Issue 6 - June 2010
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Table of Contents
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Message from the Dean

Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme 2010/11: An Analysis of FCLU’s Performance

Dear Colleagues,

The Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme was established by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) in 2009, to attract the best and the brightest students in the world to pursue their PhD programmes in Hong Kong.  A total of 135 PhD Fellowships were made available by the RGC for the 2010/11 academic year.

The four departments of the Faculty of Construction and Land Use (FCLU) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) received around 150 applications from over 25 countries around the world for the Fellowship Scheme, out of the total of 620 received by the University.  Most of the applicants of the Faculty were from East and Southeast Asian countries, viz. 46% from the Chinese mainland, 10% from Pakistan and 8% from India.

The four departments of the Faculty nominated 16 applications to the University for further consideration, including 3 from BRE, 7 from BSE, 3 from CSE and 3 from LSGI. Out of the 16 applications, the PolyU Selection Panel shortlisted 14 applications for submission to RGC, including 3 from BRE, 7 from BSE, 2 from CSE and 2 from LSGI. In terms of the academic qualifications, 97 CLU applicants (56%) possess a Master’s degree or above.

Statistics on the Application No. and Result

Dept

Chinese mainland

Hong Kong

Other countries

Total no. of applications

Nominated by Dept

Shortlisted by PolyU

Offers (Final awardees)

BRE

10

2

16

28

3

3

0

BSE

8

1

10

19

7

7

3(2)

CSE

35

0

40

75

3

2

1(1)

LSGI

16

0

11

27

3

2

2(2)

Total

69

3

77

149

16

14

6(5)

RGC offered the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship to 18 out of the 49 nominations (36.7%) put forward by PolyU, including 6 nominations from FCLU (BSE: 3; CSE: 1; LSGI: 2), accounting for 33.3% of PolyU’s successful applications.  As some applicants declined the offer, the number of final awardees for PolyU is 15 out of the 115 final awardees for all UGC institutions. Five awardees are from FCLU, which also account for 33.3% of the PolyU awardees.

I take this opportunity to thank all colleagues for their efforts in ensuring a strong performance of the Faculty in this important competitive bidding exercise. I hope that the analysis presented above has provided you with some information which may be of value in your preparation for the 2011/2012 exercise. Let us work together towards even greater success for FCLU in the future.

Professor Jin-Guang Teng
Dean of Faculty of Construction and Land Use

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Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Funding 2010
Dr Simon Shiming Deng
Dr Vivien Lin Lu
Dr Hai Guo
Dr Agachai Sumalee
Prof. Janet Nichol

The Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in research Funding is a formal recognition for the outstanding achievements of academic staff of the Faculty of Construction and Land Use (FCLU) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in securing major external competitive research grants, such as those from the RGC, or the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF). In order to qualify for the award, a staff member would also need to have successfully secured at least 4 research grants as a Principal Investigator in the past 5 calendar years, or at least 3 research grants as a Principal Investigator in the past 3 calendar years.

The following academic staff members of FCLU have been selected to receive the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Funding 2010:

Dept

Awardee

Research Grants Secured

BSE

Dr Simon Shiming DENG

  • RGC General Research Fund, 2007/08
  • RGC General Research Fund, 2008/09
  • Environment and Conservation Fund, 2009

BSE

Dr Vivien Lin LU

 

  • Environment and Conservation Fund, 2008
  • Environment and Conservation Fund, 2009
  • ITF Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme, 2008/09

CSE

Dr Hai GUO

 

  • RGC General Research Fund, 2007/08
  • RGC General Research Fund, 2009/10
  • Environment and Conservation Fund, 2009
  • Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)/RGC Joint Research Scheme, 2009/10

CSE

Dr Agachai SUMALEE

 

  • RGC General Research Fund, 2007/08
  • RGC General Research Fund, 2008/09
  • RGC General Research Fund, 2009/10

LSGI

Prof. Janet NICHOL

 

  • RGC General Research Fund, 2007/08
  • RGC General Research Fund, 2008/09
  • RGC General Research Fund, 2009/10
  • RGC Public Policy Research Grant (PPRG) Scheme, 2009/10


Each awardee will receive a cash prize of HK$10,000 and a research grant of HK$200,000. The award certificates will be presented to the awardees at the Faculty Congregation and Prize Presentation Ceremony 2010 in November.

