PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research – A visionary platform to solve pressing global issues
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 eleven 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, sports science and technology, 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
Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Research Institute for Smart Energy
Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Smart Cities Research Institute
Photonics Research Institute
Research Institute for Advanced Manufacturing
Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things
Research Institute for Future Food
Research Institute for Intelligent Wearable Systems
Research Institute for Land and Space
Research Institute for Smart Ageing
Research Institute for Sports Science and Technology
Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development
Mental Health Research Centre
Research Centre for Chinese Medicine Innovation
(Image Courtesy of ESA/AOES)
Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations
Research Centre for Resources Engineering towards Carbon Neutrality
Research Centre for SHARP Vision
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:
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
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