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PolyU’s Pioneering Technologies in AI, Materials Science and Biotechnology Awarded at TechConnect 2022 Innovation Awards

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has won three prestigious global Innovation Awards in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), materials science and biotechnology at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo 2022 (TechConnect) – the world's largest multi-sector event for fostering the development and commercialisation of innovations.

19 May, 2022

Achievements Research and Innovation Office

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Intentions to receive vaccines are associated with the intensity of the pandemic waves and the toughness of anti-pandemic measures A “rising then declining” trend was observed in vaccine hesitancy, PolyU study finds

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Hong Kong has recorded a total of 9,000 COVID deaths and more than one million infections in more than two years. In an effort to fight against the pandemic, the government has been adjusting its pandemic control strategies. Different restrictions and measures have triggered diverse opinion among the public, and some of these in turn have led to differences in the degree of residents’ adherence to COVID preventive measures as well as their intention to receive vaccines, a recent study suggests. Supported by the Health and Medical Research Fund administered by the Food and Health Bureau, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has conducted a longitudinal study to investigate Hong Kong residents’ adherence to various COVID preventive measures and their intention to receive vaccines. The study, which randomly sampled 1,225 people aged 18-85 years old, comprised three stages of phone interviews during the 4th and 5th waves of the pandemic in Hong Kong. Findings have been published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and Vaccines respectively. Researchers revealed that there was a “rising then declining” trend in vaccine hesitancy amongst the respondents. The team suggested that the government should further review the incentives for vaccination and adopt a two-pronged approach (via “policy” and “education”), to enhance people’s awareness and confidence in vaccines. Stage 1 (19 December, 2020 – 6 January, 2021) The first round of phone interviews was conducted at the beginning of the 4th wave of the pandemic when the public vaccination programme had yet to have been launched. The majority of the 1,225 respondents reported adhering to the preventive measures suggested by the government, while also indicating reluctance to receive COVID vaccines: Wearing face masks in public spaces (94%) Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth (88%) Using alcohol-based hand sanitiser (82%), and maintaining social distance (75%) Indicating an intention to receive vaccines (42%) Indicating a hesitancy or refusal to receive vaccines (58%) Intention to receive vaccination is influenced by multiple factors. Higher intention to receive a vaccine can be related to male gender, older age, type of employment, past experience of epidemics such as SARS and swine flu, lower vaccine safety concerns, higher perceived risk of infection, higher self-efficacy, and greater acceptance of disease prevention measures. Stage 2 (1 June, 2021 – 11 July, 2021) Six months after the first round of interviews, 1,003 respondents were contacted to track their actual vaccination status. In this second round of interviews three months after the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme had been launched (note: the Programme officially launched on February 26, 2021). One in four respondents (24%) reported that they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The main reasons given were to: Ensure personal health (68%) and health of family members (64%) Meet workplace vaccination requirement (55%) Respond to the call from the government (42%) Prepare for quarantine-free travel and restriction-free social activities (28%) Findings showed that actual vaccination status and previous intention to receive a vaccine were not related. Instead, respondents’ decisions to vaccinate were affected by their trust in the government and the healthcare system, acceptance of pandemic control measures, current experiences of COVID-19 and the vaccination status of people they know. Stage 3 (21 December, 2021 – 21 January, 2022) The third round of interviews was conducted during the early stage of the 5th wave of the pandemic, which was twelve months after the first round and almost a year since the start of the COVID-19 vaccination Programme. At that time, over 80% of respondents had received at least one dose of COVID vaccines. The main reasons given were to: Meet workplace vaccination requirement (57%) Ensure personal health (55%) and health of family members (51%) Respond to the call from the government (32%) Prepare for quarantine-free travel and restriction-free social activities (32%) Changes in intentions to vaccinate Findings show that respondents’ intentions to vaccinate changed over time. Vaccine hesitancy and refusal rates that had risen dropped in the third round of interviews. Stage 1 °   Vaccine hesitancy or refusal (54%), vaccine willingness (46%) Stage 2 °   Vaccine hesitancy or refusal (58%), vaccine willingness (42%) °   At least one dose of vaccine (24%) Stage 3 °   Vaccine hesitancy or refusal (42%), vaccine willingness (59%) °   At least one dose of vaccine (80%) “Intentions to receive vaccines are associated with the intensity of the pandemic waves and the toughness of anti-pandemic measures,” says Professor Elsie Chau-wai Yan, Associate Head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences, PolyU, who leads the study; “For example, residents were more reluctant to receive jabs during the less severe 4th wave of the pandemic. But when Omicron-led infections started to sweep Hong Kong and the government began to implement vaccination requirements, both intentions to vaccinate and actual vaccination rates climb to a higher level.” To further boost vaccine uptake, the government should adopt a flexible strategy to encourage people to receive vaccines, suggests Professor Yan “While it is crucial to develop timely anti-pandemic measures and to introduce mandatory vaccination in certain populations, it is equally important for the government to strengthen the promotion of vaccination. Thorough explanations of the benefits and the needs of vaccination to the public for protecting individuals and their families can be key to success.”   ***End***

