Back to Main

Issue 57 - July 2015


Table of Contents

Results of RGC Competitive Funding Schemes 2015/16

The 2015/16 application results for the RGC General Research Fund (GRF) and Early Career Scheme (ECS) were announced on 30 June 2015. Due to their similar nature, the application results for these two schemes have been combined in some of the following analysis:

Dept GRF Grants ECS Grants Overall success rate Total amount of competitive funding (including GRF& ECS) (HK$) Amount per eligible staff member (HK$)
BRE 2 2 18% $2,343,863 $83,709
BSE 9 N/A 50% $6,121,056 $291,479
CEE 13 2 48% $9,757,662 $250,196
LSGI 5 N/A 45% $3,279,074 $209,942
Total 29 4 40% $21,501,655 $206,747

Comparisons of departmental performance over the past 10 years using 2 indicators, namely, the number of grants per year and the average funding amount per academic staff member (only eligible staff members are counted) 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 the average funding amount per academic staff member, the rankings of our four departments are BSE, CEE, LSGI, and BRE. In general, the performances of the four departments in recent years have varied in their ups and downs. The total number of grants awarded to our Faculty has shown a gradual and steady increase over the past six rounds (i.e. since 2010/11) but the average funding amount recorded a slight drop this year. For the GRF scheme, the Faculty also leads other Faculties/Schools in the University in terms of the success rate and the total grant value won this year.

Figure 1: Comparison of Number of Grants per Year between Departments
Figure 2: Comparison of Amount of RGC Competitive Funding per Eligible Staff Member between Departments

In the Civil Engineering, Surveying, Building and Construction (CESBC) disciplines of the Engineering Panel, PolyU has led the local universities in the GRF/ECS exercises since 1994/95 in both the number of GRF/ECS projects supported and the total grant value awarded, consistently winning around or over 40% of all GRF/ECS grants allocated in these disciplines. The distribution of the amount of GRF/ECS funding in the 2015/16 round among local universities is shown in Figure 3. We received 44.6% of the total available funding in the CESBC disciplines. The average funding per project is HK$645.5K.

Figure 3: Distribution of GRF/ECS Funding in the CESBC Disciplines among Institutions in the 2015/16 Round

Of the 33 GRF/ECS grants awarded to the Faculty this year, 1 was awarded outside the CESBC disciplines. The Faculty won 32 grants (or 43%) totalling HK$20,605K out of the 74 GRF/ECS grants awarded by RGC in the CESBC disciplines in the present round (i.e. 2015/16). The University as a whole was awarded with 33 GRF/ECS grants in the CESBC disciplines, 1 of which was awarded to another Faculty.

PolyU Maintains Lead in Built Environment and Design Ranking

The Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) takes pride in the latest (2014-15) University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP), which puts PolyU in second place in the field of Built Environment and Design, ahead of some world-renowned universities such as the University of California at Berkeley, the University College London, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Cambridge. This is the second consecutive year that PolyU has been ranked second in the URAP, behind the leading Delft University of Technology. The efforts of FCE academics in maintaining the ranking are to be commended.

The University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) Research Laboratory was established at the Informatics Institute of Middle East Technical University in 2009. Its main objective is to develop a ranking system of world universities based on academic performances, as determined by the quality and quantity of scholarly publications.

Top Honours for Chairman of CEE’s DAC and BRE Academic

The Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) is pleased that the achievements of Ir Prof. Chi Sing Wai, Chairman of the Departmental Advisory Committee (DAC) of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), and Prof. Eddie Hui of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), have rewarded them with a Gold Bauhinia Star and a Medal of Honour respectively. Ir Prof. Wai has served the government for 35 years in various departments before recently retiring from his post as Permanent Secretary for Development (Works). He became the Chairman of CEE’s DAC in January 2012. Prof. Hui has been active in numerous public organizations, including but not limited to the Town Planning Board, the Metro/ Rural and New Town Planning Committee, the Hong Kong Housing Society, the Urban Renewal Authority, and the Real Estate Services Training Board. Congratulations to both of them for this well deserved recognition from the HKSAR Government.

Ir Prof. Chi Sing Wai Prof. Eddie Hui

Research Funding for Feasibility of Green Deck

Three projects led by academics of the Faculty of Construction and Environment have recently been approved for $200,000 in research funding each by the Green Deck Task Force, which was set up by PolyU to explore ways to improve the connectivity between the campus and the Hung Hom MTRC station. If construction is approved, the proposed 43,000 sq. m. deck area will not only provide a green open space for people to unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life, but also a pedestrian and cycling track network covering Homantin, Hung Hom, Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan, and the harbour front. Following are the details of the three research projects:

Principal Investigator (Dept.)

