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Issue 46 - August 2014


Table of Contents

Summer school for outstanding students

43 postgraduate and senior undergraduate students from leading universities around the world had a preview of what research studies in construction and environment at PolyU would be like at the 3rd annual Summer School held from 6-15 August 2014. Co-organized by the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) as well as the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD), the Summer School attracted over 150 applicants with strong academic records who are interested in pursuing further studies. Of those who attended the Summer School, more than half came from mainland China, with a few from countries like Pakistan, Canada, the United States, and even one from Peru.

After welcoming remarks by Prof. Y.L. Xu, Dean of FCE, and Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, Director of RISUD, the students were introduced to the four departments of FCE, with Dr Michael Yam representing the Department of Building and Real Estate, Dr Vivien Lu the Department of Building Services Engineering, Prof. C.S. Poon the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Dr Wallace Lai the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics. They also visited the various labs of the respective departments.

With twelve seminars delivered by FCE academics on different areas related to construction and environment, students were exposed to the range of expertise that they could expect from FCE should they choose to undertake doctoral studies at PolyU. Individual consultations at the end of the week gave students a chance to identify potential supervisor(s) for their studies.

Prof. Y.L. Xu
Prof. Jin-Guang Teng Campus Tour Group Photo

CEE scholars win award for air pollution research

In June 2014, Prof. Xiangdong Li and Dr Hai Guo of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering were honored with a first-class Scientific and Technological Award from the Guangdong Provincial Government for their work on regional air toxic pollutants and their environmental effects. Conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the research has promoted spontaneous monitoring of global persistent organic pollutants (POPs); and created a platform for internationally advanced volatile organic compounds (VOCs) analysis and atmospheric process simulation. Providing key data on the secondary air pollution in the Pearl River Delta region, their work has highlighted the environmental processes of toxic pollutants, greatly facilitating assessments of human respiratory exposures to air toxic substances as well as the effects of pollutants on water and soil. Congratulations to them for such a well deserving honor.

Prof. X.D. Li
Dr Guo Hai

CEE academics honored

The work of Dr Songye Zhu, Associate Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, was recently awarded the 2014 Takuji Kobori Prize by the International Association for Structural Control and Monitoring. They had co-authored a top-ranked paper titled “Long-term condition assessment of suspenders under traffic loads based on structural monitoring system: Application to the Tsing Ma Bridge” with Dr Shunlong Li and Prof. Hui Li, both of the Harbin Institute of Technology, and Dr Zhi-wei Chen of Xiamen University.

Congratulations to Dr Zhu and Prof. Xu, who also came first with Dr Wen-ai Shen in Elsevier’s 2013 Engineering AudioSlides Challenge. Their AudioSlides presentation of their co-authored paper titled “Linear electromagnetic devices for vibration damping and energy harvesting: modeling and testing” was selected by a panel of editors-in-chief of various engineering journals as the winner.

Prof. You-lin Xu
Dr Songye Zhu

FCE hosts forum for writing research proposals

A forum on writing successful proposals for research grants was held on the morning of 1 August 2014 for academic staff in the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE). Sharing their experiences for getting funded by the Research Grants Council (RGC) were Prof. Jian-hua Yin from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr George Liu from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, Dr Ni Meng from the Department of Building and Real Estate, and Prof. Jian-lei Niu from the Department of Building Services Engineering, who also spoke from his perspective as a panel member of the RGC. Their experiences ranged from their success in securing funding from RGC’s Collaborative Research Fund, its Early Career Scheme, and its General Research Fund. The only speaker not from FCE was Prof. Kenneth Leung from the Department of Biology of the University of Hong Kong.

Prof. Y.L. Xu, Dean of FCE, emphasized the importance of remaining competitive in RGC’s annual funding exercise at the beginning of the forum, which concluded with remarks from Prof. Xiang Dong Li, Associate Dean (Research) of FCE.

  Prof. Y.L. Xu Prof. Kenneth Leung &
Prof. Y.L. Xu

BRE PhD candidate receives Best Paper Award

At the 3rd Applied Research Conference in Africa (ARCA) on 7-9 August 2014 in Accra, Ghana, Ernest Effah Ameyaw, a PhD candidate from the Department of Building and Real Estate, was honored with an Overall Best Paper Award for 2014. His paper was titled “Implementing public-private partnership water supply projects in Ghana: A model of critical success factors.” Ernest is in his final year of PhD studies under the supervision of Prof. Albert Chan. Congratulations to both of them.


New academic staff

The Department of Building and Real Estate will welcome a new Research Assistant Professor in September 2014.

Dr Ivy Wong received her PhD in Planning (2013) from the University of British Columbia, Master of Development Planning (2004) with High Distinction from the University of Queensland, and BSc (Hons) in Real Estate (1998) from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

As a General Practice Surveyor, she started her career with a private real estate firm, in which she gained practical experience in property management. Subsequently, she worked for three government departments in Hong Kong, including the Lands Department, the Housing Department, and the Rating & Valuation Department.

Dr Wong has a track record in publications in the fields of real estate and urban studies. Her papers were published in SSCI/SCI journals such as Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Urban Studies, Cities, Housing Studies, and Habitat International. In the past five years, she received a full scholarship and two competitive research grants to support her doctoral research at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests focus on real estate development, property taxation, land ownership reforms, urban development and local governance.

