Applied research champions

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City University of Hong Kong advocates applied research and emphasizes the transfer of knowledge and technology to industry and commerce because of their benefit to the community. To encourage applied research and to recognize those who excel in this area, City University has run the Applied Research Excellence Awards Competition since 1995.

"As you know, the awards were designed to recognize and celebrate our talented academics for their outstanding work in applied research," said Professor P S Chung , Vice-President (Research), in his opening remarks at the Third Applied Research Excellence Awards. "But that is not all. Perhaps more importantly, the awards are given to those research teams who made particularly valuable contributions to the Hong Kong community at large."

Grand prize this year went to Chair Professor Ron Hui , Dr Henry Chung and Dr Wei Yan of the Department of Electronic Engineering for their major technological breakthrough in producing the world's first two-wired dimmable electronic ballast (see full story in Bulletin issue no.23, e-link: CityUE Companies). The dimmable electronic ballast is an energy-saving product that can be used in existing installations. Its dimming range is from 100% to less than 5%, without flickers and dark rings. It offers huge energy savings and reliability. Equipment costs can easily be recovered from electricity bill savings within a year. Recently, Professor Hui and his company, e. energy Technology, received the Hong Kong Science and Technology Corporation Award for Technological Achievement. Guest of honour at the awards ceremony was Mr Francis Ho , JP, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology for the Government of the Hong Kong SAR. In his opening remarks, Mr Ho praised the University for the significant advances it has made in advocating applied research over the years.

"The Chief Executive rang me up and asked me where all the Ôidea' money had gone," said Mr Ho, "And the answer to the Chief Executive is that the proof is in the pudding. These awards demonstrate the effectiveness of Hong Kong funding. And I think these research projects say a lot about government commitment to technological advancement in Hong Kong."


The Applied Research Excellence Awards are handed out every two years. This year, applications in three categories were received: Business and Management; Technological Achievement; and Public and Social Services. The judging panel-comprising senior CityU staff and external members from a host of academic and private sectors-was impressed by the high quality of work. The five other awards are:

Chair Professors Judy Tsui and Ferdinand Gul , from the Department of Accountancy, for their groundbreaking research paper on "Corporate Governance and Financial Transparencies in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China". The project team was commissioned by the Hong Kong Society of Accountants, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Ltd, and the Securities and Futures Commission. The team was charged with writing the first country paper on corporate governance for the OECD/World Bank's Second Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance in 2000. The research findings have policy implications.

Chair Professor L K Chan , Professor Y V Hui , Dr Alan Wan , Dr Y C Chan , Dr H P Lo , Dr S K Tse and Dr Kelvin Yau , of the Department of Management Sciences, for their Centa-City Index: A Hong Kong Property Price Index. The project team designed a property price index to track, on a weekly basis, the price movement of property in the secondary residential market. The index provides the most up-to-date information for potential homebuyers, market analysts, valuators and policy makers.

Chair Professor K M Luk , Chair Professor C H Chan , Chair Professor Kenneth Mei , Professor Edwin Pun , Professor Edward Yung , Professor Y L Chow , Dr K W Leung and Dr K F Tong , of the Department of Electronic Engineering, for their development of base station antennas for mobile communications. The project team developed low-cost wideband patch antenna structures to cater to existing 2G and forthcoming 3G cellular communications systems. The L-probe patch antenna is easily constructed and can contribute significantly to the cellular mobile industry. The design of the L-shaped probe patch antenna has been granted a patent in China.

Mr Caesar Lun , of the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, for his project titled: Computational Linguistic Applications, Sociolinguistics Applications, and Computer-assisted Language Learning. Through LangComp Company Limited, a City University of Hong Kong affiliated company, Mr Lun has conducted language research designed to improve Hong Kong's educational system through multimedia language learning packages. The products he has developed include CD-ROMs that teach Chinese immigrants traditional Chinese characters; a Cantonese Romanization system; and a simplified method of studying Chinese characters that introduces non-Chinese speakers to the most commonly used Chinese characters.

Dr Lo Tit-wing , Department of Applied Social Studies, for a study on youth services and youth policy in Hong Kong. Dr Lo has been involved in extensive research on youth services and policy. Among these are two projects commissioned by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR: the evaluation of the effectiveness of rehabilitation programmes for young offenders in Hong Kong, and the implementation of recommendations published in a report by the Working Party on Review of Children and Youth Centre Services.

In his closing remarks, CityU President Professor H K Chang said his heart was "filled with pride and joy" for the research teams because these colleagues "worked hard, sweated, and achieved results."


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