Dean’s View

Dean’s View

Message from the Dean in e-In Focus

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e-In Focus (Issue 2, September 2023)

Opening the Door to Engineering Diversity and Community Interaction

One of the questions often raised about an engineering education is the workload and how much time it allows potential undergraduates and postgraduates to fully experience university life. At HKUST, where there is so much to become involved in within and beyond the regular curriculum – exchanges, internships, entrepreneurial activities, community service, sports activities, student societies of all kinds, and more – it is an important concern to address.

That is also why the start of the new school year finds the School of Engineering (SENG) working hard to ensure our student experience and the many opportunities available are made accessible to more students.

In particular, we are striving to open different doors for different students in recognition that they can excel in many other ways besides high grade point averages as engineering undergraduates or by publishing papers at the postgraduate level. From final year projects to overseas exchanges to entrepreneurship, we are thus setting out to make it more straightforward for students to focus on their individual strengths and interests.

I believe this wider approach to be a key way for students to fully realize their potential, as well as alleviate academic pressure and widen the diversity of our graduates. It is also an important step toward our goal of a holistic and student-centric SENG experience. In the process, it should build confidence and a greater ability to tackle problems, innovate, and adapt to change regardless of the context. All are vital attributes for the versatile pacesetters that will be required and be successful in a future where nothing and no one will stay still for long.

As we open doors within SENG, we are also seeking new avenues to interact with the community and our alumni. In building deeper and more regular connections, we will benefit from understanding more about emerging needs and trends and how our research and education can contribute. Likewise, we will be better able to share our latest discoveries and technologies, as well as connect up the next generation of engineering talents with potential employers, mentors, and alumni go-getters.

This is a win-win outcome where everyone connected to the School – internally and externally – keeps on learning, keeps on innovating, as they recognize that change and tackling new areas are nothing to fear. Instead they are to be welcomed as ways to grow, personally and as a society. It is a mindset that I hope will develop into a SENG hallmark in Hong Kong and far beyond.

Prof. Hong K. LO
Dean of Engineering

e-In Focus (Issue 1, July 2023)

A fresh dialogue begins

Welcome to the first issue of the School of Engineering (SENG)’s electronic In Focus! In line with the fast pace and interactivity of today’s world, this edition heralds the migration of our long-established print magazine to a new e-platform. e-In Focus will better integrate with the School’s other digital outlets and social media forums. The move will enable timelier updates through greater frequency, and open up a variety of formats to convey our news, such as audio and video. It will also present greater opportunities for dialogue and feedback from readers, including past, present and prospective SENG community members, industry and professional associations, as well as academic peers around the world.

In our inaugural issue, we appropriately highlight innovation and entrepreneurship. The figures for HKUST’s remarkable entrepreneurial performance speak for themselves. Members of HKUST have founded 1,600-plus active start-ups, the highest of any university in Hong Kong. Moreover, six of the 18 unicorns among Hong Kong-related start-ups were founded or co-founded by SENG faculty or alumni. The School is now seeking to build on this strong foundation to turn entrepreneurial training in skills and mindset into a pillar element of the SENG experience, alongside education and research. It is not expected that all students and faculty members will become entrepreneurs. However, I hope that it results in entrepreneurial attributes such as individual creativity and innovation, considered risk-taking, resilience to challenges and failure, and joy in success becoming part of our graduates’ DNA in whatever they undertake and a distinctive characteristic of the SENG community.

After taking up the role of Dean at the start of 2023, the School has also been working proactively on faculty recruitment and I am delighted to report robust achievements in our strategic hiring and the interest of megastar global names in joining SENG. The outcome highlights the on-going strength of HKUST’s reputation at the cutting-edge of engineering’s rapidly changing theoretical and technological landscape. We will be continuing our endeavors to extend and diversify our faculty across departments over the months ahead to take our research and teaching to the next level of academic and societal contribution.

The School is already planning to facilitate this by setting up transdisciplinary research clusters in quantum-tech (chip, communications, computing, sensing and metrology, etc.), health-tech (AI, IoT, data analytics, bioinformatics, etc.), green-tech (energy, water and waste management, sustainability, etc.), and advanced manufacturing (AI, robotics, advanced materials, etc.) over the next academic year. The strategy will provide more platforms and resources for faculty to work together across departments and scale up funding proposals. Furthermore, such clusters will help make our work more tangible for the community overall and easier for industry and organizational partners to connect and collaborate with the School in transforming research into real-world impact.

All these ventures bring inspiring and novel horizons to engage and journey ahead with the School. SENG looks forward to hearing from you!

Prof. Hong K. LO
Dean of Engineering