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Issue 33 - July 2013


Table of Contents

A big welcome for the Acting Dean
The Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) had a much heralded change of leadership at the beginning of July. As many of you know, Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, the former Dean of FCE, has handed over his baton to Prof. Albert Chan, who has been appointed as Acting Dean. In his new capacity, he will keep the Faculty going until the next Dean comes along. On his new appointment, Prof. Chan said, "I am indeed honored to have the opportunity to serve as Acting Dean of FCE. My thanks go to the University and its senior management, including my predecessor, for entrusting me with this huge/ most important responsibility, which I will endeavour to carry out to the best of my abilities. The able leadership of Prof. J.G. Teng in the last 6 years is not an easy act to follow, but with your continuous support and cooperation, I am positive we can reach new heights in our drive to be the best Faculty of its kind.  I look forward to working with all of you."  
Prof. Albert Chan
Let’s give a big welcome to our interim chief, who is in many ways well qualified for the challenges ahead of him. Besides being a leading scholar in construction safety and management, he was Associate Dean (Partnership) of the Faculty from 2011 to 2013, which gave him the opportunity to initiate many outreach events for the alumni of FCE, both on the mainland and in Hong Kong. He certainly hopes to achieve more in his new role as Acting Dean. We wish him all the best.

Results of RGC Competitive Funding Schemes 2013/14

The 2013/14 application results for the RGC General Research Fund (GRF) and Early Career Scheme (ECS) were announced on 28 June 2013. Due to their similar nature, the application results for these two schemes have been combined in the following analysis, which does not include the Public Policy Research (PPR) Scheme, since it is no longer managed by RGC.


GRF Grants

ECS Grants

success rate

Total amount of
competitive funding
(including GRF & ECS) (HK$)

Amount per eligible
staff member (HK$)































Comparisons of departmental performance over the past 10 years using 2 indicators, namely the average funding amount per academic staff member (only eligible staff members are counted) and number of grants per year are shown in Figures 1 and 2 respectively. In terms of the number of grants per year, the rankings of our four departments are CEE, BSE, LSGI and BRE. In terms of average funding amount per academic staff member, the rankings of our four departments are: BSE, CEE, LSGI and BRE but the differences between the first three departments are small. In general, the performances of the four departments in recent years have varied in their ups and downs, but both the average funding amount and the total number of grants awarded to our Faculty have shown a gradual and steady increase over the past three rounds (i.e. since 2011/12).

Figure 1: Comparison of Amount of RGC Competitive Funding per Eligible Staff Member between Departments

Figure 2: Comparison of Number of Grants per Year between Departments

Within the broad field of construction and environment, we still lead all other local universities by a big margin in the GRF/ECS exercises.  In the Civil Engineering, Surveying, Building and Construction (CESBC) disciplines of the Engineering Panel, PolyU has ranked number 1 since 1994/95 in terms of both the number of GRF/ECS projects supported and the total grant value won, receiving constantly around or over 40% of all GRF/ECS grants allocated in these disciplines.  The distribution of the amount of GRF/ECS funding in the 2013/14 round among local universities is shown in Figure 3. We received 45.85% of the total amount of available funding in the CESBC disciplines, which is the highest percentage we have achieved since 2000/01.

Figure 3: Distribution of GRF/ECS Funding in the CESBC Disciplines among Institutions in the 2013/14 Round

Of the 30 GRF/ECS grants awarded to the Faculty this year, 2 were awarded outside the CESBC disciplines. As a result, the Faculty won 28 grants (or 41%) totalling HK$18,469K out of the 68 GRF/ECS grants awarded by RGC in the CESBC disciplines in the present (i.e. 2013/2014) round; by contrast, the Faculty won 25 grants (or 37%) totalling HK$15,674K out of the 67 GRF/ECS grants awarded in the CESBC disciplines in the 2012/13 round.  

This year, the funding results of both the GRF and the ECS are encouraging.  For GRF, our shares of the number of grants and of the total grant value awarded in the CESBC disciplines both exceeded 40% and recorded a 3.84% and 7.64% increase respectively. The average funding per project is HK$660K this year which is the highest among all local universities in CESBC disciplines.  For ECS, we have been awarded five grants, which represent 50% of the ten grants awarded by RGC in the CESBC disciplines.  As you may know that by 2020/21, 50% of the R-portion of the block grant allocated to PolyU from the UGC (University Grants Committee) will be mainly determined by our success in GRF grants, it is very important that we work hard to ensure a greater share of GRF/ECS funding in the CESBC disciplines in the future.

2013 Dean's Awards

In a bumper year for reaping what has been sown, 10 academics from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) have qualified for the Dean's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Funding, which is a formal recognition of their success in securing competitive research grants (either 4 grants in the past five years, or 3 grants in the past three years). Below are their names, projects funded, and funding sources.

Prof. CHAN Hon Wan Edwin (BRE)

Prof. TANG Shiu Keung


Prof. CHAN Siu Lai

Prof. CHUNG Kwok Fai

Dr DAI Jianguo

Prof. Ni Yiqing

Dr SUMALEE Agachai

Prof. XU You Lin

Dr LIU Zhizhao

1) Prof. CHAN Hon Wan Edwin (BRE)
Social Considerations for the Conservation of Built Heritage in Urban Renewal
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011 )
Social Considerations in Planning Public Open Space to Integrate Elderly People in Urban Renewal
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2012)
Framework for Implementing the Transfer Development Rights in the Conservation of Privately Owned Built Heritage
(Allocated the RGC Public Policy Research in 2012)
2) Prof. TANG Shiu Keung (BSE)
On the Public's Willingness-to-pay for Improved Acoustics of Residential Environments
(Allocated the Environment and Conservation Fund in 2008 )
Propagation of Noise in Congested High-rise Urbanized City
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2008)
Aeroacoustics of Helmholtz Resonators and Its Control
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011)
Acoustical Protection by Balconies and Balcony-like Structures Attached to Building Facades
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2012)
3) Dr XIAO Fu (BSE)
Development of a Novel Data Fusion Technique for Improving Robustness of Automatic Control and Diagnosis in Large Cooling Plants
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2008)
Study on the Feasibility and Cost-effectiveness of a Hybrid Desiccant and Evaporative Cooling System Applied in Hong Kong
(Allocated the Environment and Conservation Fund in 2009)
Study of Dynamic Characteristics and Energy Performance of Liquid Desiccant System Driven by Heat Pump for Optimization and Control
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011)
Dynamic Characterization and Robust Control of Air Handling Processes with Decoupled Cooling and Dehumidification
(Allocated the RGC Early Career Scheme in 2012)
4) Prof. CHAN Siu Lai (CEE)
Second-order and Advanced Analysis and Design of Steel Towers Made of Members with Angle Cross-section
(Allocated the RGC general Research Fund in 2008)
Collapse Analysis of Steel Tower Cranes and Tower Structures
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2010)
Stability and Second-order Analysis and Design of Re-used and New Scaffolding Systems
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011)
Advanced and Second-order Analysis for Long-span Steel Structures
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2012)
5) Prof. CHUNG Kwok Fai (CEE)
Enhanced Ductility and Service Life of Galvanized Structural Steel Members
(Allocated the ITF- NAMI in 2010)
Developing System-based Analysis and Design for Multi-span Partially Restrained Cold-formed Steel Purlin Systems
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2010)
Enhanced durability and mechanical performance of structural steel members using an innovative galvanization process
(Allocated the ITF- MGJR in 2012)
6) Dr DAI Jianguo (CEE)
Durability of Bond between FRP and Concrete Exposed to a Humid Subtropical Environment: Experimental Study and Predictive Modeling
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2009)
Strengthening of Reinforced Concrete Structures Using an Advanced Bonded System Based on FRP Strand Sheets
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011)
Development of thin wall panels based on basalt textile reinforced geopolymer for sustainable building construction
(Allocated the ITSP Tier 3 in 2012)
FRP Grid Reinforced UHTCC for Strengthening of RC Structures: Bond Mechanics and Design Theory
(Allocated the NSFC in 2012)
7) Prof. NI Yiqing (CEE)
Development and Research of a Structural Health Monitoring Benchmark Problem for High-rise Structures
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2008)
Verification of Wind Pressure and Wind-induced Response of a Supertall Structure Using a Long-term Structural Health Monitoring System
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2009)
Study of Semi-active Control of High-speed Trains Using Magnetorheological Dampers
(Allocated the ITSP Tier 3 in 2012)
The Key Theories and Methods of High Speed Railway Track Structure Detection
(Allocated the NSFC in 2012)
8) Dr SUMALEE Agachai (CEE)
Stochastic Dynamic Traffic Model for Incident Management
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011)
Algorithm for bus arrival time prediction from crowd-source smart phone data
(Allocated the ITF-TCS in 2012)
Estimation of Urban Road Network Condition Using Sparse Traffic Data with Partial Vehicle Identification Technology
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2012)
9) Prof. XU You Lin (CEE)
Fatigue Damage Assessment of Long Suspension Bridges under Combined Traffic and Wind Loadings
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2008)
Synthesis of Vibration Control and Health Monitoring to Mitigate Earthquake Hazard to Building Structures
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2010)
Non-Stationary Buffeting Response of Long-Span Cable-Supported Bridges to Typhoon Winds
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011)
Multi-scale Structural Health Monitoring for Long-span Suspension Bridges
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2012)
10) Dr LIU Zhizhao (CEE)
3D Water Vapor Tomographic Modeling by Assimilating Multiple Sensors to Support Extreme Weather Forecasting in Hong Kong and Mainland China
(Allocated the RGC General Research Fund in 2011)
Innovative Real-Time Cycle Slip Detection and Rectification for High Precision GPS Positioning
(Allocated the RGC Early Career Scheme in 2012)
A New Method Based on Ionospheric TEC Rate (TECR) for Weight Determination and Outlier Detection for GNSS Pseudo-ranges
(Allocated the NSFC in 2012)

