Hong Kong is the Dongjiang River in mainland China, which contributes up to 80% of the raw water for the local potable water supply. The rest is collected from local rainwater catchments. Therefore, the quality of the drinking water is heavily determined by the water quality of the Dongjiang River. In recent years, the Dongjiang River has faced severe water pollution stresses due to the rapid urban and industrial development along its hinterland in Guangdong Province. Microalgae are deeply linked to water quality and serve as a biological indicator. The water quality, especially the nutrient levels, determines the variety and abundance of microalgae. Moreover, the dominance of certain toxin/odour producing microalgae not only affects the quality of the raw water, but also creates severe problems for the subsequent water treatment. Although the quality of the various freshwater bodies is monitored by the relevant government agencies in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province, systematic research on the sources of Hong Kong drinking water from the upstream of the Dongjiang River to the local water reservoirs is still lacking. Our previous study showed that two blue-green microalgal species, cyanotoxin producing Microcystis sp. and odorous compound producing Anabaena sp., were among the dominant microalgal species found in two local reservoirs which both mainly contained Dongjiang water (DJ water); but they were not among the dominant ones along the Dongjiang River, which had higher nitrogen and phosphorous nutrient levels than the two reservoirs. Therefore, except from the nitrogen and phosphorous, there should be other decisive environmental factors which contribute to the massive growth of these two blue-green microalgal species. In this study, the seasonal succession of microalgal community together with the major environmental variables along the Dongjiang River and in six reservoirs (three mainly contain DJ water and other three mainly contain rainwater) will be investigated for two years, so as to identify the major environmental factors contributing to the development of toxin and odor producing microalgal species. The results gained from this study can provide important information not only to the government agencies in both Guangdong and Hong Kong for better management of the raw water resources, but also to other freshwater resources management agencies who are facing similar water pollution problem all over the world.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Xu, S. J. L., Chan, S. C. Y., Wong, B. Y. K., Zhou, H. C., Li, F. L., Tam, N. F. Y. & Lee, F. W. F. (2022). Relationship between phytoplankton community and water parameters in planted fringing mangrove area in South China. Science of the Total Environment, 817, 152838. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152838
    Xu, S. J. L., Wu, K. C., Lam, W. & Lee, F. W. F. (2022). Evaluation of a Causative Species of Harmful Algal Blooming, Prorocentrum triestinum, as a Sustainable Source of Biosorption on Cadmium. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 10(6), 837. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10060837

    Conference Paper
    Xu, S. J. L., Wong, B. Y. K., Lam, W. & Lee, F. W. F. (2019). Exploring the determinant for the dominance of cyanotoxins and odorous compound producing microalgae in Hong Kong drinking water sources. Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology, Hong Kong, June 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Eric SZE Tung Po (S&T)

    Abstract

    Gastric carcinoma (GC), nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and esophageal carcinoma (EC) are three of the most common cancers in southern China and Hong Kong, but they are rare in Western countries. Because of the endemic clusters amongst Cantonese people, these types of cancers, particularly NPC, are widely regarded as 'Canton tumours'. According to a survey conducted by the Department of Health and Hospital Authority of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), GC, NPC and EC were the fourth, ninth and tenth most fatal cancers, respectively, in Hong Kong in 2012. About 1200, 900 and 400 new cases of GC, NPC and EC respectively, occur each year. Human genetic variations might be to blame for the extraordinarily high incidences and mortality rates of these cancers, but epidemiological and etiological studies have also attributed the causes to dietary habits and environmental factors.

    Consumption of fermented foods, such as sufu, douchi and sauerkraut, has been part of the traditional Chinese food culture for centuries. The intake frequency of these foods was found to be unexpectedly high in children amongst the lower strata of society in mainland China and Hong Kong. The presence of carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds in these foods is believed to be one of the culprits behind the high incidences of cancers. These compounds are ubiquitous in high-protein fermented foods and are derived from biogenic amines (a group of carcinogenic precursors) formed via the decarboxylation of amino acids by certain bacteria. Because these fermented foods are ripened by bacteria, the microbial flora in fermentation starters are crucial factors in determining the level of biogenic amines and thus the resulting foods' carcinogenicity. However, a common practice of manufacturers is to apply the previous batch of fermented food as the starter for upcoming batches in an uncontrolled environment, which changes the microbial composition of the starters from batch to batch. Owing to a lack of quality control and standardization, the microbial composition of fermentation starters varies among manufacturers, and it is difficult to monitor and assess the impact on health upon consumption. We therefore hypothesize that a controlled ripening process with probiotic bacteria, which are living microorganisms that confer health benefits, can minimize or even eliminate the adverse health effects of these fermented Chinese foods.

    In this project, potential probiotic species will be purchased commercially and/or isolated from samples acquired from the market. The probiotic properties of the isolated potential species will be characterized. In addition, fermented food samples will be produced in-house with these isolated potential species, and their carcinogenicity to cause Canton tumours will be examined in vitro. Moreover, the levels of biogenic amines in these in-house fermented foods will be evaluated.

    A pilot study conducted by the research team has demonstrated the levels of certain biogenic amines have been suppressed in the in-house douchi samples ripened solely with probiotic species in specific fermentation conditions.

    The findings of our investigation of the potential use of probiotic species in manufacturing some common traditional Chinese fermented foods will aid in the formulation of fermentation starters that can produce safe or even health-promoting fermented foods, which would change the public conception of these foods. This would not only benefit the fermented food industries, but will also minimize the risk of Canton tumours in susceptible populations in southern China and Hong Kong.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Fong F. L. Y., El-Nezami H. & Sze E. T. P. (2021) Biogenic amines – Precursors of carcinogens in traditional Chinese fermented food. NFS Journal, 23(2021), 52-57. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nfs.2021.04.002
    Fong, F. L. Y., Lam, K. Y., Lau C. S., Ho, K. H., Kan, Y. H., Poon, M. Y., El-Nezami, H., Sze, E. T. P. (2020) Reduction in biogenic amines in douchi fermented by probiotic bacteria. PLoS ONE, 15(3), e0230916. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230916

    Conference Paper
    Fong, F. L. Y., Lam, K. Y., Lau C. S., Ho, K. H., Kan, Y. H., Poon, M. Y., El-Nezami, H. & Sze, E. T. P. (2019). Reduction of Biogenic Amines in the Traditional Chinese Fermented Foods by Probiotic Bacteria. Paper presented at the 33rd European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) International Conference, Netherlands, November 2019.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Douglas NG Kei Shing (S&T)

    Abstract

    The number of deaths due to cancer has steadily increased over recent decades. In Hong Kong, approximately 60% of cancer patients are treated with external beam radiotherapy treatment. Success in accurately localising the target region (tumour) and avoiding damage to the nearby healthy organ (organ at risk, OAR) is crucial to control tumour growth and minimise the side effects in the patient. The recently developed image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) has improved outcomes. To optimise the effectiveness of IGRT, an efficient tumour segmentation and image registration procedure is required to delineate the clinically critical objects visualised by computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during the radiation treatment process. The whole process is tedious, time consuming and experience dependent.

    An effective computational algorithm for the accurate reconstruction of medical images from CT or MRI will help to utilise the split graft process and shorten the operation time for patients.

    This proposed project will attempt to develop a new mathematical model and efficient computational algorithm for medical image segmentation and registration. The numerical solution depends on the complicated irregular shape of the organ. Thus, the use of the recently developed meshless computational methods is advantageous compared to most existing mesh-dependent numerical methods, such as finite element methods. To assist the radiotherapists and clinicians to improve their daily use of IGRT in radiation treatment, this proposed project will incorporate the meshless computational algorithm into the existing numerical package on IGRT for practical implementation.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr VAN ESCH Emmy (B&A)

    Abstract

    Knowledge sharing is essential to the competitiveness and survival of multinational corporations (MNCs), particularly in today’s highly globalized knowledge-based economy (Syed, Murray, Hislop, & Mouzughi, 2018). Given its strategic importance, many MNCs invest heavily in knowledge management systems and practices (Cabrera, Collins, & Salgado, 2006). MNCs often use expatriates as knowledge agents to disseminate and transfer critical knowledge from the parent organization to its host country operations and vice versa (Armstrong & Li, 2017). However, despite the proliferation of international assignments, knowledge sharing between expatriates and host country national (HCN) colleagues continues to be problematic, particularly when individual differences (e.g., in terms of culture, nationality, ethnicity, language) between the expatriate and HCNs are pronounced (Gilson, Lim, Luciano, & Choi, 2013; Mäkelä, Andersson, & Seppälä, 2012). The proposed research therefore aims to reveal how the knowledge sharing process between expatriates and HCNs can be enhanced despite the presence of individual differences.

    Given that expatriates are usually assigned to take up leadership roles in the host country (Elenkov & Manev, 2009), that leaders are central to the process of knowledge sharing (Bryant, 2003), and that empowering leadership behaviors foster knowledge sharing (e.g., Chourides, Longbottom, & Murphy, 2003; Yang, 2007), this research proposes and empirically examines the important role of expatriate’s empowering leadership behaviors for HCN knowledge sharing to occur. Specifically, by drawing on self-expansion theory (Aron & Aron, 1986), we propose that an expatriate’s empowering leadership will enhance HCN knowledge sharing via a self-expansion process. In addition, we propose that HCNs’ cross-cultural competence acts as an important enabler of this process.

    Data will be collected using multi-source dyadic data from HCN employees and their expatriate leaders working in MNCs based in the Greater Bay Area. All measures and scales used will be extracted from widely tested and empirically validated sources and survey data will be analyzed using hierarchical regression analysis and structural equation modelling. As effective knowledge sharing is essential to long-term organizational success in today's knowledge-based economy, the expected findings will have important implications for research and practice.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Van Esch, E. (2022). How Expatriate Leadership Facilitates Host Country National Knowledge Sharing: A Self-Expansion Perspective. Paper presented virtually at the Academy of International Business (AIB) South Asia 2022 Regional Conference, 23–25 January 2022.
    Van Esch, E. (2021). Expatriate Leadership and Host Country National Knowledge Sharing: A Self-Expansion Perspective. Paper presented virtually at the Institute of International Business and Governance (IIBG) 2021 Conference, Hong Kong, China, 3–4 December 2021.
    Van Esch, E. (2021). Expatriate Leadership and Host Country National Knowledge Sharing: A Self-Expansion Perspective. Paper presented virtually at the Academy of International Business (AIB) Asia Pacific 2021 Regional Conference, Nakhonpathom, Thailand, 8–10 December 2021.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr CHU Maggie Ying Ying (B&A)

    Abstract

    In October 2018, the United Nations issued a special report on climate change warning that without the introduction of more radical policies to limit global warming to 1.5°C, catastrophic consequences of climate change would ensue. Human activities are known to be the major reason for the increase in global temperature. From driving and eating to air-conditioning, all sorts of human activities involve the emission of greenhouse gases. Changing to a low-carbon or “greener” lifestyle is highly necessary. A common tactic used to change people’s behavior is showing them a good role model, such as someone who makes conscious attempts to reduce waste and save precious resources. This strategy is often implemented in public policy campaigns. To enhance the attainability of advocated behaviors, role models who share similar characteristics (e.g., socio-economic status) with the given audience are often used. We, however, speculate that such a strategy may backfire, as it not only fails to elicit the desired behavior but actually makes people even less likely to adopt it. The aim of the proposed research is to investigate when this effect occurs, how it occurs and under what conditions it becomes more pronounced.

    By drawing on social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954), we posit that in situations where new evidence casts doubt on people’s environmental friendliness (e.g., receiving unfavorable feedback from an environmental friendliness assessment), they may refer to others as the standard of comparison. Others who are similar to oneself are often good references that enable one to make the most accurate judgments about one’s attributes and abilities. A potential comparison outcome is particularly worth noting. When people are in front of a similar other who is superior to themselves (akin to a good role model), such as seeing a neighbor making every effort to save resources and minimize waste, they are more likely to evaluate themselves unfavorably on the attribute concerned and to perceive themselves as not being the same kind of person as that social other (“I’m not those who are environmentally friendly”). Once self-views are established, people have a tendency to preserve them by thinking and behaving in ways that are consistent with their conceptions of self (Lecky, 1945). Thus, after observing a self-similar role model behaving in an environmentally responsible manner, people may become less likely to follow suit. We posit that this effect is more pronounced when the behaviors advocated by the role model are atypical (i.e., less commonly adopted) than when they are typical. Atypical behaviors are likely to magnify the superiority of the self-similar role model. The self is then evaluated even more unfavorably and the intention to engage in the same behaviors is lowered further.

    We propose three studies to test the proposed framework. In the first two studies, we will influence the participants’ confidence in their self-view as environmentally friendly people with different stimuli and test whether exposure to a similar role model as opposed to a dissimilar one causes people to perceive themselves as less environmentally friendly. Their intention to engage in environmentally responsible behaviors will then be undermined. In the last study, we will test whether the effects observed in the first two studies are influenced by the typicality of the behaviors advocated by the role model. The findings of the proposed research will provide insight into how policymakers should utilize role modeling in public policy campaigns (e.g., role models in social advertisements) to encourage green living. The findings will also enrich the literature on social influence by identifying a situation in which using a positive role model who shares similar characteristics with the audience may backfire.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Paper
    Chu, M. Y. Y., & Wan, L. C. (2020). On Encouraging Green Living – When does a Positive Role Model Backfire? . Paper presented at 2020 Global Marketing Conference at Seoul, Seoul, Korea, November 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Thomas CHAN Kwok Ho (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Intergenerational transfers from adult children to their parents are thought to contribute a significant portion of old-age support in China. With a fast growing elder population and an increasing old-age dependency ratio, it is important to understand these transfers. This study investigates the motives of intergenerational transfers in China. Using pilot data from China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), preliminary results of 1200 households showed that around half of them received transfers from adult children and the amount of transfer is at most two-thirds of household income per capita. Data also showed that poorer households are more likely to receive transfers. Considering the large portion of old-age income coming from children’s transfers and the widespread of these transfers, better understanding about these transfers is needed. Appropriate public old-age policy would provide sustainable old-age support for the elderly and lessen the burden of younger generation on supporting their parents.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Chan, T. K. H., & Liao, W. (2022). The Motives of Intergenerational Transfers in China. International Journal of Asian Social Science, 12(8), 308–317. https://doi.org/10.55493/5007.v12i8.4562

    Conference Paper
    Chan, T. K. H. (2021). The Motives of Intergenerational Transfers in China. Paper presented at the Academy of Economics and Finance 2021 Virtual Conference, Hong Kong, China, 11–13 February 2021.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Agol HO Wai Ming (B&A)

    Abstract

    This study will examine the influence of environmental concern among investors on the yield of a green bond. Green bonds are debt instruments specifically earmarked to be used for projects with an environmental goal. Faced with rapidly growing need to invest in environment-friendly projects and growing demand from investors for green assets, green bond issuance has skyrocketed in recent years.

    This study adopts a matching method to estimate the yield differential between a green bond and a synthetic conventional bond with almost same characteristics. Then, the yield differential is regressed on a measure of environmental concern among investors to determine the influence of the environmental concern on the bond yield. One of the novel ideas of this project is to make use of online search activity to measure and track the trend in subjective environmental concern that are traditionally captured by surveys.

