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Issue 65 - March 2016


Table of Contents

PolyU Ranked 12th Globally for Civil & Structural Engineering

In the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject, PolyU ranked 12th in a tie with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the study of Civil and Structural Engineering. Not far behind is the subject of Architecture and Built Environment at PolyU, which was ranked 16th. In Hong Kong alone, PolyU is in second place for both these subject areas, which are well represented by the academic expertise in the Faculty of Construction and Environment. In terms of two objective measures, namely citations per paper, and H-index citations, PolyU tops the world in the subject area of Architecture and Built Environment.

Launched in 2011, the annual QS World University Rankings by Subject is a comprehensive guide to a range of subjects. The rankings highlight the world’s top universities in 42 subjects, based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact.

Outstanding Professional Services Awards 2015

A ceremony for the Outstanding Professional Services Awards 2015 was held on 2 March 2016. Organized by PolyU’s Technology and Consultancy (PTeC) Co. Ltd., the awards honour departments and staff in consultancy and licensing activities. The winner of the Maximum Staff Participation Award was the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI). At a participation rate of 65.2%, it won a gold plaque and prize money of $20,000. Meriting a silver plaque and $10,000 was the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), which had a participation rate of 55%. CEE also won a Merit Prize for the Most Active Department Award with the second highest aggregate invoiced value ($17,373,901) during the 2014-15 financial year.

The winner of the Multi-departmental Participation Award was a team led by Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), who was awarded $6,000 for his collaboration with his colleagues Dr Hongqin Fan (BRE), Dr Mark Hsu (CEE), and Dr Stephen Pratt of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) in a consultancy project with the highest contract value ($1,300,000). It was a study on the economic benefits of infrastructure investment in Hong Kong.

A Merit Prize of $3,000 for the Most Active Consultant Award went to Prof. Siu Lai Chan of CEE, who also won the Highest Growth Consultant Award of $6,000. His colleague, Dr Hai Guo, received the Merit Prize of $3,000 in the latter category.

The awardees with their awards

Faculty Awards for Outstanding Performance/ Achievement 2014/15

On 17 March 2016, several academics of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) were honoured at the FCE Spring Reception cum Faculty Awards Presentation Ceremony. Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of FCE, delivered a welcome address and presented the awards. Individual awards went to Dr Hai Guo of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and Dr Wallace Lai of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI). Dr Guo was honoured for his outstanding achievement in research and scholarly activities, while Dr Lai was honoured for his outstanding performance in teaching. Each of them received a cash prize of HK$10,000. A Teaching Grant of HK$100,000 was also given to Dr Lai, who can use it for purposes of staff development, conference attendance, or equipment purchase in accordance with University and departmental guidelines on the use of Teaching Grants.

In addition, a Faculty award for Outstanding Performance in Teaching was given to a team of colleagues from LSGI, including Dr Charles Wong, Prof. Esmond Mok, Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Prof. Janet Nichol, and Miss Ran Zhang. Mr Roy Kam of the Educational Development Centre was also part of the winning team. They shared a cash prize of HK$20,000.

The annual Faculty Awards were established to motivate staff members to excel in their work performance and give recognition to those with distinguished achievements in the categories of Teaching, Research and Scholarly Activities, and Services. Recipients of the Faculty Awards will be eligible to be considered for nomination for the President’s Awards if they have also demonstrated the highest level of excellence in performance/ achievement at an institutional level.

Dr Guo (middle) receiving his award Dr Lai (middle) receiving his award
The LSGI team receiving their awards

Workshop on Frontiers in Earthquake Engineering

On 18 March 2016, around 200 scholars and practitioners from the construction industry converged on the campus of PolyU for a workshop on frontiers in earthquake engineering. They were warmly welcomed by Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE), who noted the timeliness and importance of the topics addressed by the workshop in light of the forthcoming statutory seismic resistant building standard in Hong Kong. Distinguished speakers included Prof. Yozo Fujino of the Institute of Advanced Sciences at Yokohama National University (YNU) and his colleague from the Graduate School of Urban Innovation, Prof. Akira Tasai. The former presented a research and development programme for infrastructure maintenance, renovation and management technology in Japan, while the latter elaborated on the development of a verifiable database for evaluating earthquake resistant performance of reinforced concrete members. This was followed by a presentation from Prof. Goman Ho of Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd, who shared with his audience a roadmap for introducing a seismic provision in building design for Hong Kong.

