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Unlocking Innovation: A Journey to Guangdong, China, for Research and Education Collaboration

Updated: Jan 23

The CRISiSLab team leads, Associate Professor Raj Prasanna and Dr Marion Lara Tan, visited the SUSTech (Southern University of Science and Technology) in Shenzhen, China, in response to an invitation from Professor Lili Yang from the Department of Statistics and Data Science. The primary objective of the visit was to share knowledge, establish relationships with potential collaborators, and explore funding opportunities for research collaboration in Emergency Management. This visit also aligned with Marion's role as a recipient of the Future Earth Early Career Fellowship, based at Sun Yat-Sen University in Zhuhai City, which supports individuals in pursuing unique collaborations in China. SUSTech and the Future Earth Fellowship fully funded the visit.

The CRISiSLab team arrived at SUSTech on 12th December, and a meeting with the university research staff, including Prof Yang and Prof Zhejun Huang, was conducted the following day to gain insights into their ongoing research. On the same day, the team had the opportunity to meet with Prof Jiawei Li at the Institute of Risk Analysis, Prediction & Management (Risks-X) at SUSTech. Risks-X is involved in various research projects related to financial risk, geological disasters, climate change, and water resources. Noteworthy projects include the Global Financial Crisis Observatory, the Greater Bay Area Earthquake and Tsunami Monitoring Platform, and the Global Earthquake Forecasting System, which offer analytical tools and policy recommendations for governments and enterprises. Due to the similarity in ongoing research activities between Risks-X and JCDR (Joint Centre for Disaster Research), potential future collaborations were discussed.

The CRISiSLab Team also visited the Shenzhen Urban Public Safety and Technology Institute, following an invitation by Dr Zhongqi Shi, a senior official at the institute. This is a follow-up visit after Dr Shi's recent visit to NZ to better understand how Shenzhen is managing disasters. This institute conducts comprehensive research in urban public safety, focusing on natural disasters, accidents, and public health. Dr Shi expressed openness to research collaboration and knowledge sharing. At present, it has 13 departments, 4 directly affiliated secondary enterprises, and 4 management social organizations, with a total number of nearly 500 employees, and has established 1 academician, 38 doctoral and postdoctoral fellows, more than 70% of them have a master's degree or above, and are in urgent need of majors. Covering 44 core talent teams with a total of 264 people with an average age of 34 years old. Shenzhen City Security Institute relies on cutting-edge technology and top talents to promptly respond and quickly support urgent needs and major problems in the field of urban public security, and gradually explores an innovative path of "efficiently responding to urban public security needs with an enterprise-oriented and market-oriented operation model."

Another interesting visit during the tour was to the Future Earth China Headquarters at Sun Yat-Sen University in Zhuhai. The CRISiSLab team were warmly greeted by Dr Xiao Lu, Associate Director of Future Earth China, and the rest of the Future Earth team. The event commenced with a formal lunch and networking session. In the afternoon, Raj and Marion presented our work titled "CRISiSLab: Ongoing Research on Technology and Disaster Management" along with more knowledge and experience sharing on NZ with everyone.

During an academic seminar organized by Risks-X, the CRISiSLab team presented their earthquake early warning research titled "Implementation of Experimental Community-engaged Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) Sensor Network: Progress and Future Directions." Researchers, postgraduate and PhD students attended the seminar. At the end of the event, participants shared their knowledge and experiences on the topic. The seminar concluded with a dinner to celebrate the visit by CRISiSLab, attended by the event organizers and presenters. 

The team also visited the Shuanghua Yang Technology Research Lab invited by the lab lead, Prof Yulong Ding. This lab primarily focuses on Wireless Sensor Networking Research, including LoRa-based (Long-Range) networks. The work conducted by this laboratory offers a great opportunity for CRISiSLab to consider collaborative research in the areas of sensor networks, particularly the application of LPWAN solutions to disaster situations. 

The team got to explore more of Shenzhen in the last two days. Dr Zongjia Zhang, from the School of Public Management and Emergency Management at Jinan University, toured the team around the eastern coast of Shenzhen. Potential future collaborative research was discussed, with a focus on Dr Zhang's research field, which is urban flooding in China. Deling Meng from SUSTech showed Raj and Marion around the urban centres of the city; Deling is a PhD student engaged in research related to machine learning for forecasting waterlogging and flooding events in highly urbanized areas.

This successful trip was also supported by the Director of JCDR Prof David Johnston and the Brand Manager Alicia Cui.



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