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20240716 Prof Tao Prof Tao awarded RGC Themebased Research Scheme Funding for sustainable impacts200

Prof. Tao Xiaoming secures RGC Theme-based Research Scheme for sustainable impacts

We are delighted to announce that Professor Tao Xiaoming, Vincent and Lily Woo Professor in Textile Technology, Chair Professor of Textile Technology, and Director of the Research Institute for Intelligent Wearable Systems, has been awarded the esteemed Research Grants Council (RGC)'s Theme-based Research Scheme 2024/25 of HK$62.378 million*. This funding is for her project, "Mechanisms and Key Technologies of Multi-Sensory Emulation Wearable Devices”. Professor Tao's project aims to lead global research in multi-sensory emulation wearable devices, capitalising on PolyU’s exceptional multidisciplinary expertise and facilities in flexible materials, sensors and actuators for the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable and biomedical applications, electronic fabrics, mathematics for artificial intelligence, acoustics and signal processing. It also aims to emulate the less enhanced yet urgently needed sensations of touch (tactile) and smell (olfactory) through a study of multi-sensory emulation wearable devices (MSEWDs) that reveals their operational mechanisms, and to develop relevant key technologies and applications. First-of-its-kind emulation mechanisms based on fibrous structures and their bionic actuation devices will be developed for delivering mixed scents and tactile sensations. Leveraging AI models to link measured signals obtained by biosensors and algorithms for controlling the bionic emulation devices will offer more immersive experiences. The target of the MSEWDs includes: A device that senses and simulates olfactory sensation by AI-controlled scent-making and dispersion of mixed scents; A fabric tactile emulator that senses and tunes reactive forces and temperature by changing its rigidity, dimension, surface morphology and thermoelectric properties; and A wearable fabric-based acoustic stethoscope that continuously detects the location and intensity of sound generated from human internal organs. This research has far-reaching impacts that extend beyond the development of novel fibre-based multi-sensory emulation wearable devices. Ultimately, it also contributes to diverse social and industrial fields, encompassing healthcare, IoT, smart cities, art technology, robotics, education, sports, fashion and textiles, and personal protection. Professor Erin Cho, Dean and Limin Professor in Integrated Strategies and Leadership in Fashion , said, "Words cannot fully express my appreciation about this milestone. The first-ever Theme based Research Scheme in SFT distinctively excellent institutional history. This achievement is the immense source of pride not only for SFT for the entire university. The Theme-based Research Scheme, by all means, represents one of the most difficult and competitive grants to secure, further underscored by the substantial size of the funding.This is also the major reflection of Professor Tao’s lifetime commitment and devotion to her research. She is an internationally renowned and celebrated scholar in fiber science and wearable technology, with numerous distinctive awards and recognitions to her name. Her success in securing this grant also marks one of her most significant accomplishments, a goal she has pursued with unwavering determination. Please join me in congratulating Professor Tao. SFT is deeply honored to have her as our academic leader and a dedicated citizen of our community."   * RGC provides 90% of the approved budget and the remaining 10% will be provided by the coordinating University.


Research & Innovation

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Dr Shou Dahua develops intelligent activewear for a dry and comfortable experience

The Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games are just around the corner and a global sports frenzy is underway. However, intense summer workouts often lead to sportswear absorbing excessive sweat, becoming clingy and cumbersome, causing discomfort and potentially impacting performance. Limin Endowed Young Scholar in Advanced Textiles Technologies and Associate Professor, Dr Shou Dahua has developed the iActive™ sportswear range which features a root-like liquid transport system and a skin-like active perspiration dissipater and utilises nature-inspired, anti-heat textile fabrics to expedite sweat removal, effectively reducing the weight and stickiness of activewear caused by sweat accumulation during exercise. The human body has millions of sweat glands that are vital for regulating body temperature by dissipating sweat for evaporation to cool the skin’s surface. With unabating greenhouse gas emissions, the number of very hot days annually is expected to increase significantly. This will lead to elevated energy consumption and increased sweating during physical activity and outdoor labour. Even when wearing highly breathable clothes with good sweat-wicking properties, individuals may still experience discomfort due to excessive sweat accumulation. A research team led by Dr Shou, has invented the groundbreaking iActive™, intelligent, electrically activated sportswear with a nature-inspired active perspiration function. This pioneering innovation has garnered significant recognition, including a Gold Medal at the 49th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva this April. Its nature-inspired technologies, including low-voltage-driven artificial “sweat glands” created by skin-like anti-heat textile fabrics and a root-like branching liquid transport system that aligns with the body’s sweat map, can actively and programmably transport sweat to a perspiration dissipater at the lower region of the sportswear, and quickly remove it as liquid droplets. The all-textile sweat dissipater is compact and operates at a safe output voltage of approximately 5-9V, and its battery is easy to detach from the clothing, making it convenient for users to repeatedly wash the clothing by hand or in a washing machine to maintain hygiene. When the human body’s sweat rate is low, iActive™ can still be used independently without the battery. Based on the optimised wettability pattern and gradient, the research team utilises a skin-like textile fabric to transport sweat one-way quickly and dissipate it directionally from the inside to the outside. This feature reduces the stickiness and weight of clothing, improves breathability and ensures the garments remain dry and comfortable to wear. Experimental findings indicate that iActive™ creates a breathable and dry skin microclimate by dissipating sweat at a rate that is three times faster than the maximum human sweating rate. This innovation can also prevent discomfort from coldness and moisture after a workout. In comparison to traditional fabrics, the textile materials in iActive™ are 60% lighter and 50% less clingy when soaked, providing the wearer with all-round comfort and enabling sports enthusiasts and athletes to perform at their best. Furthermore, a mobile app further aids personalised sweat management by wirelessly adjusting the sweat level of iActive™. This innovation is versatile and can be seamlessly integrated into a variety of textile materials to facilitate sustainable mass production. Beyond sportswear, iActive™ is also well-suited to protective clothing and workwear for individuals engaged in prolonged, high-intensity physical labour and outdoor occupations, including healthcare professionals, construction workers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and others, thereby significantly enhancing their work performance. Dr Shou stated, “The extreme weather and high temperatures resulting from global warming have elevated the importance of heatstroke prevention and cooling measures on a global scale. Drawing on the vivid phenomena of thermal insulation and directed liquid flow in nature, we aim to foster innovation and sustainable advancement in garment manufacturing by inventing intelligent clothing and materials to address global challenges. We seek to harness the power of technology to infuse fresh perspectives into the traditional clothing industry, thereby enhancing its competitiveness.” His research team has also developed a premium fabric named Omni-Cool-Dry™, drawing inspiration from volcano dwelling beetles. This fabric not only provides ultra-fast sweat dissipation and ensures all-day comfort with its dry and breathable features under dynamic thermal conditions, but also reflects solar radiation and emits body heat into the cold universe, enabling passive cooling. The team is working hard to leverage the benefits of both inventions to further enhance the sweat-dissipating and cooling capability of iActive™ sportswear. Dr Shou, a core member of the PolyU Research Institute for Intelligent Wearable Systems and the Research Centre of Textiles for Future Fashion, has recently been bestowed with the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award by The Fiber Society for his outstanding contributions to the fields of personal thermal and moisture management, intelligent wearables and soft robotics. The accolade is presented annually to an individual researcher worldwide. He has also received international innovation awards, including consecutive TechConnect Global Innovation Awards in 2021 and 2022. Moreover, his research papers have been published in various internationally renowned academic journals including Science Advances, PNAS, Advanced Functional Materials, and Advanced Energy Materials. Dr Shou will be chairing The Fiber Society Spring 2025 Conference at PolyU.