    The results of the study have important contributions to both academics and practitioners: (1) extend the sustainable finance literature in the relation between environmental concern and bond yield; (2) offer advice to investors who invest in bonds that comply with certain green bond standards and guidelines; (3) provide implications to governments, central banks and regulatory bodies driving green bonds market in order to achieve sustainable development.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Matthew YEUNG Chi Hei (B&A)

    Abstract

    The current study proposes two analysis to evaluate the effects of two main features of the OBOR initiative on the export performance of the six economic corridors and the participant countries. We use data extracted from the World Economic Forum Reports and build gravity models to examine the effects of strengthened infrastructural facilities connectivity and unimpeded trade on exports among countries along the routes. We focus on identifying the differences in the effects of the variable of interest across the six economic corridors. Additionally, we examine the potential spillovers from the six economic corridors to the neighboring countries and the global economy. All these are designed to help China and the participating countries to evaluate if the initiative was a China-first initiative and to assess the regional and global economic influences of the initiative.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Ramasamy, B., & Yeung, M. C. H. (2020). China’s outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) to developing countries: the case of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13547860.2020.1790182
    Book
    Ramasamy, B., Yeung, M. C. H., Duval, Y., & Utoktham, C. (2020). The Belt and Road Initiative: opportunities and challenges of a Chinese economic ambition. Los Angeles: Sage. Retrieved from https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/the-belt-and-road-initiative/book272159

  • Principal Investigator

    Professor Philips WANG Fu Lee (S&T)

    Abstract

    Topic modeling can automatically reveal the semantic structure in text and deal with the ambiguity created by synonymous and polysemous words. The technique has been widely used in analyzing documents. As an effective basic model, the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) can obtain document-topic and topic-word probability distributions, but the number of topics needs to be manually specified. To address this, the Hierarchical Dirichlet Process (HDP) was proposed to allow the number of topics to be learned automatically from the data. However, the high computational complexity of HDP and the limited scalability of topic models with a manually determined number of topics make it difficult to apply the above methods to text that is updated in real time. Online topic modeling will thus be developed in this project to tackle the above issues simultaneously. Specifically, we aim to propose a parallel method of processing new documents, an online learning framework for learning model parameters, and a dynamic update mechanism for determining the number of topics, so that responses can be made in real time and the evolution of topics can be captured in online applications. The effectiveness of the techniques developed will be evaluated by introducing the dynamic information of model parameters and number of topics into fine-grained sentiment analysis models.

    Parallel processing of new documents. Online platforms such as social networks generate text more frequently than other sources. Therefore, it is very important to handle new documents in a real-time manner. Considering that a thread is light and easy to create, control, and destroy, we plan to process new documents using threads. In this way, new text can be processed in parallel and the response time can be largely reduced.

    Online learning of model parameters. The computational complexity of a topic model is mainly determined by the learning of model parameters. The widely used Gibbs sampling algorithm traverses all topics when assigning a topic to each word. To save time, we can split the formula in Gibbs sampling into the document-topic sampling part and the topic-word sampling part. The first part is achieved by the Alias method and the other by the Metropolis Hastings sampling algorithm. Then, the model parameters from historical data are updated with the topic sampling results of new documents. This online learning framework not only reduces the computational complexity of learning model parameters, but also improves the accuracy of topic extraction from online documents.

    Hierarchical update of the number of topics. Topics in documents that are updated in real time tend to evolve, so these documents may require a flexible number of topics. We will first assign a lower bound to the initial number of topics according to the size of the current corpus, then propose a hierarchical method to determine the appropriate number of topics in real time. Through this approach, we can simultaneously speed up the model and improve the accuracy of topic extraction.

    Typical application of the online topic model. Based on the above parallel processing of new documents, online learning of model parameters, and hierarchical update of the number of topics, we plan to compare the topics extracted in different time periods, and introduce the model parameters and the number of topics over time into sentiment analysis models. This will enable us to improve the accuracy of sentiment prediction by capturing the fine-grained user sentiments as a topic evolves.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Ir Dr MAK Shu Lun (S&T)

    Abstract

    In 2016, China imported two-thirds of the world’s plastic waste. In 2017, China government banned to import plastic waste. Much of the waste plastic will be disposed to the local landfill. Jenna Jambeck (University of Georgia) estimated that China’s new policy could displace as much as 111 million metric tons of plastic waste by 2030. Over 5.2 million plastic bottles were throws away in Hong Kong everyday. Most of plastic bottles were made of PE, PP and PET materials. It is lacked of facilities to collect and recycle the waste plastic bottles to useful materials for other manufacturing purpose.

    Additive manufacturing (also commonly as 3D printing) was developed since 1987 and rapidly developed in the past ten years. Additive manufacturing is one of key technologies in the framework of Industry 4.0. The America Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) technical committee F42 approved a list of seven additive process categories, including (1) material extrusion; (2) material jetting; (3) binder jetting; (4) sheet lamination; (5) Vat photo-polymerization; (6) Powder bed fusion; and (7) Directed energy deposits.

    The material extrusion was applied to develop the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and now available to domestic users. The polymeric material such as polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA) is widely used to make the filaments for making the product. PLA material is a biodegradable thermoplastic material derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, cassava roots, chips or starch. Due to low cost of FDM machine and PLA filament material, the waste materials is rapidly increased.

    The 3D printing filaments were made by the extrusion process. The current extrusion machine is using a single screw to apply the high temperature and pressure to melt the material and push the material through the die to make the filaments. The disadvantages of single screw extrusion include: (1) poor mixing capability for different recycled polymeric materials; and (2) melted polymer may block extrusion machines and give poor printing quality.

    The proposed study will investigate the distribution and physical properties of common polymeric materials of waste plastic bottles in Hong Kong. The team will further determine the essential additives to improve the properties of waste plastics in order to suit the application of 3D printing. And the table-top twin-screw extruder will be designed and fabricated to make the filaments. Both the maintainability and productivity of extrusion and 3D printing processes will be evaluated by comparing the mechanical strength of printed products. In the long term, successful completion of this project will have significant implication for local, mainland China and even international recycle plastic filaments manufacturing industry.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Paper
    Mak, S. L. (2021). A Review on Utilization of Plastic Wastes in Making Construction Bricks. Paper presented at 2021 6th International Conference on Green Materials and Environmental Engineering (GMEE2021), Changsha, China, 2–3 February 2021.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr HO Amic Garfield (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Interest in the relationships between emotional concerns and design began with the work of some design scholars in the 2000s, mostly based on users’ perspectives. However, few of the studies explored the changes in junior design students’ emotions during their process of innovation or looked at how their changes of emotions could influence their creative process and even the outcomes.

    Junior design students may have difficulties to process the received information from objects that involve many human interactions. This suggests that the process of their innovation is made up not only of rational and logical considerations; in addition, it includes the technique, experience and skills of the designers and even their responses towards the external environment or stimulants around them. Their responses to the external environment can be regarded as emotional responses. Hence, ‘intrinsic factors’ including emotion or affective systems, can affect junior design students’ considerations in the design process. From past studies and investigations, theories about relationships between emotions, the process of making decisions and the design process were developed. The close linkages between designers, design outcomes and the users/audiences in the ‘design and emotion’ aspect were also explained. Besides, the relationships among junior design students’ emotional changes, internal factors, and external factors of the design process were investigated. These theories provided sufficient theoretical background to consider how to help junior design students manage their emotional changes in their design processes for better performance in these processes. These theories would potentially be applied in design education. The needs for introducing these theories to junior design students’ design processes and influencing their manipulation in their design processes were clearly indicated. However, effective approaches to these aspects have not yet been developed.

    Hence, this study aimed to investigate some approaches for guiding junior design students to control their emotions in the design process. Practical guidelines are possible tools to help them, and elements involved in these guidelines have to be identified. As a result, effective approaches for motivating junior design students to learn these guidelines should be explored. The difficulties of introducing design and emotion concepts into design learning have to be investigated. Also, the contributions that would be achieved after following the guidelines and applying concepts of emotion in design studies have to be proposed. In order to achieve these, an empirical study will be conducted for collecting both quantitative and qualitative data for further analysis. Junior undergraduate participants in creative arts (design) studies will be invited to manipulate and apply the proposed principles in their design processes. This empirical study will be conducted via two research studies. Participants will be invited to take part in several design processes for investigating emotional elements; these would enhance junior design students’ abilities to manipulate their design processes. Participants’ performances will be monitored by an emotion-tracking mobile application. Their feedback on these proposed principles will be collected through individual interviews and an emotion recognition system. Also, the effectiveness of the proposed principles in the collaborative design process will be collected in a focus group. Lastly, the elements that potentially motivate junior design students to manipulate their design processes with managed emotional elements will be reflected by participants’ lablogs. This study will provide a demonstration of how junior design students can introduce emotion in the design process.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Book Chapters
    Ho, A. G. (2023). Connecting Emotion with Design Learning. In Kye, H., Kim, D., Kim, S., Kim, E., Park, E., Park, J., Lee, J., Choi, J. (Eds), Proceedings of HCK Korea 2023 (pp. 586-592). The HCI Society of Korea. Retrieved from http://conference.hcikorea.org/pds/2023/HCIK2023%20Proceedings.pdf
    Ho, A.G. (2022). Emotion from Creativity: Principles of Manipulating Emotional Management in Design Learning. In Bruyns, G., Wei, H. (Eds), [ ] With Design: Reinventing Design Modes (pp. 276-290). Springer. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-4472-7_19
    Ho, A.G. (2021). Understanding Junior Design Students’ Emotion During the Creative Process. In Ayaz, H., Asgher, U., Paletta, L. (Eds), Advances in Neuroergonomics and Cognitive Engineering (pp. 120-126). Springer. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-80285-1_15
  • Principal Investigator

    Professor Andrew LUI Kwok Fai (S&T)

    Abstract

    Providing prompt assessment feedback is important for learning effectiveness. Grading automation can overcome the limitations of manual grading and enable around-the-clock assessment services that can enhance the learning experience of online learning platforms. Compared to multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank types of assessment, the automation of grading short free text answers poses significantly more technical challenges. Short answer questions induce highly specific responses from recall of topical knowledge. A good computer grader should be sensitive to the semantics of the text and flexible to alternative ways in expressing an answer. Machine learning is regarded as an effective technique for computer short answer grading because it can fit training sample as well as generalize to unseen answers. Past research in computer short answer grading follows either the supervised learning approach or the unsupervised learning approach. The former is based on training a supervised classifier with a sample of graded answers. It can theoretically achieve outstanding accuracy if the sample is comprehensive, balanced and sufficiently large. The latter is based on a clustering algorithm to divide student answers into clusters according to their semantic similarities. Student answers within each cluster are considered to be equivalent and should receive the same grade. If a ground-truth grade is assigned to an answer of a cluster, the grade can be propagated to the other answers of the same cluster.

    The input of ground-truth grading sample, either in the form of reference answers or manually graded answers, remains essential in automated grading. The practicality of computer grading rests on the minimizing the effort required in obtaining the sample. The supervised approach is regarded as impractical because it expects a large training sample for each grading task. The unsupervised approach, on the other hand, can perform without training sample. The clustering stage operates solely based on the textual semantic model used in differentiating student answers and requires no training sample. Human graders can be engaged later to assess the ungraded clusters. Effectively, clustering and grading has become two separated steps. A critical limitation is that the formation of clusters may be inconsistent with the perspectives of the human graders. Two answers with different grades may still be found in the same cluster.

    This proposed research project investigates a semi-supervised approach for short answer grading. This third approach aims to utilize a small graded sample to produce clusters of answers consistent with the perspectives of the human graders. The constraints between answers inherent in the graded sample, such as same-cluster and different-cluster, are to be observed in the cluster formation. The resulting optimization problem is susceptible to local minima and therefore a novel evolutionary algorithm based semi-supervised clustering algorithm will be developed. A number of formulations of multi-objective optimization will be evaluated based on gold standard short answer grading datasets.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Article
    Lui, A. K. F., Ng, S. C., & Cheung, S. W. N. (2022). A framework for effectively utilising human grading input in automated short answer grading. International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, 16(3), 266–286. doi:10.1504/IJMLO.2022.10048071
    Conference Papers
    Lui, A. K. F. (2022). An Interactive Short Answer Grading System Based on Active Learning Models. Paper presented virtually at the 4th International Conference on Computer Science and Technologies in Education, 6–8 May 2022.
    Lui, A. K. F. (2020). Effective Use of Small Amount of Graded Answers for Automated Grading of Short Answers. Paper presented at the International Conference in Open and Innovative Education 2020, Hong Kong, China, 2–4 July 2020.
    Lui, A. K. F. (2020). Entropy-based Recognition of Anomalous Answers for Efficient Grading of Short Answers with an Evolutionary Clustering Algorithm. Paper presented at IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence 2020 (IEEE SSCI 2020), Canberra, Australia, 1–4 December 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Terence SHUM Chun Tat (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Hong Kong accommodates migrants of various nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Although the city promotes itself as a multicultural society, numerous institutional barriers continue to limit the integration of migrants. Offering Cantonese language learning courses to the migrants has been one of the main focuses of Hong Kong’s integration policy over the years. However, it totally neglects how to preserve cultural diversity among migrants, which is the most important element in building an inclusive and multicultural society. Among the different migrant groups, South Asians (Indian, Nepalese, and Pakistani) have received most attention from scholars and policy makers since they are often perceived as being underprivileged. While a large proportion of the literature on South Asians in Hong Kong has focused on their work and employment, education, language, minority rights, gender politics, and access to health services, few studies have been conducted on their traditional cultural experiences in this region. Based on interviews and participant observation, this project will offer a cultural perspective on South Asians in Hong Kong by examining how they manage their cultural life in the city, as well as the role of traditional culture in identity construction, community building, and social integration.

    Food and music are key components of South Asian diasporic culture. These are expressive practices through which the South Asians reconstruct their identity in the host society. These embodied practices can help maintain and create new sociocultural relations both within and across borders. The general tendency towards the social integration of migrants is to examine how their cultures trigger discrimination. However, the potential opportunities and benefits offered by migrants’ traditional cultures (food and music) for facilitating intergroup relations and their integration into a host society remain largely neglected. This project will offer an instructive perspective for examining how South Asians utilise various individual and group resources to practise and preserve their own traditional food and music culture in Hong Kong, and under what conditions they are willing and able to use their traditional culture to initiate cross-cultural contact with Hong Kong Chinese. By studying their encounters with Hong Kong Chinese in areas where diasporic food and music culture are practised, this research will make important contributions to the literature and teaching of ethnic minorities, diasporic communities, and diasporic culture. It will not only offer a new perspective for understanding multiculturalism and integration, but also provide the Hong Kong government with suggestions for formulating measures that could help to build a more inclusive multicultural society.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Shum, T. C. T. (2023). Diaspora aesthetics: Music performance and practices of belonging among the South Asians in Hong Kong. South Asian Diaspora, 1-18. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/19438192.2023.2247892
    Shum, T. C. T. (2023). Performing Culinary Diaspora: Food Practices and Culinary Encounters of South Asians in Hong Kong. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 44(4) 604-624. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/07256868.2023.2149478

    Conference Papers
    Shum, T. C. T. (2021). Performing diaspora: food, music and social integration among the South Asian diaspora in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Migration Conference, London, The UK, 6-10 July 2021.
    Shum, T. C. T. (2021). Culinary sociality: Food culture, identity and inter-group relations of the South Asians in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the IV International Sociological Association Forum of Sociology, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 23–28 February 2021.
  • Principal Investigator

    Mr Michael CHEUK Ka Chi (A&SS)

    Abstract

    The Nobel Prize in Literature is regularly referred to as a blessing and a curse to its laureates. This proposed project will study the censoring impact of the Nobel Prize in Literature on Gao Xingjian’s creative works, providing an examination of how economic capital (money), symbolic capital (recognition), and celebrity capital (media exposure), as generated by the Nobel Prize, have shaped the transmedial nature of Gao’s post-Nobel artistic career.

