Dr Kevin King-fai Hung
Assistant Professor,
School of Science and
Technology

To Educate with Research: Interview with Dr Kevin King-fai Hung

Research and teaching have been viewed as supporting each other, but it is challenging for academics to carry out both at the same time. Dr Kevin Hung, Assistant Professor in the School of Science and Technology, has shared with us his personal experience in navigating these two areas.

Dr Hung was one of the successful applicants in the Faculty Development Scheme (FDS) in 2014. His project — entitled ‘Development of an exergaming system with haptic feedback for the investigation of energy expenditure and muscle activities during sports training’ — aimed to design an ‘exergaming’ (video games combined with physical exercise) evaluating system to assess how exergames may bring health benefits. The results of the study provide scientific evidence for designing more effective games which promote health.

Dr Hung suggested that a major factor leading to the success of his project was his comprehensive literature review. He recalled that ‘many people talked about the positive benefits of exergames, but substantial data are needed to quantify this; and we showed that there is a research gap’— while also stressing the importance of foregrounding the practicality and manageability of the research to reviewers within the proposed time and budget. In this regard, his hands-on work experience in developing and marketing medical devices prior to his academic career was a major help. He also highlighted the importance of a solid related research record, which helps to convince reviewers of a project’s feasibility.

Dr Hung argued that, to succeed in applying for a grant, colleagues can focus on their comparative strengths. He saw his strengths as lying in his extensive exposure and experience in ‘development’. ‘R&D are both important, but for myself and my specialization, I place a higher emphasis on the ‘D’ — especially on the market trends and their practical needs’, Dr Hung said. He habitually goes to trade shows and liaises with veterans and experts in the industry to keep abreast of the latest product development in his field. These professional conversations provide the ingredients for his academic research, which stood out in the grant competition.

Lastly, for Dr Hung, the most important motivation for grant application and academic research is related to his dedication to teaching. Some may argue that a heavy teaching load hampers or even reduces one’s capacity to focus on research; and in response to this issue, he admitted that time management in balancing teaching and research is demanding. However, he insisted that teaching is an enjoyable, indispensable and integral component of his academic pursuits. Students are the major motivation for his commitment to advancing quality research: ‘With research funding, I could showcase the latest research equipment to my students. Besides, when they know that what they do for their final-year projects could actually be published or even turned into commercial products, they feel excited, valued, and motivated.’

For Dr Hung, it is academic excellence that complements his primary vocation of teaching, and it is precisely this endeavor to teach better and provide ‘educate for all’ that inspires and galvanizes better research. It follows that research and teaching are mutually beneficial; the two paths are indeed parallel and lead to the same goal.

    

 

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