Dr Simon Shiming Deng

The three externally funded projects by Dr Deng Shiming from the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) are all related to improving the energy efficiency of different air conditioning and/or heat pump systems through mathematical modeling and developing novel control algorithms.  In Hong Kong and elsewhere, much energy is currently used in buildings on account of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems for maintaining thermally comfortable indoor environments. Therefore, it is of vital importance to advance technologies to ensure the highest possible energy efficiency when operating these systems, so as to contribute to low-carbon living and sustainable development.

The first of Dr Deng’s projects was funded in 2007 by RGC through its general research fund. It studies a novel reverse cycle defrosting method for air source heat pumps (ASHPs) which is energy-saving and environmental friendly for building cooling and heating, and which has been used worldwide in recent decades. However the heat pumps are subject to periodic defrosting requirements during heating at low ambient temperatures, when insufficient heat is available for defrosting, which would then prolong a defrosting process when no heating is provided, adversely affecting the indoor thermal environment. The novel reverse cycle defrosting method developed is thermal energy storage based, which helps both to reduce defrosting energy consumption and the time for defrosting; this in turn ensures that the thermal comfort of occupants would not be significantly degraded during defrosting. The outcome of Dr Deng’s project would encourage wider use of ASHPs, for their advantages to be fully realized.
  
Dr Deng’s RGC funded project in 2008 is for developing a mathematical model and novel control algorithms for multi-evaporator air conditioners (MEAC). MEAC have offered building owners many advantages over conventional chilled water based air conditioning installations, such as higher energy efficiency and flexibility in design and installations. However, it was  noted that although MEAC units worth billions of dollars have been sold worldwide, the technical details for capacity control in an MEAC unit were not readily available in the public domain, mainly due to commercial confidentiality. Dr Deng’s project would help improve the MEAC technology and pave the way for its further application by providing a simulation tool of MEACs and an openly available capacity control strategy.

Dr Deng’s project funded by The Environment and Conservation Fund in 2009 deals with developing a novel low-cost residential humidity control technology, based on a previously successfully developed control algorithm. The project is a good example of applying theoretical research outputs to practical applications. Dr Deng’s research would help reduce the energy use for residential air conditioning and improve indoor thermal comfort in Hong Kong, at a low cost.

This would help encourage the general public to set indoor air temperature at a high level, e.g., 25.5 °C, as recommended by the Hong Kong SAR Government. It is expected that the project outcomes would help change the local perception of air conditioning as setting the indoor temperature to a very low level.

Dr Vivien Lin Lu

Dr Vivien Lin Lu, from BSE was selected for the Dean’s Award on the strength of having secured ECF grants from the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) grant in the past 2 years for the following projects:

In 2008, Dr Lu secured $130,000 for the ECF project ‘Investigation on the feasibility and enhancement methods of wind power utilization in high-rise buildings of Hong Kong’. This project, which had been completed, investigated the feasibility of wind power utilization in high-rise buildings in Hong Kong and proposed the enhancement methods of wind power utilization in high-rise buildings.

In 2009, Dr Lu was granted $1,371,950 for the ITF project ‘Investigation and development of large-scale (MW) grid connected thin film photovoltaic power stations integrated with buildings’. In this project, large-scale (MW) grid connected thin film photovoltaic power stations are being studied and developed when they are integrated with buildings in urban area. The proposed power station can generate clean electricity directly from the sun to meet the annual power consumption of thousands of homes with zero greenhouse gas emissions. This project is still on-going.

In 2009, Dr Lu again secured $406,000 for the ECF project ‘Environmental payback time analysis of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) applications in Hong Kong’. This project studies the environmental payback times of different types of BIPV applications in Hong Kong, including energy payback and greenhouse gas emission payback. The outputs will provide local community and other researchers with informative and useful indicators of BIPV applications. This project is still on-going.
 
All three projects have significantly solved the building-integrated applications of wind power and Photovoltaic (PV) technologies, and have made valuable contributions to the renewable energy (RE) industry, putting Dr Lu and her research team in a leading position in the research and development in the RE area.

