20 September 2017

CUHK Launches the First Department of Biomedical Engineering in Hong Kong



The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has launched Hong Kong’s first Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) to nurture biomedical engineering professionals. The Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine are jointly providing professional training in biomedical and engineering sciences to solve medical problems through innovative research and benefit the global community.  The Department will begin independent enrollment for its Biomedical Engineering undergraduate degree programme in 2018-19 (JUPAS Code: JS4460), offering around 50 places. 

The establishment ceremony of BME was held today (September 20). The officiating guests included Prof. Fanny M. C. CHEUNG, Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Vice-President, Prof. Ching Ping WONG, Dean of Engineering, Prof. Francis Ka Leung CHAN, Dean of Medicine, and Prof. Raymond Kai Yu TONG, Chairman of Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK.  The current CUHK Vice-Chancellor and President Prof. Joseph SUNG, and CUHK Vice-Chancellor and President Designate Prof. Rocky S. TUAN also congratulated the establishment of BME via a calligraphy and a short video respectively. 

Prof. Fanny M. C. CHEUNG said, “As a research-based comprehensive university, CUHK has always been committed to opening up new areas of scientific research, and pays special attention to interdisciplinary research. CUHK launched the "Five-Year Strategic Plan" last year to formulate four major research areas, including "transforming medicine", which focus on biomedical research to improve human physical and behavioural health.  CUHK was the first to start a biomedical engineering master's degree programme as early as 2006, making it as one of the pioneers among local institutions.  After more than 10 years of planning, nurturing, and development, as well as the tireless efforts of dozens of professors from both the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine, CUHK’s Department of Biomedical Engineering was formally established.  It will shoulder a most important mission to nurture professionals for the future to carry out new scientific research projects and transformation technology which will improve the quality and effectiveness of medical services.” 

Over the past 20 years, biomedical engineering has developed rapidly.  Advanced medical technologies, such as robots and nano medical instruments and products, big data analysis on precision medicine, as well as biomaterials for regenerative medicine, have an important impact on global human health.  Set against the ageing population worldwide, the local and global demand for biomedical engineering professionals will become increasingly ardent.  For example in Hong Kong, according to the Census and Statistics Department, the proportion of elderly people aged 65 and above will  drastically increase from 16.6% in 2016 to 31.1% in 2036. 

Prof. Raymond TONG said, “BME has the competitive edge.  CUHK has established the BME at an appropriate time for nurturing biomedical professionals to cater to the urgent demand in society.  Also, both the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine of CUHK are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and excellent teams of teaching professionals. The new department is led by the two Faculties through a deep collaboration in scientific research and education which makes it more effective in developing new technologies and enhancing services provided.” 

The BME programme covers four specialty areas, namely, medical instrumentation and biosensors; biomedical imaging and informatics; biomaterials and regenerative medicine; and biomolecular engineering and nanomedicine.  Students are free to concentrate on one of the four upon completing the foundation courses.  Although the programme is under the Faculty of Engineering, it gets collaborative support from the Faculty of Medicine.  Students have to take biology and medicine courses offered by faculty members of Medicine.  They can also request professors from both Faculties to be their supervisors for the Final Year Project.

BME provides an environment full of exploration, innovation and entrepreneurship by bringing students out of the classroom, to different hospitals, to experience the use of medical devices and the clinical challenges.  For example, BME provides summer internships for students in the Prince of Wales Hospital or students can also apply for the Work-Study Programme to spend six months to a year as full-time employees in biotechnology companies, healthcare organisations, medical device manufacturers or hospitals.  In addition, BME has also joined hands with renowned institutions in the UK and the US, including Imperial College, Columbia University and Northwestern University, to offer a 10-week biomedical engineering research and exchange attachment to students in their last summer before graduation to enhance their worldwide vision and expose them to the world's latest technology. The Department will further strengthen synergies and collaboration with different departments in the University and with the external parties to expand the relevant educational, research and professional services. 

The collaboration between the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine has been extended to research by establishing the Chow Yuk Ho Technology Centre for Innovative Medicine to increase knowledge transfer of innovative technologies into clinical practice for the benefit of patients.  The University also set up the T Stone Robotics Institute and the Institute of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. The results of the studies will help improve the teaching content, making the programme more substantial and better in catering to the needs of society. 

Graduates of BME can not only work as biomedical engineers or engage in research, they can also choose work in different fields such as biomedical engineering, as professionals in hospitals, product design and manufacturing, and the design and implement regulation of medical devices, all of which demand expertise with a professional knowledge of biomedical engineering. 

About BME  

CUHK has rich experience and a solid foundation in the teaching and research of biomedical engineering. As early as 2006, as one of the pioneers among local institutions, CUHK took the lead in offering the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering and jointly offered a Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2010 with the Faculty of Medicine. PhD and MPhil in BME were introduced in 2012. After more than 10 years of development and planning, coupled with strong support from the University, BME was established on 1 July 2017 in CUHK to nurture more professionals and carry out new scientific researches and transfer technologies to improve the quality and effectiveness of medical services.

Prof. Fanny Cheung, Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Vice-President, CUHK delivers her speech
Prof. Fanny Cheung, Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Vice-President, CUHK delivers her speech

Prof. Raymond Tong, Chairman, Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK delivers his speech
Prof. Raymond Tong, Chairman, Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK delivers his speech

Faculty members of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK  join the officiating guests in a group photo to celebrate the establishment of the new department
Faculty members of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK join the officiating guests in a group photo to celebrate the establishment of the new department

Prof. Fanny Cheung (2nd right) presents a calligraphy by Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President to (from left) Prof. Francis Chan, Prof. Raymond Tong and Prof. Ching Ping Wong to celebrate the establishment of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK
Prof. Fanny Cheung (2nd right) presents a calligraphy by Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President to (from left) Prof. Francis Chan, Prof. Raymond Tong and Prof. Ching Ping Wong to celebrate the establishment of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK

A group photo with all guests together with students of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK after the establishment ceremony
A group photo with all guests together with students of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK after the establishment ceremony