Our life at IPO

Interdisciplinary Research


Fine-scale Air Quality Modeling and Forecast

By combining state-of-the-art technologies in mobile device personal tracking, fine-scale air quality forecasts, urban informatics, transport modeling, big data analytics, and health impact assessments, Prof. Jimmy Fung and his team have created a fine-scale air quality modeling system, and innovative mobile app to let the Hong Kong public know more about the air quality variations in their current and other locations in the city, and what they can do personally to reduce their exposure to the harmful pollutants. The system can also be applied in other cities around the world.  The regional air quality model system has generated significant impact: on public policy in setting Hong Kong Air Quality Objective standards; and provision of better visibility forecasting in relation to haze for Hong Kong International Airport.

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Analysis of Atmospheric Pollutants

Air pollution caused by small particulate matter (PM) is a major public health concern worldwide, especially in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. Knowledge of concentration levels and sources is essential for formulating control policies and assessing the effectiveness of implementation. Prof. Jianzhen Yu's group has developed expertise in the atmospheric measurement of PM components that meet international regulatory standards. Hong Kong’s EPD has relied on HKUST to provide analytical data for its PM2.5 monitoring network since 2011, and recently to monitor the impact of the diesel vehicle control program on air quality. HKUST has also disseminated the analytical know-how to environmental monitoring agencies in Macao and Guangdong Province.


Smart Technologies Improving Health and Environment

In partnership with industry, government, and non-governmental organizations, Prof. King Lun Yeung and HKUST researchers have created revolutionary technologies to improve health and the environment. These include smart antimicrobials, designed to respond to contamination by self-cleaning and self-disinfection; malodor control hydrogel that suppresses odor in drainage system and wastewater treatment plants; environmental nano-catalysts that treat air pollutants at room temperature and in humid conditions; and advanced filtration devices that disinfect and purify air and water. These technologies for surface, air and water disinfection and purification have generated an aggregated commercial value in excess of HK$300 million and given rise to two spin-off companies. 


Scientific Data Analysis for Monitoring of Marine Environment

Led by Prof. Jianping Gan and his team, the large-scale theme-based OCEAN_HK project has generated broad impact on strategies to deal with aggravating hypoxia and overall marine environment management in Hong Kong. We have been and are still providing important new scientific information and evidence to the Hong Kong government’s EPD, Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).  In addition, AFCD, HKO, and EPD have requested use of our databank of field/modeling data from our pioneering mapping and time-series buoy monitoring of hydrography properties, eutrophication, and hypoxia in the Pearl River Estuary, adjacent continental shelf and Hong Kong waters. They are also seeking our expert assistance to set up a monitoring system in Hong Kong waters and the Pearl River Estuary. All these unprecedented efforts have built close science-stakeholder linkages and integration for effective policy and advanced management in Hong Kong and its adjacent waters. We facilitate the interactive data platform as well as provide our expertise to these stakeholders.


Population ageing

Population aging is deemed one of the great political, social and economic challenges of the 21st century. The research of Prof. Stuart Gietel-Basten (and his international collaborators) has set out to demonstrate that the ways by which we measure, and even conceptualize, aging are not only out-of-date, but present misleading and false impressions of the social and economic challenges of aging. Prof. Gietel-Basten’s research has shifted the thinking of a major European trade organization, reshaping the narrative and discourse about the challenges of population ageing. His prospective approach to the measurement of ageing has been influential in a number of fields. In particular, in the United Nations’ latest World Population Ageing (UNPD 2017) report, it was highlighted as a potential alternative to the standard means of measuring aging. However, the recommendations set out in Prof Gietel-Basten’s research (and the paper published in the Wirtschaftspolitische Blätter in particular) can be seen directly cited as new narrative approaches to aging, as adopted by the Austrian Chamber of Business. The journal is distributed to all ministries, ministers and cabinets; all political parties; all Austrian universities and research centers; all Social Partners; the Chamber of Labour/Agriculture and trade unions; the nine chambers at state level and the national bank.