17 May, 2022

Research & Innovation Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

PolyU Consultation Day 2022-r

“PolyU Virtual JUPAS Consultation Day 2022: Admissions Strategies” coming soon; Introducing new arrangements on undergraduate admissions and curriculum

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) will hold the "PolyU Virtual JUPAS Consultation Day 2022: Admissions Strategies" in the afternoon of 21 May 2022 (1-5pm, Saturday). During the event, Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) applicants will obtain the latest updates on PolyU’s programmes. This will enable them to re-evaluate and update their programme choices by 1 June 2022, and to finalise their programme choices by 23 July 2022 after the release of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) results. Registration for the Consultation Day is required by noon, 20 May via https://www.polyu.edu.hk/conday. This year, the Consultation Day will continue to be held online. The Academic Registry will host a seminar on “admissions strategies and interview skills”, to share the latest admissions arrangements, strategy on programme selection and essential interview skills with participants. Academic units will also organise a series of online programme information seminars and Q&A sessions during the event. JUPAS applicants will have opportunities to learn more about the entrance requirements, programme curricula and features, and learning journey of their preferred disciplines/programmes. Participants can also dial in "Admissions Chat Box" (Tel: 2333-0600) to obtain admissions information from admissions representatives during the event. Starting from the 2022/23 academic year, except for some specialised programmes, there will be departmental scheme-based admission for all programmes. Under this arrangement, students admitted to PolyU will first select a departmental scheme and undertake the common courses of the department, before selecting their Major in their second academic year. This will allow them more time to gain a better understanding of their own interests and aspirations, so that they can make the most suitable choice of Major. PolyU is committed to nurturing “leaders of tomorrow” by providing the knowledge and skillsets that are essential in our modern society. In view of this, two new programme elements, namely “Artificial Intelligence and Data Analysis” (AIDA) and “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” (IE), will be incorporated into the General University Requirements starting from next academic year. Students can also opt for a secondary Major or a Minor in AIDA and IE. PolyU will continue to adopt flexible arrangements with regard to the minimum entrance requirements for JUPAS applicants in the 2022/23 academic year. Applicants who fall slightly short of the general entrance requirements for degree programmes (i.e. with one HKDSE subject result falling one level below the required level - “3-3-2-2-3-3” - level 3 in both languages and level 2 in Mathematics and Liberal Studies together with level 3 in two additional electives) but meet the following conditions will be given special consideration for admission: attained a total score of 26 points# or above in their best five subjects; selected PolyU’s degree programmes as their Band A choices, i.e. their first three priorities, in JUPAS; and passed an admission interview. PolyU is also offering a variety of admission schemes to provide quality tertiary education to students with special talents. In addition to the Student-Athlete Learning Support and Admission Scheme (SALSA) and the Outstanding Sportsmen Recommendation Scheme (OSRS), which provide opportunities for outstanding student-athletes to pursue their undergraduate studies, the University will commence the “Special Talents Admission Scheme” in the coming academic year. Students who have demonstrated remarkable talents in sports, arts and culture, community service and leadership, and STEM will be considered under this scheme. It aims to serve as an alternative admission route for those whose exceptional achievements cannot be fully reflected in their HKDSE results. While all applicants to PolyU’s undergraduate programmes, based on the non-academic achievements submitted in their applications, will be automatically considered for this scheme, JUPAS applicants who are interested in this scheme are encouraged to prioritise their PolyU programmes choices. Selection panels will assess these applications and will make result announcement from June 2022 onwards. Please visit https://www.polyu.edu.hk/conday and register for the Consultation Day seminars via the online form. JUPAS programme information is available at the Study@PolyU website: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/study . For enquiries about the event, please call 2333-0600 or email to arevents.enquiry@polyu.edu.hk. #HKDSE level attainments will be converted to score points where Level 5**=8.5, 5*=7, 5=5.5, 4=4, 3=3, 2=2, 1=1   ***End***

