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Professor Li Ping

PolyU research finds improving AI large language models helps better align with human brain activity

With generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) transforming the social interaction landscape in recent years, large language models (LLMs), which use deep-learning algorithms to train GenAI platforms to process language, have been put in the spotlight. A recent study by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) found that LLMs perform more like the human brain when being trained in more similar ways as humans process language, which has brought important insights to brain studies and the development of AI models. Current large language models (LLMs) mostly rely on a single type of pretraining - contextual word prediction. This simple learning strategy has achieved surprising success when combined with massive training data and model parameters, as shown by popular LLMs such as ChatGPT. Recent studies also suggest that word prediction in LLMs can serve as a plausible model for how humans process language. However, humans do not simply predict the next word but also integrate high-level information in natural language comprehension. A research team led by Prof. LI Ping, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Sin Wai Kin Foundation Professor in Humanities and Technology at PolyU, has investigated the next sentence prediction (NSP) task, which simulates one central process of discourse-level comprehension in the human brain to evaluate if a pair of sentences is coherent, into model pretraining and examined the correlation between the model’s data and brain activation. The study has been recently published in the academic journal Sciences Advances. The research team trained two models, one with NSP enhancement and the other without, both also learned word prediction. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were collected from people reading connected sentences or disconnected sentences. The research team examined how closely the patterns from each model matched up with the brain patterns from the fMRI brain data. It was clear that training with NSP provided benefits. The model with NSP matched human brain activity in multiple areas much better than the model trained only on word prediction. Its mechanism also nicely maps onto established neural models of human discourse comprehension. The results gave new insights into how our brains process full discourse such as conversations. For example, parts of the right side of the brain, not just the left, helped understand longer discourse. The model trained with NSP could also better predict how fast someone read - showing that simulating discourse comprehension through NSP helped AI understand humans better. Recent LLMs, including ChatGPT, have relied on vastly increasing the training data and model size to achieve better performance. Prof. Li Ping said, “There are limitations in just relying on such scaling. Advances should also be aimed at making the models more efficient, relying on less rather than more data. Our findings suggest that diverse learning tasks such as NSP can improve LLMs to be more human-like and potentially closer to human intelligence.” He added, “More importantly, the findings show how neurocognitive researchers can leverage LLMs to study higher-level language mechanisms of our brain. They also promote interaction and collaboration between researchers in the fields of AI and neurocognition, which will lead to future studies on AI-informed brain studies as well as brain-inspired AI.”   ***END***

27 May, 2024

Research & Innovation Faculty of Humanities

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PolyU wins ZPRIZE 2023 for blockchain innovation again demonstrating groundbreaking research in zero-knowledge proofs

The research team led by Prof. Allen AU Man Ho, Professor of the Department of Computing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and Dr Lu Xingye, Research Assistant Professor, have won an award in the international ZPRIZE competition for the second consecutive year for their pioneering work in zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs). Their groundbreaking work in this field has profound implications for enhancing privacy and scalability in blockchain and Web3 applications. Prof. Christopher CHAO, PolyU Vice President (Research and Innovation), said, “We take great pride that PolyU academics continue to gain worldwide acclaim for driving innovation in cutting-edge technologies like blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography. This award underscores the exceptional capabilities of our research team and their pioneering work in accelerating the development and real-world adoption of zero-knowledge encryption.” The annual ZPRIZE competition, spearheaded by the blockchain industry in 2022, promotes the advancement of ZKPs by open-sourcing winning submissions for the reference of the general public. ZKPs allows a “prover” to convince a person of the validity of a computation without leaking any information; it is hence referred to as zero-knowledge cryptography. This year, the PolyU team have triumphed in the “High Throughput Signature Verification” open division category, winning a cash prize of US$250,000. They were tasked with verifying the greatest number of Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) signatures in a given time using ZKPs. ECDSA signatures are used to prove the authenticity and integrity of digital messages over the internet, as well as of blockchain transactions on networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Making it more efficient to cryptographically verify those signatures inside a ZKP is important for creating a better user experience and enables numerous real-world applications. The PolyU team’s innovative approach can generate ZKPs for the digital signatures of 50 1KB messages on a regular laptop computer within ten minutes, laying a solid foundation for future applications of ZKPs in ECDSA verification. It also reduces the complexity of generating proofs for a 5MB message’s digital signature to a maximum of 6.2 million constraints compared to over 50 million constraints previously - a minimum eight-fold reduction. As a pioneer in blockchain education and research in Hong Kong, PolyU has introduced Hong Kong’s first Master of Science in Blockchain Technology programme. It has also initiated doctoral programmes relating to financial technology, as well as bachelor’s degree programmes relating to FinTech and Artificial Intelligence (AI). On the research front, the University has established the Research Centre for Blockchain Technology, the first research centre in Hong Kong whose research studies full-stack blockchain technology. According to the “Best Universities for Blockchain 2022” rankings by CoinDesk, PolyU has been ranked the No. 1 university for blockchain in the world. ***END***  

