Highlights 2013


HKU's artificial mussel technology helps fight marine pollution globally

HKU Director of School of Biological Sciences Professor Rudolf Wu Shiu-sun has developed a technology called artificial mussel to test water quality. Professor Wu has been invited by Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to provide a two-month training scheme for scientists from Tunisia, Tanzania, Ghana, Thailand and the Philippines to learn how to use the technology to test for heavy metals that affect ecosystems and food chains.


UGC's TV Programme on KT/KE

The University Grants Committee (UGC) recognizes that knowledge transfer (KT)/knowledge exchange (KE) has become an important mission of Hong Kong's higher education institutions.  In order to increase public awareness of the good work that has been done by institutions in this area, the UGC has commissioned TVB to produce a 30-minute programme in the form of a documentary, and selected a KT/KE project from each of the 8 UGC-funded institutions to be featured in this programme. The programme will be broadcast on TVB Jade on December 18, 2013 at 7pm.   


HKU Young Brain Scientist Program holds its first public lecture on December 13, 2013

The HKU Department of Psychology will hold six public lectures designed for secondary students to raise their awareness of the potential impact of brain science from December 2013 to June 2014. Outstanding participants will be invited to tour brain science laboratory and take part in workshops.


Icelandic paintings exhibition held at HKU Museum and Art Gallery

The HKU Museum and Art Gallery has organized an exhibition titled ''Ingenious Iceland: Twentieth-Century Icelandic Paintings from the Anthony J Hardy Collection'', which is held until November 24, 2013. Over 80 Icelandic paintings, sculptures and drawings from the collection are on display.


HKU at InnoCarnival 2013

The InnoCarnival 2013, organized by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) as a major event of the InnoTech Month 2013, was held from November 2-10, 2013 in the Hong Kong Science Park. The Technology Transfer Office co-ordinated the University's participation in the InnoCarnival 2013.


HKU study finds Hong Kong Laws inadequate to protect threatened animal and plant species

A new report by the Faculty of Law at The University of Hong Kong has concluded that while existing legislation has played a key role in eliminating most hunting of native terrestrial animals, and limited collection of valuable plant species, several Ordinances are in urgent need of updating. ''A Review of Hong Kong's Wild Animal and Plant Protection Laws'', undertaken by a multidisciplinary team led by animal-law expert Associate Professor Amanda Whitfort, reviewed the effectiveness of the five key ordinances in protecting wild native species in Hong Kong. A total of 15 recommendations for legislative amendments are made with a view to securing the long-term conservation of local biodiversity.


HKU Researchers and Press Council members urge responsible suicide reporting

Professor Paul S.F. Yip, Director of the HKU Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention said some new suicide methods spread out quickly in Hong Kong and to other Asian countries after the media's sensational and misleading coverage. He warned that irresponsible media reporting of suicides encouraged copycats. At a symposium on ''the Contagion of Suicide Reporting'' held at HKU on September 7, 2013, the Hong Kong Press Council released a proposed guideline for the media on how to report suicide cases responsibly and avoid becoming a catalyst for copycat suicides.


Knowledge Exchange Awards 2013

The Faculty Knowledge Exchange (KE) Awards were introduced in 2011 in order to recognize each Faculty's outstanding KE accomplishment that has made demonstrable economic, social or cultural impacts to benefit the community, business/industry, or partner organizations. Results of the 2013 Faculty KE Awards are now available.


HKU plans for new Western Gateway at Western Harbourfront

Professor Anthony Yeh Gar-on, Head and Chair Professor of the Department of Urban Planning and Design of HKU, has completed the Western Harbourfront Conceptual Master Plan for the Central and Western District Council. The plan will improve the public open space at the Western Harbourfront and convert it into a Western Gateway - a new landmark in Hong Kong.


HKU Faculty of Dentistry promotes school teachers training in Dental Emergencies

HKU Faculty of Dentistry found that very few teachers had the necessary know-how of appropriate "first-aid" actions in dental traumas, and Hong Kong has shown a serious lack of relevant teacher-training in the past decade. Partnered with the Anglican (Hong Kong) Primary Schools Council and the Hong Kong Council for Educational Administration, a HKU Student Knowledge Exchange Project Team, mentored by Dr Mike Leung and led by student Miss Tiffany Chan of the Faculty of Dentistry, have run 11 workshops to train primary and secondary school teachers on how to take emergency actions to handle dental traumas caused by falls and collisions that happen at schools. The workshops were attended by a total of 441 primary and secondary school teachers. This equipped the teachers with necessary knowledge to handle the real-life situations more confidently and could help minimize the damage made on students' teeth.


HKU develops voice navigation system for visually-impaired people

HKU's Centre for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development under the Department of Computer Science was allocated $5.5 million by the Innovation and Technology Commission to develop a mobile system for the visually impaired. The system, namely E-Guide, allows visually impaired users to locate themselves and obtain surrounding information on their smartphones through voice messages. The system has been installed in Wong Tai Sin Plaza, Tai Wo Hau MTR Station and HK Arts Centre.


HKU dentists find that half of Hong Kong's preschoolers with tooth decay

HKU Faculty of Dentistry Dr C H Chu and his team found that roughly one half of Hong Kong's preschoolers aged four to six had an average of about two teeth per child contained dental caries, most of them were untreated cavities. The team also discovered that snacking frequency, dental visits, parents' oral health knowledge and family income were the most important factors affecting the preschoolers' dental health. Such findings imply that oral health promotion in kindergartens requires the involvement of not only the children, but also their parents and teachers. Joint efforts of the government and the dental professions are essential to tackle social inequality of dental health. More details of Dr Chu's and his team's effort on promoting oral health of preschoolers are available at the KE Newsletter (Issue 1) .