16 May, 2022

Events Academic Registry

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PolyU to launch Faculty Seminar Series featuring Deans and Heads, providing secondary school students with essential information on higher education to facilitate their life planning

In addition to focusing on their studies, students are encouraged to take ownership of their career planning. With this in mind, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is launching the first Faculty Seminar Series this year, targeting students in Secondary 3 to Secondary 6, as well as their parents and teachers. More than 30 distinguished academics from different disciplines, including faculty Deans, department Heads and other PolyU faculty members, will be invited to share important information about admission to PolyU, via seven online seminars commencing 11 May. The speakers will also share with participants the rationale behind PolyU’ s new departmental scheme-based admission, as well as the components of the various curriculums. Students will be able to gain a broader perspective and so be better prepared to set their academic goals early, and eventually better equipped for their studies and career development.

4 May, 2022

Teaching & Learning Global Engagement Office

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PolyU promotes English Across the Curriculum to support undergraduate students’ English language learning using interactive mobile apps

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is committed to enhancing the student learning experience through the adoption of innovative and interactive learning and teaching pedagogies. Addressing the issue that English teaching at Hong Kong tertiary institutions tends to be generic in nature, PolyU has led an English Across the Curriculum (EAC) initiative which integrates English language and subject content, to develop a mobile app that offers discipline-specific English support to undergraduate students from different disciplines in the writing of the capstone project that is part of their graduation requirements. Spearheaded by PolyU, the EAC project is a joint-university initiative funded by the University Grants Committee. The project team also includes experienced and enthusiastic educators from City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (in alphabetical order). Adopting an EAC approach to teaching and learning, the EAC team has brought together English language teachers and discipline academics in the development of an innovative and interactive mobile app called “Capstone Ninja”. The app delivers customised and discipline-focused English learning materials specific to the needs of students from different disciplines to help them solve the challenges often encountered in preparing a capstone project. “Capstone Ninja” also features functions enabling students to self-manage their project development status and a text-chat function to connect students with their supervisors. The app with its chat feature offers remote learning opportunities that have proved to be particularly important and effective during the COVID pandemic. The EAC team has created 76 English learning modules for the mobile app, which have been accessed over 6,000 times by students and teaching staff from 21 departments across five local universities. An international EAC conference has also been organised in 2021 to promote an EAC approach to teaching and learning, attracting over 1,000 registrations from 48 countries. The “Capstone Ninja” mobile app won a Community Award in the 2020 Learning Technologist of the Year Awards organised by the Association for Learning Technology (UK) and was selected as a Finalist in the 2021 EdTech Cool Tool Awards from EdTech Digest. PolyU recognises the far-reaching impact of EAC, and will continue to create valuable learning experiences and provide ongoing support to the enhancement of students’ language learning. To watch videos of the Capstone Ninja mobile app, please visit https://polyu.me/3vOdkwe To learn more about English Across the Curriculum, please contact Dr Julia Chen, Director of Educational Development, Educational Development Centre at (852) 3400 3173 / julia.chen@polyu.edu.hk or Dr Grace Lim, Teaching Fellow, English Language Centre at 2766 7499/ grace.lim@polyu.edu.hk .   ***END***

3 May, 2022

Teaching & Learning Educational Development Centre

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PolyU supports startups to translate industry-recognised research excellence into societal impact; Grand Rise Technology wins environmental impact award from JUMPSTARTER

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) puts a strong emphasis on the societal impact of its educational, research and knowledge transfer endeavours and encourages the PolyU community to translate research excellence into real-world applications for the benefit of society by establishing startups. Not only do PolyU startups excel in different disciplines, but they also gain industry recognition with outstanding performance in various competitions. Most recently, Grand Rise Technology Limited (Grand Rise Technology) entered the final round as one of the top 10 teams and won the Environmental Impact Award in the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund/HSBC JUMPSTARTER 2022 Global Pitch Competition.

