Professor Mai Har Sham

Associate Vice-President (Research), University of Hong Kong

Professor Sham is the Associate Vice-President (Research) of the University of Hong Kong. She assists the university senior management team in developing the University’s research in Hong Kong and mainland China, research integrity and research data management policy and education, as well as enhancing the quality of research postgraduate education. Professor Sham has delivered plenary and keynote lectures on the roles of universities on research integrity issues in different continents. She is the Co-Chair for the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity to be held in Hong Kong in 2019.

Professor Sham obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge. She received her postdoctoral training in Developmental Genetics in the National Institute for Medical Research in London, U.K., before joining the University of Hong Kong. She served as Assistant Dean (Research) and Head of the Department of Biochemistry in the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine. She is currently Convenor of the Research Cluster of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology in the School of Biomedical Sciences in the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong. As a developmental geneticist, Professor Sham leads a research team focuses on the molecular mechanisms of mammalian development and mouse models of human congenital disorders. Her research programmes cover areas of gene regulation in development, molecular control of neural crest differentiation, genetic bases and mutant mouse models of human diseases, and neural stem cells.


Keynote Presentation: Strategies for promoting a responsible research culture for innovation and impact

Innovation and impact are the buzz words in the research arena today. In addition to conducting curiosity driven research, researchers are motivated to embark on translational research, to provide novel practical solutions to address global issues and community needs. With increasing competition on resource and on achievements, funding agencies are demanding institutions and researchers for productivity. Increasingly, various stakeholders are expecting researchers to be accountable to the society and community, beyond producing traditional research output in the form of publications. In research assessment exercises, research impact beyond academic knowledge are assessed by funding agencies and used to evaluate institutions. In pursuit of research excellence and impact, institutions have devised key performance indicators as tools to drive researchers’ behavior. In many institutions, systems for appraisal of researchers for promotion and tenure are evolved around these performance indicators. However, the social responsibility of institutions should be to foster vigorous research practice in order to produce trustworthy research outcomes. These good research practices should be reflected in the evaluation of researchers and institutions by relevant mechanisms.

Underpinning the current climate of innovation is the emergence of technologies, transforming the way that research is conducted in scientific as well as in arts and humanities disciplines. With the development of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, we are facing new challenges in research integrity issues. Well established research intensive institutions should have infrastructure in place to support project planning, research data management and sharing, documentation of methodology, and transparent reporting. There should also be developed systems to promote awareness of research integrity and provide training of researchers to prevent research misconduct. A truly excellent institution should have a robust system that ensure responsible conduct of research despite new challenges. Commitment and investment at the leadership level will be necessary. In my presentation, I will discuss strategies that may make a difference in promoting responsible conduct of research.