23 May, 2024

Achievements Department of Computing


PolyU researchers develop novel fungus-based fat replacer AkkMore™ to prevent obesity and enhance gut health; collaborates with Hotel ICON to launch reduced-fat desserts to promote environmental innovation in food industry

In recent years, scientists have been actively exploring the potential of future foods, including using boundless microorganisms as substitutes for limited animal and plant resources. Among these microorganisms, the replacer of animal-derived fats is a research topic currently of very great interest. A research team from the Research Institute for Future Food (RiFood) and the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FSN) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has successfully developed AkkMore™, a novel fungus-based fat replacer which is effective in preventing obesity and metabolic diseases, enhancing gut health, modulating immune response and relieving anxiety. This replacer not only helps lower the calorific content of food, but also extends the shelf life of cream products. In the long term, it can reduce dairy consumption and food waste, providing innovative ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) solutions in the food industry. A PolyU research team led by Dr Gail CHANG, Core Member of RiFood and Research Assistant Professor of FSN together with Dr Amber CHIOU, Associate Director and Associate Professor of RiFood, and Associate Head of FSN has extracted the functional component of AkkMore™ from natural fungus to develop the replacer and has conducted three phases of animal experiments. The study has found that mice which had been administered the AkkMore™ formula had a healthier gut microbiota with higher density of Akkermansia, lower Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio, lighter adipose tissue and suppressed neuroinflammation when compared to the control group. This indicates the effectiveness of the formula in managing weight, enhancing gut health, modulating immune and metabolic diseases and relieving anxiety. This research won a Silver Medal at the 2022 International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva and its application for health benefits has entered patent substantive examination stage. Making use of the thickening, emulsifying and stabilising properties of AkkMore™, the team has developed Cream Mate, an AkkMore™-based cream substitute. Cream Mate can be used in conjunction with traditional cream to reduce the amount of cream used in dessert. Not only does it decrease the fat and calorific content of food while maintaining the quality of taste and texture, but it also significantly extends the shelf life of cream-based products. In the long run, this could lead to reduced consumption of dairy products and food waste, reducing carbon emissions and profitability of production. Dr Chang stated, “This collaboration is testament to the successful translation of a research outcome. Moving forward, we will further explore the application of AkkMore™ formula in innovative health foods and put greater efforts into identification of mushroom strains with better functions and standardisation of the cultivation process.” PolyU is committed to the translation of research outcomes. Dr Chang was admitted to the PolyU GBA Startup Postdoc Programme in 2019 and has been granted support from the PolyU Micro Fund. As well as being selected for the Incu-Tech Programme of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Dr Chang has received a number of awards in entrepreneurial competitions. In 2020, she partnered with Dr Amber Chiou and Dr Jimmy JIN, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Business to establish Bo InnoHealth Biotechnology Company Limited, a start-up focusing on research into the growth mechanism of fungus and has received generous support from the PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund and multiple angel funds. Following the launch of supplement containing the AkkMore™ formula, the research team has collaborated with GREEN of Hotel ICON, the PolyU teaching and research hotel, whereby the hotel restaurant infuses Cream Mate in reduced-fat soft serve and desserts, and launch its new limited time “ForestFit Afternoon Tea With Japanese Fruit And Akkmore™”. Hotel ICON has commissioned a laboratory to test the nutritional components of soft serve in two formulae. The test showed that the total fat content of soft serve with AkkMore™ Cream Mate was less than 3% and was reduced by more than 80% when comparing with regular soft serve, and the total energy was also reduced by more than half. For more details, please visit the Hotel ICON website:   ***END***  

