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PolyU Junior Researcher Mentoring Programme 2023 held to nurture high school students as research talents

4 Sep 2023

The Government is committed to developing Hong Kong into a smart city and promoting the development of innovation and technology. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has always attached great importance to the holistic education of young people, aiming to nurture innovation and technology talents to cope with the rapid development of society. To stimulate senior secondary school students’ interest in research, PolyU has successfully organised the third Junior Researcher Mentoring Programme” (JRMP). The number of students admitted and research projects completed both reached new records. A total of 136 high school students explored thematic research in different fields under the mentorship of approximately 80 scholars from different PolyU faculties/schools and departments.

This year’s Programme presented 42 research topics covering a variety of subjects, including not only trending technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse, but also rehabilitation sciences, biomedical engineering, hotel and tourism, nursing, languages, business, fashion and design, and various engineering specialisations. With mentorship from experienced PolyU academics, students gained hands-on experience in the process of research design, data collection and analysis, and results reporting over a period of four months. They also had the opportunity to visit PolyU's many laboratories and teaching facilities to deepen their understanding of research, as well as of the knowledge and skills required through closely interacting with the mentors of each project. Students were able to explore PolyU’s diverse undergraduate curriculum and broaden their academic horizons, thereby enabling them to better prepare for their future academic and career pursuits.

PolyU Vice President (Student and Global Affairs) Prof. Ben Young said, “ PolyU has been enhancing its teaching pedagogy, aiming to stimulate young people to reach their potential and develop innovative thinking through various programmes, thus equipping themselves to achieving their goals and embrace future challenges. Since the launch of the JRMP in 2021, 340 senior students from 83 local and international secondary schools have been admitted to the Programme and participated in over 110 research projects. The research results have been recognised by international academic institutions. Our mentees’ research outcomes had been presented at international academic conferences for three consecutive years, and some of them were awarded prizes. The overall achievement was remarkable and encouraging. We hope that under the guidance of PolyU academics, students who have participated in the Programme can further develop their interest in research at an early stage, gaining valuable experience and acquiring new skills through conducting research. By fostering knowledge exchange through cooperation with students from different schools, they may become part of the next generation of research talent.

Under the guidance of Dr Xinyan HUANG, Associate Professor of the Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering and his team, a student from West Island School conducted a research project “Smart Firefighting with AI and Robots”, and successfully invented an AI robot that could autonomously look for a fire source and extinguish the fire. The student said, “This research successfully applied artificial intelligence and robotic technology to perform intelligent firefighting. It automated the process of locating the fire source and quenching the fire, thus securing firefighters’ safety. We hope the research outcome will inspire and be the reference for the development of similar products. I have been keen on AI and engineering-related subjects for a long time. Joining the JRMP has helped guide the direction of my future study and has broadened my horizons. I wish to keep exploring and have fun by doing research. ”

Two students from Diocesan Girls' School and Christian and Missionary Alliance Sun Kei Secondary School conducted their research project “Development of a Metaverse Virtual Environment”. Under the guidance of Dr Yuk Ming TANG, Senior Teaching Fellow of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and his team, the students first tried to develop a game in the metaverse. They shared what they had gained in their foremost research, “The concept of the metaverse has been a hot topic in recent years and has great potential for development. Through conducting a literature review and research on the concept of metaverse, we have learnt the importance of logical thinking and analytical skills from PolyU mentors and the team. We attempted to put ideas into practice by using design and 3D painting skills to create an interactive metaverse environment. This accumulated valuable and unforgettable learning experiences for us, laying a foundation for future study and research.”

PolyU strives to cultivate young people’s interest in research, nurturing the next generation of researchers and innovators, so as to expand the talent pool in Hong Kong. In addition to encouraging secondary school students to gain different learning experiences through interdisciplinary learning activities, full-time undergraduate students studying at PolyU also have the opportunity to receive funding and conduct research projects under the supervision of PolyU scholars. PolyU will continue its efforts by organising the “Junior Researcher Mentoring Programme 2024” and inviting more schools and students to participate. Applications will commence early next year and the Programme is expected to run from April to August.

Programme website, photos and videos:

Global Engagement Office

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