The world is experiencing an unprecedented industrial revolution driven by big data and financial technology. While practitioners are facing a large number of new problems that cannot be solved by existing methods and frameworks, researchers are constrained by their publication goals and have not yet been fully exposed to these unsolved problems arising from practice.
The Summit of Unsolved Problems (The SOUP Summit) is the first of its kind in Asia where researchers and practitioners share a platform to have in-depth, secure and confidential/private sessions to jointly address challenging business issues. It allows original ideas and academic expertise of researchers to meet unsolved problems in industries, with an ultimate goal to help firms solve business problems and researchers generate real social impact.
Who Shall Join?
The focus of the SOUP Summit is BIG DATA and FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY.
If you are a(n) enterprise, financial institution, government/regulatory agency, exchange of securities, or database company and face the following challenges, you are most welcome to join us:
- Experiencing long-term strategic issues in business operations or innovations that were not / not planned to be addressed by consulting firms;
- Owning a large amount of data but do not know how your firm/institution/organisation can benefit from information contained in the data or how to use the data to generate positive social impact; and
- Allocated funding that can support academic research in collaborations with universities.
What Types of “Unsolved Problems” Are Expected?
While computer scientists aim to solve specific engineering problems to improve models’ predictive power, economists in the business school aim to find the mechanisms behind observed data or explanatory power of models. The SOUP Summit focuses on questions that can be addressed by economists and questions with fundamental economic/financial elements.
- Sample Questions
The SOUP Summit welcomes any questions in relation to finance and big data, including but not limited to:
- We have a dataset of investor behaviour. How should we find anomaly in their behaviour?
- We have a dataset with investor participation in social media. How can we find the opinion leaders in the financial market?
- We have some datasets of employees. How do we know which type of labour improves the total productivity the most?
- We have data of the real-estate market. How should we design a proper split of the public and private housing supply mechanism to keep a balance between fairness and efficiency?
- We are willing to conduct experiments in my organisation and would want to know if flexible working schedule such as work-from-home can improve employee productivity?
- As a government agency, we would like to support companies in HK/Shenzhen to improve their FinTech capabilities. Based on previous outcomes of funding allocation, how do we identify the best way to support them?
- Questions to Avoid
- Examples: What is the future business model of blockchain or 5G? Should the central bank increase the interest rate? Who will be the winner of the trade war?
- While they are important questions, the professors’ works need to be based on rigorous scientific analysis of data
Too engineering or computer-science oriented
- Examples: How to improve the accuracy of the BERT model in NLP? How to improve the speed of a particular algorithm that you use?
- 31 March 2021 (now extended to 9 April 2021): Registration deadline
- 10-18 April 2021: Screening & matching of corporates with professors or researchers of CUHK/CUHK-Shenzhen/Shenzhen Finance Institute
- 19 April 2021: Announcement through email to the shortlisted corporates for SOUP Summit
- 7 May 2021: SOUP Summit – Presentation from corporates and Exchange with professors/researchers audiences
- 1. What is the commitment from enterprise?
We would like to invite participating enterprises to submit at least two (2) out of the following three (3) items, as a commitment to the collaboration through the SOUP mechanism:
- Questions/challenges the enterprises would like to invite CUHK/ CUHK-Shenzhen / Shenzhen Finance Institute (“CUHK”, “SFI”) professors/researchers to work together with them;
- Dataset(s) that the enterprises can provide; and
- Research funding that the enterprises are able to allocate to Hong Kong – Shenzhen Finance Research Centre (HSFRC) to support research collaborations with CUHK professors.
When an enterprise does not have specific questions but is willing to provide (2) and (3), we still welcome the enterprise to submit the data for screening. CUHK professors will use these datasets to explore open questions of mutual interest with funding support from the sponsoring enterprise.
- 2. How many BIG question(s) can be raised by each participant in the SOUP Summit? What are the screening criteria for questions to be accepted in the SOUP Summit?
There is no limit on the number of questions submitted by each participant. All submitted questions will be screened by the SOUP Summit Committee based on the importance of questions, the availability of data sources, the feasibility of solving questions before a reasonable deadline, and the potential matching between the nature of questions and the expertise of CUHK professors/researchers.
- 3. What is the scale of dataset needed for selection?