22 May, 2024

Research & Innovation Research Institute for Future Food (RiFood)

PressImage_21 May

PolyU research reveals major healthcare and communication challenges for migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong

Migrant domestic workers support many Hong Kong working families in childcare and household duties but their own personal needs seldom receive significant attention. The Department of English and Communication at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has conducted research into the health and other structural issues faced by migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings reveal that health literacy and access to information and facilities are crucial to their well-being. The researchers have interviewed more than 700 Filipino and Indonesian migrant domestic workers and surveyed more than 400 to investigate their life stories and well-being in Hong Kong, covering topics from narratives about their (traumatic) experiences, health literacy and healthcare needs to their communication networks. In view of the increasing number of workers driven by growing demand for domestic elderly care in Hong Kong, these studies aimed to highlight the significance of cultivating favourable conditions for workers. Prof. Hans LADEGAARD, Professor of the Department of English and Communication at PolyU, said, “Our research shows that Indonesian workers, in particular, face marginalisation and isolation due to language and communication problems and a lack of awareness of their rights. Many took only a three-week Cantonese course before arrival, which clearly does not guarantee their Cantonese proficiency, while most of them are also unable to speak English. Many workers even do not know it is illegal to be paid under the minimum wage or that they are entitled to have 24 hours off once a week. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritise efforts to provide language learning support and to educate these workers about their rights.” Inadequate access to health facilities and information is one major challenge facing these workers. According to Prof. Ladegaard’s research, when the COVID-19 pandemic-induced loneliness, isolation and homesickness put them at higher risk of experiencing depression and anxiety, they only had limited access to support. To address the issue, the team advised that health campaigns be conducted in a language that the workers can understand and that accessible channels such as social media are mobilised for promotion. The research also indicated utilising cartoons and storytelling to be more effective in communicating with migrant populations. Another research study, led by Dr Jeffry OKTAVIANUS, Assistant Professor of the Department of English and Communication, found that community storytelling networks, including interpersonal relationships, community organisations and media outlets, played an essential role in supporting the migrant domestic workers in coping during the pandemic. His research has been published in the journal Health Communication. The study revealed that many workers could not obtain knowledge about effective preventive measures during the pandemic, due to the absence of reliable and accurate information in their native language. Interaction with workers’ communities on social media thus became their major source of informational and emotional support. However, workers were also exposed to fake news through interpersonal networks, which led to adverse effects, such as having a negative psychological impact. Dr Oktavianus remarked, “These networks provide crucial support, but also spread misinformation, creating both opportunities and challenges for empowering marginalised communities.” The research further highlighted the potential of community organisations in debunking hoaxes by disseminating credible news, thereby eliminating uncertainty, refuting misinformation and aiding in understanding the chaotic situation. In this regard, health campaigns are encouraged to utilise community-based storytellers, such as Indonesian organisations or ethnic media, to communicate public health information. Meanwhile, improving digital literacy is also important for helping foreign workers distinguish fake news from real. While the Philippines now has one of the highest breast cancer diagnosis rates in Asia, there is also an increasing number of Filipino workers diagnosed with breast cancer in Hong Kong. Dr Margo TURNBULL, Assistant Professor of the Department of English and Communication, led a research team focusing on the health literacy needs of migrant domestic workers. Published in the journal Quality Health Research, the research study provides a critical examination of how breast cancer and migration impact the lives of these workers. This study again emphasised the importance of health campaigns in workers’ native language and of their access to health facilities, particularly on Sundays, enabling them to receive timely diagnoses and assistance. Dr Turnbull added, “Improving language and communication skills can also increase workers’ effective utilisation of medical resources, alleviate the psychological impacts of having cancer and enhance their confidence in advocating for their healthcare needs.” Currently, Dr Turnbull is working with a cancer support group to co-develop multilingual communication resources that can be used by migrant domestic workers to share information about their diagnosis and care needs with their employers, families and doctors. In light of the structural issues uncovered by the studies, a symposium, “Migrant Worker Lives Matter”, organised by the Department of English and Communication in collaboration with two local migrant worker NGOs, PathFinders and Mission for Migrant Workers, will be held at the PolyU campus on 24 May. The event aims to address the challenges faced by migrant domestic workers and explore ways for Hong Kong to become a more inclusive society.   ***END***  

