e-Bulletin issue 93/July 2018
Cover Story
Theme-based Research Scheme 2018/19

The Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) is pleased that a project led by Prof. Jin-Guang Teng of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) to develop a new type of concrete structures for marine infrastructure has been awarded more than HK$47 million, the largest amount of funding from the Research Grants Council Theme-based Research Scheme 2018/19. The local participating universities will provide more than HK$ 5 million as matching funding, bringing the total budget to above HK$ 52 million.

Entitled “Sustainable Marine Infrastructure Enabled by the Innovative Use of Seawater Sea-Sand Concrete and Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Composites,” the project addresses the severe deterioration problem of marine infrastructure caused by steel corrosion by replacing steel with fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) as the reinforcing material. This replacement then also allows the direct use of seawater and sea-sand in making the concrete (i.e., seawater-sea-sand concrete or SSC). Great environmental and economical benefits can be derived from the use of this new type of structures (referred to as FRP-SSC structures) in marine infrastructure. The research programme will include the development of innovative steel-free structural forms as well as new methods for the design, construction and performance monitoring of FRP-SSC structures. A key scientific challenge for the team is the establishment of a multi-scale, multi-physics approach for predicting the long-term performance of FRP-SSC structures in a marine environment over a service life of more than 50 or even 100 years. Results obtained with this method will assist greatly in the formulation of safe and economical design methods for FRP/SSC structures.

Co-principal investigators include Prof. Christopher Leung from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Prof. Zongjin Li from the University of Macau, CEE colleagues Prof. Yiqing Ni and Prof. Chi-sun Poon, Dr Florence Sanchez from Vanderbilt University in the US, Prof. Tong Sun from the University of London, Mr Sheng-Nian Wang of the CCCC Fourth Harbour Engineering Institute Co. Ltd. in mainland China, and Prof. Limin Zhou of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Since the Theme-based Research Scheme began in 2011/12, PolyU has had 2 projects funded by this highly competitive scheme, in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively, both with the theme of developing a sustainable environment. The previous winning project was led by Prof. Tao Wang of CEE.

Prof. Teng with a cross-section of sea-sand concrete

Research Achievements/ Activities
Results of RGC Competitive Funding Schemes 2018/19

The 2018/19 application results for the RGC General Research Fund (GRF) and Early Career Scheme (ECS) were announced on 29 June 2018. Due to their similar nature, these 2 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 5 0 21% $3,461,232 $138,449
BSE 6 2 38% $4,811,193 $218,691
CEE 14 1 50% $9,761,999 $244,050
LSGI 3 1 22% $2,834,063 $149,161
FCE 28 4 34% $20,868,487 $196,873

In terms of the number of grants received, CEE and BSE rank 1st and 2nd, followed by BRE and LSGI. In terms of average funding amount per academic staff member, the rankings of our 4 departments in descending order are CEE, BSE, LSGI, and BRE. Comparisons of departmental performance over the past 12 years using 2 indicators, namely, the number of grants per year and the average funding amount per academic staff member (only counting eligible staff members) are shown in Figures 1 and 2 respectively. In general, the performances of the 4 departments in recent years have varied in their ups and downs. The average funding amount records an increase of 10% as compared with last year.

Figure 1: Comparison of Number of Grants per Year between Departments over past 12 Years
Figure 2: Comparison of Amount of RGC Competitive Funding per Eligible Staff Member between Departments over past 12 Years

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 2018/19 round among local universities is shown in Figure 3. We received 42% of the total available funding in the CESBC disciplines. The average funding per project is HK$630K.

Figure 3: Distribution of GRF/ECS Funding in the CESBC Disciplines among Institutions in the 2018/19 Round

Of the 32 GRF/ECS grants awarded to the Faculty this year, 3 were awarded outside the CESBC disciplines. The Faculty won 29 grants (or 37%) totaling HK$18,157K out of 78 GRF/ECS grants awarded by RGC in the CESBC disciplines in the present round (i.e. 2018/19). FCE colleagues are urged to work hard to ensure a greater share of GRF/ECS funding in the CESBC disciplines in the future.

Large Equipment Fund for Research and Teaching

The Areas of Excellence Committee (AoEC) of the University has recently approved a proposal of Prof. Xiang-dong Li of CEE for the Large Equipment Fund for Research. HK$1,152,556 has been awarded to support the purchase of an air-liquid-interface exposure station, which will be jointly matched with funds from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) to cover the cost of HK$2,305,112.