Project Title and Objectives

Prof. Shiu-keung Tang (BSE)

Acoustic Energy Harvesting Potential of the Green Deck

  • To investigate the effectiveness of acoustic energy harvesting using
    resonators excited by traffic noise

  • To design an efficient resonator which can result in very high acoustic

Prof. Hong-xing Yang (BSE)

Research and Development of Solar Photovoltaic (PV ) Pavement
for Application on Green Deck

  • To evaluate the potential area for PV pavement installation

  • To investigate the feasibility of PV pavement system installation on the
    green deck

  • To study the energy performance and mechanical property of the PV
    pavement, and study some potential measures to improve its

  • To conduct a lifecycle analysis of the PV pavement system

Dr Mark Hsu (CEE)

An Economic Evaluation of PolyU Proposed Green Deck

  • To determine the factors/ variables in the economic evaluation relating
    to public parks, open spaces, recreational and cultural facilities,
    office buildings, hotels and apartments from literature reviews

  • To outline the framework, scenario, and limitation for the economic
    evaluation, and to determine if the Green Deck Development is a
    sound investment

  • To conduct sensitivity analysis for the economic evaluation to explore
    the impacts of uncertainties or different scenarios

  • To provide recommendations for the operation of the green space,
    recreational and cultural facilities, and office buildings with hotels,
    in terms of benefits maximization

Findings from these projects are expected to contribute to an enhanced environment and foster sustainable development.

Funding for Large Equipments

The proposals of two academics from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) for large equipment have recently been approved by the Areas of Excellence Committee (AoEC) of PolyU. Dr Yuhong Wang’s proposal for a dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) will receive funding of $1,185,500, while Prof. Chi-sun Poon’s proposal for an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer will receive $1,620,000. These large equipments will no doubt boost the research capabilities of CEE, particularly with respect to the study of soft materials, polymers, and nano materials in the case of the DSR, and material/ geo-environmental research of metals, glass, ceramics, cement, concrete, soil, rock and other construction materials by the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer.

CEE Academic Appointed to ADTAC

Dr Wing-tat Hung of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) is honoured to be one of the new members of the Aviation Development and Three-runway System Advisory Committee (ADTAC), which was recently established to advise the Government on broad policy matters concerning Hong Kong’s civil aviation and the development of the Hong Kong International Airport. He will be serving the ADTAC for two years from 1 August 2015.

The new committee, comprising five ex-officio members and 20 non-official members, is appointed by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, and chaired by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Prof. Anthony Bing-leung Cheung. Its members are drawn from diverse professions, including architecture, engineering, legal, quantity surveying, business and finance.

Dr Wing-tat Hung

LSGI Academic Speaks at GFZ, Germany

On 2 July 2015, Dr George Liu of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) gave a talk to researchers in the Department of Geodesy and Remote Sensing at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), the national research centre for Earth sciences in Germany. His talk was on multiple-sensor water vapor observations for tomographic modeling and improving the MODIS water vapor retrieval. The GFZ scientists were interested in the work being done at Dr Liu’s Micro-Laboratory of Atmospheric Research and Geomatics Engineering. Besides discussing ways to collaborate in the future, they also listened to a presentation by Dr Liu introducing and promoting LSGI.

The GFZ focuses its research mainly on the geosphere within the highly complex Earth system with its further subsystems, its interacting subcycles, and its wide network of cause-and-effect chains. The GFZ has nearly 1200 employees with a budget of over € 85 million annually.

Dr Liu (left) at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

CEE Academic Delivers RGC Public Lecture

On 18 July 2015, Dr Ka Se Lam of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) gave a public lecture organized by the Research Grants Council (RGC) on the impact of climate change on the air quality of the Pearl River Delta region. Held at the Hong Kong Science Museum, the lecture highlighted the sensitivity of air quality to climate changes and proposed to study future changes in surface ozone when air temperature rises by integrating the results of insitu experiments, fixed station observations, and numerical models.

Since 2009, the RGC has invited leading scholars in their respective fields to deliver public lectures that highlight the contributions made by their work to society.

Dr Ka Se Lam

Faculty Sharing Forum on Writing Research Proposals

On 30 July 2015, 38 academics and 12 postgraduate students/ research staff of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) gathered for a forum to learn from the experiences of their colleagues who have been successful in getting their proposals funded by the Research Grants Council (RGC). Among those speaking were Ir Dr Wallace Lai of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), who won a project under the Early Career Scheme and one under the General Research Fund (GRF) over the past three years; Prof. Yat-hung Chiang of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), who was awarded 4 GRF projects over the past few years; Prof. Jianlei Niu of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), who spoke from his experience as a panel member of the RGC; Prof. Cheuk Ming Mak of BSE and Prof. Tao Wang of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), both principal coordinators of a project under the Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) Scheme in 2014/15. Prof. Rudolf Wu of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong also shared his successful experience in writing an Areas of Excellence (AoE) proposal. In conclusion, the Dean of FCE, Prof. You-lin Xu, reiterated the importance of maintaining a lead in RGC’s annual funding exercise, while Prof. Xiang-dong Li, Associate Dean (Research) thanked everyone for coming to the forum, particularly the speakers for sharing their wisdom.