21 May, 2024

Research & Innovation Department of English and Communication

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PolyU and Huizhou Daya Bay sign a cooperation agreement to establish joint technology and innovation research institute

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Huizhou Municipal Government, together with the Daya Bay Economic and Technological Development Zone (Daya Bay Development Zone), have entered into a cooperation agreement for the joint establishment of the PolyU-Daya Bay Technology and Innovation Research Institute with a signing ceremony held on campus on 13 May. Professor Jin-Guang TENG, President of PolyU, introduced the University’s latest developments and its strategic goals for future expansion in mainland China to the visiting Huizhou delegation. He added that PolyU is committed to promoting technology and innovation, and nurturing research talents. Its unique strengths in fundamental and applied research, innovation and entrepreneurship have enabled it to make a significant contribution to the high-quality development of the country. Leveraging PolyU and Huizhou’s advantages and coordinated development, the two parties will jointly establish the Research Institute to deepen their cooperation and further the translation of research outcomes, providing core technology for local industry. The Research Institute will serve as a driving force for the development of the technology industry in Huizhou, thus achieving mutual benefits for all parties. Mr LIU Ji, Secretary of the Huizhou Municipal Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Huizhou Municipal People’s Congress, stated that PolyU possesses first-class innovative talents and strong research capabilities, while Huizhou has a solid modern industrial foundation and broad scenarios for innovation application. The joint establishment of the Research Institute will definitely promote complementary advantages. With a focus on Huizhou’s industrial development, the Research Institute will fully capitalise on PolyU’s talent and research strengths to encourage further incubation and commercialisation of research outcomes in Huizhou, so as to accelerate its contribution to the further growth of Guangdong’s development. The Research Institute will also integrate high-end science and technology innovation resources from the region and abroad to cultivate high-calibre engineers, and innovative and entrepreneurial talents with mastery of key future technologies, to develop the Research Institute into a world-class technology and innovation platform. Witnessed by Dr LAM Tai-fai, Council Chairman of PolyU; Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, President of PolyU; Prof. Wing-tak WONG, Deputy President and Provost of PolyU; Mr LIU Ji, Secretary of the Huizhou Municipal Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Huizhou Municipal People’s Congress; Mr LAI Jianhua, Member of the Standing Committee of the Huizhou Municipal Committee and Head of the United Front Work Department; and Mr LI Ming, Member of the Standing Committee of the Huizhou Municipal Committee and Head of the Organisation Department, the cooperation agreement was signed by Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU; Ms LI Junling, Vice Mayor of the Huizhou Municipal Government; and Mr GUO Wupiao, Chairman of the Party Working Committee and Director of the Management Committee of the Daya Bay Development Zone. Other guests included representatives from PolyU and the Huizhou Municipal Government and enterprises. Technological innovation has become a key driver of social development. At the event, Prof. ZHENG Zijian, Chair Professor of Soft Materials and Devices of PolyU, introduced the Research Institute’s development plan. The Research Institute will focus on the fields of petrochemicals, new energy materials, artificial intelligence, and smart manufacturing. Through cooperation with Huizhou and the Daya Bay Development Zone, it will fully leverage the advantages of all parties and implement an innovation-driven development strategy to actively promote industry-university-research collaboration, making contributions to the technological innovation of Hong Kong, Huizhou and the Nation, and creating a new model of government-university collaboration. ***END***  

17 May, 2024

Events Research and Innovation Office

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PolyU-nurtured startup takes lead in implementing territory-wide large-scale liver disease screening programme ; As the first participating institution, PolyU drives translation of research into real-world applications

