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Issue 54 - April 2015


Table of Contents

QS World University Rankings

In the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by subject, PolyU ranked 12th in the world for the subject area of Architecture/ Built Environment, the highest ranking in Hong Kong in this subject area. For the subject area of Civil and Structural Engineering, PolyU ranked 11th globally, and 2nd locally. These two subject areas cover most of the teaching and research activities in the four departments of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE).

The annual QS World University Rankings by subject is a comprehensive guide to the world’s top universities in a range of subject areas. The latest rankings list the top 200 universities in the world for 36 individual subjects based on data on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.


FCE Forums for Strategic Research Planning

To enhance communication and collaboration across the four departments in the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and to facilitate strategic planning for the next 3 years, 5 forums have been held or planned in the Faculty. The first and second forums were held on 21 and 30 April 2015, respectively, for Assistant Professors (including Research Assistant Professors) and Associate Professors. In each of the forums, an opening address was given by Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of FCE, followed by a presentation by each academic staff on his/her research interests, existing and potential research collaborations, and his/her views on the directions of the Faculty in pursuit of research excellence. Prof. Xiang-Dong Li facilitated the discussions and flows of the forums.

Subsequent forums for Professors and Chair Professors will be held in the near future, followed by the final one on 19 May 2015 for all the FCE academic staff.


2015/16 HK PhD Fellowship Winners

Established in 2009 by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme attracts the best and brightest students around the world to pursue their PhD studies in Hong Kong. It provides an annual stipend of HK$240,000 and a conference/ research-related travel allowance of HK$10,000 per year to each awardee for three years. The Faculty of Construction and Environment is pleased to have the following winners of the HK PhD Fellowship for 2015/16:


Awardee Nationality Supervisor
BRE Irfan Zafar


Prof. Geoffrey Shen


Matthew John Bugden


Prof. J.G. Teng
CEE Shengxin Fan Chinese/Mainland Dr J.G. Dai
CEE Yee Ting Lau Chinese/HKSAR Dr Daniel Tsang
CEE Lingfang Li Chinese/Mainland Dr Yong Xia
LSGI Shamsa Kanwal Pakistani Prof. X.L. Ding

The 6 awardees represent 18.75% of the 32 HK PhD Fellowships offered to PolyU this year. There are currently 26 PhD students studying in FCE who are supported by the HK PhD Fellowship.

Anti-Heat Stress Construction Uniform Adopted by Industry

In a press conference cum signing ceremony on 1 April 2015, Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate, introduced the anti-heat stress construction uniform developed by his research team to the local media and the Construction Industry Council (CIC), which will promote its adoption by industry during its Construction Safety Week at the end of May 2015. A product of three years of research, the uniform which includes a T-shirt and trousers is made from a new generation of moisture-absorbent textiles that contain nano-materials. According to Prof. Chan, his team of researchers conducted on-site trial tests of the uniform in July and August 2014 with 184 construction workers, 87% of whom agreed that wearing the uniform made them feel cooler and drier. Previous testing conducted in a laboratory between February and May 2014 revealed an effective reduction of participants’ physiological strain by 16.7% and body heat storage by 28.8%.

The technology of the anti-heat stress uniform has now been licensed to the Construction Industry Council, which will authorize other manufacturers to produce the uniform according to PolyU’s specifications. To ensure standards are met, its quality during the manufacturing process will be monitored by the PolyU’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing. Witnesses to the signing ceremony included Prof. Jan-Ming Ko, Interim Vice President (Campus Development and Facilities) of PolyU and Mr Hau-wai Cheung, Chairman of the Committee on Construction Safety of the CIC.


BRE Academic Wins ITF Funding

Prof. Heng Li of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Chair Professor of Construction Informatics, has recently been approved for $4,909,500 from the Innovation and Technology Fund for his project on location-based technologies for asset tracking and risk management. The project will last 16 months, from 31 March 2015 to 30 July 2016.

Prof. Heng Li

BRE Researchers Honoured by HKIPM

At the Hong Kong Institute of Project Management’s (HKIPM) annual dinner on 10 April 2015, two teams of researchers from the Department of Building and Real Estate were honoured. A team led by Prof. Albert Chan won a Project Management Achievement Award 2014 (Research) for a paper on health and safety measures for working in hot weather. Another team led by Dr Patrick Lam also received an award in the same category for a buildability assessment system for designing building projects in Hong Kong.

