HKMU enjoyed another impressive year as measured by the results of the latest round of the Competitive Research Funding Schemes for the Local Self-financing Degree Sector of the Research Grants Council (RGC), announced in September 2021. Research funding granted to HKMU under the Faculty Development Scheme (FDS) was the highest among all of Hong Kong’s self-financing institutions, while individual HKMU FDS projects were also winners in terms of the size of the grants obtained.
With its research funding and profile continuing to rise, HKMU is now addressing ways of translating its best research outcomes into practical social and economic benefits. To this end it has set up a dedicated company that will handle a whole range of knowledge transfer issues, including research commercialisation, patent management, start-up investment and product licensing. HKMU’s research initiatives are also being boosted by its recently established HK$5 million Research Impact Fund, which is channelling vital funding into key strategic research projects. To find the best students to build further research momentum, HKMU has also increased its provision of postgraduate studentships for full-time research students.
Nine strategic research areas identified under six HKMU Schools
Researchers at HKMU’s Public and Social Policy Research Centre focusing on Hong Kong’s housing market came up with the HKMU Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) Index, which is constantly tracking housing price trends in the HOS secondary market. In the two years since the Index was created, it has established itself as an important analytical tool for Hong Kong, and is frequently cited by local media and commentators looking to understand changes and developments in the city’s unique property market. In July 2022, the team reported a reversal in the price trends of HOS secondary and private property in the aftermath of the pandemic, which they saw as proof of the market mechanism at work. Based on this analysis, the team advised against excessive regulation of the HOS market and advocated for the provision of more mortgage options for potential HOS home buyers.
Housing price indices from 2010
HKMU scholars have evaluated and added support to an important Government initiative from 2019–20 to encourage local kindergartens to admit more ethnic minority students. Researchers from the School of Education and Languages have been running a project called ‘Admitting Ethnic Minority Kindergarteners: Overcoming Challenges and Identifying Opportunities’, which has involved conducting a survey with kindergartens under the Government’s Kindergarten Education Scheme (KES). The call for survey participation attracted responses from 161 kindergartens, a quarter of all KES kindergartens. The survey findings are helping improve training and support for kindergarten teachers as well as the quality of education provided to young ethnic minority students.
HKMU has a well-established reputation in marine and coastal research, one which is being further enhanced following new developments during the past year. In late 2021, HKMU became a member institution of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution, located at the City University of Hong Kong, and also signed a framework agreement with the Futian National Nature Reserve Management Bureau and Shenzhen University for establishing a Greater Bay Area Mangrove Wetland Research and Development Centre in the Futian reserve. Since then, the new Research and Development Centre has been set up and staff hired, marking the start of exciting times for HKMU’s involvement in important wetland preservation and research work.
HKMU’s School of Science and Technology is running a four-year Jockey Club STEAM Education Resources Sharing Scheme, kick-started back in February 2019. The scheme, underpinned by a HK$37.73 million donation from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, is promoting STEAM education (an integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) to Hong Kong schools, and by the end of the year had reached over 70 local secondary schools. The HKMU team conducts its STEAM outreach at multiple levels, including organising STEAM education workshops for teachers, developing flexible learning modules for schools, maintaining the one-stop digital portal the HKMU Jockey Club STEAM Education Information Hub, and holding an annual symposium. It also opens its four specialised laboratories for booking by participating schools.