Innovative Research Receives Grant of Over $50 million from RGC Theme-based Research Scheme

Extracted from Communications and Public Relations Office, dated 12 July 2022

The University Grants Committee’s Research Grants Council announced today (12 July) the funding results of the Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) 2022/23. A research team led by Professor Pheng Ann Heng, Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has been awarded a grant of more than HK$50 million to establish a world-leading Institute of Medical Intelligence and XR that will advance the frontier of artificial intelligence (AI) and extended reality (XR) in medical and healthcare applications, making precision medicine a reality in next-generation healthcare. The grant falls under the theme of Advancing Emerging Research and Innovations Important to Hong Kong, one of the four designated research themes under the TRS.

From left: Dr. Harry Qin, Dr. Tiffany So, Professor Philip Fu, Professor Simon Yu, Professor Pheng Ann Heng (Project Coordinator), Professor Anthony Ng, Professor Qi Dou, and Dr. Jeremy Teoh

XR refers to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. When integrated with AI, it can play a huge role in medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention in real-world clinical applications. The goals of the Institute of Medical Intelligent and XR are (1) to develop advanced medical image analysis for intelligent personalised diagnosis with high precision, reliability and efficiency; (2) to develop AI-XR interaction and virtual surgery for next-generation visualisation, assessment, treatment coordination, precise planning, and surgical training and education; (3) to develop intraoperative AI-AR assisted surgery for dynamic medical interpretation, efficient execution of surgical plans and real-time fused intraoperative image guidance; and (4) to integrate the above technologies into a multi-faceted pipeline platform for applications in liver and kidney cancer diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and medical training, with the aim of inspiring ideas that will eventually benefit patients.

Demo on Virtual Anatomy by Professor Pheng Ann Heng (right) and Professor Qi Dou

Professor Mai-har Sham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, said, “I am very excited that CUHK has received the largest grant from the TRS, our innovative, world-class research is well-recognised and will make a positive impact on Hong Kong. I look forward to the Institute of Medical Intelligence and XR led by Professor Pheng Ann Heng leveraging these cutting-edge technologies to inspire and promote the development of many new strategies and tools for precision medicine, contributing to human health and well-being.