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【Cubic Zine Issue 6】Scholar-Social Innovators: Prof Kelvin Tsoi|Silver-aged Models & Coffin Club

As the virus go rampant, things that normally don’t catch our eye turn out to be treasure – from the toilet paper that entraps, to the jam-packed countryside, and of course, our often overlooked health.

Tech has become a common vehicle to raise awareness in “self-maintenance”, something our digital health specialist Prof Kelvin Tsoi also has in view. He even set up a Facebook page in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, sharing relevant literature articles he found of use.

In this issue: #Silver-agedModels #CoffinClub #HealthManagement #BigData #KnowledgeTransfer #IDEO

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Scholar-Social Innovator → LOCAL

Embracing the trend of knowledge transfer: Prof Kelvin Tsoi and his health management business

Prof Kelvin Tsoi, Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, CUHK (Photo: SoCUBE)

Prof Kelvin Tsoi began his academic pursuit neither as a doctor nor an engineer – but a data scientist. As he researched in medical big data (including predicting and managing the risks of several chronic diseases), however, he established steadfast working relations with the two professions.

“Engineers aspire to design a ground-breaking blood pressure metre, but from a doctor’s point of view, how useful is that if patients don’t willingly take measurements in the first place?

On constant guard against such pitfall, Kelvin set up social enterprise DeepHealth with several students in 2018. The CUHK Sustainable Knowledge Transfer Fund (S-KPF) is supporting his goal to transform years of research efforts in blood pressure data analysis and dementia into products that are not only of use, but also actually used.

Read the full interview

DeepHealth at a glimpse

(Photo: SoCUBE)

Founding year: 2018
Founding member: Prof Kelvin Tsoi
Founding team: Epidemiologists and data scientists from Faculty of Medicine, CUHK
Mission: To alleviate the medical burden on our society from an ageing population, while contributing fruits of research to the community
Products: 1. HealthCap app, applying deep-learning technology and big data to analyse blood pressure trends and detect health risks; 2. ScreenMat app, employing digital screening techniques to assess cognitive functions and matching corresponding brain-strengthening activities

Knowledge Transfer (KT)|Scholarly Keyword

Dr Tong's team from the Department of Physics inspiring secondary school students with a full-functioning MRI machine. (Photo: SoCUBE)

Did you know that KT is the “third mission” of universities besides teaching and research? While “tech transfer” – a buzzword in the China-US trade war – is a major component of university KT, it covers also patents, licenses, starting companies, doing public lectures, even making an appearance on Sidewalk Scientist (學是學非).

Citing Prof Francis Chan, Dean of CUHK Faculty of Medicine, Kelvin believed that knowledge transfer is a topical subject that CUHK should catch up with. The mainland government had responded swiftly to the trend: guidelines issued this January encourage institutions to offer researchers a max 3-year leave so they may focus on starting businesses – all benefits retained!



Silver-aged models|Hong Kong

97-year-old model Alice joined the industry thanks to her granddaughter's recommendation. (Photo: OHH Dear)

Who says grey hair is an antonym of confidence and elegance? In the course of her career as a reporter, Zip (alumnus of CUHK School of Journalism and Communication) has made priceless encounters with elders who had exciting twilight years. To counter the often negative image of the elderly on the press, Zip gave up her job to found OHH Dear (老正工作室), training silver-aged models to act, pose and shoot ads. After almost 4 years, they have expanded into a crew of over 50 models, the most senior being Alice, aged 97. OHH Dear is now recruiting – don’t miss the chance to work with their energetic team!

The Coffin Club|New Zealand

There are some who blend their all-time favourites into their coffin design... (Photo: The Coffin Club Facebook page)

In his work Impermanence (無常), Local artist Stanley Wong (or “anothermountainman”) designed himself a coffin and broke it down into a sofa, coffee table and bookshelf, which are now a part of his home. Now ain’t that avant-garde.

A group of elderly in New Zealand took that to the next level. Their weekly club meeting features food, chit-chats and coffin-design sessions. Set up by retired nurse Katie Williams in 2010, the club keeps retirees company, also allowing members to arrange for themselves in advance an economical and personalised funeral. DIY-coffins have even made landfall recently in the UK!


Scholar-Social Innovator → GLOBAL

Patron of design thinking and Stanford founder: David Kelley uses design to help unlock creative confidence in everyone

David Kelley (Photo: IDEO)

Design thinking has swept across the commercial sector – it is not only a vital tool to corporate innovation, but also a compulsory topic for many MBAs. Wonder who set the trend? Credit goes to David Kelley, Stanford mechanical engineering professor and co-founder of global design firm IDEO.

He founded Stanford, which offers a course (“Design for Extreme Affordability”) designed especially for students to work on social problems in the third world. One of the well-known products this course gave birth to is Embrace, an incubator that combats infant fatality. David Kelley believes in one key to innovation…

Read the full story



CUHK professors are here to gear you up!

(Photo: CUHK)

As the virus swept across nations, fear hangs in the air and fake news spread like wildfire. Many have turned to doctors and scholars for their professional advice. Our specialist in respiratory medicine, Prof David Hui from CUHK Faculty of Medicine, had combatted SARS on the frontline 17 years ago. Today, he did interview after interview, tirelessly dissecting the epidemic and highlighting necessary precautions.

While Med Fac members are our respectable KOLs, professors from other disciplines – psychology, journalism, even linguistics – have been offering other means of support. Learn more here!


【Open for applications】HKCSS Impact Incubator

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

As The Alchemist put it, if you pour your heart into solving local social issues, many professional groups are here to accelerate you on your way!

Missed the deadlines for internal funding schemes this year? Try Impact Incubator under the Hong Kong Council of Social Service! Aside from business and management support, if your proposal belongs to the “start-up”, “growing” and “scale-up” stages, you may request as much funding as your heart desires! Applicants should be Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 or above, or locally registered limited companies or organisations.

Target: Projects at least at the “late prototype” stage
Deadline: 31 March
Programme details


CUHK's support to scholar-social innovators

CUHK runs two funding schemes that support researchers to get down to social innovation – KPF and S-KPF. Selected projects may receive up to HK$400,000 for KPF projects or HK$600,000 for S-KPF companies. Around 200 teams have already benefited from the schemes.

Applications for 2019/20 are already closed. For those who submitted proposals, watch out for our results announcement (by this month)!

Missed the deadline? (Oops!) Prepare for the next round by learning the details here. Or share with us your ideas to get ready in advance!


Enjoyed reading?

Interested in our content and desperate for more? Recommend Cubic Zine to your friends and partners – let us all do good and do well!

Learning never stops! Story recommendations from SoCUBE:

Prof Catherine So founds social enterprise for children with autism
Stanford professor to save the world with Impossible Foods
Prof Fanny Cheung’s 40 years of driving social change
How Perkins Ho lends a hand to scholar-innovators


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