    The Nobel Prize has never been systematically studied within the framework of censorship. The Nobel Prize, however, has garnered the reputation as being a “kiss of death” to a literary writer, and it has even prompted Gao to embark on a “second escape.” Building on the PI’s previous research on Gao’s pre-Nobel plays and censorship, this study will explore both the social and cultural significance of Gao’s works in the context of the Nobel Prize as a form of censorship, and more broadly, as a form of global influence. It will also investigate how Gao’s post-Nobel creative works cross the boundaries of film, poetry, painting, dance, and theatre, thereby cultivating a brand of transmedia aesthetics which is unique to Gao.

    This project not only breaks grounds in examining how a non-Western writer negotiates with the productive and restrictive forces of international literary prizes, but also paves way for research on Gao’s later works against the backdrop of the Nobel Prize.

    Since the study will investigate four main fields – the Nobel Prize, Gao’s post-Nobel creative works, transmediality, and censorship, it requires critical reflection on a series of interdependent cultural, aesthetic, and theoretical issues in the context of the global influence of the Nobel Prize. The intricate questions to be addressed include: How does the Nobel Prize poise as censorship for non-Western laureates like Gao? In what ways are Gao’s transmedial experimentations influenced by the censorship of the Nobel Prize? How do Gao’s post-Nobel creative works serve as an “escape” from the censorship of the Nobel Prize? What new insights about the cultural politics of recognition, such as China’s eagerness to strengthen its soft power through international awards, can be obtained through an account of Gao’s post-Nobel artistic career? How does a study of Gao’s post-Nobel creative works inspire sophisticated insights about cultural censorship with respect to Hong Kong?

    The project consists of four tasks: (1) Examine the Nobel Prize in Literature as a form of censorship that is structural, omnipresent, and paradoxically produces as well as restricts expression; (2) Study the interaction between transmediality and structural censorship in Gao Xingjian’s post-Nobel works, namely the Taiwanese stage production of Snow in August (2002), the plays The Man Who Questions Death (2004) and Ballade Nocturne (2010), the films Silhouette/Shadow (2007), After the Flood (2008), Requiem for Beauty (2013), and the poetry collection Wandering Mind and Metaphysical Thoughts (2018); (3) Re-evaluate the global politics of cultural recognition and China’s Nobel complex; and (4) Contribute more sophisticated insights about cultural censorship with respect to Hong Kong.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Cheuk, M. K. C. (2022). Escaping Prestige: A Transmedial Reading of Death in L’année Gao. Journal of World Literature, 7(3), 401-426. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00703007
    Cheuk, M. K. C. (2021). Gao Xingjian’s Escape from Orientalism. Archiv orientální, 89(2), 365-387. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.47979/aror.j.89.1.365-387
    Cheuk, M. K. C. (2021). Literary celebrities as counterpublics: A comparative study of Gao Xingjian and Toni Morrison. Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies, 10(2), 153-167. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1386/ajms_00054_1

    Book Chapter
    Cheuk, M. K. C. (2022). Gao Xingjian and the Hong Kong Handover. In: Tambling, J. (Ed.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies (pp. 1-6). Springer. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62592-8_129-2

    Conference Papers
    Cheuk, M. K. C. (2021). The Nobel Prize as Censorship: The 1995 Atlanta Cultural Olympiad as Case Study. Paper presented at the Literature in the Nobel Era: Comparative, theoretical, and archival approaches to the Nobel Prize in Literature, Marbach, August 2021.
    Cheuk, M. K. C. (2021). The Nobel Prize, Gao Xingjian, and Transmedia Aesthetics. Paper presented at the 2021 American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Online, April 2021.
    Cheuk, M. K. C. (2021). Escaping through Sound: Gao Xingjian’s Absolute Signal. Paper presented at the Music, Sound, and Trauma: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Online, February 2021.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Emily GE Haoyan (E&L)

    Abstract

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, along with repetitive and restricted behaviors. Autistic children have significant impairment in communication, showing delays in language development, and having difficulties in understanding and responding to others. It is commonly believed among professionals and parents that exposure to two languages imposes an additional burden on children with ASD. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence to support or reject this belief. With the prevalence of ASD at a recently estimated one in 59 children and an increasing number of bilingually-exposed children, it is urgent to understand how bilingual exposure interacts with ASD.

    To date, only a few studies have examined the effect of bilingual exposure on the language development in children with ASD. While these studies showed no additional language deficits or delays in bilingually-exposed autistic children, they were mainly conducted in English-speaking contexts with two typologically similar languages. It is unclear whether these findings can be generalized to autistic children who are exposed to two typologically different languages. Moreover, previous studies have primarily used language assessment tools and parental reports. Autistic children’s language ability needs to be measured directly in real conversational settings.

    To fill in these gaps, we propose to investigate the impact of English exposure on the language development of Cantonese-speaking children with ASD in Hong Kong. We focus on this population not only because they are under-studied, but also because the majority of Cantonese-speaking children in Hong Kong are exposed to English. We will first use language assessment tools to construct their profiles of general language ability, and then conduct well-designed ‘game’ tests to systematically examine their specific linguistic knowledge in both comprehension and production. By combining these two methods, we shall first identify whether Cantonese-speaking autistic children show language impairments relative to their typically developing peers. We shall then examine whether and how bilingually-exposed children with ASD differ from autistic children who are primarily exposed to Cantonese.

    The findings will enhance our understanding of the relationship between bilingual exposure and the language development in children with ASD. Practically, the results will be helpful for developing effective interventions and rehabilitation programmes for the treatment of ASD in Cantonese-English contexts. The findings from this project will also inform evidence-based practice and provide essential guidance to parents, clinicians, educators and other professionals who make language decisions for Cantonese-speaking children with ASD in Hong Kong.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    Ge, E. H. (2020). Comprehension of focus in Cantonese: Comparison between children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and typically developins children. Paper presented at the RiBILT Research Seminars, Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, August 2020.
    Ge, E. H. (2020). Syntax or prosody? Comprehension of focus by Cantones e-speaking children and adults. Paper presented at The 24th International Conference on Yue Dialects, Macau, China, 13–14 November 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Cindy LAM Man Fong (E&L)

    Abstract

    Since the handover in 1997, the language policy of Hong Kong has been characterized by biliteracy and trilingualism (兩文三語). In this multilingual context, Chinese language as a foreign language has become one of the obstacles for the long-established and rapidly rising population of non-Chinese-speaking students to integrate into the Hong Kong community. Although scholars and the Hong Kong government have recently worked hard to help these students improve their written Chinese and oral Cantonese, their proficiency of spoken Mandarin or Putonghua, which is also an important component for second language Chinese education in Hong Kong, has not been reviewed and documented. The present study, the first of its kind, examines the tone perception and production of Putonghua with a special focus on ‘South Asians’ in Hong Kong including three main sub-groups, namely Indian, Nepalese, and Pakistanis. Tone is of crucial importance for preparing learners to communicate adequately in tonal languages as it has its own distinctive meaning; and Putonghua tone brings great difficulty for second language (L2) learners from non-tone languages (e.g., Kiriloff, 1969; Bluhme & Burr, 1971; Shen, 1989). The present study investigates the Putonghua learning by learners of South Asians whose native languages are non-tonal. The goals of the research project are: (1) to explore the learning experiences of Putonghua by South Asian students in Hong Kong; (2) to investigate how Putonghua tones are produced and perceived by South Asian students; and (3) to identify the linguistic factors affecting South Asians students’ acquisition of Putonghua tones.

    To examine the Putonghua tone acquisition by South Asian students in Hong Kong, this project will adopt a mixed-method approach to ensure the results reflect the learning experience of Putonghua and allow a more nuanced understanding of their tone acquisition. A sociolinguistic survey of students randomly selected from secondary schools will be conducted first, including a large-scale questionnaire aimed at a general understanding of the participants’ language background and other languages experience. This will be followed by semi-structured interviews with selected participants in order to get an in-depth look at their difficulties with Chinese language. They will then be invited to participate in both perception and production tests with the Perceptual Assimilation Model (PAM) in order to investigate the possible errors related to Putonghua lexical tone perception and production. The cross-linguistic factors which influence language experience on perception and production of Putonghua tone will then be discussed – such as the typological distance and second language status, as well as suggestions for improving teaching and learning observed in the empirical study.

    Since there is no published study on the learning experience of Putonghua by South Asians in Hong Kong, this proposed project will contribute to filling this gap. The research findings and products will inform Putonghua teaching and enhance teaching quality by contributing theories of teaching Chinese as a foreign language. The research findings will also have some intriguing pedagogical implications for Putonghua teachers, learners, and researchers for understanding better the major problems encountered by Hong Kong students of non-Chinese-speaking South Asian ethnic minorities in learning Putonghua tones.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Paper
    Lam, C. M. F. (2020). Putonghua/Mandarin Learning of South Asian Students in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the International Conference on Learning and Teaching, Hong Kong, China, 2–4 December 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Gary TSANG Chi Chung (A&SS)

    Abstract

    The Ci study in Republican China (1911-1949) inherited traditional thoughts of Ci from Qing Dynasty while absorbing the modern culture, which led to its significant achievements in various aspects. It is also worth noting that the development of Ci annotation at that time progressed better than that of the previous generations and is demonstrating its uniqueness. There were about 30 Ci annotations from Qing Dynasty or before. However, the development of Ci annotations had been thriving with a rapid increase in number in Republican China. There were about 25 Ci collection with annotations and more than 80 Ci selection with annotations, which the total had exceeded 100. Some Ci annotations are still widely praised and used by academics nowadays, such as Yang Tiefu’s Wu Meng Chuang Ci Jian Shi, Long Yusheng’s Dong Po Yue fu Jian, Zhan Antai’s Hua Wai Ji Jian Zhu, Deng Guangming’s Jia Xuan Ci Bian Nian Jian Zhu, Yu Pingbo’s Du Ci Ou De, Long Yusheng’s Tang Song Ming Jia Ci Xuan, Tang Guizhang’s Tang Song Ci Jian Shi, etc. These Ci annotations help readers understand the texts through studying semantic, explanation of writing background, and appreciation of writing skills. In this connection, annotation is traditionally seen as a tool to understand texts. However, some scholars may have infiltrated their thoughts of Ci in their annotation works, which may have turned annotation into a form of hermeneutics. This is a significance feature of Ci study in Republican China that worth further investigation. There is still a lack of in-depth and comprehensive research on Ci annotation. Most of the existing studies are from a philological or anthological perspective, and their discussions mainly focus on few annotations. This project will conduct a comprehensive investigation of Ci annotations in Republican China, adopting the traditional philological methodology, such as literary investigation, close reading and comparative study. Meanwhile, the theories of hermeneutics, the archaeology of knowledge, communication and canonization will also be applied. This will be an interdisciplinary analysis for illustrating the theories of annotation and its relationship with traditional Ci studies and the academic studies of Republican China, and also reflect on current research of Ci, in the hope to perform an in-depth and specialized research study on Ci annotations in Republican China.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Conference Papers
    曾智聰.(2021).〈數位典藏與民國時期(1911-1949)詞籍注釋的考掘與研究〉.論文發表於臺灣數位人文學會、國立彰化師範大學文學院主辦「第十二屆數位典藏與數位人文國際研討會」,臺灣國立彰化大學.
    Tsang, G. C. C. (2021). Study on Ci Annotation and its’ construction of discourse in Republican China (1911-1949). Paper presented at the British Association for Chinese Studies 2021 conference (BACS), University of Birmingham, England, September 2021.
    Tsang, G. C. C. (2021). A Study on Hermeneutics and Annotation of Ci Poetry in Republican China (1911-1949). Paper presented at the 23rd Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS), Leipzig University, Germany, August 2021.
    曾智聰(2021).〈詞學詮釋的轉型——以民國時期詞籍注釋對張惠言《詞選》的接受為討論中心〉。論文發表於中國比較文學學會第十三屆年會暨國際學術研討會,廣西大學.
    曾智聰.(2021).〈論民國初年的作詞教學──以俞平伯《詞課示例》與《讀詞偶得》為中心〉.論文發表於香港公開大學人文社會科學院、田家炳中華文化中心主辦第一屆「華文創意寫作與跨媒體實踐」國際研討會,香港都會大學.
    Tsang, G. C. C. (2020). Canonization of Ci Poetry of Tang and Five Dynasties and the Annotation of Ci Poetry: Focusing on “Hua Jian Ji” . Paper presented at the 4th World Conference of Chinese Studies, Witten and London, Germany and UK, 15–18 August 2020.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Panda CHAN Ping Lung (S&T)

    Abstract

    Organic vegetables are considered by the general public as healthier and more natural. Thus there is an increasing demand for organic vegetables. However, these organic vegetables may be contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria as the production of organic vegetables involves the uses of organic manures originated from animal faeces or kitchen wastes. These materials harbour antibiotic-resistant bacteria due to the uses of antibiotics in the farming of livestock. The use of these manures thus may pose a threat to public health as many of these organic vegetables are categorised as ready-to-eat food and are used in salads or other food with minimal washing and cooking. Consumption of these vegetables may thus result in the infection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Measures are thus needed to reduce the risk.

    One of the measures is to alter the microbial community structure (microbiome), reducing the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs/resistome) in manures by altering the physicochemical properties of the manure composting process and in farm soils. It has been demonstrated that an array of physicochemical factors such as temperature, oxygen availability, total available nitrogen, and metal ions concentration influence the microbiome and resistome in manures and farm soils. However, the result from existing studies showed a varied or even contradictory effect of this strategy. It highlights that our current understanding in the effect and working mechanism of different physicochemical factors on microbiome and resistance genes is still very limited and there is a need to further explore and delineate the effect and the working mechanism of different physicochemical factors.

    Currently, there are only a handful of studies in Hong Kong characterising and investigating the effect of different physicochemical factors on the microbiome and resistome in manures and farm soils used to cultivate the organic vegetables supplied to Hong Kong. Thus, this is the aim of this study to fill this gap. This proposal presents the phase 1, which focus on the manures only, of our larger intended study. In the current proposal, we hypothesise (i) the microbiome and ARGs in composting manures will evolve during the composting; and (ii) the physicochemical factors in composting manures are correlated with the evolution of the microbiome and ARGs of the composting manures.

    There are three parts of the current study. Part I will first characterise the microbiome and the ARGs in two types of manure commonly used in Hong Kong using microbiological and metagenomic methods. Part II will characterise the physicochemical properties of composting manures and correlate these properties with the change in the microbiome and ARGs as defined in Part I. Part III will examine the effect of correlating physicochemical properties identified in Part II on the microbiome and ARGs in manures.