Dr Hai Guo

Dr Hai Guo of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (CSE) was funded $1,459,238 by RGC General Research Fund, 2009/10 for the project “Contribution of biogenic VOCs to the formation of photochemical oxidants and secondary organic aerosols under the influence of mesoscale circulation in subtropical Hong Kong: Field observations and model simulations”. Dr Guo has embarked on this project because Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta are heavily impacted by photochemical ozone (O3) and secondary organic aerosols, which greatly affect human health, agriculture, and tourism. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are produced by both anthropogenic and natural sources. The highly reactive biogenic VOCs (BVOCs) play a major role in photochemical oxidant production at concentrations significantly lower than those of anthropogenic VOCs (AVOCs). In Dr Guo’s project a comprehensive field measurement will be carried out, followed by a thorough analysis of the chemical database using a combination of statistical analysis of field observations, mesoscale meteorological simulations, diagnostic and prognostic box models, and chemical transport models. This study will significantly improve our understanding of photochemical formation and transport mechanisms for subtropical coastal regions with complex coupling of meteorology and chemistry. This will contribute to our overall knowledge of the ozone science and have wide implications for other subtropical coastal cities and regions. The study results will provide a benchmark for assessing the impacts of BVOC emissions on the urban and regional environment. The scientific findings will also have direct policy implications for reducing O3 pollution and visibility degradation in subtropical southern China.

After an extremely strict review by both the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC), Dr Guo had also successfully secured the NSFC/RGC Joint Research Scheme 2009/10 for the project “Atmospheric halogenated hydrocarbons in the Pearl River Delta region” with a grant of HK$780,735 for Hong Kong side plus Y350,000 for the Chinese mainland side. This project, by grid-sampling simultaneously at 45 sites over the whole PRD and long-term monitoring at 3 representative sites in the region, studies spatiotemporal patterns of atmospheric halocarbons and explores their variation trends in comparison with historical data obtained in the past. Based on the field measurement results, the project also aims to highlight hot spots of halocarbon emissions in the region with extensive meteorological analysis, to make source apportionment of major halocarbons using receptor models, and to estimate the emission amounts of halocarbons through their correlations with carbon monoxide or by inversion models.

Another project led by Dr Guo is entitled “Quantitative measurement of acidic ultrafine particles in the atmosphere”, which has been funded HK$1,279,360 by the Environment and Conservation Fund in 2009.  The research originated because atmospheric particulate pollution is a major public concern in Hong Kong.  Particulate matters are closely related to human respiratory health, visibility reduction, eco-environmental damage and global climate change. Accumulated evidence suggests that the number of acid-containing ultrafine particles is closely related to mortality, morbidity and hospital admissions on account of respiratory diseases. However, to date, reliable measurement techniques for obtaining the number concentrations of acidic ultrafine particles are still lacking. Dr Guo’s project will address this lack by developing new technologies to obtain highly efficient collectors of particles with lower count-associated uncertainties, with the longer term aim of developing an efficient approach for the measurement of acidic ultrafine particles in the atmosphere.

Dr Agachai Sumalee

Dr Agachai Sumalee of CSE secured a RGC General Research Fund 2007/08 for the project ‘Advanced Model for Optimal Implementation Path and Phasing of Road Pricing Scheme Design’. The project was inspired by the long standing interest of the HKSAR in the road pricing policy; in fact, the Government had already commissioned two major feasibility studies in 1983 and 1994. However, the proposals resulting from both studies, based on a charging cordon system, were both turned downed. The studies conducted, so far, for Hong Kong and in general have focused mainly on the “one-shot” implementation which does not allow for the modification of the scheme over time. Dr Sumalee’s project investigates the modeling and optimization framework for evaluating and designing a practical road pricing scheme which would evolve over time. On the modeling side, the project proposes an innovative framework of urban transport network model to render the evolution of transport and land use changes over time. The model is then integrated with the optimization framework to design the time-dependent road pricing scheme. The project provides a new perspective in designing an urban road pricing scheme to enhance its acceptability and effectiveness.

Dr Sumalee again secured the RGC General Research Fund in 2008/2009, this time for the project ‘Dynamic Transport Network Reliability and Vulnerability Analysis’. The concern over network reliability has been on the increase both in Hong Kong and in other countries, especially when the system operates very near to, or over its capacity. A case in point was the incident on 9th May 2005 which involved a rainstorm and subsequent incidents on three roads in both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, causing extended traffic congestion.  This incident made apparent the ‘fragility’ of our urban transport system in coping with such uncertainties. The aim of Dr Sumalee’s project has been to advance the analysis of the effect of uncertainties on the performance of the transportation network. The key contribution is the introduction of within-day dynamic elements of demand and supply uncertainties into the reliability and vulnerability analysis of the traffic system. The dynamic elements would cover the flow/congestion propagation in the network and temporal demand. This dynamic representation would also allow for the introduction of the time dimension of uncertainties (e.g. incident period, occurring time, and time-dependent link degradation level), and the propagation of their impacts through space and time in the network.

Dr Sumalee secured yet again the RGC General Research Fund in 2009/10, for his project toward an optimal transport network and land use design under climate change: model and algorithm’.  The project targets at how extreme weather and the effects of climate change have impacted the service quality and reliability of the transport system. Climate change affects transport both in the short term and in the longer term, and across the modes. For the short term, the impacts may range from reduction of highway capacity, to the increase in discomfort for pedestrians and public transport users, and to the increase in the vulnerability of the system, as for instance due to local flooding. The longer term impacts will involve the decrease in land availability, the increase in the natural hazard risk, and the deterioration of transport infrastructure. Although many studies have examined the potential impacts of climate change on broad sectors of economy such as agriculture and forestry, few have studied its impacts on transportation. Dr. Sumalee’s project is to fill in this gap. In addition, a network and land-use design model is also proposed to suggest an optimal transport and land-use policy for sustainable and efficient development.

Prof. Janet Nichol

The success of Prof. Janet Nichol of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) in securing numerous research grants in the past three years has been on account of the support she has received from the Remote Sensing Research Group in LSGI. The Group is active in research and publication on urban and rural environmental monitoring in Hong Kong. Over the last 5 years it has established two AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) stations as part of a 10-year collaboration with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and is currently establishing an (Micropulse Lidar Network) MPLNET Lidar, which will place FCLU among only 11 co-located AERONETS and MPLNETs worldwide. All this work would establish FCLU as a leading centre for research on remote sensing of air quality both within Asia and globally. Prof. Nichol has been awarded the following grants from 2007 to 2009:

RGC General Research Fund, 2007/08 Validation of Aerosol Optical Depth Retrieval Using CHRIS/PROBA Multiple Look Satellite Images

RGC General Research Fund, 2008/09  A Remote Sensing Study of the Causative Factors of Hong Kong’s Urban Heat Island

RGC General Research Fund, 2009/10  Multi-sensor Estimation of Biomass Carbon in Regenerating Sub-tropical Forest

RGC Public Policy Research Grant (PPRG) Scheme, 2009/10  Impacts of Climatic Warming on High Density Living in Hong Kong Using Remote Sensing and GIS Modelling

All of the above funded projects have significance to environmental monitoring in Hong Kong, specifically in the areas of air quality and climate change. In fact, the issues have received extensive coverage in the local media. Poor air quality and hot summers have given rise to complaints about high density buildings which restrict ventilation in inner districts, such as Mongkok and Shamshuipo in Kowloon.  One of Prof. Nichol’s funded project uses thermal satellite images mainly from NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) sensor, to examine the causes of Hong Kong’s urban heat island in terms of those aspects of the built environment which can be controlled by enlightened planning policies. Another project uses archived images to model changes in urban air temperatures in relation to past urbanization. The trends are then projected into the future to predict air temperatures in Hong Kong over the next two decades under a climate change scenario. Yet another project studies the mitigation of climate change by the use of forests as carbon sinks. This uses radar and visible wavelength images from Japan’s recently launched Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) to estimate the carbon amount in Hong Kong’s vegetation. This work is currently on-going with the generous help of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), which has helped to harvest 75 trees as part of their on-going tree-thinning program. After drying and weighing the trees to obtain biomass, models are built to represent the relationship between forest biomass and satellite observations. The results will enable accurate reporting of carbon amounts and sequestration rates, which are mandatory for countries which have ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The Faculty would like to extend the warmest of congratulations to all the awardees and their teams for their research excellence.

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ECF funding for air pollution research
Prof. Tao Wang

Professor Tao Wang and his team of researchers from the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has recently been granted government funding for their project “Study of photochemical air pollution in Hong Kong”.

The Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) has approved a funding of $13 million in March 2010 to support two scientific studies on air pollution by local universities. The other awardee for the funding was the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  Established under the Environment and Conservation Fund Ordinance, the ECF provides funding support for education, research, technology demonstration and other projects or activities in relation to environmental and conservation matters.

The PolyU’s project aims to enhance understanding of the formation of photochemical smog pollution in Hong Kong, and is to last for about four years. It aims to strengthen understanding of the nature and sources of fine particles as well as the formation of the photochemical smog pollution in Hong Kong. Coupled with the data of the air quality monitoring network of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the findings of the study will contribute towards the formulation of an effective control strategy to tackle the particulate and photochemical smog pollution problems – currently predominant air pollution issues in the Pearl River Delta region.  Heretofore unavailable real-time data covering a wide range of air pollutants will be measured for comprehensive data analyses, in order to locate the sources and key chemical pathways leading to the formation of particulates, visibility impairment and photochemical smog pollution in Hong Kong.

The PolyU project is a new partnership between the academia and the government to improve air quality locally and in the Pearl River Delta Region.  The ECF Committee welcomes research proposals from local tertiary institutions which seek funding support. Interested parties can visit the ECF website for more details (
www.ecf.gov.hk/en/home/index.html). 

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Tewkesbury Fellowship Awarded to Prof. Xiaoli Ding
Prof. XL Ding

Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Chair Professor of Geomatics and Head of Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, has been recently awarded a Tewkesbury Fellowship by the University of Melbourne, Australia. Supported by the Tewkesbury Bequest Fund, the Fellowship will bring Prof. Ding to the University of Melbourne for an academic visit and to deliver the 2010 Tewkesbury Lecture.

The Tewkesbury Bequest began in 1953 when Pearson William Tewkesbury generously allowed for funds in his will for the School of Engineering, the University of Melbourne. The bequest is to be used towards the achievement of best practice in teaching and research, the encouragement of research collaboration, and the establishment of benchmarking parameters by providing support for visits and exchanges of staff.

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BRE staff shared the glory of the National Excellent Papers Award with Tsinghua Scholars
First row: Prof. Shouqing Wang (third from left), Prof. Albert Chan (fourth from left). Second row, Mr Yongjian Ke (third from right), and other research team members of the NSFC/RGC project photographed at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

A team of researchers from Tsinghua University and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University won a National Excellent Papers Award for their paper “Risk allocation in infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects”.  The Award is conferred by the Architectural Society of China on a biennial basis and involves a rigorous three-tier assessment process.  The Award is recognised as the highest honour and achievement for national research in Construction Economics and Management.

The paper is co-authored by Mr Yongjian Ke and Prof. Shouqing Wang of Tsinghua University, and Prof. Albert Chan, associate head of the Department of Building and Real Estate of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Prof. Chan has won similar best research paper awards from the UK, Australia, and Hong Kong since the middle 1990s. Prof. Wang is a professor at the Department of Construction Management, School of Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University.  He completed his PhD at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1991 under the supervision of Prof. Michael Anson, now Emeritus Professor.  Mr Yongjian Ke is expected to complete his PhD from Tsinghua University under the joint supervision of Prof. Wang and Prof. Chan.

The award winning paper is one of the deliverables generated from a research project jointly funded by Research Grants Council (RGC) in Hong Kong and National Science Foundation Council Research Grant (NSFC) in China.  The research project has aimed to develop an equitable risk allocation mechanism for delivering PPP projects in the People’s Republic of China, and is co-led by Prof. Albert Chan and Prof. Shouqing Wang.

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Formal recognition for our LSGI PhD student
Elton Chan & HKGISA Hon Secretary - Dr Matthew Pang
Awardees and HKGISA Representatives

Mr Elton HC Chan, a part-time PhD student of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has recently won the 1st runner up of the HKGISA Best postgraduate GIS Project Awards 2010. This award is a recognition of the innovations of GIS Projects undertaken by the postgraduate students in Hong Kong. The award ceremony was held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on 26 March 2010.

Elton is studying the use of evolutionary algorithm (EA) on spatial analysis. Although different GIS applications using EA have been developed in recent years, EA is yet to be a common tool on GIS platform. In this study, dynamics of EA on GIS problems such as path finding problem in the multi-modal transportation system and zone design problem are analyzed to develop an EA framework on GIS.

Dr Lillian Pun and Prof. Zhilin Li of LSGI are respectively Elton’s Chief Supervisor and Co-supervisor.

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BRE student receiving advice from Nobel Laureate

Mr Li Jing, from the Department of Building and Real Estate, The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong (PolyU), is one of the students selected for the Research Student Attachment Programme 2009/10. This is a University programme designed to provide local and overseas students with an opportunity to add a global dimension to their university life.

Jing was to stay at Washington University in St Louis until May, 2010. This is also where Prof. Douglass North teaches. Prof. North was the co-recipient of the 1993 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, and was a  Nobel Laureate Speaker last year in the Faculty of Construction and Land Use. Jing has benefitted from the advice from members of his host university, amongst them Prof. North, who is seen in the photograph here as having a discussion with him.

During Jing’s stay at the Washington University, Prof Lee Benham has acted as his Supervisor; he has also  been under the guidance of other members of  the Department of Economics of Washington University in St Louis , for his doctoral thesis entitled “Property Cycle in China: The Government’s Role”. At PolyU, Jing has as his Chief Supervisor Dr Y.H. Chiang, and as his Co-Supervisor, Dr Lennon Choy, from the Department of Building and Real Estate. 

Jing’s attachment programme was initiated and arranged by Dr Choy, who had also previously spent a semester at Washington University in St Louis as a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

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Conference on “Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Hong Kong”

The Conference entitled “Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Hong Kong”, co-organised by the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (LSGI, PolyU), Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES), Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) and Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) was held on 18 March 2010.

The objectives of the conference have been to embrace a sustainable development of SDI in HK, as there is a need to facilitate better interactions between framework of technologies, data, policies and institutional arrangements. There were thus sharings from the perspectives of policies, institutional & management issues, data capturing, visualization and interoperability, access and discovery. The enhancement of a sustainable development of SDI also calls for the working hand in hand of all levels of government, commercial sectors, academia & professions.
 
Dr Lilian Pun, Associate Professor and Associate Head of LSGI, PolyU gave a presentation on the 4 ‘W’s of SDI – what is SDI, why it is necessary, who is responsible and the way forward.

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Seminar on New Advances from a Research Programme Funded by Sun Hung Kai Properties
Prof. Hong Chua
Prof. Chi-sun Poon
Prof. Eddie Hui Chi-man
Prof. Shengwei Wang
Prof. Hongxing Yang

In the morning of 10 April 2010, a Saturday, a seminar was held in the Senate Chamber of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) to present some interim results of the research that have been collaboratively conducted between the Faculty of Construction & Land Use (FCLU) and Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP).  There was a healthy attendance of 150 people, some of whom followed the proceedings in a room filled beyond its original capacity. In each of the previous four years, SHKP had donated 5 million dollars per annum to the Faculty. The 25 million dollar 5-year programme will be completed in a year’s time.

Following the official welcome by PolyU’s Vice President Prof. J.M. Ko, who had himself initiated the 5-year programme on the PolyU side, the Dean of FCLU, Prof. J.G. Teng pleasantly surprised the audience with statistics illustrating just how strong and influential the Faculty’s research was as at the moment. Among Hong Kong’s many world class attributes, the audience also learnt the city also possessed a world class University Faculty in the field of Construction and Environment Research.

Presentations were made by Prof. H. Chua , Prof. C.S. Poon, Prof. E. Hui, Prof. S.W. Wang  and Prof. H.X. Yang. Herein we would only have space to report on one item from each speaker, with full knowledge that this would not do justice to their presentations. Prof. Chua, whose expertise is in waste air and wastewater treatment, has developed a photocatalytic water disinfection system which produces free chlorine in situ which removes the need for conventional chlorine dosing. Prof. Poon, who specializes in using recycled construction materials, is further developing his eco-block technologies based on recycling construction wastes. (Eco-blocks are now in commercial production in HK.) He is developing a self compacting mortar, 50% of which is ground waste glass, to make decorative tiles. The addition of titanium oxide makes these tiles both self cleansing and able to remove bacteria from the air. Prof. Yang, who researches on renewable source energies, is working on ground source heat pump systems, which are much cheaper to install because they are coupled to the ground via the building’s foundation piles. Prof. Wang, with his interest in building energy efficiency, uses as his “laboratory’ the HVAC system of the ICC building in Western Kowloon. His expertise in building life-cycle diagnostics and intelligent controls has led to modifications and enhancements on site, providing energy savings of 18%. In complete contrast to all the other technology oriented work, Prof. Hui studies developer economics in China, specifically of the Guangzhou area residential markets to produce recommendations on the strategies a Hong Kong developer might adopt to make sound investments in Guangdong province.

