Making an original finding is the essence of the “discovery-enriched curriculum” (DEC) at City University of Hong Kong. This groundbreaking curriculum represents a different paradigm for bringing together research and education. It encourages students to pursue discovery and innovation, and enhances their creativity, employability and professional leadership for the rapidly evolving, globalised world of the 21st century.
The strong spirit of discovery and innovation that the DEC has fostered at CityU since its inception in 2012 enriches our education and research programmes, making a difference in students’ lives and societies at large. It enables young people to create, communicate, curate and cultivate new knowledge, and it emphasises interdisciplinary teaching and research.
The first Antarctica expedition among local universities
Our Antarctica expedition in 2013 embodied the spirit and mission of the DEC. During the 21-day expedition, 23 students from different disciplines joined together to seek new ways to present environmental, biological, structural, chemical, political and social data that they collected. They sailed from Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to land at Petermann Island where they were met by a cluster of Gentoo penguins on the shore. The students’ interdisciplinary research projects were later displayed at a high-profile exhibition that helped to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our fragile environment.
The Antarctica expedition, a first among universities in Hong Kong, was part of the Extreme Environments Programme initiated by CityU’s School of Creative Media. The aim is to encourage students to learn what it means to create new knowledge.
Other expeditions on the programme have encompassed trips to the Solomon Islands in Pacific Ocean, the Tu Lan cave system in Vietnam and the Mojave Desert in the US.
DEC projects benefit society
Our interdisciplinary undergraduates and alumni contribute to society through their original discoveries. Recent achievements include a highly innovative, self-transformable wheelchair that helps people with mobility difficulties to get in and out of vehicles, especially taxis; an intelligent navigation assistance system that helps the visually impaired to catch a bus; and a vertical-axis wind turbine applied to railway or urban areas for electricity generation, to name just a few.
Our students also won the International Genetically Engineered Machine Giant Jamboree competition in Boston with their gene-based remedy for lactose intolerance and for developing a potential solution to the world’s growing obesity problem.