Message from Academic Vice President
Academic Vice President
Professor Sun Tien Lun, Catherine
Hong Kong Shue Yan University (SYU) is a teaching-led, researchactive institution. In this context, research serves primarily to inform and invigorate teaching and learning. However, the research output of the past two years indicates that research at SYU has travelled far beyond this context. While emphasizing the impact of research on teaching and learning, we have simultaneously been engaging in research aimed at producing substantive impact on the various aspects of social life. Indeed, the old-school image of scholars and researchers hiding away in their ivory towers creating knowledge for knowledge's sake is an image of yesterday, as today we are much more immersed in the idea of knowledge transfer – the double loop of transferring knowledge to practice, which impacts our lives, and the assimilation of data from practice, which enriches knowledge and further informs practice. Research these days has taken on a dramatically different look, which is ever-evolving – particularly when we include big data analytics, machine learning, and immersive technologies such as VR and AR. This is where SYU finds itself in this remarkable era of academic research.
The recent opening of the iFREE Group Innovation and Research Centre sets the main stage for us to move towards this new era. The Centre, which houses a big data lab, a social robotics and digital living lab, and a VR cave, will hopefully provide researchers and students with the capability to migrate their research to the digital age. To this end, we have created and sought to continue creating partnerships with leading IT firms such as IBM, Huawei, Amazon Web Services, iFREE, and many others.
This new development will make our existing foci on interdisciplinarity and research in evidence-based practice even more vigorous and relevant. Our two recently acquired IDS (CRG) grants on youth identity status and gambling addiction are testimonials of our commitment to continuing along this vein of research.
Furthermore, resonating with the University’s strategic development theme to “reinvent liberal arts education in the digital age”, research in digital humanities is also burgeoning. For instance, through funding provided by the HKSAR Government’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, a virtual Hungry Ghost Festival Museum is being created. The Museum aims at enhancing the understanding of national intangible cultural heritage, as well as shedding light on the present through real (albeit virtual) contact with the past. Another example in this respect is a recently launched study that uses machine learning to identify and assess dyslexia in Chinese language.
In terms of creating a substantive social impact, our researchers have produced publications relating to such topics as caregiving for schizophrenic parents, empowering underprivileged parents to support the executive functions of their children, post-treatment life-planning and relapse-prevention for rehabilitated drug abusers, home palliative care support, among others. On a lighter note, SYU researchers have examined the milk-tea and tea café cultures of Hong Kong, with the view of highlighting the various shifts in ethnic composition, as well as the social and political sceneries of past decades.
It is gratifying to note that during the past two years, while maintaining our dual foci on interdisciplinary research and evidencebased practice, the University has been able to record significant growth in research interests and the capabilities of its academic community. We look forward to continuing the cultivation of our research infrastructure and culture to support this meaningful growth in the years to come.