LSGI Academic Attends Workshop in Berlin

On 11-17 June 2015, a group of 22 engineers from different parts of the world attended a workshop on non-destructive damage assessment and environmental measurement methods in Berlin. Organized by the Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and co-organized by Ir Dr Wallace Lai of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), this is the third year that the workshop has been held. Participants were an international group, with nationalities that included Germany, Japan, Brazil, Luxemburg, Sweden, Romania, mainland China and Hong Kong. A range of technologies for nondestructive testing in civil engineering (NDT-CE) was taught, from classical NDT, concept of validation, principles and hands-on practice of ground penetrating radar, to ultrasonics, thermography, laser-induced spectroscopy, geophysical methods, pile testing, electrochemistry of corrosion process, to NDT data fusion, etc. A visit to a test site in Horstwalde (a forest 50km away from Berlin) gave participants a chance to observe a few practical site work demonstrations. The workshop turned out to be very successful and highly rated by the participants. The next workshop will be held on 21-27 July 2016.

On 26 June 2015, Ir Dr Lai delivered a talk on nondestructive mapping of the urban underground in Hong Kong. He introduced the very unique role of NDT in the congested underground in Asia, and also the role played by the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) in the city’s sustainable development, both above and below the ground.

The Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Berlin is made up of 11 departments, 53 divisions, and nearly 1700 staff. One of its departments is dedicated to non-destructive damage assessment and environmental measurement methods.


Participants at the workshop

LSGI Graduate Wins Award from HKIS

A recent graduate from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), Mr Wong Man Kong, Michael, has received the Top Award (Land Surveying) in the Outstanding Final Year Dissertation Awards 2014. Organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS), the awards are based on merits in research as well as the applicability of the research output to the surveying professions. The project of Mr Wong was a case study on adverse possession. He received the award in a presentation ceremony on 19 June 2015 from Sr Vincent Ho, President of the HKIS.


Mr Wong (left) receiving his award

Study Tours Capture Hearts and Minds of BRE Students

Study tours have become an integral part of higher education in today’s globalized age. Besides learning about the history and culture of the places visited on the tour, students also have a chance to befriend their foreign counterparts. More than a hundred students in three different programmes of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) were fortunate to participate in a study tour for five days in May 2015. Following are the details:

To develop a deeper understanding of housing development and urban planning in Singapore, 25 students from the BSc programme in Building Engineering and Management (BEM) visited the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University as part of their study tour from 11-15 May. In addition to exchanging ideas on real estate development with Singapore students, they also visited the Marina Barrage and Sustainable Singapore Gallery, the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) Building Research Institute, and the Singapore office of AECOM Ltd., which is involved in the city’s Master Plan and urban planning. Students were impressed with the long-term vision of the Singapore government’s plans for urban and public housing development.

14 students from the BSc programme in Property Management visited Osaka from 18-22 May to learn more about the economy and real estate market in Japan. Led by Dr Stanley Yeung and Dr Milton Lau of BRE, the students visited the Real Estate Economic Institute Co. Ltd., the Daimaru Shinsabashi store, and the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution.

Under the guidance of Dr Mesthrige Jayantha Wadu and Mr Wai-kei Kong, 38 students from the BSc programme in Surveying also visited Osaka and Kyoto from 19-23 May. Among the places they visited were Tsutenkaku Tower, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum, and the headquarters of Kansai Electric Power Company. They also toured Osaka University and attended a lecture by Dr Hiashi Kotani and Dr Toshio Yamanaka of the Department of Architectural Engineering, who introduced students to earthquake resistant building technologies and measures for saving energy in Japan.

Another group of 35 surveying students visited Singapore from 24-28 May to compare the policies and practices of the construction industries in Singapore and Hong Kong. They attended two discussion forums held by Langdon & Seah (Singapore), and CPG Corporation Pte. Ltd. respectively, both prominent companies in Quantity Surveying (QS). Changing practices in QS were highlighted. Students also visited Singapore’s City Gallery, Skygarden, and the NEWater Visitor Centre to learn about sustainable urban planning. They are thankful for the support and assistance provided by their supervisors, Prof. Yat-hung Chiang and Mr Stephen Kong.