According to the “2024 Global Hepatitis Report” by the World Health Organization, the number of lives lost due to viral hepatitis is increasing year by year, leading to 1.3 million deaths in 2022, claiming 3,500 lives each day in average, and resulting in it constituting the second leading cause of infectious disease deaths worldwide 1. In response to this global public health issue, Eieling Technology Limited (Eieling Technology), an academic-led startup nurtured and supported by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has announced its leadership in implementation of the five-year “LiverCare – Hong Kong 10 Million Liver Scans Program” (the Programme), to improve public awareness of liver disease prevention, and promote early detection and treatment to reduce the impact of liver disease. Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU and Prof. ZHENG Yongping, Henry G. Leong Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Research Institute of Smart Ageing of PolyU, joined by Mr Patrick LAU, Deputy Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council; Prof. Walter SETO, Clinical Professor in Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the University of Hong Kong; Dr Grace LAU, Head of the Institute for Translational Research of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP); Mr Xiaojia JIA, Chief Executive Officer of Eieling Technology Limited; and Ms Mildred LAW of the Hong Kong Liver Foundation officiated at the Programme launch ceremony yesterday (16 May). PolyU has long been committed to translating its technologies into real-world applications. The University will support the Programme and become the first institution to conduct the Programme. Starting from July this year, PolyU will conduct liver fibrosis and fatty liver screening for full-time university staff using Liverscan®, a palm-size wireless ultrasound imaging device. Participants are also encouraged to join a two-year follow-up study. From the data collected, the research team will study the importance of a balanced diet and daily exercise, as well as regular liver disease screening for monitoring the progression of liver disease. PolyU believes that the programme can not only improve public awareness of liver disease prevention and promote early detection and treatment, but also help reduce the threat of liver disease to human health. Prof. Chao said, “As a PolyU-nurtured start-up, Eieling Technology actively commercialises the University’s patents. With the support from investors and industries through the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of PolyU, the company is able to translate its technologies into products with a positive impact on society. The launch of the programme marks a milestone for PolyU in contributing to the global public health, reflecting the University's commitment to social responsibility and the translation of scientific research outcomes. In recent years, PolyU has strategically established technology innovation institutes in several cities in the Mainland China, aiming to combine PolyU's unique advantages in basic research and innovation with the robust industrial bases and characteristics of various regions in the Mainland. This initiative promotes research and transformation of core technologies, cultivates innovative talents with knowledge in technology and global vision, and provides a more optimised application platform and scenarios for enterprises. Through these measures, PolyU will continuously strengthen its cooperation with cities in Mainland China, promote regional economic development, and also provide a favorable environment for university researchers to apply theory to practice and commercialise research findings." Eieling Technology, co-founded by Prof. Zheng and his research team in 2018, is a technology development company specialising in advanced medical ultrasound imaging devices designed to screen for liver diseases. Prof. Zheng and his PolyU research team combined transient elastography diagnostic technology with a real-time ultrasound image guided system to develop a solution called Liverscan® for liver fibrosis assessment. Liverscan® is an innovative medical device which, since it is palm-sized, wireless, lightweight and portable, easy to control and economical, allows medical staff to perform liver checkups on patients anytime, anywhere. Prof. Zheng said, “Liver fibrosis can be caused by long-term inflammation of liver tissue, excessive alcohol intake or long-term fatty liver, and may develop into cirrhosis, liver dysfunction, or even liver cancer. We hope that through the ultrasound device Liverscan®, which can lower costs, shorten examination time, facilitate operation and improve measurement accuracy, liver disease assessment and screening will be widely available to people in the community, thereby reducing the number patients with severe liver disease in the coming years significantly.” Eieling Technology has been supported by the PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund and the Incu-Bio Programme of HKSTP, as well as by secured funding from several industrial partners and private investors. Liverscan® has obtained registration approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA510K) and is being used in many well-known hospitals and clinics in Hong Kong, Macau and other places. Eieling Technology is also carrying out clinical research and cooperation with several hospitals in Mainland China. Liverscan® is expected to enter the market in Mainland China after receiving registration approval from the National Medical Products Administration in Q3 this year, and to be launched globally in 2025.   1 World Health Organization- “Global hepatitis report 2024”     ***END***  

