PolyU: Three PolyU Outstanding Scholars Awarded RGC Senior Research Fellow 2022/23

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been awarded three of the ten grants under the Research Grants Council’s (RGC) Senior Research Fellow Scheme (SRFS) 2022/23, another testament to PolyU scholars’ accomplishments and research excellence.

The successful PolyU scholars are Prof. SUN Defeng, Chair Professor of Applied Optimization and Operations Research and Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics; Prof. LI Gang, Sir Sze-yuen Chung Endowed Professor in Renewable Energy in the Department of Electronic and Information Engineering; and Prof. CHAN Ko-ling Edward, Professor of the Department of Applied Social Sciences. Their research in the areas of applied mathematics, material sciences, and social work and public health has been awarded a total of HKD 23 million SRFS funding.

The RGC’s Senior Research Fellow Scheme aims to provide sustained support to exceptionally outstanding researchers at UGC-funded universities in Hong Kong, with a view to facilitating their dedication to research and development and to helping universities attract and retain research talent. The Scheme provides ten grants to scholars from any academic disciplines in each round of the annual exercise. Nominees are assessed based on various criteria that include leadership quality and vision in the chosen area of research, the merit of the research proposal and the support provided by the university.

Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, congratulated all awardees and said, “After a rigorous assessment process, our three researchers were recognized for their research capabilities, contributions and the potential impact of their proposed research projects. We are proud of their outstanding research. This achievement also recognizes the efforts of the PolyU research teams in promoting and conducting multifaceted research.”

Details of the awardees and their research projects:

Prof. Sun Defeng, Chair Professor of Applied Optimization and Operations Research, and Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics
Research Project: “Nonlinear Conic Programming: Theory, Algorithms and Software”

Nonlinear conic programming (NLCOP) lies at the core of optimisation research which involves the design of efficient algorithms to solve mathematical problems of optimisation under constraints. This project will focus on NLCOP problems when the constraint set is C2-cone reducible. Prof. Sun’s team will design non-smooth Newton-type algorithms and augmented Lagrangian methods for solving NLCOP problems. They will also develop an efficient optimisation solver for addressing a class of virtual instances of NLCOP issues. Furthermore, researchers will investigate reinforcement machine learning techniques to solve NLCOP problems faster. The success of this project will contribute to a broad range of important applications including the sixth-generation wireless communication technology (6G), investment portfolio management, financial risk management, supply chain management, production planning and automatic driving.

Prof. Li Gang, Sir Sze-yuen Chung Endowed Professor in Renewable Energy in the Department of Electronic and Information Engineering
Research Project: “Printable Organic Solar Cells: Materials and Device Investigations towards Applications”

Organic solar cell (OSC) is an emerging photovoltaic (PV) technology with distinct advantages in many areas, such as flexible/portable PV, building integrated PV and transparent power applications. Aiming at accelerating the OSC technology, this project proposed systematic materials and device structure investigation of new photoactive materials, stable transport materials, innovative ternary OSC active layer engineering, a novel approach for transparent OSC and printing technology. The project will significantly push forward OSC technology in terms of high efficiency, operation stability, compatibility with unique applications and being printing friendly. The proposed research represents a new frontier for OSC technology, which integrates chemistry, physics and material science to generate new perspectives in science and come up with solutions to challenging issues in renewable energy.

Prof. Chan Ko-ling Edward, Professor of Department of Applied Social Sciences
Research Project: “Family Polyvictimization and Social Policy Responses in East Asian Societies”

Prof. Edward Chan is the first to examine family poly-victimization (FPV), which refers to the co-occurrence of at least three types of family violence, including intimate partner violence, child abuse and elder abuse. He has developed innovative methodologies and digital assessment tools to measure FPV accurately. This project will be conducted in five East Asian cities, namely Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei. With cross-culture data from East Asian families, this project will examine the effects of traditional East Asian cultural practices and develop clinical protocols and policies in response to FPV. Findings will shed light on the application of early detection mechanisms for FPV by adopting a family-oriented approach and using the family as the basic unit of service. It will also facilitate the development of integrated prevention and multi-disciplinary collaboration in East Asian contexts. The improvements in social policy and service delivery approach aim to bring very significant
social impact and benefits to families victimised by FPV and to East Asian cities as a whole.