HKU academic urges less consumption of groupers which face extinction

A study conducted by HKU Biological Sciences Professor Yvonne Sadovy has found that at least 20 grouper species are facing extinction. Professor Sadovy said threatened species such as HK grouper and longtooth grouper, which were found in HK waters, should be protected by law. She has urged the government to protect them through legislation and tighter monitoring of grouper trade, and to set a good example by serving sustainably caught seafood in official functions.


Mineral treasures of China on display at HKU Stephen Hui Geological Museum

A special exhibition of mineral treasures of China will be held at the HKU Stephen Hui Geological Museum, in association with the Mineralogy Society of HK, until August 30, 2013. Over 50 world-class mineral specimens from private collection of Dr Guanghua Liu will be on display.


HKU establishes the first legal information website for HK seniors

The HKU Law and Technology Centre has developed the first bilingual legal information website for seniors in Hong Kong: the Senior CLIC website (www.s100.hk or www.seniorclic.hk). This website, which is sponsored by the Home Affairs Bureau, provides information on 27 legal topics of concern to seniors.


HKU and Universities in USA find face masks can reduce the spread of influenza

There is very little scientific research on whether wearing surgical face masks can help to reduce the spread of influenza. In view of this, the School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Maryland and Harvard School of Public Health have conducted a study on this issue and are the first to report that influenza carriers who wear surgical face masks can reduce the amount of viruses being disseminated into the environment by more than 70%, thus reducing the spread of influenza in the community.


Award Presentation Ceremony for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Knowledge Exchange 2012

The University's Award Presentation Ceremony for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Knowledge Exchange 2012 was held on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Loke Yew Hall. Starting this year, Knowledge Exchange Awards are presented at the Ceremony.


HKU academic discovers selective use of natural condiments may reduce cancer risk

HKU Biological Sciences Associate Professor Dr Wang Ming-fu discovered that selective use of natural condiments such as grapefruit, tomato sauce and green tea as meat seasoning may significantly reduce cancer risk. By incorporating appropriate cooking methods, such condiments can also lead to the formation of some novel food components that helps preventing cancer. Dr Wang and three other HKU researchers will be presented with University Outstanding Young Research Award 2012 in the Award Presentation Ceremony for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Knowledge Research on March 27.


The largest ever database on night sky brightness developed by HKU reveals very serious light pollution problems in Hong Kong

An HKU research team, led by Dr Jason Pun Chun-shing of the Physics Department, developed the HK Night Sky Brightness Monitoring Network (NSN) in May 2010, which is the largest ever database on night sky brightness. Over 5 million night sky brightness measurements have since been collected. The Hong Kong urban night sky was found to be 100 to 1,000 times brighter than the international dark sky standard between 8:30-11:00pm, making it one of the most light-polluted cities in the world. In European cities like Madrid and Florence, the readings were normally below 100 times the standard. The NSN was funded by the Environment and Conservation Fund of the Environmental Protection Department, and the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund. Results of the project will provide the scientific basis for the Government in possible developments of regulations on outdoor lighting usages.


A Night at the Museum of Art with Andy Warhol: A unique experience of an overnight event for secondary students

The Hong Kong Museum of Art opened up its doors for the first time at night on February 22 and March 8 for ''A Night at the Museum of Art with Andy Warhol'', an innovative programme co-organised by The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMA). The event drew some 600 secondary school students from 56 local schools to the Art Museum.


"TKT Land Production" Exhibition - HKU Landscape Architecture exhibits to tell the stories of Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing from "City|Villages|Countryside"

The "TKT Land Production" exhibition by the Division of Landscape Architecture of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) intends to represent Tsuen Wan's and Kwai Tsing's "real estates" to its original meaning, and to explain how, in fact, the significant roles that landscape play in forming, deriving, and allowing the emergence of the local culture, industry, and vibrant citylife that the Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing District now has.  The exhibits of the HKU team are now showing at the Sam Tung Uk Museum in Tsuen Wan until March 3, 2013.


Major breakthrough in smart grid technology by HKU/Imperial College London research team to provide key solution to future renewable energy power systems

The joint University of Hong Kong /Imperial College London research team has developed a new smart grid technology, the Electric Springs, which is the first in the world and has the potential of providing a key solution to solving the stability problems in future power systems fed with wind and solar power.

HKU's collaborative study finds limited efficacy of non-pharmacological treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Supplementation with omega-3/omega-6 free fatty acids such as cod liver oil, elimination of artificial food colorings and psychological treatments are often regarded as treatments for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some parents may prefer non-pharmacological interventions for their children with ADHD. However, a recent research study, with participation by the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy of The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine and conducted by The European ADHD Guidelines Group, shows that there is still limited evidence on the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions. Parents should be made aware of the results of the current study. This analysis provides an important reference about ADHD management for clinicians.

KE in The Review 2012

The Review 2012 looks back at a fruitful year for knowledge exchange. "We are also starting to see a culmination of our knowledge exchange initiatives as more and more units in the University recognize the academic and social merits of engaging with the community in their teaching and research activities, as well as their possible role in and contribution to community engagement," says Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, Vice-Chancellor and President.