17 May, 2024

Research & Innovation Knowledge Transfer and Entrepreneurship Office

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PolyU study reveals effectiveness of GBGI infrastructure in mitigating urban heat, proposing nine-stage framework for development of a sustainable city

Primarily due to the impact of urbanisation and global warming, urban heatwaves have become a challenging issue worldwide, with Hong Kong persistently experiencing record-breaking high-temperature days. Mitigating urban heat through green and blue infrastructures is essential for creating a sustainable environment. Prof. Hai GUO, Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and global researchers have conducted a first-of-its-kind study on the effectiveness of green interventions in cooling urban heat across various regions that can assist policymakers in prioritising effective interventions to develop sustainable cities. The study findings have been published in the international interdisciplinary journal The Innovation. Globally, the most efficient air cooling was observed in botanical gardens, wetlands, green walls, street trees and vegetated balconies. In light of this, the research team conducted a global review of the effectiveness of green-blue-grey infrastructure (GBGI) in air cooling. GBGI refers to green infrastructures that encompass naturally vegetation-based elements like trees, grass and hedges; blue infrastructures are related to water-based features like pools, lakes and rivers; and grey infrastructures comprise engineered structures including green walls, green facades and roofs. The Study revealed regional and city-specific variations in the effectiveness of GBGI for mitigating urban heat. In Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, the overall cooling effect of GBGI is up to 18.9°C, 17.7°C, 12°C and 9.63°C respectively. In addition, the implementation of green and blue infrastructures has proven to be highly effective in lowering air temperatures globally. While green infrastructures can regulate urban heat through evaporation, transpiration, shading and thermal insulation, blue infrastructures absorb heat and cool the surrounding area through evaporation. In Asian cities, constructed grey infrastructures, especially roof gardens and pergolas, are found to be the most effective for urban cooling. Roof gardens in Singapore achieved the most significant temperature reduction of 17.7°C. Pergolas and green roofs in Japan and South Korea also had substantial impact, resulting in cooling temperatures by 16.2°C and 10.8°C, respectively. Linearly planted hedges and street trees contributed to lowering temperatures by up to 10.8°C. Authorities are advised to plant more street trees, not only for their impressive cooling efficiency but also for their substantial potential to create other positive environmental impacts. The Study also showed notable effects of various GBGI features in mitigating urban heat in Mainland China cities. The most effective means include botanical gardens, wetlands, green walls and attenuation ponds which exhibited temperature reductions of up to 10°C, 9.27°C, 8°C and 7°C respectively. Although the cooling effect ranges are generally similar in the north and south of China, there is variability within the same region. For example, in Beijing, botanical garden could result in up to 10°C temperature decrease while that in Shaanxi province only contributed to 2.7°C. In Hong Kong, parks, green roofs and golf courses were found to play substantial roles in cooling urban heat, resulting in temperature reductions of 4.9°C, 4.9°C and 4.2°C respectively. A “Shining City Project” was proposed by the Hong Kong government in last year’s Policy Address to enhance urban green space. This initiative includes the greening of riverbanks to turn them into flower viewing points and the extensive planting of trees in government venues and at roundabouts on major roads. Prof. Guo said, “With their distinctive location and natural environment, the types of GBGI in Hong Kong are unique. The city features a network of oceans, rivers, wetlands and reservoirs, with remarkable vegetation cover, encompassing approximately 70% of its land area of which country parks occupy around 40%, and possesses a precious natural asset in the Victoria Harbour. Meanwhile, the Government actively promotes GBGI in new development areas and the adoption of green building design in new government projects. These forward-looking initiatives highlight Hong Kong’s dedication to sustainable and resilient urban development.” Globally, the types of GBGI vary significantly across continents due to diverse regional contexts, climate conditions and urban planning priorities. The Study’s GBGI heat mitigation inventory can assist policymakers and urban planners in prioritising effective interventions to reduce the risk of urban overheating and promote community resilience. At this point, the research team has introduced a nine-stage framework to facilitate the implementation of GBGI that outlines stages of stakeholder engagement, feasibility studies, design, policy development, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and eventual upscaling and replication. Prof. Guo emphasised, “This framework serves as a strategic roadmap, optimising GBGI implementation to maximise benefits. Policymakers should conduct thorough investigation and planning tailored to the specific context and needs of their cities. In Asia, the extensive development of GBGI is a response to challenges posed by rapid urbanisation and cultural preferences that prioritise green areas for community activities, together with environmental goals focused on biodiversity conservation, improved air quality and mitigation of the urban heat island effect. It is crucial for future GBGI implementation to adopt a holistic approach, optimising their multifunctional benefits to effectively address sustainability goals.”   ***END***  

