Common Core Transdisciplinary Research Exchange 2019-20


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.
  • From HKU, 10 highly motivated, creative, and curious students from across all the Faculties who 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) are committed to full engagement with the exchange, including insuring availability during the week of Utrecht’s visit (April 6 to April 11, 2020).
  • 10 cross-disciplinary students from the Honours College and the Humanities Honours Programme at Utrecht University, Netherlands.
What? With their peers in Utrecht, students will co-create transdisciplinary research strands, read together, create an 8-minute video and a public event to share the work and to think about next steps. The projects will be initiated by students and organized around the transdisciplinary concept of the More-Than-Human-City, with the “more,” the “than,” the “human” and the “city” all in need of articulation, elaboration, and exploration.
  • One meeting in Semester 1 [December 5, 2019] to begin to get to know one another and brainstorm possible projects and intersections with our Utrecht colleagues.
  • Beginning in January, 2020, the group will meet approximately every two weeks, in the early evening, in order to provide the groundwork for collaborative practices to get the research, reading, and project-management process underway
  • The virtual collaboration between the two research groups will begin, approximately, in early February.
  • Utrecht Students will visit Hong Kong from April 6 to April 11, 2020 and the Hong Kong Students will visit Utrecht from June 1 to June 6, 2020. You must be available for the shared activities during both of these time periods.
  • The project will produce a series of tangible outcomes, including:
    • An increased capacity for transdisciplinary research, project-management, facilitating seminars, and presenting related activities
    • A physical project notebook
    • A shared HKU-Utrecht TransDisciplinary Research FaceBook Page
    • Public events organized around the topics of the students’ choice, but related to the experience of the More-Than-Human-City as explored and articulated in an 8-minute video.
    • You will be asked to write an analytic reflection on the experience, to share the experience with others, and to serve as peer mentors for the following year’s group
    • Building collaborative research and friendship networks and social interventions
  • This type of transdisciplinary collaborative research will deepen your participatory understanding of the world and the possibilities for your own future work. Participants will receive Certificates of Accomplishment and will be able to share their experience in a number of different venues. You may, for instance, want upon your return to join our on-campus group of Nomadic Transdisciplinary Researchers. In addition, each participant, should the need arise, will receive a letter of recommendation for post-graduate study, jobs, or internships from Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, the Common Core Director and/or Dr Rick Dolphijn, the facilitator from Utrecht.
  • Each participant will receive a subsidy of HK$10,000, but will be responsible for all costs including hotel accommodation, airfare, food, additional insurance, visa and in-country costs, etc.
  • Arrangements will be made to disburse 70% (HK$ 7,000) of the subsidy prior to departure for Utrecht. The remaining 30% (HK$3,000) will be disbursed upon completion of the entire programme and the submission of a final written reflection. Failure to complete the entire programme shall result in withdrawal and/or reduction of financial subsidies as determined by the Common Core Office.
  • All participants are required to stay at the same hostel / hotel during the exchange period in Utrecht. They will be required to make a prepayment to the hotel via the Common Core Office before their departure. [Participants stayed at Stayokay Utrecht Centrum ( for the programme in 2018-19. The cost of accommodation for each participant was HK$2,800 for the exchange period.]


How to apply and participate?
  • Two Information Sessions, with the same content, will be offered on October 2 (Wed) and October 22 (Tuesday).

Dates: October 2, 2019 (Wednesday) & October 22, 2019 (Tuesday)
Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Venue: Common Core Lounge (Room 150, 1/F, Main Building)

  • All applicants should submit a 500 word statement in which s/he demonstrates how s/he would most like to participate in a transdisciplinary research and project-creation as well as how s/he would most like to serve as a social change-agent in relation to the More-Than-Human-City. Please do not assume that you have to completely understand this term ahead of time and please do not simply give us a list of prior accomplishments. Take this as an opportunity to demonstrate your creative analysis and analytic creativity.
  • In addition, please include an updated CV; a student copy of the transcript of academic record; and a photograph of yourself. (For details about obtaining a student copy of the academic transcript, please visit the website of the Academic Support and Examinations Section (
  • The application materials should be sent to with the subject line reading Common Core Transdisciplinary Research Exchange Application 2019-20.
  • Successful applicants will be asked to sign a Common Core Transdisciplinary Research Exchange Letter of Commitment, insuring their full engagement with the project throughout the entire trajectory, including, potentially, during the Reading Week and the Assessment period. We will be happy to provide letters of request to professors if you need to miss class during the week when your Utrecht colleagues visit.

Application Deadline: November 1, 2019 (No late applications will be accepted.)

The Common Core@HKU: The Common Core serves all HKU undergraduates, who 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. (
The Honours College and the Honours Humanities Programme at Utrecht University: 

  • The Humanities Honours programme runs for three years alongside the regular bachelor programmes. 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 initiative. With an emphasis on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary theory and practice, the programme is focused on deepening and broadening the student perspective and on the societal relevance of research. (
  • The Honours College serves all interdisciplinary and faculty-based honours programmes (BA and MA) that run at Utrecht University. Its courses, seminars and exchange programs circle around the major research areas of the University and ask students to approach complex questions from multiple perspectives and to work towards manageable solutions. (
Programme Directors
Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, PhD, Professor & Director, Common Core, University of Hong Kong (gklindgren@hku.hk
Rick Dolphijn, PhD, Humanities Honours Programme and Honours College Coordinator, Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies, University of Utrecht; Honorary Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong (;