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HKU has been awarded as coordinating institution for 4 of the 12 projects funded to date through the Strategic Topics Grant (STG), and in a further 4 as a participant in projects coordinated by other local universities.

Launched in 2022 by the Research Grants Council, STG aims to support collaborative research in specific areas that can help Hong Kong overcome imminent challenges and capture emerging opportunities.  

4 Projects Awarded to HKU as Coordinator

Using Artificial Intelligence to Address Imminent Challenges in Health Care

Development and Deployment of a Community-based Eye Care Model for Provision of Primary Eye Care Services

Providing eye care services to an aging population such as in Hong Kong is challenging, and the shortage of ophthalmologists has consequences for patient care and broader societal productivity. This project aims to revamp the model of eye care delivery by developing and deploying a community-based system at the District Health Centres that integrates with the Hospital Authority specialist outpatient clinics (SOPCs) to improve efficiency in managing chronic eye diseases. The implementation of this community-based eye care model will significantly reduce the time for diagnosing blinding eye diseases and the waiting time for new patient appointments at the SOPCs. This will augment the cost-effectiveness of eye care delivery, alleviate the growing burden of visual impairment and blindness, and ultimately enhance societal productivity in Hong Kong.

Project Coordinator: Professor K.S. Leung, Department of Ophthalmology (cleung21@hku.hk 

Striving towards Carbon Neutrality before 2050

Cost-Effective Decarbonization for the Power Sector of Hong Kong: Technology Innovation, Demonstrations, and Pathways

Power generation accounts for more than 66% of Hong Kong’s total carbon emissions, demanding the biggest reduction to meet the 2050 carbon neutrality goals. This project aims to (1) develop high resolution carbon emission models to identify CO2 emission sources of the power sector and develop innovative technologies for decarbonization through integrating renewable energy and hydrogen for carbon neutrality in Hong Kong; (2) develop decentralized energy systems and power infrastructure planning and comprehensively optimize and consider decentralized energy and facilities to reduce the demand for expanding power plant capacity within the 2035– 2050 timeframe; and (3) develop an Interactive Science-Informed Decision Model (ISIDM) for cost-effective power system planning that can be used to simulate different scenarios in search for optimal decarbonization pathways and action roadmaps for Hong Kong’s power sector, as well as similar cities worldwide. 

Project Coordinator: Professor P. Gong, Department of Earth Sciences (penggong@hku.hk

Establishing Hong Kong as the Leading Integrated Circuits, and Opto-electronics Innovation and Technology Hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

Photonic Integrated Platforms Based on Topological Physics

This project aims to revolutionise the design of integrated photonic circuits by applying the fundamental principles of topological physics. Specifically, it will implement novel concepts such as gauge field and non-Abelian topological pumping, topological singularities such as Dirac points and Weyl points, and non-Hermitian and supersymmetric physics, for the design of compact and dynamically tuneable integrated photonic circuits, leveraging the concept of synthetic dimensions in the parameter space and providing new design strategies to achieve robustness against fabrication errors.

Project Coordinator: Professor S. Zhang, Department of Physics (shuzhang@hku.hk)

Managing the Socio-economic Implications of Pandemic and Other Public Health Challenges

Improving Pandemic Preparedness by Reflecting on Experiences in the COVID-19 Pandemic from Different Perspectives

This project proposes a series of complementary research activities in four areas to identify efficient approaches to mitigate the socio-economic-mental health impact of future pandemics while controlling the threat posed to public health by infections. The overarching aim is to provide evidence that can improve global pandemic preparedness as well as an evidence base for future policy recommendations in Hong Kong and elsewhere. While a future pandemic could have different characteristics and therefore potentially requires a different set of control measures, the project aims to identify common principles and best practices that can be integrated into pandemic planning to guide public policy decisions in future pandemics.

Project Coordinator: Professor B.J. Cowling, School of Public Health (bcowling@hku.hk

HKU's Participation in Funded Projects Coordinated by Other Local Universities