    The result of this study will first inform the general public in the food safety risk of consumption of ready-to-eat vegetables cultivated by different methods and the governments in the Greater Bay Area region on the formulation of regulatory policy concerning food safety requirements of ready-to-eat organic vegetables. Secondly, in the aspect of agricultural technology development, the identification of physicochemical factors influencing the evolution of microbiome and ARGs in manures will facilitate the improvement of current manure composting techniques and other industrial applications involving fermentation processes such as food and pharmaceutical industry. Finally, this project will fill the gap in our current understanding of the evolution process of the microbiome and ARGs (or resistome) in manures and how different physicochemical factors influence this evolution process. Identification of these factors will lead to new hypotheses of the precise molecular mechanism of how these factors influence the evolution process and gene regulations.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

    Journal Articles
    Hou, J., Lam, K. L., Chiu, Y. T., Kwong, K. Y., Lau, H. L., Marafa, L. M., Tsui, S. K. W., Mo, I. W. Y. & Chan, P. L. (2024). Urban green waste bulking agent is the major source of antimicrobial resistance genes persisted in home compost, not animal manure. Environmental Research, 242, 117713.Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2023.117713
    Hou, J., Chiu, Y. T., Lam, K. L., Kwong, K. Y., Lau, J. H. L., Marafa, L. M., Tsui, S. K. W., Mo, I. W. Y. & Chan, P. P. L. (2023). High copy number of multi-drug resistance genes in spent coffee grounds used in organic composting. F1000Research, 12, 482. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.133270.1
    Lam, K. L., Kong, W. P., Ling, P. Y., Lau, T. H., Ho, K. H., Lee, F. W. F., & Chan, P. P. L. (2020). Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Hydroponic Lettuce in Retail: A Comparative Survey. Foods 2020, 9(9), 1327. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091327

    Conference Papers
    Chiu, Y. T., Lam, K. L., Kwong, K. Y., Ho, K. H., Ling, P. Y., Lau, T. H., Mo, I. W. Y. & Chan, P. P. L. (2023). Physicochemical factors associated with the elimination of Staphylococcus aureus in the aerobic composting of organic compost. Paper presented at FEMS 2023, Hamburg, Germany, July 2023.
    Chiu, Y. T., Lam, K. L., Chan, P. P. L. & Mo, I. W. Y. (2022). Persistence of Human Pathogenic Bacteria during Composting. Paper presented at the Virtual International Conference for Environment and Human Health, Hong Kong, August 2022.
  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Crystal HAN Jie (S&T)

    Abstract

    Plastic pollution is ubiquitous and has pervaded water, land, and even the air we breathe. There is a growing concern about adverse effects caused by plastic debris pollution in coastal wetlands, especially plastics with relatively small size, such as microplastics (MPs). Microplastics are tiny plastic particles with size less than 5 mm. They are not only marine litters which may be taken by aquatic animals, birds and then passed to human beings through food chains, but also substrates for accumulation of various contaminants, such as PAHs, heavy metals, antibiotics and pesticides. The microplastics may carry and transfer these toxic contaminants for a long distance by different sorption mechanisms, hence seriously endangering marine and ecosystem. Therefore, there is a need to determine the abundance of microplastics in the environment and their complex interactions with various contaminants.

    In this study, Guandong Neilingding Futian National Nature Reserve, China (in short Futian mangrove) is chosen as our targeted study area, because it is a unique ecosystem with high species diversity but affected seriously by human activities from two prosperous cities, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. In addition, Futian mangrove is an important inter-tidal estuarine wetland which accumulates contaminants from land, river water and tidal water. Previous research studies, focusing on concentrations of microplastics and PAHs in the environment, can help us to know the extent of the problem. However, these studies are unable to evaluate the potential synergistic, additive, and/ or antagonistic effects resulting from the interactions of different PAHs on microplastics. Therefore, in this project, three common PAHs: phenanthrene (three-ring PAH), pyrene (four-ring PAH) and benzo(a)Pyrene (five-ring PAH), are selected as model contaminants to study their sorption and desorption processes on selected microplastics: polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS), which are frequently detected in the aquatic environment.

    The current proposed project will analyze the abundance of microplastics in Futian mangrove first. Secondly, the concentration of PAHs, pH, salinity and dissolved organic matter of water and sediment will also be measured as background information. Thirdly, competitive interactions of PAHs contaminants and three types of microplastics models will be investigated to find out which type of microplastic has the best sorption capability towards PAHs. Lastly, synergistic, additive, and/ or antagonistic effects will also be evaluated through simulating sorption/desorption behaviors under different pH and salinity conditions. This research work is expected to provide scientific knowledge on the pollution problems of microplastics in the mangrove habitat through studying sorption-desorption of PAHs on microplastics by combining field surveys and laboratory experiments. Through investigations on interactions between microplastics and contaminants, the combined effect and risk from different levels of PAHs on microplastics can be modeled that may help control and manage the problem at Futian Mangrove Nature Reserve.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Mr Jacky CHEUNG Pat-yan (B&A)

    Abstract

    This project examines the impact of political connection on audit pricing and the moderating effects of local institutional factor and gender diversity on the relationship of political connection and audit fee in Chinese family firms. Family businesses represent a dominant form of businesses worldwide. According to the statistics of Family Firm Institute (2017, http://www.ffi.org/page/globaldatapoints), family business accounts for two-thirds of global business, occupies 70-90% of annual global GDP, and generates 50-80% of employment of many countries globally. China has been chosen as the research setting because private sector has grown to account for more than half of business enterprises in China by 2012 and more than 80% of private sector in China are family-owned. In addition, a Reuters article (2017, http://fortune.com/2017/03/02/china-rich-parliament-wealth/) reveals that many millionaire entrepreneurs joining the political world by becoming members of the People’s Congress and People’s Political Consultative Conference. Hence, this project explores how this recent phenomenon in family firms impacts audit pricing.

    The audit pricing studies which examine the impacts of political connection show mixed results. Some studies report positive relationships between political ties and audit fees, while other studies show negative relationships. Motivated by the inconclusive evidence, this project analytically investigates the relationship. We consider two countervailing effects of political connection. First, because political ties can reduce the quality of pre-audit accounting information, political ties can increase the perceived audit risk and audit fees. Second, because political ties can provide legal advantages and shield the firms from legal liability, political ties can decrease the perceived litigation risk and audit fees. Because the two effects are countervailing, we cannot determine a priori whether political ties will increase or decrease audit fees.

    Based on the audit fee model, we then develop hypotheses regarding the dynamic relationships between audit fees and political connectedness under different institutional and governance environments. Because the legal advantage brought by political connectedness should be smaller in a region with high-quality judiciary, we hypothesize that political connection will increase audit fees in such region. In addition, we investigate the impacts of board gender diversity. This project explores how female directors respond to the presence of politically-connected directors, as reflected through audit fees. Because female board representation is found to be positively associated with the quality of accounting information, we anticipate that female directors are able to alleviate the negative impacts of political connection on accounting information quality. We develop alternative hypotheses based on the “supply side” and the “demand side” views in the auditing literature. The “demand side” argument and the “supply side” argument suggest the relationship between political ties and audit fees to be positively and negatively moderated by female representation, respectively. In addition, we further test if the moderating impact of female representation on the level of audit fee varies in regions with different degree of gender egalitarianism.

    Accounting in family firms is a worthwhile area for future research. However, many extant accounting studies do not consider the recent distinctive features of family businesses (e.g., appointment of politician directors and entry of entrepreneurs into the political system). This project investigates the implications of politician directors on audit pricing in family firms. We extend the previous studies by exploring the moderating effects of the external institutional factor (local judicial quality) and internal governance tool (board gender diversity) of family firms on the level of audit fees. This project should add value to the literature on auditing in family firms. Our result should provide new evidence in response to the calls for more accounting research in family firms.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr LEUNG Tak Yan (B&A)

    Abstract

    This project examines the impacts of demographic and institutional factors on optimistic bias in audit pricing, upon receiving news of financial statement fraud committed by an auditee or a peer firm. Financial statement fraud, which is the intentional misrepresentation of the financial affairs of a firm, is a common phenomenon worldwide and has become increasingly serious. According to the Report to the Nations 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse (https://www.acfe.com/report-to-the-nations/2018/), the firms lose about 5% of their annual revenues to fraud. The usefulness of the financial statements depends on their creditability, i.e., financial reporting quality. Audit is an external governance mechanism investors can rely on to monitor corporate behaviors. Hence, one reliable monitoring device to protect the interest of the shareholders is the appointment of auditors. The differences in financial reporting credibility and quality can be reflected in different levels of audit fees. Auditors charge a higher audit fee for an auditee with higher audit risk. Hence, auditees which are perceived by the auditors as having lower litigation risk can pay lower audit fee.

    There are four hypotheses in this project. We first examine the influence of demographic factors and optimism of auditor on audit pricing. Auditors form their belief about the legal and regulatory environment based on the previously observed signals. For example, auditors re-assess the hostility of legal and regulatory environment each time that they receive news about the detection and sanction of financial statement fraud. An auditor with more optimistic belief about the legal and regulatory environment will charge a lower audit fee, and vice versa. Optimistic bias tends to be more prevalent under some circumstances and among individuals with certain demographic traits. We expect male auditors are more optimistic upon receiving the bad news about the legal and regulatory environment and hence the increase in audit fee is smaller for a male auditor than for a female auditor. In addition, we expect subsequent to receiving bad news about legal and regulatory environment, an increase in audit fee is different for a young auditor and an older auditor. Next, we explore the cultural difference on optimism. China is a large country consisting of people from various racial and cultural backgrounds. There is a major psychological difference between people in the North and the South in China. Because people in the North of China tend to be more individualistic and individualism is positively related to optimism, auditors locating in the North of China should exhibit greater optimism in audit pricing. Therefore, we expect the increase in audit fee is smaller for an auditor locating in the North of China than in the South of China subsequent to receiving bad news about the legal and regulatory environment.

    In addition to demographic and cultural factors, we examine the perception of control. People tend to be more optimistic for controllable events than uncontrollable events. Chinese legal and regulatory institutions have been criticised for ambiguity and inconsistency. Since ambiguity and inconsistency reduce the auditor’s perception of control, the auditor’s optimism in audit pricing should be lower. We expect that an increase in audit fee is smaller for an auditor locating in a region with more developed legal infrastructure than in a region with less developed legal infrastructure subsequent to receiving bad news about the legal and regulatory environment.

    A high frequency of law violation discourages investment. There are always calls from the public to improve corporate governance and provide more investor protection. Traditional corporate governance mechanisms, which include government supervision and board monitoring have been widely explored. In this project, we argue one mechanism to determine the merits of governance is to consider from the auditor’s perspective through the study of auditor’s belief about the legal and regulatory environment, optimistic bias, and audit pricing (audit effort). The findings may contribute to auditing and corporate governance literature by considering the impacts on audit pricing from demographic, cultural, and legal perspectives.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Dawn CHOW Yi Lin (B&A)

    Abstract

    Our foremost aim is to understand what socio-psychological factors may encourage Hong Kong students to stay in the Hong Kong SAR for work and thereby contribute to HKSAR’s workforce and society. Our focus is on examining the well-educated youth cohort or population, with possible extensions for future studies assessing executives’ and civil servants’ responses. At the same time, we wish to explore this propensity to stay in Hong Kong SAR in connection with relocating to the Greater Bay Area of China. In other words, if Hongkongers are to leave Hong Kong for work, are they willing to leave the Hong Kong SAR for the mainland? Or do they leave China altogether? We hypothesize that “attachment to home country” (or rather home domicile in our case), a concept recently developed by our co-investigator Ying-yi Hong, would help answer these questions. Our attachment to home domicile concept is derived from attachment theory as originally proposed by John Bowlby (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1982), a theory which was initially applied to understand the role of relationships in human development from the cradle to the grave. Through our proposed theoretical framework, we wish to understand and identify a number of contextual and personal factors that may predict or moderate our hypothesized relationships in relation to staying in one’s home domicile. This research is relevant and timely for the Hong Kong SAR, for like other developed economies, the HKSAR’s workforce is expected to shrink in the medium-to-long term due to the demographic trends of a rapidly ageing population, low fertility rates, as well as the increased global mobility of its skilled workforce. The results of our study will be of interest and application to educational institutes, government agencies, as well as HR practitioners. At the same time, the answers to our questions will be of interest to the Chinese State Council, which has laid out the roadmap for greater integration between the Hong Kong SAR and 10 other neighboring cities (Cheung and He, 2019). Other researchers have posited that although Hong Kong and mainland China share some similarities, tensions between the two remain due to the radically different historical experiences they have gone through (Ho et al., 2003). Thus, this study scrutinizes how these tensions relate to attachment to home domicile in assessing the challenges that policy makers may face in attempting to get youthful talent to move to the Greater Bay Area.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr MAK Shu Lun (S&T)

    Abstract

    Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world due to its stimulating and refreshing properties, with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year. The consumption of coffee bean is around 9.9 billion kilogram in 2018 (ICO, 2019). The coffee chain shop, Starbucks has over 29,000 stores across nearly 80 countries around the world (Starbucks, 2018). The customer may produce thousands tones of plastic waste after they enjoyed a cup of coffee. During the coffee brewing process, a lot of spent coffee grounds (SCG) wastes were generated because a small number of select compounds were extracted from the coffee bean. The 50% dry mass of SCG mainly consists of polysaccharides, cellulose and hemi-cellulose (Campos-Vega, 2015). As SCG contains several organic compounds that are detrimental to the environment, it will cause pollution to the soil if we use it as compost and thus disposed of in landfills (McNutt, 2018). The coffee manufacturers and researchers paid efforts to develop solutions to reuse SCG while reducing the amount of the SCG waste. For instance, Nestle plans to use SCG as renewable energy source in order to reduce SCG waste by 2020 (Campos-Vega, 2015). As over thousand tons of SCG were generated every day, it can be used as a cheap and reliable source of renewable and recycled materials. Many researchers considered to convert the different compositions of SCG into useable materials.

    The consumption rate of coffee has been increasing and many spent coffee grounds (SCG) waste has been generated. As SCG contain many different organic compounds, it may cause negative impact to the environment when disposed of in landfill. There is a room for the industry and researchers to develop the solution to reduce the amount of SCG waste. Several recycling strategies were developed for converting SCG into different materials including agriculture fertilizers, construction materials, adsorbent materials and fuels. During the recycling processes, many chemicals were used and it may pollute the environment and harm to the operators. Further improvement shall be made to reduce the use of harmful substances by applying the mechanical cold press instead of chemical extraction method to remove the oil from SCG.

    Tea is the most common beverages in Eastern Asia. There are over million tones of tea leaf wastes produced every year. As the percentage of oil in tea leaf powder wastes is not high, pretreatment is not required like as SCG. Some researchers had studied to recycle the tea leaf powders to mix with polymeric material make the recycling materials as the Fabre will improve the tensile strength of products. In this study, we will find out the optimum compositions of green composite materials made of SCG, tea leaf powder wastes and PLA materials to achieve the best tensile and shear strength. Besides, the concept of green composite materials can be promoted to the additive manufacturing technologies. For instance, the availability of SCG-PLA composite 3D printing filaments is seldom known. The domestic users of additive manufacturing technologies such as primary and secondary schools users are encouraged to the SCG-recycled 3D printing filaments. The development of these biodegradable 3D printing filaments is beneficial both economically and environmentally.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Ernest TSANG Kin Wai (S&T)

    Abstract

    Daylight-linked lighting control system is one of the most popular green building features. However, the system is usually overridden by manual operation due to unsatisfactory performance. Problems like wastage of energy, frequent switching, insufficient indoor illuminance levels and discomfort glare are frequently reported. This does not only waste energy, but also causing unnecessary annoyance for building occupants and give an illusion that green buildings features sacrificed human comfort.

    There are few reasons why Hong Kong facing more challenges in adopting daylight-linked lighting controls system. Hong Kong is one of the densest urban cities over the world. There are only a few rules of thumbs for the testing and commissioning of daylight-linked lighting control systems while these rules only provide general principles without accounting for local climate condition, solar position and urban topography. Worse still the daylight availability has a large variation from lowest to highest floor due to heavy obstruction. Hence rule of thumbs rarely able to satisfy all design condition.

