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WUN Research


WUN supports a wide spectrum of research activities and encourages research of an interdisciplinary nature. In particular, the Network fosters collaboration in four key areas identified as the Global Challenges: Global Higher Education and Research, Public Health, Responding to Climate Change, and Understanding Cultures. It also promotes researchers mobility for the purposes of advancing their knowledge and skills, and expanding their international networks for future academic success, which is particularly relevant to early and mid-career academics.

CUHK is involved in over 30 research collaborations in partnerships with all WUN member universities, working together to address some of the most pressing issues the world currently faces.


WUN Global Challenges


Global Higher Education and Research

Addresses the sources, mechanisms, and social structures that give rise to today’s higher education challenges, and works collaboratively across the Network to propose reform policies for international research and education. Its research priorities in 2018-19 are:

  1. Higher education curriculum for the 21st century.
  2. Legitimacy/authority of university in a changing world.
  3. Global/local mobilities and higher education.

Public Health (Non-communicable Disease)

Emphasises a life-course approach to opportunities for addressing non-communicable diseases especially in low and middle income countries and transitioning populations, as well as in developed societies where there are social disparities at risk.  Its research priorities in 2018-19 are:

  1. Any topic of Public Health.
  2. Align with UN SDG #3 (‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’) and/or other global priorities.

Responding to Climate Change

Primarily focuses on food and environment security and encompasses projects that address scientific, cultural, health and social issues arising from climate change such as environmental changes, food and water shortages, and population displacement and migration. Its research priorities in 2018-19 are:

  1. Food security (including marine foods) under increasing resource scarcity/risk, especially to address aspects of nutrition, supply chains, and pollution.
  2. Renewable energy from wind, tidal/wave, and biofuels and the importance of micro/smart-grids
  3. Plastic production and plastic waste, especially microplastics, for addressing environmental and health concerns.The blue economy for supporting marine livelihoods, ocean biodiversity, and communities along coasts and rivers.
  4. Advancing system approaches for smart climate services through big data, and mapping, particularly for disaster risk management.
  5. Indigenous knowledge for building cultures of climate resiliency within climate-smart landscapes.

Understanding Cultures

Facilitates interdisciplinary research for understanding some of the principal consequences of globalisation for cultural identities. Its research agenda is shaped by a concern with how profound globalisation trends such as a more integrated transnational economic system, increasing levels of population mobility, and widening social inequalities are challenging national, regional and individual cultural practices. Its research priorities in 2018-19 are:

1. Migration

  • Identify gaps in policy data, bringing scholarship to capacity development.
  • Borders and boundaries, securitization and rights
  • Using the reach of WUN to map the consequences of migration policies.

2. Heritage

  • Heritage through the lens of mobility, identity, and sustainability

3. Merging Migration and Heritage

  • Memorials for the last rights
  • UNESCO White Paper on Migration, Culture, and Heritage


WUN-CUHK Projects

CUHK has over the years collaborated with WUN member universities in a number of research projects. The following is a highlight of the projects undertaken by researchers at CUHK, WUN member universities, and other partner universities. To see a full list of WUN projects CUHK engages it, please click here.

This project is led by Prof. XU Yuan, Department of Geography and Resource Management. Awarded by the WUN Research Development Fund (RDF) in 2017, this project aims to understand the fuel competition between renewables, specifically wind and solar, from the political economy perspective. It will examine the factors that affect the tendency toward investing more in solar or in wind in different countries over different years. Read more

This project is led by Prof. Hon-ming Lam, Centre for Soybean Research. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2016, this project aims to explore the impact of grain legume research and development has in developing countries, and how it contributes to their economic development, environment, and well-being. The group comprises international experts in plant biotechnology, agronomy, soil science, climate, agricultural and economic/market research. Read more

This project is co-led by Prof. Joseph T.F. Lau, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2016, this project brings together a team of scholars in health and social sciences from eight countries to investigate the mechanism that migration policy and welfare entitlement operate on the health-related quality of life of children from immigrant families in different socio-cultural contexts. Read more

This project is led by Prof. Amos Tai, Earth System Science Programme, Faculty of Science. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2015, this project aims to evaluate how the land cover will evolve over the next few decades in response to climate change and socioeconomic trends, and explore its implications for public health and food security in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Read more

This project is led by Prof. Eliza Wong, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2015, this project aims to explore intergenerational roles of different stakeholders and equity in health services and community care for older people from the perspectives of service delivery, financing and policy across different health systems in different countries by conducting a systematic literature review and cross-national comparative analysis. Read more

This project is led by Prof. Yuying Tong, Department of Sociology. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2014, this project intends to provide a comprehensive analysis of how foreign education is related to the earnings of two groups of migrants: immigrants and return migrants. The research team will work collaboratively to understand the similarities and differences in immigrant earnings and job mismatches across contexts. Read more

This project is led by Prof. Julien Chaisse, Faculty of Law. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2013, this project aims to examine the international law that governs the globalisation of water services, to identify gaps and the need for changes, and to relate the legal framework to economic issues surrounding water provision including the economic rationale for protection of foreign investments. Read more


This project is led by Prof. Lawal M. Marafa, Department of Geography and Resource Management. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2012, the project inquires the challenges encountered by the UN-REDD programme and explores ways to address these challenges by scientific research. Read more

This project is led by Prof. Junsen Zhang, Department of Economics. Awarded by the WUN RDF in 2012, the project addresses two issues that are still under-researched and are interdisciplinary in nature: ‘left-behind’ children and ‘drifted’ children in China. Read more 


This project is led by CUHK’s Prof. Hung Wong of the Department of Social Work. The project received funding worth HK$3.2 million from the Research Grants Council of the University Grants Committee. The project is a coordinated effort of inter-disciplines and inter-institutions to perform a comprehensive and longitudinal research to measure and gauge the current trends as well as implications of poverty and social disadvantages in Hong Kong. Read more



WUN at CUHK Contact

To learn more about opportunities provided through the WUN for CUHK researchers, please visit WUN’s website or contact:

Ms. Shally Fan
Director of Academic Links
Tel:  +852 3943 7586
Email: shallyfan@cuhk.edu.hk

Ms. Yvonne Heung
Assistant Programme Manager
Tel: +852 3943 4371
Email: yvonneheung@cuhk.edu.hk