Achievements in outstanding publication were also rewarded. For their high quality publications in a single research area in the last decade (up to 5 publications), Prof. Yang Hongxing of the Department of Building Services Engineering and Dr Guo Hai of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering received the Dean's Award for Outstanding Publication Achievement.

The Dean's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Academic Program Development went to the team responsible for the MSc programme in International Real Estate (IRE), which is offered by the Department of Building and Real Estate at the PolyU outpost at Zhejiang University in China. Currently in its 11th year, the programme has produced hundreds of graduates with an international perspective who are making their mark in the mainland real estate industry. Led by Dr Stanley Yeung, the team included Prof. Y. H. Chiang, Prof. Eddie Hui, Prof. Francis Wong, Dr Lennon Choy, Dr Patrick Lam, Dr Milton Lau, Dr Steven Tsang, and Ms Hebe How. The administrative support provided by the department and the China Mainland Affairs Office also contributed to the success of the programme, which has established a strong partnership with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) over the years. IRE alumni regularly become members of RICS, a testimony of their professional competence. The excellent reputation of the programme has attracted students from all over China, which has led to its phenomenal growth.

Congratulations to all the winners, who will be honoured at the Faculty Congregation and Prize Presentation Ceremony in November 2013 with cash prizes of $15,000 per person/ team. In addition, awardees for the Awards for achievements in Research Funding will also get a research grant of $200,000.

Staff Promotion

Earlier this month, Dr Xiao Fu was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Building Services Engineering. She is an active scholar in building energy with a focus on building life-cycle commissioning and diagnosis as well as novel energy-efficient air conditioning and refrigeration technologies. Since joining the department in 2006, Dr Xiao has published over 50 SCI journals and secured 4 external competitive research grants, 3 from the Research Grants Council and 1 from the Environment and Conservation Fund. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Creation Prize at the 2010 China International Industry Fair as the second inventor, the Technological/Industrial Excellence Merit Award at the 2012 PolyU Distinguished Knowledge Transfer Excellence Awards, and the Dean's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Funding in 2013. Congratulations to Dr Xiao.