    In this study, design guidelines will be developed for daylight-linked control system in urban areas based on field measurement and simulation studies. And it will address the selection of typical climatic condition for building designers. Proposed design guidelines will be focused on zoning of lighting control system, selections of photosensor, calibration conditions, testing and commissioning procedures. This study will specifically address the lighting design issues related to heavily obstructed urban areas. The sky model and daylight weather database for simulation program will be established for Hong Kong The findings would be useful to architects, building engineers in building layout, lighting system design, energy prediction and daylighting design. It can also enable facility management professionals to effectively operate their properties and reduce operational cost.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Professor Andrew LUI Kwok Fai (S&T)

    Abstract

    A basic function of modern urban authorities is to build a safe, comfortable and convenient environment for residents. Smart city applications are now exploiting the large amount of available real-time data sources and applying predictive analytics in sectors ranging from transportation, business to personal safety. A good understanding of pedestrian movement will enable emerging downstream applications including self-driving cars, smart retail, intelligent crossings, and safety surveillance. Pedestrian movement prediction in urban environments poses significant technical challenges. Urban living experience is centered around places where people congregate in numbers, such as shopping malls, transportation stations, office buildings, parks, and university campuses. A reliable movement predictor should be perceptive on the reactions of pedestrians in a crowded place. Human interactions are essentially social. Unwritten social rules and norms can be observed in situations like staying at a distance from strangers, skirting a noisy crowd, or moving close to a good friend. Recent mainstream research approach has concentrated on developing models of social interactions between pedestrians. Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is proven an effective technique for modelling social interactions because it can learn arbitrary social rules from observation data. State-of-the-art solutions are predominantly based on deep neural learning architectures that can exploit a comprehensive, large and balanced training sample.

    Interactive objects are defined as static non-living objects that invite human interactions. Examples include escalators, bench chairs, drinking fountains and shop windows, which are commonly found in urban areas. An interactive object has physical, functional and social properties in the context of pedestrian movement trajectory prediction. The physical property describes the accessibility at the location of the object. The functional property describes the engagement and disengagement with pedestrians. The social property describes the reactions of pedestrians towards the object and other nearby pedestrians. The physical and the functional properties have been investigated in past research and empirically modelled for trajectory prediction. The social property however has been virtually ignored. Interactive objects are intrinsically non-social but appear to be social due to at least two reasons. Pedestrians are social beings and interactions involving pedestrians are social. Pedestrians, who are interacting with an interactive object around the same time, are also interacting with each other. A model for evaluating the social information in pedestrian trajectory is needed.

    This proposed project investigates the social property of interactive objects in pedestrian trajectory prediction tasks. Based on a data-driven approach, a deep learning architecture for evaluating the social property of interactive objects will be developed. A focus of investigation will be on the formulation of the social property of interactive objects based on pedestrian social reactions embedded in the trajectories. For model reusability and computation efficiency, a novel interactive object embedding layer will be designed and integrated into the deep learning architecture.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Grand CHEUNG Hak Land (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Population aging is a global phenomenon. Against this backdrop, productive engagement, referring to people’s contributions to family and society (e.g., volunteering, caregiving), is a topic of sustained interest in the gerontology literature. Given the nature of productive engagement, governments in many regions, including Hong Kong, are keen to encourage this behavior among older people.

    In the broader social sciences, an increasingly commonly used approach is to model the intertwinement among the multiple dimensions of interest to characterize prevalent patterns that approximate the reality. However, the literature on productive engagement is limited by the use of traditional methodologies that examine productive activities individually or combine the activities to form a single aggregate score. Few studies have attempted to identify prevalent patterns of productive engagement. Indeed, to date, there is a lack of data on productive engagement patterns among older people in Hong Kong.

    It is also noted that social scientists have long advocated studying intraindividual changes. Specifically, there has been a call for research on transitions across productive engagement patterns. However, such transitions have not been investigated, and the related antecedents and consequences thus remain unknown. To fill the gaps in the literature and address local concerns, the proposed longitudinal study will adopt latent transition analysis to examine eight productive activities among older Hong Kong people: employment, formal volunteering, informal volunteering, caregiving for spouse, caregiving for parents (in-law), caregiving for grandchildren, housework support to children, and life-long learning. We will identify prevalent patterns of productive engagement at two time points (one year apart) and reveal the transitions across these patterns over time. To illustrate, results may show that some individuals will sustain “working-family contributions” (high chance of employment, housework support and caregiving), whereas some others will change from “working-family contributions” to “inactivity” (lacking all considered activities).

    Moreover, with reference to the role perspective, we will examine the effect of transitions across productive engagement patterns on positive and negative psychological well-being. A possible finding is that compared with other transition types, a consistent demonstration of “working-family contributions” will entail higher levels of meaning in life (positive well-being) as well as depressive symptomatology (negative well-being). Also, in light of the resource theory, we will explore the antecedents (in terms of human, social, and cultural capital) of transitions across productive engagement patterns. Our data may reveal, for instance, that poor functional health (less human capital) will lead to a shift from “working-family contributions” to “inactivity”.

    Conceptually speaking, by examining transitions across patterns of productive engagement, as well as the corresponding determinants and outcomes, the proposed study will construct a comprehensive picture of productive engagement. This study will also inform policymaking and service development. It will reveal distinct subgroups of older Hong Kong people in terms of changes in contributions to family and society, extending the understanding of social demography of this population. Furthermore, evidence on the antecedents and consequences of transitions across productive engagement patterns, if obtained, would indicate that when promoting productive engagement and well-being, it is critical to consider the intertwinement of productive activities longitudinally. Overall, this study will have significant conceptual and applied implications.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Christine LO Man Chi (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Tian Han (1898-1968) was an important cultural figure in modern China. He is renowned as the lyricist of the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China, and also as the founder of modern Chinese drama and film. However, his remarkable contribution to modern Chinese art, thought and culture has rarely been acknowledged. Due to his highly political image, Tian Han has usually been interpreted merely as a leftist nationalist among the studies done by scholars from mainland China. The Le Midi Movement (also known as the Nanguo Artistic Movement, 1924-1930) is acknowledged to be the climax of Tian’s creative career, but previous studies have mostly confined its significance to theatrical activities. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the study of Tian Han has gained increasing international attention, as he is re-evaluated as an important and unique representative of proletarian modernist, leftist cosmopolitan and avant-garde artist in modern China.

    Tian Han and his troupe in the Le Midi Movement are acknowledged as the most bohemian organization in the history of modern Chinese literature, and this issue has begun to raise attention by recent studies. Bohemianism is a concept closely aligned with urban culture, Western modernity and modernist art in the European context. It traveled through a tortuous path from France and the European world, via America and Japan, and rooted in 1920s Shanghai. By putting into the framework of transcultural modernity, the proposed project will study how Tian Han played an important role as a cultural intermediary, translator, and negotiator in the formation of the discourse, practice, and social circle of bohemianism in 1920s Shanghai.

    A multi-dimensional study of Tian Han will be launched in this project, supported by the introduction of a substantial amount of newly excavated original materials. First, the study will examine the intertextuality between the early works of Tian Han published in Le Midi magazines and the classics in Western literature related to bohemianism. Second, the study will explore how the cultural practice of Tian Han and the Le Midi members interacted with the cultural milieu of 1920s Shanghai, as well as their interrelationship from the perspective of bohemianism. Third, the study will discuss the transcultural exchange between Tian Han and the cultural field, especially the Francophile writers and artists in China and Japan in 1920s Shanghai. The study will also investigate the important role of Shanghai as a cultural salon, as the traveling and wandering of foreign (especially Japanese) writers to 1920s Shanghai constituted a remarkable cultural phenomenon at that time, with Tian Han as an important intermediary.

    The project will consist of the following tasks: (1) Explore the contribution and significance of cultural translation by Tian Han and his Le Midi Movement to modern China; (2) Examine the traveling of the concept and discourse of bohemianism in a transcultural perspective; (3) Study the diversity and complexity of the cultural milieu of 1920s Shanghai, such as the intricate relationship between modernist art and literature, as well as the two biggest Asian cities Shanghai and Tokyo in the 1920s.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Dawn CHOW Yi Lin (B&A)

    Abstract

    Social dilemmas and moral dilemmas are the two most widely studied conflicts in daily life. People in a social dilemma situation experience conflict between maximizing individual gains (i.e. defection) and maximizing collective benefits (i.e. cooperation). For example, the Earth will benefit the most if everyone engages in pro-environmental behavior (i.e. cooperation), but individuals may choose to be selfish to enjoy the convenience of using plastic bags and utensils (i.e. defection). People in a moral dilemma situation experience conflict between adhering to the norms and rules such as doing no harm (i.e. deontology) and maximizing the overall welfare (i.e. utilitarianism). For example, demolishing an old building for urban renewal can enhance the overall welfare of the city (i.e. utilitarian decision), but some people may lose their home. Despite sharing several common properties, these two kinds of dilemmas have been largely studied separately. Whether and how moral decisions and moral principles can predict cooperation in social dilemmas are unclear. The present research attempts to connect social dilemmas and moral dilemmas in three research directions.

    Building on the past research showing that people who make deontological decisions are perceived as more trustworthy (Everett et al., 2016), the first research direction investigates whether and why people who make deontological decisions in moral dilemmas, compared with those who make utilitarian decisions, are perceived as more cooperative in social dilemmas. We propose and test a theoretical framework which explains why deontologists are perceived as more cooperative. The second research direction examines whether and why people cooperate more with deontologists than utilitarians in social dilemmas using the same theoretical framework. The third research direction scrutinizes how deontology and utilitarianism can actually predict cooperation in social dilemmas.

    The three research directions are important and interrelated because although deontologists are perceived as more trustworthy than utilitarians, recent studies showed that they may not actually be more trustworthy (Capraro et al., 2018). Given that wrongly trusting a non-cooperative individual can be costly, it is thus essential to understand why deontologists are perceived as more cooperative than utilitarians and whether it is merely a perceptual bias. This proposed research can enhance the accuracy of individuals in identifying cooperators and non-cooperators in daily-life and provide insights for policy makers on how to enhance cooperation in the society.

    Four studies will be conducted to address our research questions. Study 1 tests whether and why deontologists are perceived as more cooperative than utilitarians. Study 2 examines whether and why people cooperate more with deontologists. Studies 2 to 4 scrutinize how deontology and utilitarianism can actually predict cooperation in social dilemmas.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Professor Fred LEE Wang Fat (S&T)

    Abstract

    Harmful algal blooms (HABs), also called “red tides,” are caused by excessive proliferation of harmful algal species in bodies of water. HABs occur frequently worldwide and have severe effects on the aquaculture industry and human health. Most of these microalgae species are highly toxic. Karenia mikimotoi is among the most toxic and deadly species; its fish-killing ability is notably dangerous. Both Hong Kong and mainland China have been adversely affected by K. mikimotoi blooms. For example, in 2016, K. mikimotoi blooms killed more than 200 tons of fish in several local fish-farming zones in Tolo Harbor.

    The frequency of HABs has been increasing in recent years; failure to effectively control HABs will greatly threaten our economy and human health. However, effective HAB control measures have yet to be developed. Although both physical and chemical methods have been proposed, such methods are costly and may engender major pollution problems. Several researchers have published articles on the use of marine bacteria for HAB control.

    In general, algicidal bacteria are defined as bacteria that can inhibit or kill algal species. Bacteria play a major role in reducing algal blooms, and numerous studies have demonstrated that algicidal bacteria have considerable potential for use in HAB control. Increasing numbers of algicidal bacterial species have recently been identified, and their algicidal activities have been extensively studied and reviewed. However, the algicidal mechanism of such bacteria is poorly understood. In particular, algicidal bacteria specifically isolated from waters in Hong Kong have yet to be reported. Accordingly, to effectively use such bacteria for controlling HABs, studying their algicidal mechanism is imperative.

    A novel algicidal bacterial strain, namely P4 (Maribacter dokdonensis), has been isolated from an algal bloom sample collected from an HAB caused by K. mikimotoi in Hong Kong. The bacterial strain shows strong algicidal activity against K. mikimotoi. We propose a study with the aim of investigating the algicidal mechanism of P4 against three different K. mikimotoi strains isolated from Hong Kong, Japan, and New Zealand separately. The algicidal activities of P4 cultures with various cell concentrations and growth phases will be assessed through the cocultivation of P4 and K. mikimotoi in a system in which P4 and K. mikimotoi will be physically separated by a semipermeable membrane. The physiological and biochemical responses as well as cell cycle of K. mikimotoi during P4-induced cell death will be investigated. Furthermore, the molecular mechanism of P4-induced K. mikimotoi cell death will be investigated using comparative proteomic approaches. In parallel, molecular responses of both P4 and K. mikimotoi cells through their interaction in the algicidal process will also be deduced.

    The integrated physiological, biochemical, cellular, and molecular analyses in the proposed study will provide a comprehensive picture of how different molecules are regulated in algal cells upon exposure to algicidal bacteria, which will in turn provide valuable insights into the interaction between bacterial cells and algal cells during the algicidal process. Knowledge of the algicidal mechanism will help to explain the cellular regulation and possible pathways in algal cells exposed to algicidal bacteria and should contribute to the eventual development of an effective strategy for the control of HABs. In the long term, successful completion of the proposed study will have significant implications for fish farms and shellfish industries; the results could be applied locally, throughout mainland China, and even internationally.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Emily WONG Sze Wan (S&T)

    Abstract

    Concentrated Chinese medicine granule (CCMG) has proved efficacy and is convenient for consumption as the active ingredients are extracted during manufacturing process. Raw Chinese medicines are conventionally identified according to their morphological features; however, this method cannot be applied to the identification of CCMG. Most of the distinctive morphology was lost after processing. Even for the professionals like Chinese medicine practitioners or Chinese medicine pharmacists, they may not be able to distinguish various types of CCMG. Chinese medicine practitioners may only rely on the claimed content on packaging labels when prescribing CCMG. Any misadministration or accidental cross-contamination of CCMG may lead to very severe consequences.

    Although Chinese medicine are commonly identified by chemical analysis such as liquid chromatography, the procedures involved are complex, time consuming and demanding skills are required. In order to ensure the safety use of CCMG, there is a huge demand for developing a fast, easy and reliable method for CCMG screening, inspection and authentication.

    FTIR-ATR (Fourier Transform Infrared-Attenuated Total Reflectance Spectroscopy) is one of the principle types of infrared spectrometer which provides a relatively fast, easy and reliable method to identify and quantify the contents in liquid or solid samples. The application of this technique in western drug identification has been explored. However, there is lack of systematic studies of the potential use of FTIR-ATR technique in CCMG identification.

    In this project, fifty selected CCMG with different medicinal properties will be analysed by FTIR-ATR technique. The identities of the CCMG are first verified by traditional liquid chromatography. The preparative conditions of some of the samples for FTIR-ATR analysis will be optimized and standardized. The spectroscopic fingerprints of all the selected CCMG samples are determined and analysed using chemometric approach.

    The spectroscopic profiles generated will also be verified according to the drug testing standard recommended by International Conference of Hamonisation (ICH), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO). Impact of temperature and moisture factors on CCMG spectra and the sensitivity and specificity of FTIR detection on impurities will also be investigated. Successful completion of this project will have significant implications in the development of a fast, simple and reliable technique for CCMG identification by FTIR-ATR. The safety of the administration of CCMG will therefore be further proven.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Sidney CHAN Man Ngai (S&T)

    Abstract

    The cost of running aquaculture is increasing drastically in recent years and exert financial pressure to the aquaculture industry. One of the reasons is the loss of fishes due to infections. Other than applying antibiotics or fish medicines, health of fish can be improved by addition of supplements to fish’s diet. Scortum barcoo (Jade Perch) is a popular aquaculture fish species in recent years. Unlike other common aquaculture species such as Tilapia and Carp, there are little reports on Scortum barcoo. Further understanding on its diet and physiology are crucial for the development of aquaculture and wellbeing of the species in aquacultures.

