CityU establishes Hong Kong’s first cross-disciplinary institute

Hong Kong Advanced Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies

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Globalisation has increased the complexity of societal problems around the world to the extent that single disciplinary-based research alone is no longer sufficient for tackling current problems. City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has established the Hong Kong Advanced Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies (HKAICS), the first transdisciplinary research institute in Hong Kong, to reflect on solutions to challenges facing societies around the globe and here in Hong Kong. The opening ceremony of HKAICS took place on 12 January.

HKAICS encourages a culture of openness towards pure and applied sciences and collaboration between the humanities and social sciences. It aims to serve as a regional hub for transdisciplinary knowledge transfer.

The Institute brings together academics from various disciplines from around the world to promote the exchange of ideas through seminars, workshops and conferences. HKAICS has an International Advisory Board composed of eminent scholars and public figures to manage and advise on the development of the Institute.

Guests of honour attending the ceremony included Mr Edward Yau Tang-wah, Secretary for the Environment, Dr Christine Loh Kung-wai, CEO of Civic Exchange and International Advisory Board member of HKAICS, Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU, Professor Horace Ip Ho-shing, Acting Vice-President (Research & Technology) of CityU, and Professor Gregory Lee, Director of HKAICS and Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, CityU.

“The establishment of HKAICS marks a new milestone in the development of CityU. It also presents the highest research and teaching ambitions of CityU, sponsoring and encouraging creative and innovative research projects that weave together diverse disciplinary approaches. The objective is strategic academic excellence and capitalisation of established strengths and links with regional and global networks,” Professor Kuo said at the ceremony.

Mr Yau said in his remarks that the establishment of HKAICS is an important step towards providing international and local scholars with a multidimensional research platform. HKAICS will be a partner of the Hong Kong government on public and social policy research to tackle social issues such as climate change, air quality and energy supply from a cross-disciplinary angle, he said.

Professor Lee added, “One of the major objectives of HKAICS is to transcend disciplinary boundaries and to show how the hard and 'soft' sciences can work together fruitfully for the benefit of society in general and the local community. What HKAICS can contribute to a transdisciplinary tendency is the development of new approaches through filtering down top-level research in new emerging areas such as environmental humanities and health humanities, and also reflecting on issues such as the shift away from the old 20th century Eurocentric vision of international relations.”

The areas of research for the institute are partly inspired by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong and international research agency priorities. Areas of interest include five fields: sustainable development of society and human impact on the environment; risk management and representation; health and well-being in transcultural and transhistorical contexts; innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship across cultures; coloniality and its epistemological and societal consequences.

Other guests attending the ceremony included Mr Ambassador Hans Corell, Former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations and the International Advisory Board member of HKAICS; Professor Olivier Christin, Chair Professor at Neuchatel (Switzerland) University, Former President of University of Lyon (Lumière) and International Advisory Board member of HKAICS; Professor Paul Crawford, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Professor at Nottingham University and International Advisory Board member of HKAICS; Professor Sean Cubitt, Professor of Global Media and Communications at University of Southampton, and Professorial Fellow in Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne and International Advisory Board member of HKAICS; Professor Walter Mingnolo, William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature at Duke University and International Advisory Board member of HKAICS; Dr Sharon T. Freeman, President of Lark-Horton Global Consulting, The All American Small Business Exporters Association (AASBEA), Americans, Chinese, and Africans Connecting (ACAC) and International Foundation for Trade and Investment Skills Development, and Honorary Fellow of HKAICS; Professor Zhao Baisheng, Professor and Director of the Institute of World Literature, Peking University and Honorary Fellow of HKAICS; and Professor Li Shizheng (Duo Duo) Chinese poet, Winner of Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Professor of Hainan University and Honorary Fellow of HKAICS.

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