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Two PolyU projects awarded the RGC Theme-based Research Scheme funding

13 Jul 2023

Awards and Achievements

Research projects led by Prof. Yi-Qing Ni (left) and Prof. Cao Jiannong (right) are funded by the 2023/24 RGC Theme-based Research Scheme

Two research projects led by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have won close to HK$100 million funding from the Research Grants Council’s Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) 2023/24 to foster sustainable development for the city.

Prof. Yi-Qing NI, Chair Professor of Smart Structures and Rail Transit in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, leads the project “INTACT: Intelligent Tropical-storm-resilient System for Coastal Cities,” which has been awarded funding of HK$48.293 million.

Addressing the challenges posed by extreme winds and complex urban environments, Prof. Ni’s project aims to mitigate the risk of tropical storms for high-rise building clusters in coastal cities by developing a real-time early-warning and resilience system. Enabling development of a sustainable environment is the ultimate research goal, which is one of the TRS designated research themes.

Prof. CAO Jiannong, Chair Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing in the Department of Computing, leads another project “High-performance Collaborative Edge Computing Enabling Smart City Applications: Framework and Methodologies,” which has received funding of HK$50.821 million.

Pushing forward the development of smart cities, Prof. Cao’s research aims to meet the requirements of advanced applications such as autonomous vehicles, industrial IoT and the metaverse, by developing a collaborative edge computing framework. The project has been funded under the designated research theme of advancing emerging research and innovations important to Hong Kong.

Prof. Christopher CHAO, PolyU Vice President (Research and Innovation) said, “PolyU is dedicated to transforming research excellence into impactful and practical innovations through multidisciplinary collaborations. This remarkable funding achievement is encouraging and highlights PolyU’s strategic importance in driving Hong Kong’s long-term development. Moving forward, we remain committed to providing all-round and in-depth support to our scholars, enabling them to address global challenges.”

The TRS aims to focus the research efforts of UGC-funded universities on themes of strategic importance to the long-term development of Hong Kong. The maximum duration of a funded project is five years.

Details of the two funded research projects:

Project Coordinator

Prof Yi-Qing Ni

  • Director of the National Rail Transit Electrification and Automation Engineering Technology Research Centre (Hong Kong Branch)

  • Yim, Mak, Kwok & Chung Professor in Smart Structures

  • Chair Professor of Smart Structures and Rail Transit in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Project Title

    INTACT: Intelligent Tropical-storm-resilient System for Coastal Cities


    Ongoing population growth and the impact of climate change pose heightened risks of typhoon and tropical storm-related hazards in coastal cities. Hong Kong was hit by Super Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018, causing significant disruption to the safety of the city and well-being of residents.
    The objective of this project is to minimize the losses caused by typhoons by establishing an intelligent tropical-storm-resilient system for coastal cities. The project will devise a framework that enables efficient and accurate assessment of turbulence flows from sparse measurements. It will also quantify urban-environment tropical storm risks that arise due to complex urban aerodynamics.
    The project will establish a real-time urban typhoon risk early-warning and management prototype that will be made accessible to the public for guiding effective emergency responses, such as evacuation measures and the temporary reinforcement of glass panels. The project outcomes will also lead to new methodologies and design codes/standards for high-rise buildings that are more resistant to tropical storms. This will in turn create a safer environment, benefiting the construction industries and developers, public and city planners in the long run.
    The fundamental scientific discoveries and technologies developed for Hong Kong’s complex urban environment will have easy transferability to other cities, including those in the GBA, and can serve as case models for global reference.

    Approved Budget*

    HK$48.293 million;


    Project Coordinator

    Prof Jiannong Cao

    • Dean of Graduate School

    • Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Professor in Data Science

    • Chair Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing in the Department of Computing

      Project Title

      High-performance Collaborative Edge Computing Enabling Smart City Applications: Framework and Methodologies


      Existing edge computing projects focus on vertical collaboration among cloud, edge and end devices while neglecting horizontal edge-to-edge collaborations, which leads to unoptimised resource utilisation, restricted service coverage and uneven performance. This project aims to build a new smart city computing infrastructure enabled by collaborative edge computing with edge/cloud collaboration, city-scale edge network deployment and built-in AI services.
      The Collaborative Edge Computing Framework (CECF) proposed by this project aims to construct a future ubiquitous computing infrastructure by connecting, sharing and managing the resources of a large number of edge nodes. CECF provides new abstractions and functionalities for geo-distributed edge nodes to share computing and data resources and collaborate to perform application tasks, enabling advanced smart city applications.
      The project addresses many key challenges, including large-scale resource management, performance-guaranteed task scheduling, resource-aware edge AI and secure data sharing. It will ultimately enable emerging advanced smart city applications to flourish in HK and establish a first-mover advantage for the City in new computing infrastructure.

      Approved Budget*

      HK$50.821 million


      *RGC provides 90% of the approved budget and the remaining 10% will be provided by the coordinating University.

      Press Contacts

      Ms Iris Lai

      Manager, Research and Innovation Office

      Press Contacts

      Ms Annie Wong

      Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs

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