In addition, the AoEC has also approved 2 proposals for the Large Equipment Fund for Teaching. One was a proposal from Dr Ben Leu of CEE for the purchase of a multi-scale analytical platform for organic waste and polymers for civil and environmental education. Consisting of (i) an attenuated total reflection / Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer, (ii) an elemental analyzer and total Kjeldahl nitrogen, and (iii) a raman spectrometer, the platform will cost HK$1,257,754 in total. The other proposal was from Dr Zhen Leng of CEE for the purchase of an advanced testing specimen fabrication system for construction material/structure performance characterization at a cost of HK$1,012,690.

CEE Academic Appointed to RGC Panel

Prof. Chi-Sun Poon of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has recently been appointed to serve as a member of the Engineering Panel of the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong. Serving panel members of RGC include Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) and Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Interim Vice President (Student Affairs).

Public Policy Research Funding

2 academics in the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) have recently been awarded Public Policy Research (PPR) Funding for their projects. Prof. Geoffrey Shen received HK$625,600 for an 18-month project entitled “Simulating the Impact of Construction Industrialization Policies on Its Update in Hong Kong: A Socio-technical System Perspective,” while his colleague Dr Esther Yung received HK$380,944 for her year-long project entitled “An Analytical Study on Preferences of the Elderly in Visiting Public Open Spaces.”

ITF Funding for Joint Research

Dr Ben Leu of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has been awarded HK$999,998 from the Matching Grant for Joint Research Scheme under the University-Industry Collaboration Programme of the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) for a 2-year project entitled “New Solvent-Based Biorefinery Techniques to Extract Lignin from Timber Wastes for High Titer Biofuel Production.” The project is also supported by another HK$ 1 million from RecycleGreen Project Limited. One of his co-investigators is Dr Charles Wong of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI).

FCE Postdoctoral Fellowships Scheme

The following projects have recently been approved in the FCE Postdoctoral Fellowships Scheme:

PDF Candidate Project Title Matching Funding Approved (HK$)
Dr Zhen Leng (CEE) Xiong Xu An Eco-friendly Approach to Recycle Waste Plastic and Waste Tyre Rubber Collectively into Sustainable Asphalt Pavements CEE: $149,997
FCE: $149,997
Prof. You-Lin Xu (CEE) Kaiqi Lin Life-Cycle Seismic Performance Assessment of RC Bridges Using Structural Health Monitoring System CEE: $59,144
FCE: $59,144

Best Paper Award for LSGI Researchers at GNSS Conference

A paper co-authored by Dr George Zhizhao Liu of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) and his PhD student, Mr Shiwei Yu, has won the Best Paper Award at the 2018 Annual Forum of the International Association of the Chinese Professionals of Global Positioning Systems (CPGPS) held in Xi’an, China, from 13 to 15 July 2018. It was entitled “Investigating the Feasibility of GNSS-based Ionosphere Observation on a Fast-moving Train Platform.” With a significant impact on the accuracy and reliability of positioning and navigation using Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), the ionosphere is a crucial layer of the atmosphere that has a profound effect on communications systems based on radio waves.

Promoting the art and science of navigation, particularly the satellite-based GNSS, the CPGPS Annual Forum attracted about 350 participants from universities and research institutions in mainland China, Hong Kong, and overseas.


Mr Yu (left) receiving the award
FCE Academics Consulted by Beijing Winter Olympics Committee

A team of academics from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) met with the organizing committee and project management team of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on 3 July 2018. Led by Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Interim Vice President (Student Affairs), the team included Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Associate Dean (Partnership), Prof. Kwok-Fai Chung, Associate Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Prof. John Shi, Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), and Prof. Kam Tim Chau of CEE. Upon the request of the organizing committee and the project management team of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, they have provided valuable advice and suggestions to optimize the design and construction of the tracks for the alpine skiing events.