Dr Xiao Fu

CEE academic shares expertise in Lanzhou

From 4-5 June 2013, Prof. Ni Yiqing of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering delivered two talks at the Lanzhou University of Technology in Gansu Province. At the invitation of the Civil Engineering Research Group for the Prevention and Reduction of Disasters of that university, Prof. Ni introduced some scientific problems related to the research of structural health monitoring. The topic of his first talk was "Bridges, Pipelines, Wind Turbines, and the health monitoring of High Speed Rail," while that of his second was "Monitoring the responses of the 600m-tall Canton Tower to typhoons and earthquakes." More than 100 research students, scholars, and senior engineering experts attended his talks, at the end of which Prof. Ni received an appointment letter inviting him to be a scholarly member of the First Fund for New Skills and New Talents of the Western Division for Civil Engineering Disaster Prevention and Reduction. Congratulations to Prof. Ni for this well deserved honor, which will hopefully deepen the collaborative ties between him and the Lanzhou University of Technology.

Prof. Ni Yiqing

Chongqing Jiaotong University visits FCE

On the afternoon of 18 July 2013, about a dozen academics from the School of Civil Engineering at Chongqing Jiaotong University paid a visit to the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE). They were welcomed by its Acting Dean, Prof. Albert Chan, and a representative from each of our four departments: Prof. Chiang Yat-hung, Associate Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate; Prof. K.T. Chan, Associate Head of the Department of Building Services Engineering; Dr Zhu Song-ye, Assistant Prof. in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Prof. Wu Chen, Associate Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics. After a meeting discussing various issues of mutual interest, including the development of academic subjects, building a team for scholarly scientific research, the management and organization of teaching and learning, research directions in civil engineering, overseas exchange and serving society, the visitors were given a tour of the Survey Store Laboratory, the Light Structures & Dynamic Laboratory, as well as the laboratories of the BSE dept. It was a fruitful visit for all concerned.

LSGI hosts hydrographic training with industry

To keep up with the latest technologies, the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) partnered with two leading companies in the hydrographic surveying industry, U.S.-based Hypack Inc. and China ORES Ltd., to deliver a two-day training course from 20-21 May 2013. Hosted by Dr George Zhizhao Liu, Assistant Professor of LSGI, and Mr Nelson Chan, an Instructor in LSGI, the training included lectures by Mr Pat Sanders, President of Hypack Inc., and Mr Zhengyu Qi, Chief Engineer of China ORES Ltd. About 40 participants from LSGI, local industries, various government departments of Hong Kong and Macau attended the training, which was very well received. Plans are under way for more collaborative training in the future.

Winning glory for PolyU's CIB student chapter

At the 6th Innovation Competition in Construction Engineering and Management in Beijing earlier this month, PolyU’s CIB student chapter team of five submitted a proposal titled “A Carbon Neutral SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell)-Based Multi-generation System for Building Application” to win the championship for this event. Organized by Tsinghua University and sponsored by the Gammon Construction Company Limited, the competition attracted 32 teams from mainland China and Hong Kong. Representing the PolyU student chapter are team members (from left to right): LEE Pan, Cindy CHEN Tingting, Julia CHEN Mengpei, Chris HONG Jing-ke (Team Leader), and David JIANG Chen, who shared a cash award of 10,000 RMB. Congratulations to them and to their Honorary Adviser, Prof. Francis Wong of the Department of Building and Real Estate.

PolyU’s CIB student chapter team

Faculty Public Lecture

The Faculty of Construction and Environment was honoured to have the following speaker giving public lecture at PolyU:

Dr Zhao Bin

FCE Public Lecture
"Effect of Outdoor Particulate Matter (PM) on Indoor Air Quality and its Control"

Dr Zhao Bin
Professor, Department of Building Science, Tsinghua University

Date: 24 July 2013 (Wed) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy Technologies (SET2013)
Date: 26-29 August 2013
Venue: Chiang Chen Studio Theatre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Academic Vacancies - FCE     HKPolyUFCE
Faculty of Construction and EnvironmentDepartment of Building and Real EstateDepartment of Building Services EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDepartment of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics

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