HKUST Hosts Inaugural Asia-Pacific Rising Stars Women in Engineering Workshop to Nurture Female Academic Leaders and Promote Diversity in Academia
Dozens of young female engineers and postgraduate students from top universities and institutions worldwide arrived at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) on October 4, 2018 to explore a career of teaching and research in Asia Pacific. They participated in a first-of-its-kind workshop where faculty members from top Asian universities will mentor and inspire them on ways to begin a rewarding career in academia.
In collaboration with engineering schools of top Asian universities: National Taiwan University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Seoul National University (SNU) and The University of Tokyo (UTokyo), and co-sponsored by University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), HKUST launched the inaugural Asian Deans’ Forum 2018 – The Rising Stars Women in Engineering Workshop from 4 to 7 October. It is a showcase of collaborative efforts of engineering education leadership of top Asian universities in promoting women in engineering to bring in the world’s brightest young women in engineering who are interested to explore academic profession in Asia.
The workshop introduced academic career opportunities in Asia Pacific to 28 shortlisted women engineers and postgraduate students from world-renowned universities and institutions including Harvard University, ETH Zurich, Imperial College London and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria*, these rising stars went through a vigorous selection process competing amongst 245 applicants. Twenty-two institutional participants nominated by co-organizers also got the opportunity to interact and learn from 30 faculty members from the organizing universities.
The Honorable Ms. Teresa CHENG Yeuk-Wah, Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong SAR Government, officiated at the event’s opening ceremony on 5 October with HKUST President Prof. Wei SHYY. Other officiating guests included Prof. Tim CHENG, Dean of Engineering of HKUST; Prof. CHEN Wen-Chang, Dean of Engineering of NTU; Prof. CHUA Kee-Chaing, Dean of Engineering of NUS; Prof. CHAR Kookheon, Dean of Engineering of SNU; Prof. Tatsuya OKUBO, Dean of Engineering of UTokyo; and Prof. Mark HOFFMAN, Dean of Engineering of UNSW Sydney.
In her plenary remarks, Ms. Cheng said, “Engineering has been identified as a field where women are consistently underrepresented. For example, in Japan and Republic of Korea, women represent just 5% and 10% of engineers. We face generally the same problem in Hong Kong. In 2017, there are some 1,200 fully qualified female engineers in Hong Kong, accounting for only 7.6% of all the engineers in our city.”
“I must say this is a great initiative and a great opportunity for the rising stars around the world to know about Hong Kong and Asia, and the opportunities here, and of course very importantly, to expand the academia’s potential.”
Prof. Cheng, HKUST Dean of Engineering and also Chair of Executive Committee of the Asian Deans’ Forum, expressed his heartfelt thanks to the participating universities for making this happen. “With a strong innovation and technology-focused agenda, and government support to higher education, Asian engineering schools continue to rise in the global higher education platform. Female faculty and engineers will play a critical role in this transformation. In the century of engineering, it is a prime time for rising stars to explore their future career in Asian universities.”
Following the plenary remarks, the deans of engineering of all participating universities shared their insights on the strengths and opportunities of their schools in a panel discussion entitled “Asian Deans’ Forum: The Rise of Asia-Pacific’s Engineering Schools”, moderated by Prof. Cheng. More keynotes, panels and mentoring sessions followed, hosted by 21 female scholars from the organizing universities on a range of topics including ways to develop teaching and research statements, knowledge transfer, ways to build a strong research group, interview skills, work-life balance and societal impact of the academia work.
*Eligibility Criteria of Application:
- Fresh PhD graduate or PhD student close to graduation (2018 or 2019)
- Postdoc or young researcher holding PhD degree
- Young engineer with PhD degree working in industry (who graduated not earlier than 2013)