On May 24 2021, the University Grants Council (UGC) announced the results of the 2020 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Hong Kong’s official scheme assessing the research performance and achievement of public universities. The assessment was undertaken by panels of distinguished experts from reputable overseas institutions as well as local universities, using international benchmarks. For the first time, the RAE2020 has included research impact as part of the assessment, with a view to encouraging research of broader social relevance with high economic and social benefits.
All eight public universities in Hong Kong participated in the disciplinary area of political science (including public administration, public policy, and international relations), or Unit of Assessment #25 (UoA 25), submitting their best research impact cases. In the entire Unit, only two research impact cases were unanimously rated ‘outstanding’ (four star)—the top score—by the international expert panel. Both impact cases feature public policy scholars based in The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK): Prof Chou Kee-lee and Dr He Jingwei Alex. This significant achievement again showcases the strength of EdUHK public policy scholars in making social impact with their cutting-edge policy research.
Prof Chou Kee-lee, Chair Professor of Social Policy of the Department of Asian and Policy Studies and Associate Vice President (Research) of EdUHK, is an internationally renowned scholar in social policy. For many years, he has been constantly ranked among the top 1% all over the world in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) based on number of citations. Prof Chou’s research has contributed significantly to social welfare reforms in Hong Kong and informed social policy making in the territory. Supported by many prestigious policy research grants, Prof Chou has conducted a series of important research projects related to income protection, poverty alleviation, and elderly care, generating wide impact on policy formulation, increasing public awareness, and promoting social justice. Many of the policy ideas he passionately advocated have been translated into reality, benefiting numerous disadvantaged individuals. His research well epitomizes the valuable passion and social responsibility of a seasoned policy scholar.
Dr He Jingwei Alex, Associate Professor and Associate Head (Research and Development) of the Department of Asian and Policy Studies, specializes in health policy and social welfare reforms, with a particular focus on Mainland China, Hong Kong, and the rest of East Asia. Dr He does not only disseminate his research insights through conventional academic publications, but also actively participate in policy advocacy. His research gained wide recognition in both Mainland China and Hong Kong. In a high-profile report jointly published by the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Chinese Government in 2016, titled “Healthy China: Deepening Health Reform in China, Building High-Quality and Value-Based Service Delivery“, six of Dr He’s research works were heavily cited, making him one of the very few international scholars recognized in such a high-level study. His research on health care financing reform in Hong Kong also offered useful insights to inform the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) scheme.