In addition, three FCE academics presented their latest research, including Prof. You-lin Xu, Dr Yong Xia, and Dr Songye Zhu. Prof. Xu discussed long-period ground motion simulation and its impact on the seismic response of high-rise buildings. Dr Xia addressed the system identification of nonlinear structures under seismic loading, and Dr Zhu shared his knowledge of seismic-resisting self-centering frames using super-elastic shape memory alloys. Co-organized by Prof. You-lin Xu, Dr Yong Xia, and Dr Eddie Lam of PolyU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), as well as Prof. Haoyuan Xu of the Information Technology Service Center at YNU, the workshop was well received by all the participants.

Prof. Xu welcoming the participants to the workshop
Attendance at the workshop

New Edition of Book by Head of LSGI

Prof. John Shi, Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), has updated and revised his pioneering book entitled Principles of Modeling Uncertainties in Spatial Data and Spatial Analyses. The new edition is as innovative and systematic as the first one, with seven sections and 18 chapters. Providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of modeling uncertainties in geographic information, it is indispensable reading for anyone interested or actively engaged in this research area, and desirable reading for anyone using geographic information to solve real problems.

Research of BRE Academics Supported by ECF

Two academics from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) have received research grants from the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF), which is supported by the Environmental Protection Department of the Hong Kong Government. Dr Meng Ni was awarded $500,000 for 18 months to develop a new method for simultaneous plastic waste treatment and electricity generation using high performance direct waste solid oxide fuel cells. His colleague, Dr Yongtao Tan, was awarded $492,620 for two years to study the green retrofit of aged residential buildings in Hong Kong. Their research will inform their teaching of environmental science for BRE.

CEE Academic Leads Drive to Improve Taxi Service

Dr Wing-tat Hung of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has spearheaded an initiative of the Hong Kong Taxi Council to improve service standards in the cab industry. Targeting current taxi drivers, a smartphone app covering at least 500 taxis will be launched in May for customers to hail a cab and rate the quality of service they got from the cab driver. Drivers who are rated unsatisfactory will be asked to attend a four-hour training course to improve their customer service skills. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate and be recognized on the app. It is hoped this scheme will enhance the quality of service provided by the city’s cabs.

Dr Hung

CEE PhD Graduate Wins Prize for Best Thesis

Dr Yi Yang, a 2015 graduate from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), has won the Ringo Yu Prize for Best PhD Thesis in Geotechnical Studies. Established by the Geotechnical Division (GD) of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), the prize includes an award of HK$8,000. Dr Yang received his prize at the HKIE GD annual dinner on 18 March 2016. The title of Dr Yang’s thesis is “Micro-macro mechanisms of cohesionless granular media---particle shape, fabric, crushing, and loading paths.” He was supervised by Dr Yung Ming Cheng, Associate Professor of CEE.

Dr Yang (right) receiving his prize

BSE Student Named Outstanding Student of FCE

On 15 March 2016, a final-year student of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) was honoured at the Outstanding Student Awards Presentation Ceremony, which rewards and recognizes undergraduates who have demonstrated remarkable academic achievement, strong leadership ability, good personal qualities, as well as active involvement in extra-curricular activities. Mr Leung Yu Kit received a certificate and a cash prize of $3,000 from Prof. Timothy W. Tong, President of PolyU, for being the Outstanding Student of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE). A recipient of numerous scholarships, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Scholarship, the Service Learning Scholarship 2014/15, and Dr Ng Tat-lun Memorial Scholarship, Mr Leung was also awarded the Gold Prize for the Special All-round Student Award in 2014/15. After receiving his BEng (Hons) in Building Services Engineering from PolyU, he plans to work for an international engineering consultancy firm.

