Sustainability-related Research

As an international research university, HKUST has clear positioning as a focused elite research and education institution with an international outlook, emphasizing interdisciplinary studies, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. The University's achievements in research facilitate the transformation of discoveries into sustainable solutions.

In 2016-17, 39 environment-related research projects were conducted at HKUST gaining over HK$38 million in funding. The scope of these projects covered a wide range of environmental issues including wastewater treatment, marine pollution, climate change study, air quality and others.

Click here to read the list of researches.

Highlights from the year

Mobile app helps Hongkongers to plan a less-polluted route out

The ‘Personalized Real-Time Air Quality Informatics System for Exposure-Hong Kong’ team led by HKUST Professor Alexis Lau Kai-hon is developing a mobile app that allows users to get real time data on pollution. Powered by big data, PRAISE-HK provides location specific pollution information to find where the most harmful air occurs. Based on this, the program generates routes people can take to minimize their exposure to air pollution.

A project like this is a world first, Lau says, and incorporates data on different air pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and ozone, and will be able to forecast the air quality down to the street level. According to Professor Lau, the app will make people more aware of “what they should be most concerned about”, and will alert people as to what the potential health risks of elevated air pollution are.

HKUST Professor Wins State Science Award for Discovery that Could Remap Marine Ecosystem and Boosts Efficiency for Shipping Industry

Professor Qian Peiyuan won second-class honor of the 2016 Natural Science Award from the State Council for his research into the impact of biofilm on marine ecosystems.

Professor Qian’s study discovered that the larvae of benthic marine organisms responds to chemical signals that biofilm produces rather than directly to the environment, which opens up opportunities for controlling the settlement of marine life, particularly into less polluted areas. This would promote healthy growth and regeneration of habitats, and could also bring endangered and dying marine ecosystems back into balance.

There are also possibilities for use of biofilm-derived products in the shipping industry. Biofouling is a phenomenon by which organisms accumulate on the hulls on ships, which significantly lowers speed, increases fuel consumption, and exposes ships that would otherwise be invisible to radar. Traditional anti-fouling agents are harmful to marine life, but these new alternatives developed by Professor Qian are greener.

Global Experts in Water Quality Converge at HKUST to Share Information and Insights

Sixteen experts in water pollution gathered at HKUST to share information and discuss future possibilities. This event, entitled “IAS Summit Hong Kong – Inventing Today Imagining Tomorrow for Water Pollution Control”, involved a range of collaborating parties, including several government departments, publicly funded universities, and public institutions.

Solutions for combating issues related to water quality and availability were discussed, focusing on technology innovations, new system developments for pollution control, urban water management, wastewater treatment, and exploiting alternative water resources. The summit lasted 3 days, and brought in speakers from all over the world – from the USA, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Japan, and Australia.