    Microalgae is referred as the “green gold” of this century. It is one of the ideal replacements of crude oil and raw materials for manufacturing plastic, fertilizers, carbon fixation agent, etc. Microalgae can also be supplemented to the diet of fish for improving fish health and aquaculture productivity. The extensive application of microalgae is also hindered by its production cost. One way to lower the cost is to use wastewater, such as food waste leachate, rather than culture medium as nutrients for supporting the growth of microalgae. Harvesting the microalgae from liquid culture is another expensive process in microalgal biomass production. Flocculation has been proposed as an alternative technique for lowering the cost of harvesting. Some flocculants such as chitosan are non-toxic and biodegradable, and are safe to use for fish feed production. Indeed, chitosan itself has also been reported as supplement for fish. Although both microalgae and chitosan have been reported as supplements for fish, their combined effects remain unknown. Furthermore, the ratio of these supplements in diet of fishes is species-specific and should be worked out before application.

    This project aims to produce chitosan-flocculated microalgal biomass as supplement for food waste fish feed and to investigate the beneficial effects of the supplement on the growth and immunity of Scortum barcoo, a recently popular fish species in aquaculture. In the project, a robust and nutritive local microalgal species will be selected from a microalgae library. The microalgal biomass will be produced in an internal illumination photobioreactor using diluted food waste leachate to support the growth of the biomass. By adjusting the food waste leachate dilution ratio, the microalgal biomass productivity will be optimized. The relationship between microalgal biomass harvesting efficiency and the quantity of chitosan, the flocculant, applied will be worked out. The effects of food waste fish feed supplemented with microalgae, chitosan and the mix of the two on the growth and non-specific immunity of Scortum barcoo will be elucidated. Finally, the best ratio of microalgae and chitosan for food waste fish feed will be proposed. The cost of microalgae- and chitosan-supplemented food waste fish feed will also be calculated and compared with commercial fish feed. The deliverables of the project include a formula of a high quality, cost-effective and environmental-friendly fish feed, journal and conference papers and a seminar to the aquaculture industry. Seminars will also be organized for local aquaculture industry to promote application of the fish feed formula.

    It is believed that this project is beneficial to the society. The project contributes knowledge on microalgae harvesting techniques and diet and nutrition of Scortum barcoo. Furthermore, the waste-to-product strategy proposed in this project is in-line with the concept of sustainable city. Food waste and its leachate are highly polluting wastes. Chitosan can also be produced by recycling of fishery wastes. The project proposes a method recycling these wastes to a high-quality fish feed, a product with economical value. With the help of this waste-to-product strategy, the pollution by human activities is reduced. At the same time, high-quality aquaculture products can be produced at a lower cost and in long term the sustainability of aquaculture is enhanced.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Professor Linda LEE Yin King (N&HS)

    Abstract

    The notion of “dirty work” (厭惡性工作) as a socially constructed metaphor of caregiving work in “residential care homes for the elderly” (RCHE) has been a critical factor in RCHE’s acute shortages of health care staff in Hong Kong which operates within the context of rapid population ageing and increasing social demand for RCHE work. The term “dirty work” has not been well-defined yet and this term is generally used by a variety of stakeholders in social discourses at all levels to describe RCHE work or to explain RCHE staff shortages in Hong Kong. Although RCHE work has been socially perceived as a kind of “dirty work”, the RCHE workers’ insider experiences with the meaning of RCHE work are largely absent from the community and the literature.

    This study adopts a descriptive qualitative design within an epistemologically essentialist/realist framework of analysis and employs “photovoice” as a participatory research methodology based on the principle of empowerment to guide the processes of inquiry. Potential participants will include personal care workers, health workers, and registered / enrolled nurses working in RCHE. Convenience sampling method will be used to ensure the availability of participants working in RCHE, and maximum variation sampling method will be used to ensure heterogeneity of the participants in terms of such characteristics as ranks, years of RCHE work experiences, and types of RCHE they work for in order to maximise the variety of RCHE workers’ perspectives on the phenomenon being studied.

    An estimated number of about 30 participants will be recruited to participate in a ‘five-stage’ process of data collection and data analysis, including (1) first interviews, where the participants will be involved in in-depth individual semi-structured interviews to examine their perceptions about RCHE work and the “dirty work” metaphor; (2) photo-taking, in which the participants will take photos that best represent the “dirty work” metaphor and their own meanings of RCHE work; (3) initial data analysis, researcher conduct preliminary data analysis; (4) second interviews, researcher invites participants for a second interview and they will be invited to present and deliberate on their photos in order that the meanings of their work will be further clarified and explained; and (5) data analysis, researchers analyse the second interviews’ data thematically, and the results from the initial analysis of the first and second interviews will be put together for further thematic analysis in order to identify patterns of meanings (themes) within the entire data set.

    The results of the study will significantly add to our understanding of the RCHE workforce crisis in Hong Kong and contribute to generating new insights on the development of public policy initiatives to cope with the workforce crisis from a socio-cultural perspective.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Crystal HAN Jie (S&T)

    Abstract

    Indoor air quality (IAQ) has recently become a cause for concern among people in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government thus has introduced the IAQ Certification Scheme (in short 2019 IAQ Scheme and hereafter) to provide a two-level of IAQ objectives ‘excellent’ and ‘good’ classes for offices and public places, so as to improve and promote public awareness on the IAQ issue. However, the current Scheme implemented in Hong Kong has a lot of pitfalls and inadequacies.

    In this study, firstly, we will attempt to expose the pitfalls and inadequacies of the 2019 IAQ Scheme by investigating (i) the extent to which is representative in the premises; (ii) the number of sampling points required for the floor area and (iii) the approachability in manipulating measurement conditions/locations to meet the benchmarks. Different places in our University, Jubilee College campus (OUHK JCC) such as the library, classrooms and offices will be selected as a pilot study for IAQ measurement. By looking at the deviations of measurement data among different spatial and temporal measurement points in different types and sizes of places, we will provide suggestions for optimizing the current IAQ Scheme in Hong Kong. In addition, we will conduct pre-survey and post-survey walk-through inspections to identify the sources of poor IAQ in OUHK, and attempt to rectify the problems. The relevant findings will also be used to provide scientific suggestions on 2019 IAQ Scheme in Hong Kong and may extend to optimize international standards/guidelines in the future.

    Secondly, we will design sets of personal experience surveys through a mobile app survey system. We expected to invite more than 800 students and staff to contribute the personal thermal comfort survey. Respondents can view the real time survey results, and such kinds of instant response data will be analyzed and correlated with IAQ monitoring parameters (e.g. temperature, air speed, CO2, PM10, relative humidity, etc.). The data obtained will help to examine the current IAQ enhancement practices of building management and look for solutions to benefit staff and students. In addition, a metamodel based ventilation control scheme will be developed based on the IAQ monitoring and survey results, which can be used to achieve an integrated optimization of indoor air quality and energy demand. The developed metamodel is highly dependent on the massive and reliable data from real-time monitoring, so that the model training process will help exam and determine the required number and locations of wireless sensors in return. The model built will contribute to the blueprint of smart buildings in Hong Kong.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Christie NG Ching Man (S&T)

    Abstract

    Biodiesel is a green and sustainable fuel that can be used as an alternative to fossil fuel that gained attention over the past decades. Conventional biodiesel synthesis relies heavily on edible, high purity feedstocks oil extracts and uses non-reusable catalysts with high acidity or basicity. Intensive purification is required to ensure the resultant biodiesel meets the international standards, resulting in a discharge of large amount of contaminated wastewater as one of the major disadvantages. The development of metal oxides nanofibers catalysts benefits from easy separation, possibility to reuse and their ability to use oil feedstock with low purity.

    Metal oxide nanofibers have a high surface-to-volume ratio and can serve as high performance catalysts for biodiesel synthesis. In the proposed project, acidic metal oxides nanofibers will be synthesized to test their catalytic performance and improvement in the product yield. Nanofibers will be synthesized by electrospinning with the aid of polymer. It is hypothesized that finer nanofibers will produce a higher product yield due to the enhanced surface-to-volume ratio and area of contact site for reaction.

    The reaction time and energy input can be minimized by using microwave irradiation for heating under pressure. Crude oil extracted from inedible biomass and waste oil from the food industry will be used as oil feedstocks for biodiesel synthesis. The use of inedible oil would decrease the production cost and provide an alternative waste management route to solve the problem generated from waste or gutter oil. The results of the proposed study would provide implications on environmentally friendly biodiesel production and demonstrate the feasibility to turn waste into a green energy source.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr WOO Ka Shing (B&A)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Kelly CHEN Xing (B&A)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Samuel CHOI Ping Man (B&A)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Patrick CHEN Xi (S&T)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr FU Yaru (S&T)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Wyman WANG Weiming (S&T)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Kevin HUNG King Fai (S&T)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Keith LEE Lap Kei (S&T)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Venus CHAN Wing Man (A&SS)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Terence SHUM Chun Tat (A&SS)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Vincent CHENG Shing (A&SS)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Amy CHEUNG Ho Nam (A&SS)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Jessie WONG Ming Sin (E&L)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Christy QIU Xuyan (E&L)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Edsoulla CHUNG Hiu Yui (E&L)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Prof. Fred LEE Wang Fat (S&T)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr CHEN Jianlin (S&T)

    Abstract

    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.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Kelly CHEN Xing (B&A)

    Abstract

    Corporate governance varies across contexts. A key debate in organization science, economics, law, and sociology is whether corporate governance will converge toward the Anglo-American model, which is shareholder-oriented and often viewed as the “best” governance model. Studies show that some, but not all, firms in stakeholder-oriented contexts engage in governance reform toward the Anglo-American model. Nonetheless, we have limited understanding of what leads to the variety of governance reform at firm level in stakeholder-oriented contexts. Past literature mainly adopts agency theory and institutional theory to explain governance reform assuming that key decision makers of a firm engage in governance reform rationally either to reduce agency costs or seek legitimacy, which neglects the fact that decision makers are bounded rational and subject to the influence of behavioral factors. Besides, the impact of governance reform outside Anglo-American countries is far from being conclusive.

    To fill these gaps, this project builds on the behavioral theory of the firm to explain the antecedents and consequences of governance reform in a stakeholder-oriented context. Specifically, bounded rational decision makers would engage in problemistic search when firm performance is below aspiration level. Search stops when a satisfactory solution is identified. I contend that governance reform in some firms result from change-inducing problemistic search. When key decision makers in a stakeholder-oriented context face performance shortfalls and engage in problemistic search, shareholder-oriented corporate governance in Anglo-American countries provides an alternative, or even an “ideal” type of governance arrangement that can be a solution to mend the performance shortfalls. However, such effect may not apply to all firms depending on the coalitions that influence a firm’s decisions, social proof, and key decision makers’ beliefs and orientations. For example, whether key decision makers are more stakeholder-oriented or shareholder-oriented will influence what kinds of solutions are deemed as appropriate. As for the consequence of governance reform, I propose that a governance reform that is simply driven by problemistic search is less likely to be effective.

    I choose the stakeholder-oriented context of Japan because the embedded Japanese culture suggests that a firm is a community for employees rather than assets owned by shareholders and meanwhile part of Japanese firms have engaged in governance reform toward Anglo-American model, such as reducing board size, increasing board independence, and adopting stock option plans. By using Japanese listed firms to test the theoretical model, this project can offer several contributions. First, this study contributes to the literature of corporate governance in stakeholder-oriented contexts by incorporating a new perspective to explain the variation of governance reforms at firm level. Second, this study contributes to governance reform literature by identifying new antecedents of governance reform and identifying contingency that explains why governance reform may or may not be effective. In addition, this project can contribute to the behavioral theory of the firm by identifying governance reform as a possible solution for problemistic search and highlighting stakeholder orientation as an important factor that can influence the search for solutions.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr FU Yaru (S&T)

    Abstract

    Owing to the increasing popularity of online social media, smart cities, and new artificial intelligence-based applications, end users can access data-intensive services more conveniently than ever before. However, the accompanying huge amount of data traffic induces severe network congestion, despite that the sixth generation of wireless communication network (6G) is expected to be more reliable, fast, and can support plenty of intelligent applications with ultra-low latency requirements. To cope with this challenge, the deployment of computing and storage resources at network edges provides a promising enabler. Meanwhile, the new paradigm for composing services/applications as a suite of small and independent micro-services (MSs) is leading to cases where functional units can be distributed over edges. As a result, far edge computing and caching are pushed to the very edge of the network, accelerating the transition of telecom architecture towards distributed (micro)service-based architecture. Specifically, by placing various MSs at the edge servers (ESs), such as base stations, and access points, effective networks with reduced delay, high scalability and increased responsiveness can be realized.
    In such distributed (micro)service-enabled wireless cellular networks (DS-WCNs), each large and bulky service is composed of a set of independent MSs with each MS fulfills a particular aspect or function. The successful execution per service is highly dependent on the successful execution of each associated MS. Moreover, the ESs therein are more likely to be heterogeneous. Namely, each ES has different storage capacity, computing power, execution cost, and setup cost with respect to different MSs. In this regard, sophisticated management towards the heterogeneous edge resources and the placement of different MS instances among the ESs are highly required to minimize the aggregated cost. Another major issue to be resolved in DS-WCNs is the user’s demand pattern, as it exhibits a critical impact on the actual MSs placement in the DS-WCNs, which in turn affects networks’ performance. On one hand, the number of users is large. On the other hand, the demand behavior is not easy to characterize, particularly when the users’ individual feature information is not known a prior.
    In this project, we first characterize the user demand behavior to different services, taking into account the screen size constraint. Thereof, the system chooses an assortment of services, showing them on users’ devices, aiming at maximizing the achievable revenue based on users’ service selections. Then, we will design the MSs placement algorithms for DS-WCNs with the consideration of the heterogeneity among different ESs under the given assortment decision for users. Afterwards, we will design the joint assortment decision and placement algorithms to maximize networks’ effectiveness, such as achievable revenue or aggregated cost saving capability considering users’ screen size and latency constraints, successful service execution, as well as ES’s storage capacity budget and execution capacity budget.
    In a nutshell, this project aims to provide high-effectiveness DS-WCNs, covering from the fundamental analysis of user demand modeling, to the joint assortment decision and placement optimization algorithms. Due to the distinct nature of foregoing problems, in the design of the corresponding solutions, different models include revised multinomial logit choice model, optimization model, reinforcement learning model, and neuro network model will be used. All the investigations are collectively used to reap the benefits of DS-WCNs. Besides, the designed schemes will be validated by extensive numerical simulations under both synthetic and real datasets. Moreover, the developed solutions in this project will be applicable in 6G era, which benefit not only cellular networks but also end users. From network operators’ perspective, the overall costs (e.g., transmission, setup, and execution cost) can be reduced. For users, they can enjoy high quality data-oriented services.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Fanny TANG Wai Fan (S&T)

    Abstract

    Due to the extensive usage in large-scale buildings, highways, bridges, dams, and marine engineering constructions, worldwide use of concrete has expanded dramatically. During the manufacture of cement, significant volumes of greenhouse gases are generated. Excessive dredging, extraction, and processing of natural aggregates has already disrupted local eco-systems and harmed the environment. The conventional concrete production has a substantial adverse effect on the environment. This has initiated a drive towards more sustainable concrete production, in order to decrease the greenhouse gas emission. Some researchers have made attempts to look for alternative materials to substitute conventional materials in concrete. The most economical and sustainable ways is to replace cement by using waste-based materials for the substitution.

    Recycled oyster shell waste has been reported to have been employed in a variety of industries, including fishing, farming, and the construction of oyster reefs in several countries. Despite the fact that oyster shell waste can be recycled and used in a variety of ways, the bulk of oyster shell waste still ends up in landfills. As a result, the research project team will investigate how oyster shells might be reused to make value-added green concrete.

    A few researchers have been conducted on the use of seashell waste replace the coarse aggregates in concrete. However, there is no research on the reuse of oyster shell waste replace the cement and to improve the concrete properties of infrastructures. It is also worth to note that two more challenges in this research project. First, there is no standardized composition and weight percentage of oyster shell waste, aggregates, cement and polymer resin to provide optimum strength enhancement in concrete. Second, there is no comprehensive supply chain, beginning from the collection of oyster shell waste and pre-treatment to adaption of concrete with reused oyster shell. In this regards, the research project team will investigate this new and innovative research to provide sustainable construction materials. In this project, oyster shell waste (particle or powder form) will be used to mix with polymer-based binder to replace traditional cementitious materials to develop green concrete, a comprehensive supply chain, beginning from the collection of oyster shells and pre-treatment to manufacture waste-based concrete with reused oyster shells, will be explored to determine the optimum mixture design of oyster shell waste, aggregates, cements and resin to obtain a cost-effective alternative for sustainable construction materials. Oyster shell waste is abundant with no cost (some cost is incurred only for the collection of the shells). By best using this waste could help the world solve many key problems, like huge amount of carbon dioxide coming from the production process of cement.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr John CHUI Kwok Tai (S&T)

    Abstract

    Everybody is a road user, pedestrian and/or driver. Road safety is crucial; unfortunately, there are 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries caused by road traffic accidents according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Consequently, the losses of lives, disabilities, and pain have accounted for 3% of the world’s gross domestic product. Unfortunately, the significant figures in traffic deaths and injuries are unacceptable and preventable. The WHO and the United Nations (UN) have established a strong collaboration and action plan to halve traffic deaths and injuries by 2030, and the details are documented in the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030. In the plan, there is a statement on the safe road infrastructure that advanced driver assistance technologies are desired. Typical road accident prevention measures such as education, legislation, planning, and infrastructure, are not effective in reducing the number of traffic deaths and injuries: the numbers have remained steady in recent years. The realization of autonomous vehicles experiences a lot of challenges in the aspects of safety failures, liability, security attacks, cybersecurity, privacy, and artificial intelligence laws. Therefore, it is believed that human-driven vehicles will continue to dominate for the next decades. Automatic monitoring and prediction of drivers’ status via a machine learning algorithm is a promising preventive approach. Attention is drawn to drowsy, distracted, and stressed driving as the most common undesired driving behaviours.

    The rationale for the research proposal is related to the limitations of the existing works (i) omission to capture the unique features from individual training samples (behavioural and environmental data associated with each driver) and incorporation into the machine learning model; (ii) limiting the consideration of the requirement on the time for the in-advance prediction. The time of occurrence and the nature of undesired driving behaviours can be varied. The requirements for in-advance prediction models for stressed, drowsy, and distracted driving are non-identical; and (iii) inadequate consideration of the possibility of updating the trained model with newly collected unlabelled data after model deployment. The model can be updated for performance enhancement with newly collected unlabeled data after deploying the model.

    Three project objectives are defined to address the abovementioned limitations: (i) extract common and individual features from an individual’s driving behavior and environment factors to facilitate a better prediction model; (ii) design and develop a prolonged in-advance prediction algorithm for driver status, particularly on the research for the distinct requirement of the time range for stressed, drowsy, and distracted driving prediction models; and (iii) enhance the performance of prediction model with the availability of new unlabelled data using an incremental semi-supervised learning algorithm.

    Realization of the objectives addresses the current research limitations by offering a more accurate and flexible model to predict future driver status and thus prevent the occurrence of undesired driving behaviour and traffic accidents when the model is deployed in practice. Early warnings and precautionary actions can be executed. In addition, the research promotes the solution of advanced driver assistance technology using a machine learning model to automatically monitor and predict drivers’ status. It also contributes to the decade of action on reducing road traffic deaths and injuries.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Prof. Philips WANG Fu Lee (S&T)

    Abstract

    Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is the first disease to hit the global community in the 21st century. Twenty years after, the world is fighting against COVID-19 desperately. The community is now very vulnerable to major diseases. Fast processing of medical data can help to win the battle. It is of great need to develop novel techniques to process massive healthcare data utilizing advanced artificial intelligence methods. A large amount of valuable healthcare data exists in unstructured texts such as diagnosis records, ward round records, discharge summaries, online health discussions, medical literatures, and eligibility criteria of clinical trials. Among the various unstructured texts, quantitative information frequently occurs across languages and domains. For example, more than 40% of unstructured clinical trial texts contain explicit quantitative statements. Quantitative information describes fundamental properties associating with the magnitude aspect of quantity, which are necessary for defining and comparing clinical phenotypes such as medical attributes, demographic entities, and lab test values. The automated representation, extraction, and application of quantitative information are thus essential for patient eligibility determination, patient status assessment, patient condition monitoring, evidence-based medicine, disease risk prediction, infection prevention and control, clinical decision supports, etc.

    Therefore, it is of great demand in developing effective methods for the representation and extraction of quantitative information to facilitate the analysis of healthcare texts such as clinical trials. There are four fundamental components in quantitative information, including entity, numeric value (or range), measurement unit, and comparison relator, while each component may have complex expressions. However, the current research of quantitative information representation and extraction faces several challenges. Firstly, there are abundant of medical terms and abbreviations causing low performance of common nature language processing tools. Secondly, multiple quantitative statements may co-exist in the same sentence and thus co-reference resolution is difficult for associating identified constructs correctly. Thirdly, a mass of healthcare texts contains incomplete or implicit statements such as missing measurement units, causing difficulties for component identification. Fourthly, various representations of comparison relators frequently occur in healthcare texts such as negation usage, special symbols, and implicit contexts. Finally, the relation contradiction problem exists in certain informal healthcare texts. These challenges cause huge difficulties for the relevant research on quantitative information in medical domain. At present, there are no effective methods available for representing and extracting quantitative information yet.

    This project aims to design novel automatic methods for reliable quantitative information representation and extraction to enhance large-scale healthcare text analysis and their applications. To that end, this project will design a new model for representing quantitative information in a formalized manner with a newly designed markup language. In addition, a new neural network-based model will be developed for extracting medical entities, numeric values, units, and relators, as components of quantitative statements. After that, a new model will be developed to acquire complete quantitative information by associating the extracted components. The models will be applied to process at least three large-scale healthcare text datasets in English and Chinese, including 451,571 clinical trial studies covering 220 countries/regions for analyzing their commonalties and differences to contribute to healthcare advance. On the other hand, the proposed techniques can be extended to testing and certification industry that is a pillar industry in Hong Kong.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Tony LEE Chi Chung (S&T)

    Abstract

    Global warming is an important issue in the world during the last several decades. The major cause of global warming is the excessive carbon emission after the Industrial Revolution. Among the various sources of carbon emission, the electricity generation in power plants is the most serious origin in many countries and regions like Hong Kong. Therefore, in order to avoid further global warming, environmental protection policies like Carbon Neutral 2050 are agreed among most of countries and regions in the world. To achieve these goals on environmental protection without affecting the human being’s quality of life, the renewable energy should be adopted in a large extent on electricity generation. Among various renewable energies, solar and wind power are the choices available in most areas. However, these two types of renewable energy required a lot of land resources. A power company itself cannot raise the fuel-mix to a significant level without the involvement of land owners. Therefore, numerous governments or official organization introduced the feed-in tariff scheme to encourage the general public to produce solar and wind power by using their own land resources. It is because the general public can sell the renewable power generated to the power company at a rate higher than the normal electricity tariff rate to help recover the costs of investment. Nevertheless, the rate of participation is still low as the cost recovery period is still low. Recently, low-cost IoT systems to enhance the efficiency of renewable energy generation in the rural residential area and high-rise building have been proposed and demonstrated. However, the prospect of increasing the fuel-mix is still not optimistic as only a small portion of land resources is used even rural residential area and high-rise building are involved. To increase the fuel-mix significantly, the agricultural area should be used. Nevertheless, the problem of food shortage in view of the increasing population is also a crucial issue. The use of agricultural area for generation of renewable energy forms a competition with the food production. As a result, the optimized combination of agricultural activities and solar photovoltaic power generation, called agrivoltaics, was proposed and analyzed recently. However, the current researches on agrivoltaics mainly focus on the large-scaled agricultural areas with open and wide environment. There are only a few analytical results on the closed agriculture. In view of the suburban agricultural areas, like the small-scaled farms located at New Territories in Hong Kong with microclimate nearby, there is still no such deep investigation on it. Moreover, there is no smart analytic system integrated with agrivoltaics and wind power which is the real feed-in tariff scheme used in the developed cities like Hong Kong.

    To address above problems, this research will first establish and validate the two smart IoT systems with numerical models in the small-scaled agricultural areas with microclimate to measure and control (i) the status of the farm, its crops and livestock, and (ii) the feed-in tariff provided by the agrivoltaics and wind power generated by facilities installed on the farm, separately. The two systems with numerical models will then be integrated together to enhance the cost effectiveness on the sensors and controls. At this stage, not only the sensors and controls will be integrated together, but also the land resources. The coupled numerical model will be trained by advanced machine learning methods. In the final stage, as the land resources are shared, an analysis on the effect of sharing the land resources for generating renewable energy on the crops and livestock will be studied. The mechanism to achieve the optimized net profit of these proposed sharing on land resources will be delivered.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Antony HUEN Pak Hang (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Ekphrasis, an ancient Greek term for ‘description’, is now commonly used to refer to poetic descriptions of works of visual art. According to the online Oxford English Dictionary, ekphrasis is now specifically ‘a literary device in which a painting, sculpture, or other work of visual art is described in detail’. Studying the oeuvres of a representative number of poets writing in English from or in Hong Kong, this project focuses on these poets’ ekphrastic work. It determines, analyses and contextualises their ekphrastic engagements with a range of works of visual art, in particular, those from/ or about Hong Kong and mainland China.

    The project benefits from the global recognition of creative writing in English as an academic discipline, the digital age, and the local popular museum and visual culture, and is conceived in a group of literary, critical, and theoretical contexts. There has been a long-standing tradition of modern poets’ engagements with ekphrasis, which has continued and evolved in the 21st century. Poetic ekphrasis has been growing in amount and variety at an unprecedented rate. Meanwhile, critical accounts of poetic ekphrasis have shifted from understanding ekphrasis as staging competitions between words and images to highlighting a range of themes with regards to our reception of the visual arts. These themes, the project argues, can include the city of Hong Kong itself, in the light of the emergence of poets writing about Hong Kong through ekphrasis.

    The term ‘Hong Kong ekphrasis’, in line with an increasing amount of theoretical notions regarding ekphrasis, such as ‘photographic ekphrasis’ and ‘biographical ekphrasis’, is proposed and used to understand a unique kind of ekphrasis as seen in the works of those writing from, in, and/or about Hong Kong. Oriented by the proposed term, the mixed-methods research project is driven by literary criticism, which involves in-depth analysis of the selected poems with the uses of critical, historical and theoretical accounts, as well as varied research methods, namely, interviews with the poets, observations of their social media activities, and the principal investigator’s reflections on his own ekphrastic poems.

    The project aims to increase and challenge our understanding of (1) the close connections between Hong Kong poetry in English and the visual arts since the late 1970s, (2) the factors in the continuation and evolution of these connections, (3) the potential of ‘Hong Kong ekphrasis’ in the critical and theoretical studies of poetic ekphrasis, (4) the nature and scope of Hong Kong poetry, Hong Kong literature, and Chinese literature. The project, in achieving these overriding aims, will also cast light on the role of Hong Kong in the growing and widespread interest in Chinese art and culture.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Vincent CHENG Shing (A&SS)

    Abstract

    Statistics show that heroin is the most prominent illicit drug in Hong Kong, and most people who use heroin (PWUH) are middle-aged or older (≥ 40 years). However, the majority of current studies on drug use and treatment focus on younger people who use psychotropic drugs. Given that heroin use brings enormous individual and social harm, identifying factors that encourage middle-aged or older PWUH to participate in drug treatment and discourage them from dropping out would be very useful. Nonetheless, this topic has not been comprehensively explored in the Hong Kong context. In addition, while existing studies mainly focused on the treatment experience of PWUH at a particular stage of their lives, there is a lack of studies that examine the treatment trajectories of PWUH over their life course. Treatment trajectory refers to personal history in receiving drug treatment (e.g., treatment initiation, dropping out from treatment, reentering drug treatment after dropping out). To fill these research gaps, following the life course approach and differential association theory, this project describes and explains patterns of drug treatment trajectories among Hong Kong PWUH over 40 years of age throughout their life span. Life course approach explain continuity and changes in people’s experiences and behaviors over their life span. Differential association theory proposes that individuals are deeply affected by their social surroundings, and criminal behaviors are learned through social interaction with peers. More specifically, we explore patterns in the treatment trajectories of PWUH related to why they seek or drop out from drug treatment in different life stages, and how macro historical contexts and micro social environments (within the family, among peers, and in treatment programs) affect their treatment trajectories.

    To answer these research themes, a topical life history approach will be used to explore our informants’ experiences as PWUH, focusing particularly on their treatment trajectory experiences. Three research methods will be used for data collection: archival research, in-depth interviews, and focus groups interviews. Archival research will be conducted to collect three types of information: (a) published books and articles, (b) newspapers, and (c) government policy documents and NGO reports. In-depth interviews will be conducted with 60 PWUH aged over 40 years to collect information about their treatment trajectories, as well as the macro historical background and micro social context behind their treatment trajectories. In addition, we will recruit and interview 10 current and retired frontline practitioners, such as social workers, former staff in the correctional services department, and managers of NGOs, to understand how drug policy was implemented in different historical periods. Furthermore, we will also interview 10 older people in the triad gang (in particular those who have long been involved in the street-level drug trade) to understand more about historical events in the criminal underworld. Finally, 20 of the PWUH with whom we will conduct individual interviews will subsequently be selected to participate in five focus group interviews for further data collection.

    Finally, to minimize the impact of memory decay and facilitate data collection, two participatory visual research methods will be used—life diagram and photo elicitation. The PWUH will be encouraged to draw life diagrams to record each transition in their treatment trajectory and major events in their lives. The principal investigator (PI) will also show the PWUH a set of historical pictures (e.g., old pictures of treatment facilities, newspaper clips, and drug scenes in different historical periods) and ask them to express feelings and memories related to their drug use trajectories, treatment trajectories, and macro and micro social environments in which they experienced their treatment trajectories.

    Overall, this project is both timely and important. Academically, this project explores the relationship between drug treatment trajectories and the micro/macro social context in Hong Kong. On a practical level, the findings identify factors that encourage drug treatment and thereby benefit PWUH, their family members, and society as a whole.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr William TANG Ko Wai (E&L)

    Abstract

    Since the recent social and health problems in Hong Kong began in June 2019, there has been a sudden rise in fake news. Social media allows users to rapidly disseminate fake news to other users, which may increase the circulation of false or misleading information. Fake news on social media affect stock markets and decelerate responses during disasters and even terrorist attacks.

    Fake news has become an important issue today, which we are nowhere close to solving. Primary, secondary and post-secondary students must be guided and helped to detect fake news. There is no instrument to measure the competency levels of fake news detection competency level, and we should urgently attempt to understand it. Therefore, this proposed study attempts to address this gap.

    The development of an instrument to measure fake news competency for post-secondary students is proposed. In consideration of the nature of fake news and the theoretical concept of information literacy, three characteristics of fake news—content, appearance, and motivation—and two of the latest information literacy frameworks—the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standard for Higher Education Students and the Hong Kong Information Literacy learning Framework—will be referred to by the proposed study.

    This study will adopt a mixed approach to address the research questions. First, a qualitative study will be conducted to gather insights regarding post-secondary students’ aptitude and understanding of fact-checking fake news by using fake news identification tasks and semi-structured interviews. Based on the results of qualitative study and the theoretical background of information literacy, an attempt will be made to develop an instrument that includes surveys and quizzes. This will be followed by a quantitative study of the perception and competency of fake news detection among post-secondary students.

