Six Outstanding CUHK Scholars Awarded RGC Early Career Award and Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship 2019 & 2020
Six outstanding scholars from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) received awards from the Research Grants Council (RGC) in recognition of excellent achievement in their research areas. Professor Zhao Changhong, Assistant Professor of the Department of Information Engineering, Professor Jacque Ip Pak Kan, Assistant Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences, Professor Chan Kin Wai, Assistant Professor of the Department of Statistics were given the Early Career Award.
Meanwhile, the Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship was conferred on Professor Bryan Mercurio, Simon F.S. Li Professor of Law, Professor Poo Mu Chou, Research Professor of the Department of History and Director of the Centre for the Comparative Study of Antiquity of the Research Institute for the Humanities, and Professor Annett Schirmer, Professor of the Department of Psychology.
Early Career Award
With expertise in control and optimisation of network systems such as the power grid, Professor Zhao Changhong led multiple research projects at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the smart grid before joining CUHK. His funded project “Optimizing multiphase power flow via exact convex relaxation and distributed feedback design” will establish a fast and scalable method by developing a convex relaxation theory and a distributed feedback algorithm to solve the optimal power flow problem. Ultimately, it will operate a power network integrated with a large number of distributed energy resources, such as solar photovoltaics, home batteries, electric vehicles, and smart appliances. (Awardee of 2020)
Professor Jacque Ip Pak Kan has devoted his research to investigating the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and how such mechanistic defects result in autism-related disorders. His work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including Science, Nature Neuroscience and Molecular Psychiatry. Professor Ip’s award-winning project is entitled “Investigating the roles of input-specific cooperative synaptic plasticity in visual cortical plasticity: Implications for amblyopia”. The goal of this project is to reveal mechanisms of plasticity in vivo and their role in ocular dominance plasticity in rodents, which is an experimental model of deprivation amblyopia. Information critical to understanding the roles of synaptic plasticity in the function of the brain will be provided. (Awardee of 2020)
Obtaining his undergraduate and MPhil degrees in Risk Management Science from CUHK, Professor Chan Kin Wai then pursued his Master and PhD degrees in Statistics at Harvard University, and began his faculty career at CUHK in 2018. His research interests are statistical inference for time series data and incomplete data. His project entitled “Multiple incompatibility problems in multiple imputation procedures” will explore new methods for handling the incompatibility problems of different statistical systems caused by missing data to receive more precise analysis results. (Awardee of 2019)
Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship
Professor Bryan Mercurio specialises in international economic law (IEL), with his research often engaging with issues of fragmentation in IEL and regime conflict. His project entitled “Reshaping global trade: The impact and effects of the US-China trade war” seeks to provide leading analysis on issues of the US-China trade war, multilateral trade systems and the future of the global trade regime to understand the driving force for the trade war and its impact and effect on the global economy. It also studies the reaction of other jurisdictions to the breakdown of the rules-based multilateral system and the trade war and the challenges and opportunities these jurisdictions face in light of the changed trading circumstances and the systemic implications thereof. (Awardee of 2020)
After completing a PhD in Egyptology from Johns Hopkins University, Professor Poo Mu Chou began his research on religion and history in ancient Egypt and China at Academia Sinica in Taipei where he spent 25 years before joining CUHK in 2009. Professor Poo’s awarded project “The imagined paradise: The netherworld in ancient Egypt and China” will look into and compare the social cognitions of ancient Egyptian and Chinese on the netherworld, and their impact on people’s daily life in the two eras. (Awardee of 2019)
Professor Annett Schirmer completed her PhD in Psychology at Leipzig University in Germany in 2002. Prior to joining CUHK in 2017, she was an Assistant Professor of the University of Georgia in USA and then at the National University of Singapore. Named in the list of the World’s Top 2% Scientists by Stanford University last year, Professor Schirmer’s research on the relationship between touch and emotion in the brain appeared in 52 articles in international peer-reviewed journals. Her project “A new gating theory on the convergence of ‘discriminative’ and ‘affective’ touch” will develop a novel 2-touch methodological approach that enables the exploration of the different tactile pathways and investigate the mechanisms underpinning affective touch and its benefits for mental health. (Awardee of 2019)
About RGC Early Career Scheme and Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme
The RGC Early Career Scheme aims to assist junior academics, while the Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme aims at granting extended time-off and supporting funds to the outstanding investigators under the disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences Panel to enable them to focus on research work and writing.