Research & Innovation

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Prof. Christina Wong conferred as RGC Senior Research Fellow and awarded fellowship grant of HK$8 million

SFT is thrilled to announce that Professor Christina Wong is an awardee of the highly competitive RGC Senior Research Fellow Scheme (SRFS) 2024/25 offered by the Research Grants Council (RGC) for excellence in research on the circular economy for global sustainable production and consumption.  This year, the RGC selected 10 nominees among 38 nominations for the SRFS awards. Professor Wong has been conferred the title "RGC Senior Research Fellow" and PolyU will receive a fellowship grant of around HK$8 million for her 5-year research project titled “Beyond Regulatory Exertion: Circular Economy Governance, and its Institutionalization and Performance Impacts”. The circular economy represents a model of production and consumption in which products and materials are cycled back into the economy until the end of their useful life, thereby reducing global material extraction. However, only 7.2% of global resources that enter the market are recovered and recycled annually, according to the Circularity Gap Report published at the World Economic Forum in 2023. Despite government efforts in setting action plans and policies on the circular economy, collective industrial efforts are essential for monitoring and controlling waste and resource efficiency. Considering the knowledge gap on circular economy governance and its benefits, the research addresses this challenge by demonstrating how different business conditions affect governance performance in the circular economy, and subsequently driving the establishment of circular economy governance. Professor Wong said, “Receiving this funding award greatly contributes to my research work on sustainable goals for responsible consumption and production. The exceptional capacity of PolyU, and its academic and research expertise, specialised facilities, and interdisciplinary resources have extensively supported our research, thus empowering us to generate profound societal impacts.” The RGC SRFS aims to provide sustained support and relief from teaching and administrative duties to exceptionally outstanding researchers at the Associate Professor rank (or full Professor rank) of UGC-funded universities in Hong Kong, with the view to facilitate their full dedication to research and development and help universities attract and retain research talent.


Research & Innovation

PolyU Patents Achievement Award 2023

PolyU has launched the Patents Achievement Award in appreciation and honour of the remarkable achievements of departments and inventors who actively engaged in IP filing. The award reflects the collective drive to foster innovation and safeguard intellectual properties. We are excited to share that the SFT is awarded the PolyU Top Patents Filing Award 2023, recognising our IP filing activities over the past five years (2019-2023). Congratulations to all the SFT inventors for your contributions!



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PolyU and AELIS Couture forge innovative partnership for Fall/Winter 2024/25 Couture Collection

PolyU is excited to announce its partnership with the esteemed Paris fashion house AELIS Couture (AELIS) for the F/W 2024/25 couture collection that was showcased during the haute couture week in Paris on 27 June. Created by the legendary haute couture designer Sofia Crociani, the Collection introduces sustainable metal-coated textiles developed by SFT, blending cutting-edge technology with luxury fashion. This innovative textile technology was developed by the research team led by Professor Kinor Jiang, using developed metallising technology to place ultra-thin, nano-scale metal films onto textiles. Without discharging any polluted water or chemicals, the non-aqueous process results in textiles that are not only visually stunning but also sustainable. For this Collection, the team created a precious gold and silver coated sustainable silk organza with a metallic pearly sheen while maintaining the comfort and flexibility of traditional textiles. The collaboration with AELIS, renowned for its artful designs and sustainable approach to fashion, reflects PolyU’s commitment to advancing textile technology and its applications in the fashion industry. The integration of PolyU’s metal-coated textiles into AELIS Couture’s designs reveals a collection that embodies both style and state-of-the-art technology. Professor Christopher Chao, PolyU Vice President (Research and Innovation) said, “We are thrilled to partner with AELIS for their F/W 2024/25 couture collection. The collaboration with AELIS Couture is a shining example of how PolyU’s research can be translated into real-world applications, bridging the gap between technology and artistry in fashion. We are proud to see our sustainable innovations contribute to the creation of couture that is as technologically advanced as it is beautiful.” Ms Sofia Crociani, Founder of AELIS, expressed her excitement at the partnership, “For AELIS Couture, the project with PolyU, born after a cycle of ‘sustainable lectures’ jointly organised by PolyU and the French Consulate in Hong Kong, is the result of a wonderful effort to advance in the ecological and technological research field. Working with PolyU has been an inspiring journey. Their precious metal-coated textiles have allowed us to explore new dimensions of design and sustainability. We are proud to present a collection that reflects the synergy between PolyU’s technological expertise and our commitment to eco-conscious couture.” Through this international collaboration, PolyU joins hands with AELIS to make a bold statement in the fashion world, showcasing the potential of merging sustainability with luxury art-to-wear. The AELIS F/W 2024/25 Couture Fashion Show that took place during the “haute couture week” in Paris represents an event where innovation meets grace and elegance, setting a new standard for the future of couture.


