Common Core & Utrecht University

Critical Zones: Local and Planetary Flourishing

Transdisciplinary Research Exchange 2023



  • From HKU, 12 highly motivated, creative, collaborative and curious students chosen 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 3.3 or above (as of Semester 1, 2022-23); and
    (iii) are committed to full engagement with, and completion of, the exchange, including availability during the week of Utrecht’s visit to HKU and our visit to Utrecht.
    [Prior participants are not eligible.]
  • 6 Utrecht students will be drawn from the Humanities Honours Programme.
  • The HKU students will co-create, with their Utrecht peers, a transdisciplinary research process and archive, an 8-minute video, and a public presentation of their research topic.
  • In addition, each HKU student will make a 3-minute video about their experience and write a 1000-word reflection for the purposes of discovery, understanding, and public visibility.
Why? To increase students’ capacities for creative problem-solving and global collaboration, both virtual and physical, that produces tangible outcomes around issues that you care deeply about that are related to the critical zones essential to local and planetary flourishing.
Outcomes? The project will produce a series of high-impact outcomes, including:

  • An increased capacity for transdisciplinary research, project-management, facilitation, presentation and media-production skills
  • Sophisticated cross-cultural and cross-geographical collaboration
  • An 8-minute video on the research topic
  • A 3-minute video about their experience and a 1000-word analytic reflection (individual work)
  • A public event organized around the student research process + the videos
  • Friendship networks (which have proven invaluable to former participants)
  • Certificates of Participation
  • 2 credits from the HKU Horizons Programme ( [*These are recorded on your transcript, but are not usable for graduation credits.]
  • Beginning in March, 2023, the group will meet regularly, via Zoom and F2F, in order to get to know one another and to get the research process underway. You are expected to attend all of these sessions.
  • The virtual collaboration between the two groups of students will also begin in March.
  • Utrecht students will visit Hong Kong from (approximately) April 17-22, 2023 and the Hong Kong students will visit Utrecht from (approximately) June 5-10, 2023. You must be available for the shared activities during these two weeks.
  • Each participant will receive a subsidy of HK$15,000. Participants will be responsible for all costs including hotel accommodation, airfare, additional insurance, visa and in-country costs, etc.
  • Arrangements will be made to disburse 70% (HK$ 10,500) of the subsidy to support their participation prior to their departure for Utrecht. The remaining 30% (HK$4,500) will be disbursed upon their completion of the entire programme, and the submission of a 3-minute video (individual) and a 1000-word final written reflection (individual).
  • All participants are required to stay at StayOkay Utrecht Centrum 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. The cost of accommodation for each participant would be around EUR290 for the exchange period.
Failure to complete the entire programme shall result in withdrawal and/or reduction of financial subsidies as determined by the Common Core Office.




How to apply and participate?
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 collaboration as well as how s/he would most like to serve as a change-agent in relation to Critical Zones: Local and Planetary Flourishing. (We will first be working off of Bruno Latour’s development of this concept, but please do not assume that you have to completely understand this term ahead of time.)
  • an updated CV;
  • a student copy of the transcript of academic record (For details about obtaining a student copy of the academic transcript, please visit the website of the Academic Support and Examinations Section (; and
  • a photograph of yourself.
Successful applicants will be asked to sign a Common Core Transdisciplinary Research Exchange Letter of Commitment, ensuring 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. (We also understand if there will be examinations that cannot be missed.)
The application materials should be submitted to
Application Deadline: February 24, 2023 (Friday), 5:00 pm (No late applications will be accepted.)


Zooming to and from Utrecht: An Information Session

HKU Facilitator: Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Senior Adviser to the Common Core and Honorary Professor of Humanities
Date: February 21, 2023 (Tuesday)
Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Venue: Zoom


Info session Feb 21 (Tue), 10:00 am – 11:00 am, via Zoom
Application deadline Feb 24 (Fri), 5:00 pm
Announcement of application results Mar 3 (Fri) – Mar 10 (Fri)
First meeting (Zoom + F2F) Week of Mar 13
UU’s visit to HKU Apr 17 (Mon) – Apr 22 (Sat)
HKU’s visit to Utrecht Jun 5 (Mon) – Jun 10 (Sat)
Participants should arrive at StayOkay Utrecht Centrum for the first gathering in the evening of Jun 4 (Sun)
Completion of project, submission of 3-minute video and written reflection Jun 30 (Fri)


Programme Directors
Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Senior Adviser to the Common Core and Honorary Professor of Humanities, University of Hong Kong (
Rick Dolphijn, PhD, Humanities Honours Programme Coordinator, Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies, University of Utrecht; Visiting Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong (


For enquiries, please contact us at