Dr Ivy Wong

LSGI hosts Croucher Foundation Summer Course

On 26-31 May 2014, more than 50 students from universities and government agencies of Hong Kong and mainland China gathered on the campus of PolyU for a course on GPS/ Beidou/ GNSS Satellite Positioning, Navigation, and Earth Observation. Generously supported by the Croucher Foundation, participants were welcomed by the ex-interim Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, Prof. Albert Chan, and the then Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), Prof. Xiaoli Ding, on the first day. Officiating at the opening ceremony was the Course Director, Dr George Zhizhao Liu, who said, “Satellite-based positioning and navigation are key technologies of the 21st century that have changed people’s lifestyles. The Croucher Summer Course is an excellent opportunity for students to gain state-of-the-art knowledge on these topics. At the same time, they can network with one another and familiarize themselves with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.” Ten distinguished international experts were invited to give lectures on modern satellite positioning and navigation technologies, which were very well received.

During 26-31 May 2014, the Croucher Summer Course 2014 on GPS/Beidou/GNSS Satellite Positioning and Navigation and Earth Observation was successfully held at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

The 10th IWBDG

The 10th International Workshop on Bifurcation & Degradation in Geomaterials (IWBDG) was held on 28-30 May 2014 at PolyU. Organized by Prof. K.T. Chau of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the workshop was sponsored financially by the Faculty of Construction and Environment and Fong On Construction Limited. Prof. Timothy Tong, President of PolyU, opened the conference with a welcoming speech on the first day. With 67 participants from 16 countries and 55 presentations, the workshop was a great success in disseminating the latest research in the field. It continued its legacy of promoting broad interest in geomechanics since the first workshop in Germany more than 25 years ago. Details of the proceedings of the 10th IWBDG have been published by Springer.


FCE students shine in Innovation Competition

At the 7th Innovation Competition in Construction Engineering and Management on 4 July 2014 in Beijing, two teams of research students from PolyU’s CIB student chapter won second and third prizes (5000 and 3000 RMB respectively) for their entries. Organized by Tsinghua University, the annual competition was sponsored by Gammon Construction Company Limited. Following are details of the winning teams and their entries:


Team members (Dept.) Title of Report
2nd Prize Liang Xin (team leader, BRE), Sun Bingxia (BRE), Zheng Wei (BRE), Cui Dongjin (BSE), Xue Peng (BSE)

A Smart Data Mining Approach for Detecting Individuals’ Activity Travel Behavior and its Applications in Urban and Transport Planning

3rd Prize Leng Ling (team leader, CEE), Guo Shan (BRE), Lin Xue (BRE), Gao Ran (BRE)

Intelligent Anaerobic Greywater Treatment and Reuse System for Realizing Smart City - Case Study in Beijing

Congratulations to all the team members and the Honorary Advisor to PolyU’s CIB Student Chapter, Prof. Francis Wong of the Department of Building and Real Estate.
Team of 2nd Prize

Team of 3rd Prize

Orientations for new students

On 27 August 2014, more than 160 newly admitted postgraduates to the taught master’s programmes of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) were given an orientation to FCE. On hand to welcome them were Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of FCE, and Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean (Teaching) and Chairman of the Postgraduate Scheme. After an introduction of the four departments by their respective representatives, Dr Michael Yam of the Department of Building and Real Estate, Dr Nai-Kong Fong of the Department of Building Services Engineering, Prof. William Lam of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Prof. John Shi of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, students met with their own programme leaders in one of 9 break-out sessions, which cover the range of specialties in the Taught Postgraduate Scheme.
Prof. You-Lin Xu

Prof. Geoffrey Shen
Dr Michael Yam
Dr Nai-Kong Fong

Prof. William Lam
Prof. John Shi
Postgraduate Orientation

In a similar event, a Welcoming Day was held on 29 August 2014, which was attended by more than 400 undergraduates. Officiating at the occasion were Prof. Timothy Tong, President of PolyU; Prof. Keith Chan, Dean of Students; Mrs Dorinda Fung, Director of Student Affairs; Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of FCE; Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Associate Dean (Partnership); Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean (Teaching); Dr Michael Yam, Interim Head (BRE); Prof. Jian-lei Niu, Acting Head (BSE); Prof. William Lam, Head (CEE); and Prof. John Shi, Head (LSGI). Besides welcome sessions by the four departments of FCE, there was an orientation for students who chose to study the Broad Discipline of Construction and Environment (BDCE). They were introduced to the BDCE curriculum by its programme leader, Prof. Onyx Wai (CEE). The other academic advisors for BDCE, Prof. Y.H. Chiang (BRE), Prof. K.T. Chan (BSE), and Dr Lilian Pun (LSGI), also had a chance to introduce their respective departments. It was an informative day for all those in attendance.

Prof. Timothy Tong

Prof. You-Lin Xu
Group Photo
Undergraduate Orientation
Undergraduate Orientation

Faculty Public Lectures

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

Prof. Helen Lingard

FCE Public Lecture
"Designing for Construction Workers’ Health and Safety: Organizing Projects to Achieve Technological Risk Controls"

Prof. Helen Lingard
Research Council Future Fellow
RMIT University, Australia

Date: 20 August 2014 (Wed) (Details)

Prof. S.L. Chan

Chair Professor Inaugural Lecture
"Research, Design and Practice for Second-order Direct Analysis of Structures"

Prof. S.L. Chan
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Date: 28 August 2014 (Thur) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

FCE Public Lecture:
The Acetone-butanol Fermentation: From History to Regulatory Networks to Recent Applications

Date & Time: 16 Sep 2014 (Tue), 11:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.
Venue: Room Z414, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

20th AsiaConstruct Conference
Date: 13-14 November 2014
Venue: Hotel ICON, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Ronald Coase Institute Workshop
Date: 7-13 December 2014
Venue: Manila, Philippines

Academic Vacancies - FCE   hongkongpolyufce
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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