29 Apr, 2022

Research & Innovation Knowledge Transfer and Entrepreneurship Office

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PolyU study finds south China has become more vulnerable to flash droughts that develop in a shorter time amid climate change

Hong Kong and other southern parts of China are known to be vulnerable to typhoons, rainstorms and floods. But a new study by researchers at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has shown a growing risk of flash droughts that has been overlooked; these droughts are also developing at a faster rate in the region and the rest of the world amid climate change. The PolyU study, published in Nature Communications, found that southeast China – the region spanning from the Yangtze River Delta to Hainan province – is at a higher risk of experiencing more rapid drying, with an increase in the proportion of flash droughts developed within five days by as much as 18.67 per cent during 2000 - 2020. Ordinary droughts usually take five to six months or an even longer time to develop to full strength. Dr WANG Shuo, Assistant Professor of PolyU’s Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, who led the research, said the nature of flash droughts, characterised by rapid onset in less than a month and a fast depletion of water availability, means there are less early warning indicators for impact preparation, potentially causing more severe impacts on agriculture and society than slowly evolving droughts. “Flash drought occurrence is often accompanied by above-average temperatures and a precipitation deficit, which may trigger compound extreme events such as the concurrence of flash drought and heat wave. Thus, flash droughts can pose even more serious threats to urbanised areas like Hong Kong due to the urban heat island effect,” he said. The in-depth analysis was devised to address the following scientific questions: how fast flash droughts evolve and why. In the study, the research team mapped the onset timescales of flash droughts globally and the causes of the rapid onset speed, providing valuable insights for policymakers and stakeholders on the potential risks of flash droughts, and an impetus for innovators to advance flash drought forecasts and early warning systems. Based on different data sets that use satellite soil moisture measurements, the study found that although flash droughts are not becoming more frequent in most parts of the world, they are developing at a faster rate (i.e. in a shorter period of time). Out of all flash droughts that occurred in the past two decades, these data sets showed that there was about 33.64 - 46.18 per cent of flash droughts that developed within five days, representing an increase of 3.23 - 19.03 per cent during the period. Such adverse climate events tend to occur in humid and semi-humid regions, including Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Amazon Basin, eastern North America and southern South America. Atmospheric aridity – caused by high temperature, low precipitation and a high vapour pressure deficit (VPD) – is likely to trigger flash droughts, the study indicates. Dr Wang explained that “atmospheric aridity creates a perfect condition for the occurrence of flash droughts, and the joint influence of soil moisture depletion and atmospheric aridity further reinforces the rapid onset of flash droughts. In other words, low soil moisture combined with a high vapour pressure deficit accelerates the decline in soil moisture through land–atmosphere feedback loops. Thus, southeast China with strong land–atmosphere coupling is more vulnerable to flash droughts.” Compared with traditional, slowly developing droughts, flash droughts evolve with a relatively fast depletion of soil moisture that may cause an imbalance of ecosystems and agricultural systems. The flash drought in the summer of 2012 led to an estimated US$35.7 billion in losses of corn crops in the central United States. “Governments and the public should realise the increasing flash drought risk in addition to commonly known extreme weather events, and adapt to such emerging climate-induced natural disasters. It is crucial to improve traditional drought monitoring systems and indicators for capturing rapidly evolving flash droughts,” Dr Wang said. ***END***

20 Apr, 2022

Research & Innovation Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics

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PolyU admits 13 sports talents through SALSA and directly recruits students with special talents, with a new Residential College planned for their holistic development

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has admitted 13 elite student-athletes under the Student-Athlete Learning Support and Admission Scheme (SALSA) this year, and is excited to witness the students extend their spirit of giving their all in competition to their academic pursuits as they embark on their undergraduate studies in the 2022/23 academic year.