Organized annually by the Office of Student Resources and Residential Life, PolyU’s Outstanding Student Awards are given at three levels, namely, department, faculty/ school, and university. Students selected for the award by their departments compete with one another for the Outstanding Student Award of Faculty. The Most Outstanding PolyU Student is then selected from the eight awardees of six faculties and two independent schools of PolyU.

Mr Leung (right) receiving his award from PolyU’s President, Prof. Tong

BRE PhD Student Awarded Grant to Study in Austria

Anqi Wang, a PhD student in the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), was recently awarded a research scholarship by the Centre for International Cooperation and Mobility of the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research. The Ernst Mach Grant, Eurasia-Pacific Uninet will enable her to conduct a comparative study of conservation development in Austria and China. She will be based in the University of Vienna for six months from June to November 2016. Her supervisor there will be Univ. Prof. Dr. Martin Heintel. Anqi is a student of Dr Stanley Yeung, Associate Professor of BRE, and Prof. Edwin Chan, Associate Head (Research) of BRE.

Anqi Wang

HKIE Marks 40th Anniversary with Green Campus Competition

On 12 March 2016, an opening ceremony cum workshop was held on the campus of PolyU for some 80 local secondary school students who have entered a competition called “Your School, Dream Green” to make their school campus green. Guests at the opening ceremony included Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Dr Patrick Fong, Associate Head (Partnership) of BRE, Ir Chi-Chiu Chan, President of Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), Mr Kam-sing Wong, the Secretary for the Environment of the Hong Kong Government, and other members of the judging panel.

Organized by the HKIE President’s protégés and fully supported by BRE, the competition aims to provide an opportunity for secondary school students to generate innovative ideas and implement engineering solutions at their school. In the first stage of the competition, a series of workshops and site visits have been arranged for participating students to develop their concepts for achieving environmental sustainability in the long term. The teams with the best concept design will be shortlisted for the second stage of the competition, which involves submitting a detailed design proposal after receiving advice from professional engineers. The final implementation stage will see three selected teams executing their proposals with $30,000 each in the summer.

Besides mobilizing secondary school students with this greening competition, HKIE has also launched a Protégés Scheme that allows recent university graduates to shadow its President. Two graduates from the BSc (Hons) programme in Building Engineering and Management have been selected by the President of HKIE for this Scheme. Julia M. P. Chen (BSc in 2013) and Jason K. W. Cheung (BSc in 2014) will initiate and help out in many activities to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of HKIE this year. They will no doubt gain invaluable experience as the President’s protégés.

Prof. Chan (left) with the President of HKIE, Ir C. C. Chan

Invitation for Programme Admission 2016/17

Applications are now invited for the following taught postgraduate programmes. For further details and online application, please visit

Master of Science (MSc)/Postgraduate Diploma (PgD) in:

Building Services Engineering 屋宇設備工程學
Civil Engineering 土木工程學
Construction and Real Estate 建築及房地產學
Construction Law and Dispute Resolution 建築法及爭議解決學
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
Project Management 項目管理
Sustainable Urban Development 可持續城市發展學

Faculty Public Lectures

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

Prof. Lev Khazanovich

FCE Public Lecture
"Quantitative Evaluation of Concrete Structures with Ultrasonic Testing"

Date: 16 March 2016 (Wednesday) (Details)


Prof. Lev Khazanovich
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering
University of Minnesota

Prof. Gérard Lachapelle

FCE Distinguished Lecture

"A 45-year Journey from Surveying to Geomatics"

Date: 29 March 2016 (Tuesday) (Details)

Prof. Gérard Lachapelle
Professor Emeritus
Department of Geomatics Engineering
University of Calgary, Canada

Forthcoming Events

International Forum on Turning Waste into Sustainable Construction Resources
Date: 20 April 2016
Venue: Chiang Chen Studio Theatre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The HKIE Conference 2016
Theme: Moving Forward to 2025—Hong Kong Industrial Development, Technology, and Innovation
Date: 20 May 2016
Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wanchai

Career Advice Session at the RICS Hong Kong Annual Conference 2016
Date: 20 May 2016
Time: 12:15 - 15:30
Venue: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

RISUD Annual International Symposium 2016
Theme: Smart Cities
Date: 23-24 August 2016

Academic Vacancies - FCE Subscription   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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