FCE Dean secures HK$44 million funding in the latest round of RGC Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) for project on air pollution

Air pollution is the greatest environmental health risk factor for premature deaths worldwide; among all air pollutants, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is one of the deadliest. Since PM2.5 is a cocktail of components from a mix of sources and not all components or sources are equally toxic, research on the toxic components and their associated sources responsible for PM2.5 health effects plays a key part in air quality management.

Led by Prof. Xiang-dong Li, Dean of Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE), Director of Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD), Chair Professor of Environmental Science and Technology, and Ko Jan Ming Professor in Sustainable Urban Development, the project entitled “Unravelling the Black Box between Air Pollution and Public Health for Transformative Air Quality Management” has been awarded HK$44.5 million funding by the Research Grants Council (RGC) Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) 2022/23 (Twelfth Round).

As the project coordinator, Prof. Li will lead a multi-disciplinary team of 10 researchers from PolyU, CityU, CUHK, HKU and HKUST. The project is expected to generate solid evidence of key PM2.5 toxic components and emission sources that contribute to the acute toxicity of PM2.5, particularly in the exacerbation of two index diseases of the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and ischemic heart disease (IHD). Furthermore, the research team will evaluate the benefits and costs of their proposed strategy of targeting the sources of PM2.5 toxic constituents against the conventional approach targeting total mass concentrations when formulating air quality management policies. Effective, practical, and economical approaches to managing air quality and public health will be recommended through this project. For example, the completion of the current project may lead to 1) a revision of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) algorithm and the associated 'Health Advice' and 2) a review and updates of the Air Quality Objectives (AQO) in Hong Kong. The experience in Hong Kong may serve as a case model for the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and ultimately for the global society.

In this round of TRS exercise, the RGC received 52 eligible preliminary proposals, 21 proposals were shortlisted for submission of full proposals and 12 proposals were selected for interview. Finally, the RGC supported 8 proposals. Prof. Li’s project is the only awarded project with a PolyU project coordinator this year. PolyU has been awarded five projects since the first round of TRS exercise in 2011/12, all of them led by FCE academics. The previous awarded TRS projects were led by Prof. Tao Wang of CEE (2017/18), Prof. Jin-Guang Teng of CEE (2018/19)*, Prof. Asif Usmani of BEEE (2019/20), and Prof. Jianlei Niu of BEEE (2021/22).

* In March 2020, Prof. Tao Yu of CEE took over the role of the Project Coordinator from Prof. Jin-Guang Teng who assumed his duty as the President of PolyU in July 2019 and now serves as the Advisory Project Coordinator of the project.


Prof. Xiang-dong Li accepts Clair C. Patterson Award 2022

Prof. Xiang-dong Li, Dean of Faculty, was presented the Clair C. Patterson Award by Prof. Sumit Chakraborty, the President of the Geochemical Society, at the Goldschmidt Conference 2022 held in Hawaii this July.

The Clair C. Patterson Award is presented annually for an innovative breakthrough in environmental geochemistry of fundamental significance within the last decade, particularly in service to society. The 2022 award was announced in February this year, Prof. Li was recognised for his innovative and dynamic work in environmental biogeochemistry, including research in the fields of regional contamination, urban air PM2.5 pollution, and the origin and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance.


PolyU 85th Anniversary Celebration Highlights

Take a ride on the FCE tram

This July, an eye-catching green tram bearing the name of FCE and a clean-cut drawing of the iconic PolyU and FCE buildings commuted through the busiest areas on the Hong Kong Island and drew the attention of many.

The tramcar advertisement was one of FCE’s celebratory activities for the PolyU 85th Anniversary and part of the publicity campaign to promote the Faculty’s impressive world rankings. If you missed the FCE tram, be sure to stay tuned via the FCE Facebook Page for our upcoming events!

FCE Chair Professor Lecture Series

In celebration of the PolyU 85th Anniversary, FCE is hosting a Chair Professor Lecture Series from June to November 2022 to showcase the Faculty’s research strengths. The series consists of six lectures delivered by six FCE Chair Professors of different disciplines.

The first lecture named “Are Prevailing Approaches for Engineering Structures to Resist Fire Fit for Purpose?” was delivered online by Prof. Asif Usmani, Chair Professor of Building Sciences and Fire Safety Engineering and Head of the Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering (BEEE), on 28 June. The lecture was kick-started by a welcome speech from Prof. Xiang-dong Li, Dean of FCE. During the one-hour lecture, Prof. Usmani illustrated the key aspects of steel and concrete behaviour in fire in the context of maintaining overall structural stability. The lecture ended with a dynamic Q&A session. More than 150 participants attended the lecture.

FCE takes part in PolyU InnoTech Open Day to showcase education and research strengths

The University held the PolyU InnoTech Open Day on campus on 16 July 2022 to showcase PolyU’s latest endeavours in education, interdisciplinary research, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship to entrepreneurs, industry partners, start-ups, researchers, young talents, secondary school students and parents. FCE academics and researchers were actively involved in this signature PolyU 85th Anniversary event.

In addition to the FCE admission consultation booth where representatives from the four departments provided face-to-face consultations for students and Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) applicants, FCE also involved in two thematic guided tours - Smart Cities and Sustainability. The tour of the Smart Cities Laboratory engaged participants with cutting-edge technologies in smart cities, including mobile mapping, AI-based methods for object recognition and a variety of smart city applications. During the sustainability-themed tour of the Transport and Highway Engineering Laboratory and the Concrete Materials Laboratory, three innovations were introduced, including “Low carbon architectural products for anti-virus”, “Foam glass-based lightweight concrete for low carbon MiC”, and “Sustainable permeable concrete for urban drainage”. These were the best showcases of how FCE researchers bring positive impact to society through frontier interdisciplinary research.


FCE ranked 46th in Environmental Sciences in QS World University Rankings by Subject

According to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject 2022, PolyU is ranked 46th globally and 3rd locally in the Environmental Sciences discipline. It is a well-earned outcome of FCE members’ unrelenting efforts in achieving teaching and research excellence.

Earlier this year, FCE was ranked 15th in Civil and Structural Engineering as well as Architecture and Built Environment disciplines by the same QS ranking.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject is a comprehensive guide to the world’s top universities, which covers 51 subjects in 5 broad subject areas based on analyses of research impact, academic standing and employer reputation.



CEE academic takes part in Innovation and Technology Industry Exhibition for HKSAR's 25th anniversary

The innovation and technology sector is regarded as one of Hong Kong’s most important sectors with the great emphasis placed on it by local and national leaders. At the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, the innovation and technology sector was again in the spotlight when President Xi Jinping, accompanied by the then Chief Executive Carrie Lam, visited the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Industry Exhibition (the Exhibition) held in the Hong Kong Science Park on 30 June 2022. Prof. K.F. Chung of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) was invited to participate in the Exhibition in his capacity as the Director of Chinese National Engineering Research Centre for Steel Construction (Hong Kong Branch) (CNERC-Steel) to showcase the Centre’s research and recent achievements. The exhibit included a total of 7 test specimens of the Chinese high strength S690 steel welded H-sections. It should be noted that CNERC-Steel, aiming to promote effective use of high quality Chinese steel, introduced the world's first application of Chinese Q690 high strength steel to a large-scale infrastructure project, Cross Bay Link Double Arch Steel Bridge in Tseung Kwan O. Prof. Chung joined the academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering together with scientific researchers and representatives from young innovation and technology enterprises in Hong Kong to welcome President Xi.


Research on compound hazards selected as "research highlight" in Nature

Natural hazards, like snow droughts and heatwaves, have significant impacts on ecosystems, natural resources, and human activities. Research on such hazards can provide new insights into the development of sustainable natural resources management policies and ecosystem protection strategies in the context of climate change.

The findings of a global assessment of compound snow drought and heatwave (CSDHW) events by Dr Shuo Wang and Dr Xiangfei Li of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) have recently been published in Geophysical Research Letters and selected as a “research highlight” in Nature.

While previous studies have mostly investigated snow droughts and heatwaves separately, this study provides new insights into the two extreme events as an emerging compound hazard, by systematically analysing global data on precipitation and temperature for the period from 1981 to 2020. The results present that an average of 35% of all snow droughts are followed by heatwaves as a sequential occurrence, which becomes more frequent and spatially significant under a warming climate, especially in drier regions like North China and Western North America. The study helps to foster further analyses on CSDHW events and development of risk mitigation strategies.

More details of the study can be found at:
- Geophysical Research Letters: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2022GL099925
- Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01846-1


PolyU renews MoU with CIC to introduce BIM knowledge and CD technologies to students

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and PolyU to introduce knowledge of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Construction Digitalisation (CD) technologies to FCE students. The CIC and PolyU will collaborate on the development of BIM teaching courses, with a goal to allow tertiary students of construction related disciplines to acquire BIM and CD knowledge in their undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. This MoU is a renewal of the one previously signed in 2018 which focused on BIM knowledge.

Since 2017, the CIC had signed MoUs with local higher education institutions, aiming to introduce BIM content into their curriculums. A signing ceremony, hosted by CIC for renewal of the MoUs, was held on 7 July 2022. Signing on behalf of PolyU was Prof. Linda Xiao, Associate Dean (Partnership) of FCE (1st right, front row), while the CIC was represented by its Executive Director, Ir Albert Cheng (4th right, front row). Prof. Charles Wong, Associate Dean (Teaching) of FCE (1st right, back row) and Chairman of CIC Ir Thomas Ho (4th left, back row) witnessed the signing.


CNERC-Steel receives Grand Award from HKIE's Innovative Construction Materials Award

The Chinese National Engineering Research Centre for Steel Construction (Hong Kong Branch) (CNERC-Steel) is honoured with Grand Award from Innovative Construction Materials Award 2022 by the Materials Division of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), with its application titled “Effective Use of High Strength S690 Steel and Associated Welding Technology in Construction”. Led by Prof. K.F. Chung, Director of CNERC-Steel and Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), a team of world-class academics, researchers and practising engineers conducted extensive research on the mechanical properties and structural behaviour of the high strength S690 steel. They worked to extend current understanding of the material to enable its wide adoption in the construction industry. According to their comprehensive investigations, the adoption of S690 steel in construction projects will achieve significant savings on construction materials, time and costs while the construction quality is well assured.

Organised by the Materials Division of the HKIE, the Innovative Construction Materials Award aims to recognise outstanding achievements and encourage continuous development of innovative construction materials.



  FCE Alumni Reunion Day 2022
Date: 13 August 2022 (Saturday)
Time: 2:00 – 6:00pm
Details: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/news-and-events/events/2022/8/alumni-reunion-day/
    FCE Annual Forum
Date: 22 August 2022 (Monday)
Time: 2:30 – 5:35pm
Venue: Z205, Block Z, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
      PolyU 85th Anniversary FCE Chair Professor Lecture Series
Date: August to November 2022
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Format: Online / Physical
Event Schedule:
Date Speaker
30 August (Tue) Prof. Christopher Chao (BEEE)
27 September (Tue) Prof. Qihao Weng (LSGI)
25 October (Tue) Prof. Qingyan Chen (BEEE)
22 November (Tue) Prof. Ben Young (CEE)

Details: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/news-and-events/events/2022/6/fce-chair-professor-lecture-series/?sc_lang=en
      PolyU Undergraduate Info Day 2022
Date: 8 October 2022 (Saturday)
Time: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Details: to be announced



Applications are invited for the following programmes.
Undergraduate Programmes https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/study/undergraduate-programmes/
Taught Postgraduate Programmes https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/study/taught-postgraduate-programmes/
Research Postgraduate Programmes https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/study/research-postgraduate-programme/

For e-Prospectus, please visit https://www.polyu.edu.hk/study