14 Apr, 2022

Teaching & Learning Academic Registry

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PolyU research finds stressful events impose negative effects on family members’ mental health; Enhancing family resilience can help improve the wellbeing of families

The Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has conducted a research to examine family relationships, family resilience and individual family members’ mental health under the effects of recent stressful events (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic, financial hardship and changes in daily life). Research findings show that core family members (father, mother and a child) exhibited negative symptoms of mental wellbeing, including stress, anxiety, depression, hopelessness and lowered satisfaction with life. Worryingly, family relationships appear to have deteriorated and conflicts within the family intensified as a result. The research was a major initiative under the three-year project titled “Jockey Club Promoting Family Resilience Project”. Funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, PolyU led the project in collaboration with four community partners: Hong Kong Children and Youth Services, Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, The Salvation Army and Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (in alphabetical order). The Chief Principal Investigators were Dr Janet LEUNG, Associate Professor of Applied Social Sciences, PolyU and Professor Daniel SHEK, Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme), Chair Professor of Applied Social Sciences, and Li and Fung Professor in Service Leadership Education, PolyU. The study examined the impact of recent stressful events on family relationship and individual mental health in Hong Kong, with the aim of enhancing public awareness of family resilience. The study surveyed 1,020 Hong Kong families from July to December 2021, including 818 (80.2%) intact families and 202 (19.8%) non-intact families. Fathers (with a mean age of 51.2), mothers (with a mean age of 46.6), and one of their children (with a mean age of 16.4 and studying in primary five to tertiary education) were interviewed. Key findings of the study are as follows: 11%-18% of the fathers, mothers and children developed psychological trauma symptoms due to the COVID-19 pandemic 13%-16% of the parents and 20%-25% of the children developed psychological trauma symptoms due to social events occurring in 2019 and 2020 About 40% of the parents faced severe financial pressure About 51% of the fathers, 40% of the mothers and 37% of the children did not receive emotional support from others when facing adversities About 57%-60% of the parents and children used self-criticism as a stress coping strategy About 25% of the fathers, 30% of the mothers and 30% of the children exhibited moderate to severe levels of negative emotions About 25% of the fathers, 28% of the mothers and 30% of the children indicated that there were more family conflicts Financial stress was generally higher among mothers than fathers Children were more traumatised by social events and the pandemic situation than their parents Children reported more negative emotions and sense of hopelessness than their parents The greater the psychological trauma that parents faced due to stressful events, changes in daily life and financial concerns, the worse the family resilience, marital satisfaction, parent-child relationship, life satisfaction and self-efficacy; while they expressed greater parental psychological control and parent-child conflict, more negative emotions and higher sense of hopelessness The greater the psychological trauma due to stressful events that the children faced, the worse the family resilience, life satisfaction and individual resilience; while they expressed more negative emotions and higher sense of hopelessness Recent stressful events contributed to anxiety, depression and sense of hopelessness among parents Psychological trauma caused by recent stressful events, contributed to greater anxiety and depression, and higher sense of hopelessness among children Psychological trauma in parents and children induced by stressful events would affect the negative emotions and mental health of other family members Family resilience could reduce the negative impacts of stressful events on mental health problems among family members. Dr Leung pointed out that family relationships and individual mental wellbeing among respondent families were generally affected by recent stressful events and the pandemic, but family resilience served as a buffer against these impacts. As such, it is important to promote family resilience in order for family members to be better able to support each other during adversities. Professor Shek suggested that families should cultivate an environment of mutual support, sharing and collaborative problem-solving. In addition, couples and family members should be open and frank with each other to strengthen communication. Under the “Jockey Club Promoting Family Resilience Project”, PolyU helps families build positive family beliefs, promote mutual support and enhance collaborative problem-solving skills to enhance family resilience. The project also assesses the effectiveness of the activities using evidence-based methods. PolyU will also launch the “Jockey Club Promoting Family Resilience Project” e-learning certificate course specially designed to promote family resilience. The target audiences are parents, social workers, teachers and members of the general public. The course is free of charge. For details, please call 3400 8513.   ***END***

13 Apr, 2022

Research & Innovation Department of Applied Social Sciences

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PolyU develops portable nucleic acid testing device for COVID-19 to enable fast and accurate results on-site

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a tremendous impact on society as well as on the daily lives of individuals. In the “post-pandemic” era, it is important to strengthen efforts in research and development of drug and vaccine, while also continuing to uphold high standards of personal and environmental hygiene management. Therefore, an accurate and convenient COVID-19 testing method could certainly help ease the stress of post-pandemic life.

12 Apr, 2022

Research & Innovation Department of Health Technology and Informatics and Department of Biomedical Engineering

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