Some FCE academics at the meeting
Meeting with CIC

On 11 July 2018, 10 academics of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) presented their research related to the use of building information modelling (BIM) to four representatives of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), namely senior manager Mr Alex Ho, consultant Mr David Mak, senior officer Mr Chris Wong, and officer Mr Evan Mak. After a welcome speech from Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of FCE, the meeting began to explore opportunities for collaboration in various aspects of BIM. Presentations were made by Prof. Heng Li of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Dr Shan Kui of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), Dr Yuhong Wang of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Dr Wei Yao and Dr Matthew Pang of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) respectively. In attendance were Prof. Meng Ni from BRE; Prof. Asif Usmani, Prof. Shiu-Keung Tang, and Dr Chi-Kwan Chau from BSE; as well as Ms Michelle Li and Ms Sharon Yu from the Communications and Public Affairs Office.

Subsequently, the visitors were taken to BRE’s IT Teaching Room where BIM-related courses offered by BRE were introduced by BRE colleagues Dr Ting Huang, Dr Andy Wong, and Dr Joonoh Seo. The meeting ended with some discussion for BIM collaboration between CIC and PolyU.


At the meeting
HKICM and HKIPM Joint CPD Seminar

A seminar for continuing professional development (CPD) was held in the evening of 10 July 2018. Jointly organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Construction Managers (HKICM) and the Hong Kong Institute of Project Management (HKIPM), together with the support of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), the Chartered Institute of Building (Hong Kong) (CIOB-HK) and the Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA), the seminar featured 3 guest speakers from the government’s Buildings Department, namely Sr Wendy Leung, Senior Professional Officer / Registration; Sr Hazel Tee, Building Surveyor / Registration; and Sr Kurt Chik, Building Surveyor / Minor Works. They introduced the registration of contractors under the Buildings Ordinance and the Minor Works Control System to 120 attendees, who were mostly members of HKICM, HKIPM, CIOB (HK), HKCA, as well as graduates and students of BRE.


At the CPD seminar
PolyU Summer Programme 2018

An opening ceremony for the PolyU Summer Programme was held on 10 July 2018 at the Jockey Club Innovation Tower. After a welcoming speech by Prof. Daniel Shek, Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme), the programme was officially launched with representatives from each of PolyU’s Schools and Faculties, amongst whom was Prof. Michael Yam, Acting Associate Dean (Teaching) of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE). Also in attendance was Prof. Eddie Hui, Associate Head (Partnership) of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE).

Organized by the Secondary School Relations Section of the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the summer programme gave some local secondary students in forms 4 and 5 an introduction to the various undergraduate programmes offered by the university. Not only did the 4 FCE departments introduce their bachelor’s degree programmes and provide tours of some of their laboratories on different days in July, they also engaged the secondary students with fun activities such as a visit to the Exhibition Centre of the Hong Kong Housing Authority and games with prizes from BRE, a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland led by the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) to explore the practical applications of building services, a team-based competition involving a paper structure challenge from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), and a hands-on workshop in satellite image processing from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI). It was a range of worthwhile experiences for all the student participants.

At the opening ceremony
  Some participants of the summer programme
  Engaging students with a paper structure challenge
Maker Faire Hong Kong 2018

To engage the public with various technologies, a Maker Faire was held on the weekend of 7 and 8 July 2018 on the PolyU campus. Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE), was one of the officiating guests at the opening ceremony. Hosted by the School of Design together with the joint support of the Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles, FCE, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, the Maker Faire featured a diverse range of activities, including 4 exhibits and a workshop from FCE. From the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) was Prof. Albert Chan’s project of a personal cooling system for construction workers in hot and humid weather. The Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) was represented by Dr Xinyan Huang’s demonstration of a fire whirl/ fire tornado and Prof. Lin Lu’s project of a novel transparent thermal insulation coating applied on window glass, while the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) was represented by Dr Matthew Pang’s project on developing Hong Kong as a world-leading smart city with VR demo and Dr Wallace Lai’s project on imaging the mysterious underground. It was a great way for the public to learn about the maker culture in different fields.


Some participants of the fair
Best Student Paper Award for LSGI MSc Student

An MSc student in the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), Miss Zheyan Shen, has won the top award in a student paper competition at the 26th International Conference on Geo-informatics that was held in Kunming, China, from 28 to 30 June 2018. Her paper was entitled “Measurement of Blooming Effect of DMSP-OLS Nighttime Light Data Based on NPP-VIIRS Data.” She is a student of Dr Xiaolin Zhu.

A long-standing tradition of the International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences, the competition promotes the academic development of young scholars in geographic information science.