16 May, 2024

Research & Innovation Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


PolyU Journal Nexus holds forum on sustainability and interdisciplinary research and innovation

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and Cell Press co-hosted the Nexus Forum 2024 on campus on 9 to 10 May. Themed “Sustainable Exploration of Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation”, the forum explores innovative research in applied sciences, engineering, technology, and interdisciplinary fields that address the world’s major challenges. The two-day forum attracted over 150 participants, including an international line-up of keynote speakers from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Japan and mainland China, as well as authors, session chairs, staff members and students. In the opening ceremony, PolyU’s Executive Vice President Dr Miranda LOU, Chair Professor of Building Thermal Science and Director of PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research (PAIR) Prof Qingyan CHEN, Chair Professor of Energy and Buildings and Editor-in-Chief of Nexus Prof Jerry YAN, and Vice President of Editorial Strategy and Innovation at Cell Press and Editor-in-Chief of Immunity Dr Peter LEE warmly welcomed the audience from around the world. The keynote and panel speakers delved into four main topics, covering interdisciplinary solutions for sustainable futures, innovative materials-based solutions, carbon neutrality and energy system transformation and smart data-based science and technology, that sparked thought-provoking dialogues between the presenters and the audiences on how cross-discipline innovation and research can shape a sustainable future for all. Nexus is Cell Press’s first partner journal in the physical sciences and the first title published in collaboration with a university. Its addition marks Cell Press’s continued growth in open access physical sciences titles, which include Cell Reports Physical Science and Cell Reports Sustainability. To learn more about Nexus, please visit .   ***END***  

16 May, 2024

Events PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research (PAIR)

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PolyU presents Lifetime Achievement Award to two distinguished scholars at inaugural Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is privileged to announce that Prof. Peter HAGOORT, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and Prof. William Shiyuan WANG, Chair Professor of Language and Cognitive Sciences of PolyU, are bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences (Chao Prize). The Prize Presentation Ceremony was held on 10 May 2024. The Chao Prize, initiated and hosted by the PolyU Faculty of Humanities, is named after the late Professor Yuen Ren Chao who is widely regarded as the father of modern Chinese language studies. It is an international award that honours scholars and researchers who have made distinguished contributions to language sciences. Addressing the Ceremony, Dr LAM Tai-fai, PolyU Council Chairman, said, “The Faculty of Humanities strives to follow the same interdisciplinary approach of Prof. Chao, by bringing together language, communication, history, culture and technology to advance understanding and foster innovation. PolyU fully supports this award, as it aligns with our motto ‘To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind’, by promoting excellence in language sciences research and its practical applications for the betterment of society. More broadly, this Prize represents our commitment to deepening cultural understanding for the benefit of the wider community.” On behalf of the University, Prof. LI Ping, Dean of the PolyU Faculty of Humanities, expressed gratitude to the Chao family for giving PolyU permission to establish the Prize in Prof. Chao name, and also to the Patron of the Prize, Shenzhen iRead Foundation, for its generous donation to support the Prize. Through the Chao Prize, the Faculty is poised to bring together renowned scholars in the field of language sciences from around the world and become a hub in language sciences research.    While the iRead Foundation is dedicated to promoting children’s reading, Ms LI Wen, iRead Foundation Founder and Executive Board Chair, applauded the social value of the Chao Prize. She remarked, “Language serves as a vital tool for children to communicate, exchange ideas and acquire knowledge. By scientifically studying language, we can better understand how language development helps children’s mental and physical growth, as well as the patterns of language acquisition. This, in turn, enables us to provide children with better educational resources for reading and support them in cultivating good reading habits.” Both the Laureates are esteemed scholars of language sciences. Their research findings have brought major breakthroughs and far-reaching impacts to the field. Prof. Peter Hagoort receives the Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences (Lifetime Achievement Award) for his distinguished contributions to the interdisciplinary studies in cognitive neuroscience and the understanding of human language processing in the brain. He applied neuroimaging techniques to investigate the language system and its impairments as in aphasia, dyslexia and autism. He is the Founding Director of the Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging and Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He is also an elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academia Europaea, and the US National Academy of Sciences. Prof. Peter Hagoort is awarded the inaugural Chao Prize. In his acceptance speech, Prof. Hagoort said that it is all more rewarding to receive a prize named after an intellectual giant like Prof. Chao, who reminds us that language is not only an object of study, but also the way to create literature and humour, and thereby adding to the joy of life. Prof. William Shiyuan Wang receives the Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences (Lifetime Achievement Award) for his distinguished contributions to the interdisciplinary studies in Chinese linguistics, evolutionary linguistics, and the cognitive neuroscience of language and ageing. His early interest in evolutionary theory, both biological and cultural, provided the basis of a theory of lexical diffusion. He was elected Inaugural President of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics when it was formed in Singapore. Other prestigious honours Prof. Wang has received include award from the Guggenheim Foundation, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from University of Chicago as well as Fellowship from the Linguistic Society of America.  He is now also Professor Emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley and an elected Academician of Academia Sinica.  Prof. William Shiyuan Wang is awarded the inaugural Chao Prize. In his acceptance speech, Prof. Wang said that the Prize is based on the recognition of the vital and central role language plays in all human affairs, and that with Hong Kong sitting at the corssroads between East and West, PolyU is well situated for scholars to continually interact and collaborate with each other even across continents. For the biography of the two Laureates, please visit the website of the Yuen Ren Chao Prize in Language Sciences.   ***END***  

