TransDisciplinary Undergraduate Research Exchange 2017


Why? To increase the capacities of our students for creative problem-solving and global collaboration, both virtual and physical, that produces tangible outcomes around issues of urgent importance for the students.

Who? From HKU, 10 highly motivated, committed, creative, and curious students from across all the Faculties who, before the exchange period, have (i) successfully completed at least three Common Core courses with Grade B or above; (ii) obtained a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 3.0 or above; and (iii) NOT joined the TransDisciplinary Undergraduate Research Exchange before. Our Utrecht partners will be approximately the same number of students from the Humanities Honours Program.

Costs? Free to HKU students except for personal expenses. The Common Core, with generous support from the University and the UGC, will cover the costs of the roundtrip flight from Hong Kong-Amsterdam; lodging in Utrecht; and a per diem for food.

What? A collaborative set of transdisciplinary research methods and events will be initiated and organized by students around issues that they judge to be in the most pressing need of attention. Think, for example, of themes such the Anthropocene, Digital Life, Thinking Machines, Emerging Social Architectures, Philosophy in the Streets, Globalization and Migration, Future Cities, and Innovating Democracies. HKU will want to pay attention to some of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), since this is a priority for the University. Additional themes are encouraged as well, since this will be up to the participating students to decide upon.

Students will collaborate with their peers in Utrecht; do the preliminary research and readings; invite scholars, artists, policy-makers, NGO’s, or business leaders to engage with the events; create a website and other publicity; host and facilitate the events in Hong Kong and Utrecht; and decide what types of tangible outcomes and evidence they might produce as part of the expectations of the quality of knowledge exchange. In addition, if the facilities allow, students will create installations and exhibits as part of the events.

How to participate?

All applicants should submit a 500 word statement of intent in which s/he demonstrates how s/he has exhibited creativity, research capability, organizational and time-management skills, and a desire to serve as a change-agent. In addition, please include an updated CV; a 150 word bio related to the project; a copy of the transcript of academic record; and a photograph.

The application materials should be sent to with the subject line reading Common Core Distinguished Research Fellows Application.

Successful applicants will be asked to sign a Common Core TransDisciplinary Distinguished Undergraduate Research Fellow Letter of Commitment, insuring their full engagement with the project throughout the semester (including, potentially, during the Spring Semester Exam Period).

Application Deadline: November 21, 2016


  • Once in Semester 1 to get oriented to the project, to the Netherlands, and to begin to draft a statement of purpose to share with Utrecht colleagues.
  • Just after the beginning of classes in Semester 2 to take the next steps in planning the collaboration.
  • Thereafter, the group will meet approximately every two weeks to do the necessary groundwork for the HKU events and review the research and project management process.
  • The virtual collaboration between the two research groups will last from February to June.
  • Utrecht Students will visit Hong Kong from April 11 to April 17 and the Hong Kong Students will visit Utrecht from (approximately) May 29 to June 5. During these two weeks the public events that are the outcome of this collaboration will take place.
  • A follow-up meeting at HKU will occur either in summer or the following fall and students will be asked to share their experience with others.


The project will produce a series of tangible outcomes, including:

  • Public Events organized around the topics of the students’ choice
  • Research and reflective writing
  • A shared HKU-Utrecht TransDisciplinary Research website and FaceBook Page
  • New collaborative research networks, videos, and social interventions.

The experience of doing collaborative research across disciplinary, cultural, and geographical boundaries is extremely valuable and will be of great use in your futures. Participants will receive Certificates of Accomplishment and will be able to share their experience on the Common Core website, and in a sharing session in the Common Core Lounge. In addition, each participant will receive a letter of recommendation from the Director, should the need arise. The participants will serve as peer-mentors for other students in future years.

Partners: Common Core@HKU, The Humanities Honours Program at Utrecht University, the Hong Kong University Museum & Art Gallery, the Black Box Theatre, the Netherlands Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau, others TBD.

The Common Core@HKU: The Common Core serves all HKU undergraduates, who are required to take six interdisciplinary courses across four Areas of Inquiry: Science and Technological Literacy, Humanities and Arts, Global Issues, and China. The Core emphasizes transdisciplinary practice, learning organized around exploratory projects, building capacities for creative collaboration, and knowledge-exchanges with the campus, Hong Kong, and beyond. (For more information:

The Honours Humanities Program at Utrecht University: The Utrecht University Honours program is a three year program that runs alongside the regular bachelor programs. It is accessible only to the top 5% of Utrecht University students, which means that only the brightest, most creative and active students are part of this program. With an emphasis on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary theory, the program is focused on response-ability to the contemporary crisis (ecological, social, academic) that haunts Europe, humanity and the Earth.
(For more information:

The TransDisciplinary Undergraduate Research Exchange Program Directors:

Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, PhD, Professor& Director, Common Core, University of Hong Kong (
Rick Dolphijn, PhD, Humanities Honours Program Coordinator, Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies, University of Utrecht; Visiting Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong (

Two information sessions about the TransDisciplinary Undergraduate Research Exchange will be held in November. Details as follows:

Dates: November 3 and 10, 2016 (Thursday)
Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Venue: Room 150B, 1/F, Main Building