Prof. Albert Chan (third from left)
and his team
Dr Patrick Lam (second from right)
and his team

LSGI Scientists Shine Spotlight on a Long Neglected GPS Anomaly

A recent paper in GPS Solutions, a top journal dedicated to research on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), has revealed a two-decade-long anomaly associated with the GPS satellites broadcast ionospheric model. Dr George Liu of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) and his PhD student, Miss Zhe Yang, coauthored the paper and analyzed all the GPS data collected from 1992 to 2013 by the International GNSS Service, the agency with the most complete GPS archival data. They found that GPS devices manufactured by different companies and sometimes even the same company outputted different sets of satellite coefficients to their users. Apparently, there is a serious deviation from the intended performance of the GPS system. These satellite coefficients are meant to correct the largest error in GPS, the so-called ionospheric range delay error, which is a retardation of GPS satellite signals when they propagate through the ionosphere 60 to 2000 km above the Earth’s surface. The anomaly in the satellite coefficients could have an impact of over 50 meters on GPS positioning accuracy.

The identification of this anomaly will help GPS manufacturers to build more reliable devices for more accurate GPS positioning, navigation, and timing. Meanwhile, GPS users are reminded to use GPS data with discretion.


The US ION’s Pacific PNT Conference

Dr George Zhizhao Liu of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics was invited to serve as an international advisor to the US Institute of Navigation’s (ION) Pacific PNT conference that was held in Honolulu Hawaii from 20-23 April 2015. A premier gathering for technical and policy leaders in the Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) community from the Pacific region, including Japan, Singapore, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and the United States, the conference also attracted participants outside the Pacific region.

Founded in 1945, the US ION is the world's premier non-profit professional society dedicated to the advancement of the art and science of PNT. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based PNT technology is regarded as one of the most important technologies in the 21st century. At the conference, Dr Liu presented a collaborative study comparing the characteristics of equatorial scintillation in Hong Kong and Brazil. This was the first time an investigation between two ionospherically very active regions in the northern and southern hemispheres was conducted. Ionosphere scintillation has a serious adverse effect on GNSS-based PNT applications, which can significantly degrade the accuracy and reliability of PNT.

Dr Liu (right) with the US ION President, Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, Professor at the Ohio State University

ESD Programme Leader Reached Out to IVE Students

On 15 April 2015, about 55 final year students in the Higher Diploma (HD) programme in Environmental Technology at the Tsing Yi campus of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) were introduced to the BSc (Hons) programme in Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) by its programme leader, Dr K.S. Lam of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The students had a chance to learn more about the senior year curricula at PolyU.

Dr K.S. Lam (second from left) with some lecturers of IVE’s Dept. of Construction

BRE Students Win HKIS Scholarships

On 1 April 2015, 6 students from the Department of Building and Real Estate were honoured for their academic excellence in a Scholarship Presentation Ceremony organized by the Quantity Surveying Division of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS). They were Miss Chan Hiu Yu, Miss Lam Ching, Miss Wong Wing Huen, Mr Cheng Ka Tsun, Miss Choy Sin Woon, and Miss Leung Hiu Wa. The first three are students in the BSc (Hons) programme in Surveying, while the last three are in the Higher Diploma programme in Building Technology and Management (Surveying). Each of the students received a scholarship worth $14,000.


LSGI Entrepreneur in the News

A third year student from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics who won an Entrepreneurship Award from the PolyU Micro Fund last year was recently interviewed by Sing Tao Daily about his hydroponic farming scheme, also known as “EasyGreen.” Mr Sam Yan Kit Chong introduced the media to his self-designed hydro-planting system that eschewed the use of conventional soil and allowed growers to experience the joy of getting higher yields in a shorter period of time. About 300 PolyU students and staff have participated in a farming scheme developed by Mr Chong on campus. Mr Chong hopes to establish similar schemes at local schools and commercial organizations in the future.

The PolyU Micro Fund was set up in 2011 to provide seed funding for students and alumni in their entrepreneurial ventures. Competition for funding is fierce. This year, it has received a record 170 applications from aspiring entrepreneurs. Only 20 will ultimately be selected for a seed funding of $100,000 each.

Mr Sam Yan Kit Chong (second from the right)

Support for LSGI from HKIES

The Hong Kong Institute of Engineering Surveyors (HKIES) has kindly donated a batch of field books to the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) on 27 March 2015. The field book is indispensable for students in their practical classes as it is used as a survey record of geospatial-related information during construction activities.