13 May, 2024

Events Faculty of Humanities

Con-Day-2024_Press Room

“PolyU JUPAS Consultation Day 2024” coming soon, offering latest information on programmes and mock admission interviews for the first time

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is holding the “PolyU JUPAS Consultation Day 2024” on 18 May 2024 (Saturday) from 10am to 1pm. Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) applicants will be able to obtain the latest updates on PolyU programmes during the event, enabling them to re-evaluate and finalise their programme choices by late-July. Registration for the Consultation Day is now open at This year, PolyU will, for the first time, introduce mock admission interviews. Professors from different faculties will conduct individual or group mock interviews with participants and provide them with valuable post-interview feedback. About 70 mock interview sessions will be conducted, covering all programmes that will arrange interviews for JUPAS applicants. Places are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Among other engaging activities on the Consultation Day, the Academic Registry will host a thematic seminar on “admissions strategies and interview skills” to introduce the latest admissions arrangements, while PolyU student ambassadors from each faculty and school will share their interview experiences and useful tips for programme selection. Academic units will organise programme information seminars, consultation counters and guided tours to campus facilities, while an AI-powered information kiosk will be in place on campus to deliver admission information, allowing participants to learn about the entrance requirements, score calculation, curricula and features of their preferred disciplines/programmes. At the same time, participants will also have a chance to experience PolyU’s vibrant learning atmosphere. In the 2024/25 academic year, PolyU will further enhance some of its departmental scheme-based admissions programmes to address societal needs. Two new programmes, namely BSc (Hons) Scheme in Food Safety and Technology and BSc (Hons) in Urban Informatics and Smart Cities, will also be launched. Meanwhile, the University will continue to adopt flexible arrangements with regard to the minimum entrance requirements for JUPAS applicants. Applicants who fall slightly short of the general entrance requirements for degree programmes, i.e. “3-3-2-A-3-3” (level 3 in both languages, level 2 in Mathematics, “Attained” in Citizenship and Social Development, together with level 3 in two additional electives) will be given special consideration for admission under specific conditions. More details will be announced later on the Study@PolyU website ( For enquiries about the “PolyU JUPAS Consultation Day 2024”, please email For information about JUPAS admissions at PolyU, please reach out to the Academic Registry’s AI-powered virtual assistants.   ***END***  

10 May, 2024

Events Academic Registry

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