Partnership & Community


Visit to Qingyuan Textile and Fashion Industry Transfer Park

A group of SFT staff, including Professors John Xin and Fei Bin, as well as Dr Chen Jianming visited the Qingyuan Textile and Fashion Industry Transfer Park (TFITP) on 4 and 5 June 2024. Qingyuan is the largest prefecture-level city in the Guangdong province, with an abundance of natural resources and good ecological environment. Located beside the Beijiang River, the TFITP is close to the boundaries of the Guangzhou, Zhaoqing, and Qingyuan cities, and has a convenient transportation infrastructure of railways, highways, waterways and airlines. The city is still under construction, with the target to become the fast fashion smart manufacturing base of China, with an investment of RMB 100 billion in 10,000 acres of open land. The General Secretary of Qingyuan city, Mr Lin Kecong, provided an introduction of the entire park plan to the group of visitors. Located in the same building as the TFITP are the Zhijing Technology Apparel Fabrics Museum and a branch of the National Standard Testing Center as representative service providers for the fashion and textile manufacturers nearby. These organisations are also expected to serve SFT students in their future FYP activities, as Professor John Xin mentioned during his discussion with the local director of the State Development and Investment Group Co., Ltd, Ms Guo Jingwen. The leading company in the TFITP, Zhonghua Group, has established a platform called Zhongda Fashion Technology City to attract more companies to join this park and form an integral supply chain of fashion and textiles. The director, Mr Hu Zhonghua, expressed interest in collaboration with SFT to explore innovative yarn spinning techniques. In the past, he has also enjoyed a collaboration with Donghua University in Shanghai by providing internship opportunities and positions.  The SFT delegation also visited several other companies including Tiansi Pinhui Industrial Co., Ltd., which is initiating an automatic hanger system in their smart factory for T-shirt production. The company director, Mr Shi Xuezheng, demonstrated the high efficiency and accuracy of their digital production line operated by well-trained workers from local higher vocational colleges. 


Partnership & Community

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SFT showcases research and innovations at its first overseas exhibition “Flying High” in France

SFT showcased seven research projects at the inaugural “Flying High” exhibition in Paris, France, from 26 June to 1 July, under the theme of “Style in Motion” and “Sustainability in Innovation”. The projects include: [Style in Motion] AI-assisted Personal Training Gear by Professor Joanne Yip, Associate Dean AI-enhanced, wearable sensor-based training gear helps monitor posture, muscle activity and fatigue in real-time during workouts, providing immediate feedback to improve physical performance and minimise the risk of injury. Sport-specific Sports Bra Designs from Analysis of Human Dynamic Motion by Professor Yick Kit-lun An anatomically tailored sports bra employs analysis of 4D scans to enable bra design to provide precise support for the unique demands of each sport and comfort for women of all ages and sizes. Tai-Chi, Sports and Olympics by Dr Huang Tsai-chun, Assistant Professor This Tai Chi-inspired sportswear collection blends the essence of the East with the electrifying spirit of the Games’ four selected disciplines: breaking, skateboarding, surfing and climbing. Each piece is meticulously engineered to capture the spirit of these vibrant sports, analysing the fluidity and strength required to excel in each. It complements an athlete’s form and improves their performance. [Sustainability in Innovation] Anti-stain and Antiviral Vegan Leather by Professor Kan Chi-wai, Associate Dean and Professor Chris Lo (Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies, PolyU) The world’s first vegan leather boasts both anti-stain and antiviral properties. It leverages structural color technology to ensure whiteness at 90/100 without use of pigment, dye or bleaching agent, and uses silicone that avoid microplastic issues. "Building Clothing" Using Textile Waste by Dr Shou Dahua, Limin Endowed Young Scholar in Advanced Textiles Technologies and Assistant Professor “Building Clothing”, developed from textile waste, is a sustainable building envelope for thermal insulation and radiative cooling to revolutionise construction projects and help tackle the challenges of textile waste recycling. Intelligent Textiles for Interiors, Fashion and Rehabilitation by Professor Jeanne Tan Utilising computer vision and illuminating optical fibres, the intelligent textiles are developed to recognise hand and body gestures to customise colour illuminations instantly, thereby transforming conventionally passive fabrics into interactive textiles. Metal-coated Textiles with Unique Visual Effects by Professor Kinor Jiang These textiles fuse fashion and sustainability through sputtering coating technology. They are the very first to integrate material science, engineering and manufacturing for lustrous new textiles without any discharge or pollution.   At the opening reception, Prof. Christopher Choa, PolyU Vice President (Research and Innovation) remarked, “PolyU is thrilled to bring our research and innovations to Paris, a city that resonates with creativity and innovation, reflecting our own values. ‘Flying High’ is not just an exhibition, it is a testament to our dedication to making a positive impact through our research and knowledge transfer activities. We are excited to share our achievements and to foster international collaborations for a better and sustainable future.” The “Flying High” exhibition is not only witness to PolyU’s commitment to fostering global innovation and excellence in research, but also provides an exchange platform for researchers, industry experts, fashion editors and others. It coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations and the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, highlighting the importance of international dialogue and exchange in advancing scientific and cultural understanding.


Shows & Exhibitions

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Prof. Xu Bingang’s team publishes in Advanced Materials

The effective storage of energy harvested from the environment (like sunlight, heat, and humidity) and human motion (like walking and running) is important to realise their practical applications in powering a variety of wearable electronics. However, traditional energy storage technologies are primarily designed to store energy generated from conventional sources, which are not suitable for the small amount and unstable sources of energy harvested by using flexible textile generators. To  tackle these problems, Professor Xu Bingang’s team has successfully developed hybrid capacitors and batteries that efficiently store the energy harvested from textile generators in a stable manner. To make the energy storage device wearable, his team has also made efforts to develop a series of novel wearable supercapacitor devices that range from yarn supercapacitors, 2D and 3D fabric supercapacitors, 3D nonwoven supercapacitors, to embroidered supercapacitors, which have exceptional performance and promising applications for flexible and wearable energy storage. More recently, Professor Xu Bingang and his team have made an innovative breakthrough in exploring novel materials and designs for high-performance hybrid supercapacitors to store energy. This breakthrough is based on their new scientific understanding and innovative design of highly active dual-type quantum dots (QDs) that are constructed within the interlayers of ultrathin layered double hydroxides for large energy storage systems. The expandable interlayer provides a suitable confined space for the growth and uniform dispersion of QDs, which has successfully resolved the existing challenges and difficulties in obtaining different types of and uniformly dispersed highly active QDs in a stable conductive microenvironment. With the newly developed highly active dual-type QDs, the hybrid supercapacitors have a high energy density of 329.2 μWh cm−2, capacitance retention of 99.1% and Coulomb efficiency of 96.9% after 22,000 cycles, which is superior to other reported works. This work is published in Advanced Materials, a top-tier journal in materials science with an impact factor of 29.4. The first two authors are Dr Yang Qingjun and Miss Chung King-yan, Clarie (BA, 2019), a postdoctoral fellow and a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Xu.


Research & Innovation

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Emerging Hong Kong fashion talents take centre stage at PolyU Fashion Show 2024 injecting renewed vigour into the fashion industry