    This study will contribute not only to the local community by introducing an instrument to measure the competency levels of fake news detection but also to the research community by providing theoretical advancements in the field of fake news and information literacy.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Charlie NG Chak Kwan (A&SS)

    Abstract

    The proposed research project is designed to be an intellectual inquiry into the dimensions and significance of human-animal coexistence as represented in contemporary fictional and non-fictional writings related to animals that show an obvious environmental awareness. Engaging with recent developments in animal studies, ecocriticism, and environmental humanities, the project will draw from critical theories that not only address “the animal question” but go further to develop ontologies of human-animal interconnectedness in various ways. Underlying the existence of all forms of life is our embodied presence in the planetary system of Earth that depends on multispecies entanglement. The dichotomy of nature and culture is a long-standing myth that is sustained by anthropocentric assumptions and ideologies. Contesting anthropocentrism and exploring possibilities of biocentrism, this project seeks to discover and articulate how animal-related writings can illustrate the vitalness of human-animal coexistence that is rooted in our multispecies experience. These writings embody values and insights that can constitute what I would attempt to designate as an “aesthetics of biophilia”—a concept inspired by Edward O. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis, which suggests our innate love of life and living things. Selected fictional and non-fictional writings created by both literary writers and naturalists will be read and interpreted along with interdisciplinary discourses of human-animal relationships and coexistence, of particular interest for this project are the eco-phenomenological tradition and recent posthuman developments, as well as ecopsychology for healing and rewilding as a conservation practice. Far from being isolated areas, they indicate the dimensions of human-animal coexistence that can inform the “aesthetics of biophilia” this project aims to develop based on the primary texts. Additionally, with its goals and methods, the study aspires to respond to Edward O. Wilson’s call for “consilience” across the humanities-science divide.

    The project aims to accomplish four tasks that are interrelated to each other in a progressive manner: 1) Explore the significance of embodiment and entanglement in selected contemporary fictional and non-fictional writings and begin to develop an aesthetics of biophilia by examining how the writings enact human-animal coexistence performatively; 2) Study human-animal coexistence in relation to the concept of healing in ecopsychology in selected contemporary fictional and non-fictional writings to address the affective and emotional dimensions of the aesthetics of biophilia, including psychological rewilding and interdependence; 3) Investigate recent conservation approach of rewilding and how it is narrated in literature of rewilding. The ecological significance of such narratives will be analysed, seeing the restoration and recovery process in rewilding as performative acts that conjoin human to nature’s creative poiesis; 4) Promote the public interest in reading animal-related and environmental literature so as to stimulate greater awareness of biophilia and foster ecocultural identity through intellectual and literary discussions.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Prof. Fred LEE Wang Fat (S&T)

    Abstract

    Human health and aquaculture industry have been adversely affected by Harmful algal blooms (HABs). Karenia mikimotoi is one of the most toxic and deadly HAB species. Fish-killing ability of this species is notably dangerous, and blooms caused by this species greatly affect both Hong Kong and mainland China. For example, it killed more than 200 tons of fish in several local fish-farming zones in Hong Kong in 2016. Although K. mikimotoi has been extensively studied in the past decades, their ichthyotoxicity (i.e., fish-killing) mechanism is poorly understood. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and haemolytic activity of K. mikimotoi have been suggested as one of the possible mechanisms. However, the exact mechanism remains controversial.

    Previous studies have shown that toxicity of HAB species can be affected by different growing conditions, particularly, algal growth phase and cell concentrations, salinities, nitrogen, and phosphate concentrations. On the other hand, several studies have demonstrated that toxicity of HAB species can also be regulated by their closely associated bacteria. However, the underlying mechanism on the toxicity modulation and the algal-bacterial interactions are virtually unknown. In addition, associated bacteria specifically isolated from K. mikimotoi have yet to be reported. No molecular studies at gene or protein levels have aimed to identify the underlying molecular pathway in the algae and its associated bacteria during their interactions. Our team has successfully established axenic culture of a K. mikimotoi strain (KMHK) isolated from an algal bloom in Hong Kong. The ichthyotoxicity of K. mikimotoi culture would be significantly enhanced in the absence of its associated bacteria and the effects of the algal culture when co-culturing with different bacterial isolates are varied, which indicate that the toxicity of K. mikimotoi can be modulated by their interactions with the associated bacteria. Two novel associated bacterial isolates of a same species Alteromonas oceani, namely R2 and Y8, have been isolated from the K. mikimotoi culture. The two bacterial isolates showed prominent but opposite effects on the ichthyotoxicity of K. mikimotoi. When axenic K. mikimotoi co-cultured with R2, the corresponding effect on fish gill cell viability become much higher than that of the axenic algal culture alone, whereas opposite effect is observed when the K. mikimotoi cells are co-cultured with Y8 bacteria. Our preliminary data also showed that the ichthyotoxicity of K. mikimotoi could also be significantly affected by various biotic and abiotic factors, and the direct and indirect contact between the algal cells and bacterial cells.

    In continuation of our preliminary study, in the present study, we aim to investigate how ichthyotoxicity of K. mikimotoi is regulated by its associated bacteria using the pair of A. oceani isolates (R2 and Y8) as the study model. The effects imposed by both isolates under various experimental conditions will be compared. Ichthyotoxicity of K. mikimotoi co-cultured with R2 or Y8 growing under various biotic (cell concentrations and growth phases) and abiotic (salinities, nitrogen (N) - and phosphate (P) – concentrations) conditions will be assessed. The effects of algal-bacterial cell contact will be investigated through the co-cultivation of both cells in a system in which the bacterial cells and algal cells will be physically separated by a semipermeable membrane. Furthermore, molecular interactions between K. mikimotoi and the two A. oceani isolates under various selected conditions will be evaluated using comparative proteomic approaches. In parallel, molecular responses of both bacteria cells and K. mikimotoi cells through their interaction will also be deduced. Understanding the algal-bacterial molecular interactions will help to unravel the cellular regulation and possible pathways in algal toxicity modulations. Successful completion of this project can contribute to the eventual development of a proactive strategy for preventing fish-killing incidents by HAB which will have significant implications for fish farms and shellfish industries.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Sidney CHAN Man Ngai (S&T)

    Abstract

    Organophosphorous pesticides (OPP) are a group of insecticides extensively applied in food crop production and non-food settings. After application, residual OPP pollute the environment. Chlorpyrifos, the mostly used conventional OPP, arouses public concern recently because of its neurological and endocrine disrupting toxicity, not only to insects and wildlife but also human. Wastewater contaminated with chlorpyrifos must be treated before disposal. Bioremediation, referring to biosorption, bioaccumulation and biodegradation, of organic pollutants by microorganisms including microalgae is believed to be a sustainable option of wastewater treatment. During bioremediation process, microalgae utilize nutrients in the wastewater and carbon dioxide to grow. The produced microalgal biomass can be converted to valuable resources such as biofuel, bioplastic, biochar, and animal and fish feeds.

    Microalgae may biodegrade OPP into phosphate and alcohol by phosphotriesterase. OPP also cause oxidative stress leading to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that induce lipid peroxidation in microalgae. These ROS can break down OPP. Unlike other OPP, there is little bioremediation studies on chlorpyrifos by microalgae, probably because chlorpyrifos is more difficult to biodegrade. The metabolism of chlorpyrifos has seldom been studied. Limited research suggests that the biodegradation of OPP, including chlorpyrifos, may be incomplete and metabolites formed may be more harmful than the parent pollutants. Some species accumulate toxic degraded products such as 3,5,6-trichloro-s-pyridinol. In our recent preliminary study, two green microalgal isolates, Scenedesmus dimorphus and Scenedesmus quadricauda, were found to bioremediate chlorpyrifos in artificial wastewater. Both species showed more than 90% chlorpyrifos removal in 7 days, but S. quadricauda only achieved 19% biodegradation while S. dimorphus showed higher biodegradation (73%). This suggests that chlorpyrifos bioremediation capability, and mechanism involved may be species-specific. Understanding biodegradation of chlorpyrifos and metabolic pathways by specific microalgal species, particularly the isolates, is essential before the species is applied for bioremediation.

    Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by microalgae may be affected by phosphorus availability. Under conditions with limited or even lack of phosphorus, microalgae may biodegrade chlorpyrifos to obtain the phosphorus atom in chlorpyrifos’s structure as their phosphorus source. However, phosphorus metabolism in the presence of chlorpyrifos has never been reported, and such a response may be algal species-specific. The phosphorus metabolism of microalgae is complex and involves different interrelated enzymatic pathways, which is difficult to be studied via the measurements of individual enzyme activity alone. Proteomics is a technique that allows studying the responses of these interrelated enzymatic pathways at different phosphorus concentrations with or without chlorpyrifos in a holistic approach.

    This project aims to understand chlorpyrifos bioremediation by two Scenedesmus isolates under different phosphorus concentrations and explore the mechanisms behind. Specific objectives include i) compare the biosorption and biodegradation of chlorpyrifos between S. dimorphus and S. quadricauda, in medium and real wastewater; ii) investigate effects of phosphorus concentrations on bioremediation efficiency and mechanisms, and analyze cellular phosphorus concentrations of the two species with and without chlorpyrifos; iii) evaluate the toxicological responses of the two species under different chlorpyrifos and phosphorus concentrations; iv) identify and monitor the changes of the major chlorpyrifos metabolic products by the two species; and v) explore the responses of phosphorus metabolism by the two species in the presence of chlorpyrifos based on proteomic approach. Through this project, bioremediation by microalgae, a sustainable treatment method will be demonstrated. The project will also contribute knowledge on chlorpyrifos metabolism by microalgae and enhance bioremediation efficiency by varying phosphorus availability. Furthermore, a robust microalgal species for chlorpyrifos bioremediation will be provided.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Emily WONG Sze Wan (S&T)

    Abstract

    Bevacizumab (Bev) is a monoclonal antibody acting on the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The drug has anticancer effect by inhibiting the angiogenesis. Though the drug has been recognised as the first line treatment of colorectal and non-small cell lung cancer, induction of hypertension is a common adverse effect of Bev. The key mechanisms may be due to the disturbance of relaxing factors [nitric oxide (NO) and prostacyclin] in blood vessels, increased intraglomerular pressure in kidneys, and increased blood lipid level.

    Nowadays, there are still no evidence-based guidelines on the treatment of Bev-induced hypertension. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are usually prescribed as they show efficacy in controlling Bev-induced hypertension. However, some recent studies reported that ACE inhibitors, such as perindopril and enalapril, may inhibit the anti-angiogenic effect of Bev and hence, decreasing its therapeutic effect. In addition to ACE inhibitors, other common types of antihypertensive drugs, such as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARB), diuretics, calcium-channel blockers and beta antagonists, are not the proper choices for treating Bev-induced hypertension.

    It is essential to identify a potential drug for treating Bev-induced hypertension. This drug should be effective in treating this hypertension by targeting on the key mechanisms described above and at the same time, the drug should not counteract the anticancer effect of Bev. It will be an advantage if the potential drug has additive or synergistic anticancer effect with Bev. Clinically, Chinese herbal medicines have been used in combination of antihypertensive or anticancer Western drugs. The therapeutic effects of combined therapies have been proved. Hence, Chinese herbal medicine may provide a potential candidate for treating Bev-induced hypertension. However, not much have been done on the antihypertensive effect of Chinese medicine on Bev-induced hypertension except our recent study in which the active component of Danshen, Danshensu, could reverse the disturbance of vasodilatation caused by Bev in rat mesenteric artery (data has not been published).

    Danshen (root of Salvia miltiorrhiza) is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Clinically, the herb has been commonly prescribed in the oral-intake form of traditional decoction to treat cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary heart disease, hypertension, renal injury and hyperlipidemia. Recently, aqueous extract of Danshen was reported to have anti-VEGF property which is similar to that of Bev. Danshensu [3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-hydroxy-propanoic acid], the chief biological active and water soluble component in Danshen, can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats via the NO and prostaglandin pathways. Tanshinone IIA (Tan IIA), being the most abundant lipophilic active component of Danshen, also shares similar effects on regulating blood pressure, renal protection and lowering blood lipid level.

    A single crude herb of Danshen contains over 200 chemical components. Components to be extracted e.g. aqueous and lipophilic compounds, depends greatly on the extraction methods. Clinically, Danshen is used to be prescribed in oral-intake form of traditional decoction. Regarding the clinical applications and recent studies, we hypothesise that Danshen’s traditional decoction extract, aqueous extract, solvent extract and Danshen-derived active components (Danshensu, Tan IIA and their combination) may have different effects on Bev-induced hypertension. Our present study is to find out the best derivative of Danshen for the concurrent treatment with Bev and their underlying mechanisms. The results will provide strong support for clinical application of Bev, and hence, Chinese-Western medicine combined therapy.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data

  • Principal Investigator Dr Ian MO Wing Yin (S&T)

    Abstract

    Fish is an important protein source for populations in coastal areas. To ensure safety, metal and metalloid (metal/loid) concentrations in fish products and fish feeds are regulated, and their levels should not exceed the maximum permitted concentrations. However, metal/loids are still frequently detected in fish products and fish feeds, and this problem may be exacerbated by climate change. As ectothermic organisms, most fishes change their body temperatures according to the environmental temperature. Fish are more sensitive to environmental pollutants at hotter environment, as a higher water temperature increases their basal metabolic rates. Consequently, more feed is needed to compensate for higher energy expenditure at elevated temperatures. The resulting increase in metal/loid intake from the diet can increase metal/loid exposure in fish and metal/loid accumulation in fish products. Thus, as the climate warms due to climate change, increased intake of metal/loid present in fish feeds poses a greater threat to fish.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that by the end of the 21st century, the Earth’s surface temperature will be 3.79 °C higher than it was in 1980–1990 and, as of 2022, about 0.7°C increment has been observed. Although a warmer climate may initially benefit the aquaculture industry, as fishes grow faster at higher temperatures, the industry will also be negatively affected by the following events: (1) increased feed consumption at higher water temperatures may lead to a greater accumulation of metal/loids in fish, leading to rejection of fish products exceeding the permissible limits; (2) even if metal/loid levels in fish are safe according to the current standards, fish may suffer from increased stress due to their higher sensitivity to metal/loids at higher temperatures, leading to greater losses; and (3) higher metabolic rates due to the increased energy expenditure of fish at higher temperatures will also lead to increased feed consumption and feed costs. The exact long-term effects of a warmer climate combined with metal/loid contamination on farmed fish are largely unknown. Therefore, there is an urgent need to study fish responses to warmer temperatures, investigate whether such temperature increments will affect metal/loid toxicity and accumulation in fish and determine the potential health risks to consumers.

    This proposed project aims to investigate the combined chronic effects of relevant dietary concentrations of metal/loids and elevated water temperatures on the growth performance, productivity and the immunological, physiological and proteomic responses, metal/loids accumulation and the potential health risks of consuming two economically important fish species, Nile tilapia and mud carp. Nile tilapia is more heat-tolerant than mud carp. Experimental fish tank setups with temperature control will be used, and two separate experiments will be performed using both fish species. Fish in the tanks will be exposed to a combination of two water temperature ranges (low-temperature range: gradually increasing from 24 °C to 30 °C; high-temperature range: gradually increasing from 28 °C to 34 °C) or fixed temperatures (30 °C or 34 °C), and three dietary metal/loid concentrations (maximum permitted levels, ten times lower than the permitted level and un-spiked [control diet]), for six months. These treatments will simulate the global warming condition and the possible metal/loid contents in fish feeds. The results generated from this proposed project will be useful to the aquaculture industry, governmental departments and fish feed producers, who are faced with challenges related to the changing environment. These findings will also be converted to teaching materials and public seminars.

    Research Output and/or Accessible Raw Data