BEM students at AECOM Singapore Pte Ltd.
Property Management Students in Osaka
Surveying students at the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Surveying students in Singapore

Entry Scholarships for Outstanding Postgraduate Students

To attract applicants with excellent academic backgrounds, entry scholarships were set up for applicants for the taught postgraduate programmes in the Postgraduate Scheme in Construction and Environment in 2008/09. 16 applicants who applied before the scholarship deadline of 1 January 2015 and whose academic records were outstanding have been rewarded with entry scholarships to cover their tuition fees for one year. Details are as follow:

LI Hoi Ting Kathy
MSc in Sustainable Urban Development (Part-time)
NG Wing Chi
MSc in Sustainable Urban Development (Part-time)
KWAN Chun Sing
MSc in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution (Part-time)
MSc in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution (Part-time)

SIN Hoi Ching
MSc in Project Management (Part-time)
LAU Tsz Chun
MSc in Building Services Engineering (Part-time)
CHAN Hin Yeung
MSc in Building Services Engineering (Part-time)
YEUNG Wai Sing
MSc in Facility Management (Part-time)

WONG Tsz Lap
MSc in Fire and Safety Engineering (Part-time)
MSc in Fire and Safety Engineering (Part-time)
CHAN Ka Chun
MSc in High Performance Buildings (Part-time)
TSUI Kwong Lam
MSc in High Performance Buildings (Full-time)

TSANG Hoi Ting
MSc in Civil Engineering
LAI Ho Keung
MSc in Civil Engineering
Ng Tsz Wing
MSc in Environmental Management and Engineering (Part-time)
LI Jing
MSc in Geomatics (Surveying) (Full-time)

Secondary Students Visit FCE Departments

On 30 June 2015, the PolyU Summer Programme 2015 for secondary students in Forms 4 and 5 was launched. At the opening ceremony, the students were welcomed by the President of PolyU, Prof. Timothy W. Tong, who spoke about service learning at PolyU and highlighted some recent achievements of PolyU students in this area.

Subsequently, the four departments of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE), namely the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), and the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), reached out to over 100 secondary students as part of the Summer Programme. Each of them introduced the subjects and the programmes offered by the respective departments, including the admission requirements and career prospects of its graduates, and gave visiting students a tour of its laboratories and facilities. The PolyU library and the House of Innovation were also on the itineraries. It was a great opportunity for the secondary students to learn more about further studies in the different departments of FCE.


The visiting students with their PolyU hosts

Reception for New Graduates from BRE

On the evening of 23 June 2015, a reception for new graduates of the BSc (Hons) in Building Engineering and Management, the BSc (Hons) in Property Management, and the BSc (Hons) in Surveying was held at the City View Hotel in Yaumatei. About 120 people attended, including mentors of the graduating students, donors, Work-Integrated Education employers, recent graduates, as well as BRE staff. Organized by the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), the reception celebrated the graduation of the students and promoted networking ties among the various groups in attendance.


At the reception

Invitation for Programme Admission 2015/16

Applications are now invited for the following taught programme:
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. Jiemin Ding

FCE Public Lecture
"Seismic Resistant Design of Super High-rise Buildings Using Viscous Dampers"

Date: 2 July 2015 (Thu) (Details)


Prof. Jiemin Ding
Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd.
Shanghai, China

Prof. Hong Hao

FCE Public Lecture
"Analysis of Relative Displacement Induced Damage to Bridge Structures"

Date:6 July 2015 (Mon) (Details)


Prof. Hong Hao
Centre for Infrastructure Monitoring and Protection
School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University
Perth, Australia

Prof. Ghassan Aouad

FCE Public Lecture
"The Art and Science of Doing Research"

Date: 10 July 2015 (Fri) (Details)


Prof. Ghassan Aouad
President of Applied Science University, Bahrain
President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

Forthcoming Events

BRE Luncheon Research Seminar
Topic: Briefing on the Construction Industry Council’s (CIC) Innovation Award
Date: 13 August 2015 (Thursday)
Time: 12:15pm – 1:45pm (a light lunch will be served)
Venue: Sustainable City Laboratory (ZS701), 7/F., Block Z, HKPolyU
Deadline: 5pm, 11 August 2015

21st Congregation and Faculty Prize Presentation Ceremony
Date: 3-4 November 2015
Venue: Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

HKIS and AIQS Joint Conference
Topic: How QS will succeed in Tomorrow’s World
Date: 14 November 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00pm
Venue: VTC Auditorium, Hong Kong Design Institute, Tseung Kwan O

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

Copyright © Faculty of Construction and Environment, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. All rights reserved.