UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences


New partnership with HKU will support health, poverty and water security research

22 January 2019

UCL has announced funding of three new research projects in partnership with the University of Hong Kong (HKU).


The three projects, focusing on health, poverty and water security, will be led by pairs of senior academics, one from UCL and one from HKU.

The scheme has made awards for the third year, encouraging cooperative projects on pressing global issues, as identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. UCL’s Grand Challenges programme – addressing Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding, Human Wellbeing, Transformative Technology and Justice & Equality, provides an inter-institutional strategic framing for the joint scheme.

The three projects, each awarded £10,000 by UCL and HK$100,000 by HKU, are:

Childhood Infections and Pollution (CHIP): A UCL-HKU One Health technology-enabled citizen science approach to better manage and prevent infections in children in Jaipur’s urban slums

  • Dr Logan Manikam (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health)
  • Professor Joseph Syrial Malik (HKU School of Public Health)

This award funds the final step in a multi-component study testing a citizen science approach to better manage and prevent childhood infections in in Jaipur’s urban slums.

The first element, addressing the question ‘Can we implement a rapid household survey of the built environment in the Indian urban slum setting?’ has been under way since August 2018, supported by a small grant from UCL’s Grand Challenge of Global Health. The picture above comes from fieldwork in Jaipur undertaken as part of this first phase.

The second and third components of the study, funded by UCL KEIF awards, support qualitative research with community champions and community health workers, and the determination of the best methods and most community-acceptable sampling measures to assess air and water quality in Jaipur’s urban slums. Manikam and Malik, in their UCL-HKU collaboration, will address the question ‘Can nasal, throat, stool and sputum sampling be utilised to assess the make-up of children’s microbiomes and AMR patterns in the urban slums of Jaipur? How can community health workers be involved in the sampling process?’

The study is very cross-disciplinary and international, depending on collaboration with seven senior researchers from UCL, three from HKU, two from Japanese institutions, three from Indian ones and one from a US university.

 HKU and UCL collaboration in medication safety and healthcare big data research

  • Dr Li Wei (UCL School of Pharmacy)
  • Professor Ian C K Wong (HKU Pharmacology & Medicine) 

This award will fund a number of joint activities in the field of healthcare and big data over a five year period. Visits will be made by researchers from UCL and HKU to present their work in their counterparts’ country. A joint supervision PhD studentship will be established and a research project, ‘Optimisation of Anticoagulants Use in the UK and Hong Kong’, using healthcare data from the UK and HK will be developed by the collaborative team. The team have chosen anticoagulants as the starting point because stroke is on the increase globally; anticoagulants are an effective treatment but come with a high risk of side-effects.

HKU/UCL Water Security Strategic Partnership Accelerator

  • Professor Chris Blackman (UCL Chemistry)
  • Professor Zheng Xiao Guo (HKU Chemistry and HKU Mechanical Engineering)

This project team are setting out to co-create innovative solutions to ensure clean water supply in developed and developing regions of the world. The researchers will investigate the engineering of innovative processes and materials into effective sorbents, filters, catalysts and sensors, and consider urban planning and integration. The Hong Kong based member of the research team, Professor Zhen Xiao Guo, was previously a researcher at UCL and the UCL Pro-Provost (China).

These three joint UCL-HKU research awards follow three made for 2017-18 and two for 2016-17. Information about the awards and reports on outcomes can be found here.



  • Jaipur’s urban slums are the setting for a new research project, jointly led by academics from UCL and HKU