Welcome to the School of Engineering (SENG)! During this transformative time in HKUST’s 30-year history, as the University prepares for the opening of its second campus in Guangzhou in September 2022, I am proud to be serving as Acting Dean of this dynamic, impactful, and globally respected School, ranked among the world’s engineering powerhouses.*
The School has already established an enviable reputation among the community and academics locally, nationally, and globally for its cutting-edge education and research breakthroughs and applications. It is now also gaining much wider recognition for the social impact that its technologies and knowledge transfer generate. These include many significant contributions in the battle against COVID-19, ranging from non-toxic antimicrobial sanitizers, widely used in public buildings and homes, to autonomous delivery vehicles that can be employed in lockdowns, and data-driven discoveries on vaccine targets, among others. The critical issues of sustainability and alternative energy are another major focus for impact for the School’s faculty and students, often and increasingly through cross-disciplinary teamwork.
Under my watch as Acting Dean, I will be seeking to maintain and further develop the School’s dynamic culture and the internal and external connectivity between different stakeholders – students, faculty, alumni, institutional and industry partners, or supporters – and prospective SENG community members. As a triathlete, I fully recognize the importance of a good transition between the stages of a race and will be working hard to ensure the School both keeps up its past momentum and is fully prepared for future endeavors.
This commitment will encompass the continuation of the School’s egalitarian approach, with its flat structure that encourages everyone to feel they can make an important contribution – a reflection of HKUST’s culture as a whole. While external turbulence caused by the on-going pandemic and geopolitical tensions needs to be navigated, I will also be looking to identify opportunities, in particular those presented by the opening of the HKUST (Guangzhou) campus and its complementary multidisciplinary academic framework, as well as the larger geographical Greater Bay Area, with its 86+ million population. Indeed, windows for collaborations and partnerships are likely to arrive at a rapid rate once current difficulties ease, and serving as a “connector” between members of the School, other institutions, and industry, will be a key endeavor as Acting Dean.
To the tasks before me, I will bring my understanding of and long experience in a variety of academic and administrative roles at the School, including most recently as Head of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering. Having joined the School as an early career faculty member in 1994, just three years after the establishment of HKUST, I am looking forward to the challenges and excitement of helming this wonderfully creative School that has nurtured my lifetime career and been my home for nearly 30 years. I hope many of you reading this will seek similarly long-term connections with the School to experience, contribute to, and simply find joy in being part of the energizing life at SENG yourselves.
Professor Bertram SHI
Acting Dean of Engineering
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology