HKUST Establishes Two Hong Kong Branches of Chinese National Engineering Research Centers
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has established two Hong Kong branches of Chinese National Engineering Research Centers (CNERC), namely the Hong Kong Branch of CNERC for Tissue Restoration and Reconstruction, and the Hong Kong Branch of CNERC for Control and Treatment of Heavy Metal Pollution, following approval from the State Ministry of Science and Technology.
Prof Wan Gang, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Minister of Science and Technology, officiated at the two centers’ plaque awarding ceremony today before leading a delegation to visit HKUST. The University’s Council Chairman the Honorable Andrew Liao Cheung-sing, President Prof Tony F Chan and the senior management warmly welcomed the delegation. During the presentation, Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies Prof Joseph Lee gave an overview on the University’s achievements in teaching and research. This was followed by an introduction of the latest development of the Partner State Key Laboratory (PSKL) on Molecular Neuroscience by its Director and Dean of Science Prof Nancy Ip, as well as an introduction of the two new CNERCs by the centers’ directors: Prof Guanghao Chen from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Prof Benzhong Tang, Stephen Kam Chuen Cheong Professor of Science and Chair Professor of the Department of Chemistry.
The approval of the two new research centers, on top of the two PSKLs – one on molecular neuroscience and another on advanced displays and optoelectronics technologies, have brought the number of national research facilities at HKUST to a total of four. The delegates paid a visit to the PSKL on Advanced Displays and Optoelectronics Technologies today. Director of the laboratory Prof Hoi-sing Kwok, Institute for Advanced Study Bank of East Asia Professor Ching W Tang and their research team introduced two of their latest products – a more energy-efficient bistable LCD monitor with better output quality and a new electronic shelf labeling system.
President Chan said the approval of the two CNERC branches manifested the recognition of the University’s research achievements. “HKUST strives to boost technological advancement in the region by fostering cooperation between academia, research and industry in Hong Kong and Mainland China,” Prof Chan said. “The addition of two new national research centers is bound to add momentum to scientific collaboration across the border as well as our pursuit of research excellence, I am happy that HKUST is able to play a role in the scientific and technological development of both HK and Mainland China.”
The Hong Kong Branch of CNERC for Tissue Restoration and Reconstruction led by Prof Benzhong Tang, will focus on the research of new luminescent materials and their high-tech applications in biomedical sensors and chemical probes, which are set to benefit fields including detection, imaging, quarantine, inspection, diagnosis, environmental protection and homeland security. Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) materials – a major research subject of the Center, were discovered by Prof Tang in 2001 and have since opened a new horizon for the study of high-performance fluorescent materials. According to Thompson Reuters, AIE was among the top 100 research topics in 2013, ranking third in the area of chemistry and materials science. Prof Tang’s AIE materials have a wide variety of applications including cancer cell tracking, photodynamic therapy, fingerprint detection and bacterial imaging.
The Hong Kong Branch of CNERC for Control and Treatment of Heavy Metal Pollution led by Prof Guanghao Chen, will seek to address increasing national demand for clean water supply with its research on economic and sustainable alternative water resources, energy-saving sewage treatment and optimization of water system. Prof Chen and his team have won multiple awards for their various novel technologies on wastewater treatment over the past decade. That includes the sulphate reduction, autotrophic denitrification and nitrification integrated (SANI) process – a sewage treatment method that minimizes sludge production at effective saving of treatment space and cost, as demonstrated by the large-scale trial project at the Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works. Each of the centers will receive an annual funding of up to HK$5 million from the Innovation and Technology Commission.
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