As the only international comprehensive public university in Macao, the research performance of UM has made significant progress in the past decade. In line with the national development strategy of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, UM is determined to become an important node in the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao Science and Technology Innovation Corridor and a technological innovation hub on the west coast of the Greater Bay Area. The University adopts an approach of highlighting unique features, bringing existing advantages into full play, reaching new heights, and strengthening cooperation in scientific research. Being problem-oriented and focusing on supporting disciplines with local characteristics that are in line with global trends, UM has formulated a ‘3+3+3+3’ strategic research layout as the backbone of the research development.
In November 2010 and July 2018, UM obtained approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China to establish three State Key Laboratories, including the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine (SKL-QRCM), the State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI (SKL-AMSV), and the State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City (SKL-IOTSC).
The State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine (SKL-QRCM) is committed to address the key scientific and technical issues of quality evaluation of traditional Chinese medicine, develop a comprehensive R&D platform for the quality of Chinese medicine, build a multidisciplinary academic team to carry out systematic transformational research, establish scientific quality standards for innovative research and development of traditional Chinese medicines and play a role in international exchange.
The State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI (SKL-AMSV) mainly conducts cutting-edge research on various electronic systems with two main research emphases, namely analog-to-digital converters and low-power RF chips. The laboratory also actively develops research directions in power management and microfluidic chips.
The State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City (SKL-IOTSC) is the nation’s first state key laboratory in this field. The laboratory researches innovative theories, algorithms and systems that are of fundamental importance, and develops exemplary applications for smart cities. The laboratory carries out research on five fronts: intelligent sensing and network communication, urban big data and intelligent technology, smart energy, intelligent transportation, and public safety and disaster prevention.
In addition to the research conducted by the three state key laboratories, UM vigorously supports three newly identified key research areas, namely precision medicine, advanced materials, and regional oceanography.
In order to meet the global demand for precision medicine for cancer treatment, UM has formed two teams to tackle the problem from two major directions: biomedical mechanisms and biomedical materials. One of the teams, the Faculty of Health Sciences, is committed to develop precision medicine for cancer treatment, establish a major frozen tumor tissue bank and live cell bank in Macao, study the mechanism of cancer growth, metastasis, recurrence and drug resistance, develop early cancer diagnosis methods, identify cancer genome drivers, and identify highly effective drugs for killing cancer cells. Another team, the Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering, has developed carbon quantum dots materials with unique anti-tumor effect in the study of carbon-based nano-biomaterials. UM has been ranked in the Essential Science Indicators (ESI) database in the top 1 percent in terms of two disciplines related to precision medicine: Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Clinical Medicine.
Through the establishment of the Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering in 2014, UM is committed to the design and synthesis of nanostructured materials, as well as development and application in the fields of environmental governance, green energy, energy storage, and photoelectric conversion with high efficiency. Also, the University has made significant advances and achieved excellent performance in the fields of hybrid active power filters, perovskite solar cells and zinc-air fuel cells, as well as superabsorbent and superconducting highly-elastic hydrogel. The photoelectric conversion efficiency of perovskite developed by UM researchers has reached 12.9 percent, close to the peak photoelectric conversion efficiency of other expensive semiconductors. The innovative hydrogel can absorb up to 13,600 times its own weight in water, which is more than twice the water-absorption ability of the most water-absorbent hydrogel ever recorded.
UM’s research in regional oceanography aims to promote marine environmental protection and rational planning and utilization of resources in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and implement the concept of ecological civilization. With the goal of solving the problems in planning and utilizing the newly added 85 square kilometers of waters in regional development, the University focuses on areas with social impact, such as marine civil engineering, marine environment and ecology, marine disaster prevention, and marine economy. Currently, the University is mainly studying scientific research topics such as intelligent maintenance of marine engineering, environmental pollution control of near-shore water bodies, monitoring and simulation of air-sea exchanges, and multi-scale simulation and evaluation of floods and landslides.
In order to promote the integration of interdisciplinary research fields, UM has established an academic unit, the Institute of Collaborative Innovation (ICI). Through the cooperation in interdisciplinary research leading to consensus and wisdom, ICI plays a key role in advancing scientific discovery, training personnel, and developing the economy. The centre in ICI focus on three interdisciplinary fields, including artificial intelligence and robotics, data science, and cognitive and brain sciences.
The Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics focuses on computational intelligence algorithms, visual and pattern recognition, data intelligent analysis and prediction, machine translation, human language technology, natural language processing (NLP), human-machine communication, autonomous driving, intelligent robots, etc. The Centre plays a crucial role in developing Macao into a smart city at present and in the future.
The Centre for Data Science is committed to train a new generation of data scientists, conduct various interdisciplinary research on data, promote in-depth exploration of knowledge and establish predictive mechanisms and models to guide the applications of data science in all levels of human life, with the aim of enhancing the development of new technology industries and contributing to the society.
The Centre for Cognitive and Brain Sciences consists of four platforms: neuroimaging, brain intervention, cognition and behavioral data collection and high-performance computing platforms. The four platforms complement each other and realize the integration of multi-dimensional and large-scale data acquired from brain imaging, eye movement, behavior, physiology, clinical observation, etc., which can help develop a multi-level and all-round research centre for cognitive and brain sciences.
The Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences aims to promote interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences. By attracting high-level talents from both inside and outside the University to engage in research that is significant to Macao and the country, a high-quality, interdisciplinary, international, competitive and comprehensive academic research platform will be built.
The Centre for Macau Studies aims to become a leading centre of research in Macao and the Greater China region and focus on the history, culture and society of Macao. It undertakes academic and policy research activities which contribute to knowledge and social impact. By engaging in innovative and pioneering research, the Centre aims to achieve academic excellence without losing sight of the practical implications of research inquiries on the sustainable development of Macao and the Greater China region.
The Asia-Pacific Academy of Economics and Management has a vision of providing high-quality research on many socio-economic issues and nurturing internationally competitive and responsible leaders for the Asia-Pacific region. It aims to become a world-leading business leadership training hub for emerging economies in the region. It is believed that ethical leadership must be incorporated into an executive learner’s experience along with the traditional emphasis on policy analysis and formulation.