Miss Shen (fourth from left) receiving her award
2nd Prize for BSE Postgraduate in National Competition

A recent MEng graduate from the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), Miss Yau Ki Tse, won the second prize in the 12th Chinese National College Student Competition for the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Industry (South China region) that was held in Guangzhou from 26 to 27 June 2018. With a theme of creating a beautiful life by means of air conditioning and refrigeration technology, the competition was jointly organized by the Chinese Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Industry Association (CRAA) and the South China University of Science and Technology.

Supervised by Prof. Shiming Deng, Miss Tse’s entry was entitled “Improvement of a new capacity controller for a variable speed direct expansion air conditioning system with an emphasis on system stability.”


Miss Tse (right) with her award
The 11th Innovation Competition in Construction Engineering and Management
A team of 6 undergraduates from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) has won the 3rd prize in the 11th Innovation Competition in Construction Engineering and Management that was held at Tsinghua University on 28 June 2018. The team consisted of 5 surveying students, Wai Pong Yuen, Ching Leong Ngan, Koon Fung Ho, Chun Pong Wong, Yan Yi Wong, and a student in building engineering and management, Yat Hei Kong. They were thankful for the support of Dr Patrick Fong and Dr Francis Siu in grooming them for the competition.  

At the competition
Invitation for Programme Admission 2019/20

Applications from both local and international students will be invited for the following programmes starting from September 2018. Please watch out for the opening of 2019/20 application and get ready to make an application.

Undergraduate Programmes
Broad Discipline of Construction and Environment 建設及環境廣泛學科[subject to approval]
BSc(Hons) in Building Engineering and Management 建築工程及管理學(榮譽)理學士學位
BSc(Hons) in Property Management 物業管理學(榮譽)理學士學位
BSc(Hons) in Surveying 地產及建設測量學(榮譽)理學士學位
BEng(Hons) in Building Services Engineering 屋宇設備工程學(榮譽)工學士學位
BEng(Hons) in Civil Engineering 土木工程學(榮譽)工學士學位
BEng(Hons) in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development 環境工程與可持續發展學(榮譽)工學士學位
BSc(Hons) in Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health 環境及職業安全與健康(榮譽)理學士學位 (Top-up Degree Programme)
BEng(Hons) in Sustainable Structural and Fire Engineering 可持續結構及消防工程學(榮譽)工學士學位 [new, subject to approval]
BSc(Hons) in Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics 土地測量及地理資訊學(榮譽)理學士學位

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

For details, please visit:
Undergraduate programmes- https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/study-at-fce/undergraduate-programmes
MSc/ PgD programmes- https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/study-at-fce/taught-postgraduate-programmes

For PolyU’s e-Prospectus, please visit https://www.polyu.edu.hk/study

Forthcoming Events
Recruitment Drive of PolyU CIBSC
Brief Introduction: As a student-run organization in building and construction, the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) PolyU Student Chapter welcomes all research and post-graduate students from the Faculty of Construction and Environment to become a member. Membership applications are accepted all year round.
Website: http://cibsc.bre.polyu.edu.hk/
10th International Conference on Applied Energy
Dates: 22-25 August 2018
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Theme:Innovative Solutions for Energy Transitions
Details: http://www.applied-energy.org/icae2018/
Building Information Modeling (BIM) Conference
Date: 24 August 2018 (Tuesday)
Venue: Rooms 1&2, 10/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Theme: Improving Efficiency in Executing Construction Projects through Integration of HK BIM Standards with PAS 1192 Family Standards Series
Details: http://page.bsigroup.com/l/73472/2018-07-13/dm65pl
Faculty Forum on FCE Strategic Plan 2018-2021 cum Applications for RGC Major Funding Schemes
Date: 30 August 2018 (Thursday)
Time: 2pm – 5pm
Venue: Y304
Details: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/news-event/upcoming-events/20180830
Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) Annual Conference 2018
Date: 22 September 2018 (Saturday)
Time: 9am - 5pm
Venue: Ballroom, JW Marriott Hong Kong, Pacific Place
Details: https://www.hkis.org.hk/hkis/general/annual-conf/2018/hkis-ac2018v5.pdf
CIB World Building Congress 2019
Dates: 17-21 June 2019
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Theme: Constructing Smart Cities
Details: http://www.wbc2019.hk/
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