Meanwhile, a third year student in the BSc (Hons) programme in Geomatics (Land Surveying), Miss Winnie Yuen-ning Ng, has been approved for the HKIES Scholarship 2014/15. A student member of both the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who actively pursues every learning opportunity, Winnie is a well deserved scholarship winner.

Miss Winnie Yuen-ning Ng

Career Talks for ESD Students

Two career talks were held for students in the BSc (Hons) programme in Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) on 27 March and 17 April respectively. Organized by Dr Dan Tsang of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), the first event attracted over 40 ESD students and alumni, who were encouraged by the employment statistics of former ESD graduates, as shown by Ir Prof. K.F. Chung, Associate Head of CEE (Academic Development), that evening. The employability of ESD graduates was also noted by Ir Prof. C.S. Poon, Associate Head of CEE (Research Development), who pointed out that all ESD graduates had fulfilled the academic requirements for Corporate Membership of the Environmental Discipline of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.

Sharing their experiences were four invited speakers from the environmental engineering industry: Ir Barry Lee, Associate Director at ATAL; Ir Dennis Li, Principal Engineer at Black & Veatch; Ir Victor Li, Business Development Director at Dunwell; and Ir H.S. Kan, Senior Engineer at the Drainage Services Department of the Hong Kong Government.

Speakers for the second event were Ms Julia Chan, Principal Environmental Consultant of Mott Macdonald; Mr Jackel Law, Associate at Environment of AECOM; Mr Frank Wan, Partner of Environmental Resources Management; and Mr Honmeng Wong, Assistant Director of the Environmental Protection Department.

The career talks gave students an excellent opportunity to learn about the technical skills required by industry as well as the attributes for success in their future career.

Ir Victor Li, Business Development Director, Dunwell
ESD students

LSGI Students Learn Their Career Options

On 16 April 2015, more than 70 students from Higher Diploma, BSc and MSc programmes of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) attended a career talk co-organized by the department and the LSGI Alumni Association. 7 invited speakers were on hand to share their career experiences, including Sr Lizzy Ka Yi To of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, Sr Kwok Leung Lee of the Lands Department, Sr Lit Yin Lam of the Hong Kong Institutes of Engineering Surveyors, Mr Freddy Ho of Champion Surveying and Engineering Co. Ltd., Ms Ellis Tong of ESRI China (HK) Ltd. and Ms Pinky Lee of BUDA Surveying Ltd.

Sr Lizzy Ka Yi To Ms Pinky Lee (on left) Sr Lit Yin Lam (in middle)
Sr Kwok Leung Lee The captive audience  

Invitation for Programme Admission 2015/16

Applications are now invited for the following taught Master of Science (MSc)/Postgraduate Diploma (PgD) programmes:

Building Services Engineering 屋宇設備工程學
Civil Engineering 土木工程學
Environmental Management and Engineering 環境管理及工程學
Facility Management 設施管理
Fire and Safety Engineering 消防及安全工程學
Geomatics (Geographic Information Systems) 測繪及地理資訊學(地理資訊)
Geomatics (Surveying) 測繪及地理資訊學(測量)
High Performance Buildings 高效能建築
Executive Master in Real Estate Finance 高級管理人員房地產金融碩士

The Executive Master in Real Estate Finance is the first interdisciplinary Executive Master programme offered by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It is designed to provide senior executives genuinely innovative professional development experience together with academic knowledge of Real Estate Finance in both Asian and global contexts. Qualified candidates will be admitted on a rolling basis until the quota is filled. Please contact Ms. Karen Moy at 3400 8480 for more details.

Faculty Public Lectures

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

Prof. Ahmed Elghazouli

FCE Public Lecture
"Seismic Design to the Structural Eurocodes"

Date: 21 April 2015 (Tue) (Details)


Prof. Ahmed Elghazouli
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Prof. Xinzhong Chen

FCE Public Lecture

"Wind Load Effects of Long-Span Bridges and Tall Buildings: Some New Developments for Non-Stationary Winds and Nonlinear Aeroelastic Effects"

Date: 28 April 2015 (Tue) (Details)

Prof. Xinzhong Chen
National Wind Institute
Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering
Texas Tech University, USA

Forthcoming Event

2nd International Conference on Performance-based and Lifecycle Structural Engineering (PLSE 2015)
Date: 9-11 December 2015
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia

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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