For participants with specific questions, they are encouraged to provide any data sources that may potentially help researchers address these questions. For participants with no specific questions, they are encouraged to provide any datasets that might trigger important research questions with potential mutual interest. The SOUP Summit Committee will give priorities to proprietary data source with granular information that can address major social and economic issues. Data confidentiality is ensured by CUHK guidelines and research team members will be legally held responsible.
- 4. What would be the procedure once there is a successful matching?
First, we will invite two parties of matched projects to meet and discuss a potential collaboration. This may be carried out in form of open-door or closed-door seminars and meetings in the SOUP Summit. Second, if two parties decide to pursue a formal collaboration, the SOUP Summit Committee will provide guidance and support to establish an agreement of collaboration. Third, the SOUP Summit Committee will provide continuous support and monitor the progress of collaborations until the research outputs are delivered.
- 5. Can enterprises select scholars/researchers in CUHK, CUHK-Shenzhen or SFI ?
Participating enterprises are welcome to nominate CUHK, CUHK-Shenzhen or SFI scholars/researchers for their projects. The SOUP Summit Committee will approach the nominated scholars/researchers first before making the projects available to all other CUHK scholars/researchers. The final matching process is based on mutual agreement and the SOUP Summit Committee will not force either side to accept a potential match.
- 6. How long will the research findings be released typically?
It depends on the nature of questions and the data/funding support provided by the sponsoring enterprise. We expect the research projects to be completed and research findings to be released in 1-3 years.
- 7. Are companies entitled to use the research findings freely?
Once the SOUP mechanism matches the questions raised by participating enterprises and the expertise of CUHK professors/researchers and two parties decide to pursue a formal collaboration after careful discussions, two parties will sign an agreement of collaboration that provides detailed arrangements on the ownership (and the potential transfer) of intellectual properties generated from the collaboration. The ownership of intellectual properties will be negotiated primarily based on the contribution of funding and data sources from both parties and this negotiation process will be guided and supported by the Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Service (ORKTS) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Research Administration Office at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.
- 8. Can the research findings be adopted to use under the subsidiaries of the collaborating companies?
This is determined by the agreement on the ownership of intellectual properties, which is completely flexible ex ante. Please refer to the answer of Question 7.
- 9. Who will own the IP right of the research findings?
Once again, please refer to the answer of Question 7.
- 10. What kind of documentations need to be signed?
There is no requirement of signing any documents for participating the SOUP Summit. If the SOUP mechanism identifies any good matching between participating enterprise and CUHK, CUHK-Shenzhen or SFI professors/researchers and both parties decide to pursue a collaboration, a formal agreement of collaboration will be signed by both parties.
- 11. Are there any precedent case(s) based on this collaboration?
The Summit of Unsolved Problems (SOUP) is the first of its kind in Asia. However, the collaboration framework between universities, enterprises, and government organisations has been a common practice for a long time, e.g., MIT Initiative on Digital Economy, Stanford Digital Economy Lab, and Harvard Business School Digital Initiative are all actively working with industry sponsors on cutting-edge research projects. The SOUP Summit creates a platform where researchers and practitioners could have in-depth, secure, and confidential/private sessions to jointly address challenging business issues, with an ultimate goal to help firms solve business problems and researchers generate real social impact.
Hong Kong-Shenzhen Finance Research Centre, co-founded by CUHK Business School and the Shenzhen Finance Institute (SFI) of CUHK-Shenzhen, conducts and applies cutting-edge finance research with a focus on the Greater Bay Area. The Centre provides interdisciplinary platforms for collaboration among researchers of different backgrounds and between academia and practitioners, and tackles challenges arising from different social, political, legal and financial systems adopted in the area.
The SOUP Committee
- Prof. Michael Zhang, Co-Director, Hong Kong-Shenzhen Finance Research Centre; Associate Dean (Innovation and Impact) and Professor of Decision Science and Managerial Economics, CUHK Business School
- Prof. Shu Tao, Co-Director, Hong Kong-Shenzhen Finance Research Centre; Associate Director, Shenzhen Finance Institute; Presidential Chair Professor, CUHK-Shenzhen; Director of Government Big Data Lab, Shenzhen Research Institute of Big Data
- Prof. Cen Ling, Associate Director, Hong Kong-Shenzhen Finance Research Centre; Associate Professor of Finance, CUHK Business School
- Prof. Li Dan, Associate Director, Hong Kong-Shenzhen Finance Research Centre; Associate Professor, SME, CUHK-Shenzhen
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