Hong Kong's fashion world is bursting with creativity and vitality! The much-awaited annual PolyU Fashion Show 2024, was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 5 June 2024. Organised by SFT, the Show featured 40 exceptionally talented students who captivated the audience and impressed the judges and industry professionals with a spectacular runway show. The distinctive styles, imaginative designs and modern fashion concepts of the young students look set to add powerful new momentum to the local fashion scene. This year, the Show attracted an impressive audience of nearly 1,500 in-person guests, while an extensive online audience of over 46,000 viewers from across the globe watched on YouTube, Wechat, and Weibo live streams. These numbers highlight the growing influence of the School and further emphasise its position as a pioneer in fashion education. The Show unveiled 30 remarkable new collections by fresh graduates (Class of 2024) specialising in fashion design, knitwear design, intimate apparel and activewear design from the BA (Hons) Scheme in Fashion and Textiles - the flagship SFT programme. In addition, a cohort of the outstanding graduating students from the MA in Fashion and Textile Design, further impressed the guests with 10 cutting-edge collections. SFT is recognised worldwide as a leading fashion and textiles education institution, committed to establishing a thriving creative community that cultivates students with a global perspective and encourages innovative ways of thinking, that empower young talent to flourish as outstanding designers and visionary leaders in the contemporary fashion industry. Thanks to generous support from numerous industry partners and sponsors, the Show connected the students with many influential figures from across the fashion and technology sectors, facilitated their understanding of current industry trends and helped propel them further along their career path.  Seven awards and scholarships were presented at the Show in recognition of students’ outstanding work and to encourage the talented students to pursue their dreams in fashion while embracing their academic journey at SFT. The judging panel for the Consinee Grand Award, sponsored by the event's Diamond Sponsor, Consinee Group, comprised leading fashion industry professionals including Ms Florence Tsui, Consinee Group's Marketing and Business Development Manager. In addition, four outstanding SFT alumni who served as fashion practitioners in their respective fields also joined the panel in selecting the winner. They were Ms Chan Brun (BA, 2013), founder of röyksopp gakkai, a local brand that crafts enchanting collections inspired by mushroom-infused narratives and the transformative journey of youth; Mr Derek Chan (MPhil, 2017), Design Director of DEMO, a fashion label that reimagines traditional masculinity in contemporary and gender-neutral designs; Mr Tak Lee (BA, 2014), founder of Tak L., whose design philosophy celebrates the beauty of impermanence and natural evolution; and Ms Katherine Ho (BA, 2016), Editor-in-Chief of L'OFFICIEL HONG KONG, a renowned fashion magazine from France. The HKIAIA Overall Grand Award, sponsored by the Hong Kong Intimate Apparel Industries’ Association (HKIAIA), which was the event’s Diamond Sponsor, was another highlight of the night. Ms Karen Ng, Secretary of HKIAIA, was invited to be the judge for this prestigious award. Other members of the judging panel for the other various awards and scholarships were (in alphabetical order): • Ms Janet Cheung, Vice Chairman and Project Director, Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association • Mr Stafford Lau, Founding Chairman of SFAA Foundation Limited; Director of Stella Blu Textile Limited • Ms Sherin Tang, Senior Manager - Admin and Operations, The Mills Fabrica • Ms Brenda Yang, Technical Manager, Flinders Merino Group and The Woolmark Company • Ms Dilys Yiu, Design Director, Fenix Group Holdings Limited The winner of the Consinee Grand Award was Lai Chu-yi with her outstanding work themed “Let it rot”. The collection showcases a "let it rot" lifestyle, utilising textiles, volume, and silhouettes. It captures the pressure young people face under social labels, emphasising fabric weight and recreating relaxed bed-like features for space and comfort. The HKIAIA Overall Grand Award winner was Poon Hei-man Peggy. Her exceptional collection created under the theme “Toxic Breath” embodies love as a beautiful yet painful experience, symbolising its suffocating nature and its ability to strip away freedom. Red and black dominate the collection, with red lycoris representing the sorrow within this intense love. For more photos and the playback of the Show, please visit our official social media accounts Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube!   “Emancipation” by Pang Wing-yan, Joyce, winner of the Fenix Young Talent Award “Virtual Utopia” by Lo Chi-ho Steven, winner of the Go Green Award “Let it rot” by Lai Chu-yi, winner of The The Mills Fabrica Future - Maker Award “Magic Mushroom Dreamland” by Cheung Wai-yee, winner of the Best Use of Australian Merino Wool Award “I am rooted, but I flow” by Hui Hei-yan, winner of the HKFDA Scholarship of Creativity 2024  


Shows & Exhibitions

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PolyU and Beijing Union University sign MoU

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with the Beijing Union University (BUU). This collaboration aims to establish academic exchange opportunities to both institutions'  research postgraduate and undergraduate students. Today, Professor Erin Cho, Dean of SFT, and Professor Zhang Qi, Dean of College of Art at BUU, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU marks a pivotal moment in fostering a strategic cooperation and collaboration between SFT and the College of Art at BUU.


Partnership & Community