In his closing speech for the seminar, Prof. Michael Anson, coordinator of the PolyU programme team, reminded the audience of the Henry Tang 2001 report, “Construct for Excellence”, on the state of the HK construction industry. This SHKP/PolyU initiative was a good example of the much enhanced Industry / University research collaboration that the report called for. The Tang report went further, in fact, to call also for a culture of innovation throughout the Industry. Prof. Anson suggested that all present that day had the responsibility, at their jobs, to be constantly looking for and pushing for better technologies and processes.  He hoped all had been stimulated by the five talks they had heard.

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LSGIAA Soccer Team Won Federation Cup Soccer Tournament
Hip Hip Hurray for the LSGIAA soccer & basketball teams!
LSGI Champion Players with Prof. Ding, Mr CH Wong and Mr Paul Tsui
Presentation of uniforms by Prof. Ding and Mr CH Wong
LSGIAA Soccer Team with Prof. Ding, Mr CH Wong and Mr Paul Tsui
We are the Champion!! Our Great Team ~LSGIAA Soccer Team

The Land Surveying & Geo-Informatics Alumni Association (LSGIAA) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) sent one soccer team and two basketball teams to take part in the Federation Cup Soccer Tournament and the PolyU Alumni 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament of the PolyU Alumni Homecoming Carnival. The events were held on 14 March 2010.

As a token of support to the alumni participating in the tournaments, LSGIAA sponsored all the team members for their team uniforms.  These were presented to the team members during the mass pledge rally held just before the events.  Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI); Mr. Chung Hang Wong, LSGIAA Honorable Member and Mr Paul Tsui, LSGIAA President were invited as guests of honour at the events, and to present the uniforms to the team members.  After the events, alumni and guests stayed for networking and light refreshments. 

For the soccer match, there were a total 4 rounds of games.  The LSGIAA soccer team successfully beat the champion of last year to win the Federation Cup of this year.  As for the PolyU alumni 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, LSGIAA had sent two basketball teams, named respectively LSGI Champion Players and Relax. LSGI Champion Players came up with the 3rd runner up despite the presence of many strong opponents. 

Warmest congratulations are extended to all the participants in the events, who have not only shone on the sports ground but more significantly have fostered closer ties amongst the alumni.

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Prestigious Appointments of Staff Members

Prof. Eddie Hui and Prof. Edwin Chan of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) have been appointed as members of the Town Planning Board by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government.

Prof. William, Hing Keung Lam, Chair Professor of Civil and Transportation Engineering of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering has been appointed as the Chang Jiang Scholars Chair Professor at the Beijing Jiaotong University Beijing for a period of 3 years from 2010 to 2013.

Prof. Francis Wong, Professor of BRE has been elected as a Board Member of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) from 2010 to 2013. In addition, he has also been appointed as the Chairman of the newly established International Student Chapters’ Committee.

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Faculty Public Seminars
Prof. Nuno Gil
Prof. Kent A. Harries
Dr Chuck Yu
Prof. S.C. Yao

The Faculty of Construction and Land Use was honoured to have the following speakers giving seminars at PolyU:

Prof. Nuno Gil, Associate Professor, The University of Manchester; was speaker at a seminar on “Using Relational Contracts to Support Large-scale Engineering Projects: A 4-Force Analysis of the Terminal 5 (T5) Project, Heathrow Airport”. (1 April 2010)

Prof. Kent A. Harries, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh; gave a seminar titled “FRP Materials in Civil Infrastructure and Replacing a Composite RC Bridge Deck with an FRP Deck – The Effect on Superstructure Stresses”. (12 April 2010)

Dr Chuck Yu, President, International Society of the Built Environment; gave a seminar on “Building Pathology - Environmental Monitoring and Investigation of Sick Buildings”. (27 April 2010)

Prof. S. C. Yao, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, was speaker at a seminar titled “Sprays for Cooling”. (10 May 2010)

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Forthcoming Events

5th Mass Appraisal Valuation Symposium

Date: 17-18 June 2010

Time: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Venue: Chiang Chen Studio Theatre

Organizers: Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Rating and Valuation Department and the International Property Tax Institute (IPTI)

Enquiries:  Dr. Bo Sin TANG (bspromo@inet.polyu.edu.hk)

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