Fostering world-class interdisciplinary research and innovation in Hong Kong

 

We are in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is underpinned by emerging technologies that are profoundly changing the way we live and work. The 21st century is also marked by transnational problems, such as the current pandemic, which are reshaping our societies. To effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of our contemporary times, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), a global top 100 tertiary institution, is accelerating its commitment to impactful interdisciplinary research and innovation through various strategic initiatives. These include establishing the PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research, a pioneering platform in Hong Kong for interdisciplinary collaboration; supporting the Government’s InnoHK project with world-renowned universities to foster international research; and joining the Jiangsu-Hong Kong-Macao University Alliance to advance innovation, research and talent exchange in the three regions. Over the following pages, you will learn more about these exciting initiatives by PolyU, which will contribute to the rise of Hong Kong as a leading innovation and technology hub.

 

Today’s complex world demands interdisciplinary solutions

The world is facing a plethora of unprecedented challenges. For example, climate change induced by greenhouse gas emissions can have major adverse impacts on our planet. The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously tested the resiliency of healthcare systems and economies worldwide. The population is rapidly ageing, with real implications for wider society. The world is also facing energy shortages.

 

The solutions to these pressing problems require game-changing research efforts that draw expertise across disciplines. That is why the University has established PAIR (PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research). PAIR is a unique model for Hong Kong, and PolyU is one of the few pioneering institutions in the world taking this visionary approach.

 

Expanding the frontiers of knowledge

PolyU formed PAIR to steer interdisciplinary research, bringing together resources and knowledge from different technologies and scientific disciplines to deliver practical solutions that address key societal issues. Taking the helm of PAIR is Professor Chen Qingyan, Global STEM Scholar and Chair Professor of Building Thermal Science, who has extensive experience in interdisciplinary research at world-renowned institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University.

 

Solutions to many world challenges can no longer be found within isolated disciplines but call for interdisciplinary efforts. This is where PAIR comes into play.

- Professor Jin-Guang Teng, PolyU President

 

Today, PAIR hosts ten mission-driven interdisciplinary Research Institutes (RIs) and five Research Centres (RCs), whose research teams are drawn from the most distinguished scholars at PolyU. These RIs and RCs focus on frontier research areas including deep space exploration, resources engineering towards carbon neutrality, sustainable urban development, smart cities, smart energy, land and space, photonics, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence of things, intelligent wearable systems, future food, smart ageing, Chinese medicine innovation, mental health, sharp vision, and many more (see the full list of RIs and RCs below).

 

PAIR will collaborate with other top institutions, as well as engage with society and industry, in the development of impactful solutions. PAIR will also be a home for world-class scholars visiting PolyU. Indeed, the University is committed to creating a vibrant and diverse research environment that not only nurtures interdisciplinary research but also enhances international collaboration and crosscultural exchanges.

 

PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research – Research Institutes and Research Centres

 

PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research

– Research Institutes and Research Centres

Research Institutes

Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Research Institute for Smart Energy
Director: Ir Professor Wang Shengwei, Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Professor in Smart Building and Chair Professor of Building Energy and Automation

Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Research Institute for Smart Energy

Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Smart Cities Research Institute
Director: Professor John Shi Wen-zhong, Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Professor in Urban Informatics and Chair Professor of Geographical Information Science and Remote Sensing

Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Smart Cities Research Institute

Photonics Research Institute
Director: Professor Lu Chao, Chair Professor of Fiber Optics

Photonics Research Institute

Research Institute for Advanced Manufacturing
Director: Ir Professor Man Hau-chung, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Cheng Yick-chi Chair Professor in Manufacturing Engineering and Chair Professor of Materials Engineering

Research Institute for Advanced Manufacturing

Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things
Director: Professor Cao Jiannong, Dean of Graduate School, Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Professor in Data Science and Chair Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing

Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things

Research Institute for Future Food
Director: Dr Wong Ka-hing, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology

Research Institute for Future Food

Research Institute for Intelligent Wearable Systems
Director: Professor Tao Xiaoming,Vincent and Lily Woo Professor in Textile Technology and Chair Professor of Textile Technology

Research Institute for Intelligent Wearable Systems

Research Institute for Land and Space
Director: Professor Ding Xiaoli, Chair Professor of Geomatics

Research Institute for Land and Space

Research Institute for Smart Ageing
Director: Ir Professor Zheng Yongping, Henry G. Leong Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Institute for Smart Ageing

Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development
Director: Professor Li Xiangdong, Dean of Faculty of Construction and Environment, Ko Jan Ming Professor in Sustainable Urban Development and Chair Professor of Environmental Science and Technology

Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development
Research Centres
Mental Health Research Centre

Mental Health Research Centre
Director: Professor David Man Wai-kwong, Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science

Research Centre for Chinese Medicine Innovation

Research Centre for Chinese Medicine Innovation
Director: Professor Wong Man-sau, Professor, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology

Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations

(Image Courtesy of ESA/AOES)

Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations
Director: Ir Professor Yung Kai-leung, Sir Szeyuen Chung Professor in Precision Engineering and Chair Professor of Precision Engineering

 

 

 

 

 

Research Centre for Resources Engineering towards Carbon Neutrality

Research Centre for Resources Engineering towards Carbon Neutrality
Director: Ir Professor Poon Chi-sun, Head of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michael Anson Professor in Civil Engineering and Chair Professor of Sustainable Construction Materials

Research Centre for SHARP Vision

Research Centre for SHARP Vision
Director: Professor To Chi-ho, Head of School of Optometry, Henry G. Leong Professor in Elderly Vision Health and Chair Professor of Experimental Optometry.

 

In collaboration with first-class universities, the industry and the cream of scientists, PAIR will be able to get ahead of the curve in innovating solutions for world challenges.

- Professor Chen Qingyan,

Director of PAIR

 

Impactful projects at PAIR

PAIR scholars have been engaged in many pathbreaking research projects for societal impact across various fields. Below is just a small sample of the diverse projects led by PAIR researchers:

 

Human Health

  • Myopia control in children using optical technology

  • Neuroscience of cognitive rehabilitation

  • Research on probiotics and prebiotics in human health

  • Research of new drugs for the treatment of bone diseases with traditional Chinese medicine

  • Ageing-related family and social issues and related policies

Technology and Smart Systems

  • Space environment and instrument research for national space missions

  • Optical fibre sensing systems for railway system monitoring and battery monitoring

  • High performance deep learning clusters for big data analytics

  • Development of smart energy management technologies for complex building energy systems in high-density cities

  • Smart wearable systems for manpower augmentation, health care and personal safety

  • Smart monitoring system for urban tree management

Environment

  • Environmentally friendly paving blocks that can keep the air clean

  • Research of new materials and technologies to reduce emissions in production and transportation, practise energy purification and achieve higher energy efficiency

  • The impact of land development on the environment and ecology

  • Research on fire prediction, prevention, control and emergency management

 

PAIR’s research aspires to advance several important goals for the benefit and prosperity of Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area, and the world. These include building a globally modern industrial system, taking ecological conservation forward, expanding infrastructural connectivity, developing a quality living circle, building a global technology and innovation hub, and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

 

PAIR is the first mover of its kind in the region, developing breakthrough ideas, fostering sustainability, lifting economic outcomes, and improving living conditions.

- Professor Christopher Chao,

PolyU Vice President (Research and Innovation)

 

Learn more about PAIR

 

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