4 May 2016

CUHK Forms Tri-continental Partnership with University of Toronto and Utrecht University for Innovative Solutions on Urban Issues



All over the world, more and more people are living in cities and urban issues such as environmental health, the planning of future cities, and migration are becoming increasingly important in societies.  Three universities from different continents—The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), University of Toronto (UofT), and Utrecht University (UU)—have joined forces to work together on issues related to cities, with a view to leading to new, sustainable solutions for the global challenges caused by population growth in cities. 

A meeting was convened at UU where the three university presidents—Prof. Joseph Sung (CUHK), Prof. Meric Gertler (UofT), and Mrs. Marjan Oudeman (UU) met and signed a MOU to facilitate educational and research collaborations in three key areas of common interest: Public Health, Cities, and Migration.  Relevant researchers from each university were present and gave presentations on their future plans. The principal investigators from CUHK for the three collaborative research projects are Prof. Shelly Tse from the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care on Public Health, Prof. Leung Yee from the Institute of Future Cities on Cities, and Prof. Eric Fong, Adjunct Professor from the Department of Sociology on Migration. 

On the Public Health front, the three universities will work together to measure and analyse the effect on health by studying how people live, work and interact with their physical and social environments using Big Data and novel investigative tools, such as a combination of sensors, wearables and statistical models.  In the research area of Cities, there are plans to develop a global urban data platform to examine urban transportation and mobility patterns, as well as to collaborate in cultural city studies, digital humanities, and environmental humanities. On Migration, comparative studies will be undertaken on issues related to migrants and immigrants from the perspectives of Asia, Europe, and North America, including their social, cultural and economic integration. 

Both UofT and UU are strategic partners of CUHK in teaching and research.  An extensive range of student exchange programmes and research collaborations in various fields, including medicine, neuroscience, law, and social science, have been in place and yielded fruitful results.  On the tripartite partnership, Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, remarked, ‘We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with two of the top research universities in the world.  Besides our distinctive yet complementary strengths, our geographic location will allow us to bring in cross-national, multi-cultural perspectives to address some of the emerging challenges the world is facing today.’ 

During the visit to the Netherlands, the ‘City Seminar: Cities, Science and Innovation – The International Context’ was held at the Utrecht City Hall where Prof. Joseph Sung, Prof. Meric Gertler, and Mrs. Marjan Oudeman discussed factors which influence both the challenges and the solutions for cities of the future and the importance of collaboration. These include university-government cooperation, future city design, and policy considerations for successful cities.  The seminar was officiated by the Mayor of Utrecht Mr. Jan van Zanen and attracted an audience of academics, graduate students, government officials, and diplomats. 

MOU signing by Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK (right), Mrs. Marjan Oudeman, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University (middle), and Prof. Meric Gertler, President of University of Toronto (left).
MOU signing by Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK (right), Mrs. Marjan Oudeman, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University (middle), and Prof. Meric Gertler, President of University of Toronto (left).

Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, speaks on “The Future City Design: Age & Environment Friendly by Technology” at the City Seminar held at the Utrecht City Hall.
Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, speaks on “The Future City Design: Age & Environment Friendly by Technology” at the City Seminar held at the Utrecht City Hall.

Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK (right) speaks with Mr. Jan van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht (middle) and Mrs. Marjan Oudeman, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University (left) at the City Seminar reception.
Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK (right) speaks with Mr. Jan van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht (middle) and Mrs. Marjan Oudeman, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University (left) at the City Seminar reception.