September 28, 2020

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PolyU secures funding for health tech R&D

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has secured over HK$18 million funding from the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) of the Food and Health Bureau (FHB), to commence eight research studies on COVID-19. These projects cover a wide range of disciplines including health technology, biomedical sciences, healthcare, rehabilitation as well as social sciences.

PolyU hopes that research teams from different fields can contribute their expertise to supporting the local community in the fight against COVID-19 and to facilitating the formulation of pandemic control measures, thus helping to protect the health of the general public. The Research Council, chaired by the Secretary for Food and Health, earlier approved the second batch of funding of HK$59 million, to support 23 research projects steered by local universities.

Among these 23 projects, eight are led by PolyU researchers from the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, representing over 30% of the total funding and the total number of projects in the second batch. The project that received the most funding is a follow-up study on rehabilitation management of COVID-19 survivors, securing more than HK$4.47 million. These eight research studies are expected to last from one to two years.t

The Deputy President and Provost of PolyU stated that since the outbreak of the pandemic, PolyU has been facing unprecedented challenges in teaching, but its concerted determination to overcome these have not diminished the university’s efforts in research. Since February 2020, the institution has developed a rapid automated diagnostic system to detect COVID-19, designed a face shield for general use, and conducted various studies related to the pandemic.

On behalf of PolyU, the Provost expressed gratitude to FHB for taking more health technology and social sciences topics into consideration when granting the second batch of funding under the HMRF, allowing PolyU to conduct research projects on COVID-19 as commissioned by FHB. The university will continue to carry out more forward-looking studies and to keep up our efforts in research.

The Interim Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has lasted for months and has had a tremendous impact on global public health, as well as the economy and livelihood of people. PolyU hopes to utilise its expertise to render support to the community during this difficult time. The institution’s Interim VP also noted that the university is honoured to have eight projects funded by the HMRF and sincerely hope that its scholars can make good use of their research capabilities to support the fight against COVID-19.

The Dean of Faculty of Health and Social Sciences also remarked that COVID-19 has affected people’s psychological well-being, as well as their physical health. Over the years, PolyU faculty has been providing the best education for social and health care professionals. In the face of this challenging time, the university’s faculty, together with its researchers, students and graduates of various disciplines, are working together to address the healthcare and social needs of the community.

The HMRF supports studies and projects initiated by individual investigators as well as those commissioned by the Food and Health Bureau to build research capacity, fill knowledge gaps, support policy formulation, address specific issues, assess needs and threats, conduct health promotion, and more.