Croucher summer course at a glance

18 July 2017

Each year, the Croucher Foundation sponsors local universities to organise summer courses with the aim to educate and inspire promising postgraduate students and early career researchers from Hong Kong and the wider region.

We are delighted to join the Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response summer courses organised by the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a morning.

Directed by Professor Emily Chan, the Centre Director of Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC), the course took place at Jao Tsung-I Academy, formerly known as Lai Chi Kok Hospital and now revitalised to become a cultural hub for arts and Chinese culture promotion.

This hidden gem in the city is named in honour of Professor Jao Tsung-I, a Chinese scholar, poet, calligrapher and painter. The historical site is divided into Low, Middle and High Zone. Buildings in red bricks at Low Zone serve as exhibition halls to display artwork of Jao. The main building at Mid Zone is where students attend their lectures.

The summer course focuses on field-based research methodology for disaster and medical humanitarian response in Hong Kong. Students are able to learn from world-renowned scientists, network with peers and participate in engaging and interactive discussions. At the end of the five-day residential course, students are required to complete two online courses developed by CCOUC and a project presentation.


“It is our third year organising this course. Disaster prevention has always been a fun topic. Unlike other laboratory work, researchers in this field are exposed to people from different disciplines,” says Chan. “On one day I might be discussing building structure with a civil engineer, and on the other day I might be sharing with a politician on earthquake drill. We might have very different background yet we all share the common goal, that is to reduce causality in event of natural disaster.”

In the lecture room, participants from seven continents actively present their ideas on a case study. “Through the course we hope that students can get a better understanding on how to minimise the impact of natural disaster, and more importantly, establish network with other students,” Chan comments. “ I admit it’s hard to teach the class. We have members from charity organisations, researchers, politicians or even militarians joining the course, but it is such variations that create a perfect environment for building connections. After all disaster response is about collaboration among parties.”

In May, CCOUC participated in the 17th Scientific Committee Meeting of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) in Cancun, Mexico. During the meeting, the committee exchanged and discussed future IRDR initiatives and the upcoming Science and Technology for Disaster Resilience 2017 Conference, to be held in Tokyo, Japan in November 2017. The committee also presented some research activities of CCOUC, one of which is a case study book sponsored by the Croucher Foundation on evidence-based policy making for disaster risk reduction. 

To know more about the report, please click here.