Call for Applications: The Inaugural CUHK Research Summit: Digital Methods and Social Development

Date: 21 – 27 August 2016
Venue: C-Centre (Centre for Chinese Media & Comparative Communication Research), School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
Map of Location:
Event flyer:
Twitter hashtag: #dmsdcu16


About the Summit

How can digital methods benefit not only academia but also society at large? How does one select, develop, and use the most appropriate digital research tools to tackle real-world issues in a week – such as an election, an environmental campaign, labor advocacy, and data challenges facing a social enterprise? How do the world’s leading scholars evaluate the state of digital methods globally? How do they think about the future directions of this burgeoning field beyond a Eurocentric Internet, beyond the norms of liberal democracies?

From 21-27 August 2016, the School of Journalism and Communication will host the Inaugural CUHK Research Summit on “Digital Methods and Social Development” at its C-Centre.

The Summit builds on the format and pedagogical traditions of the Digital Methods Summer School established since 2007 at the University of Amsterdam (, while aspiring to extend it to reflect the social needs in Hong Kong, China, Asia, and the Global South.

The planned activities include (a) a high-level public event on August 21 consisting of keynote speeches and open discussions, and (b) a six-day training program during August 22-27 for advanced PhD students and early career researchers. We welcome applicants from Hong Kong, Asia, and other parts of the world. From this pool, we will select 20 trainees from diverse cultural, methodological and disciplinary backgrounds, to conduct group work with help from experienced trainers throughout the week.

Speakers and trainers will come from around the world. The content will cover social media analysis, network analysis, data visualization, Big Data, and related research topics. Emphasis will be placed on innovative thinking, the mastery of research tools, the matching between analytical strategies and theoretical / practical questions posed by subject experts, especially in the contexts of Chinese and Asian-language cyberspaces.


August 21 public event

Time: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Venue: LT2, Esther Lee Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Programme: View / download

Keynote Speakers
Keynote Speakers Title / Abstract Video
Prof. Michael Best
Director and Professor,
Institute on Computing and Society,
United Nations University
Digital Methods and Democratic Development: Acquiring and acting on user generated content during national elections Video
chen Prof. Wenhong Chen
Assistant Professor,
Department of Radio-TV-Film,
University of Texas at Austin
Handle with Care: Digital Methods, Sociological Imagination, & the Chinese Dream Video
melissa Dr. Melissa Gregg
Principal Engineer, Client Computing Group,
Intel Corporation;
Contributing writer, The Atlantic
Counterproductive: A brief history of time management Video
Issac Mao Mr. Isaac Mao
Director, Social Brain Foundation;
Co-Founder, Berry Labs
Man and Machine, teaming or fighting? Video
richard Prof. Richard Rogers
Professor of New Media and Digital Culture,
University of Amsterdam
Otherwise Engaged: From Vanity Metrics to Critical Analytics Video
Public Talk Video

Training Program (August 22-27)

Participants will be divided into four groups, and each will focus on one project during a week-long training program led by professional trainers. The major aim of the projects is to analyze the digital data provided or requested by four social organizations with very different nature. The following is an initial description of each group’s project:

  1. Environmental initiative – Participants will examine the Des Voeux Road Central Initiative (DVRC,, an on-going project of the Hong Kong Clean Air Network. The aim is to create a pedestrian and tram precinct in Hong Kong’s central business district, while promoting sustainable lifestyle and reducing air pollution.
  2. Labor advocacy – This team will focus on the UNIQLO campaign launched by Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM,, a key NGO in Hong Kong engaging in international labor activism. Using a combination of social media channels to raise public awareness, the campaign targets the largest Japanese fast-fashion company whose subcontractors abused Chinese textile workers.
  3. Social enterprise  Participants in this group will analyze music data provided by Aivvy (, a tech startup that boasts the world’s first smart music technology platform. More than a consumer electronics company, Aivvy aims to foster social good by connecting less well-known musicians with potential listeners using innovative device and algorithms.
  4. Politics and democracy – The 2016 Hong Kong Legislative Election will take place on September 4. Several of Hong Kong’s most experienced public opinion researchers will conduct a new project covering the election. This group of participants will study Facebook profiles of the candidates and citizens’ online discussion in ways that shall inform the election study from new, social media angles.

Prior to joining the Summit, we will send learning materials (e.g., readings, videos, software) to admitted participants, who are supposed to go through the materials and start to get familiarized with the analytical tools and methodological issues. In the morning of Aug 22 Monday, we will hear presentations by experts from each of the four social organizations mentioned above with regard to the project context, major questions at stake, the most relevant data, and the research needs on the ground.

After that, participants need to work with trainers to decide on their analytical strategies, complete data analysis, and prepare for public presentation in the afternoon of Aug 27 Saturday. During the Saturday afternoon session, experts from the social organizations will be invited back to hear group presentations and provide assessments along with members of the general public.

Welcome package of the training programme could be viewed or downloaded here.


Teaching Modules 


Photo Gallery

For enquiries, please contact Ms. Mandy Chan by email at