CUHK Establishes Institute of Environment, Energy and SustainabilitySpearheading Environmental Research and Knowledge TransferAspiring to be a Regional Leader to Promote Sustainability
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) establishes the Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability (IEES) to strengthen its role in advising, guiding and leading the community through research, education and knowledge transfer in energy, environment and sustainability areas. The opening ceremony and inaugural symposium will be held on this Saturday (22 October). Mr. Edward Yau Tang-wah, Secretary for the Environment, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, will officiate at the ceremony. Two keynote speakers, Prof. Gabriel Ngar-cheung Lau, Lead Scientist of the Climate Diagnostics Project at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Prof. Chu Junhao, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will give addresses on the 'Applications of High-Resolution Numerical Models to Climate Research’ and 'Development of Photovoltaic Solar Cells Technology' respectively at the inaugural symposium.
CUHK has a strong foundation in environmental research and education programmes. Given the multidisciplinary nature of such work, IEES is established to integrate and consolidate CUHK’s strength and endeavours in environmental research and education with the aim of becoming a leading research institute in environment, energy and sustainability in the region. IEES will be guided by an Advisory Committee of international experts and a Steering Committee comprising community leaders, government officials and university officers.
Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, said, 'Environmental research and education has long been a prime focal development of CUHK. Different faculties, research institutes, centres and laboratories have been making tremendous contributions to environmental research in their respective areas of expertise. It is important for us to build synergy and generate a critical mass in these areas so that Hong Kong, mainland China and the world can be better informed and served on how a sustainable future can be built based on innovative and vigorous research, education and knowledge transfer in environment, energy and sustainability.’
'IEES will embark on world class multi-disciplinary research and education on climate change, energy, sustainable urban environment, public health and environmental policy. The institute also provides an ideal platform to foster collaboration with strategic global partners to develop joint research and teaching programmes, as well as to hold international conferences and symposia with a view to impacting on public policy,’ remarked Prof. Lam Kin-che, Director of IEES.
Unparalleled Environmental Education to Nurture Professionals
In CUHK, education in environment, energy and sustainability spreads across almost all faculties, colleges and its general education programmes. At the moment there are about 30 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with environmental elements. At the college level, there is also an increasing amount of service learning to enhance the exposure of students to different parts of the world, in particular the less privileged areas.
The establishment of IEES will integrate environmental expertise in various fields with the breadth and specialization that is unique in Hong Kong. It will work closely with the relevant programmes for quality assurance and their betterment. In 2012/2013, new environmental-related undergraduate programmes will be launched, including a major programme in Earth System Science and another in Energy Engineering. Student exchange programmes with strategic partners such as Washington University in St. Louis, UC Berkeley, Nanjing University and Central University in Taiwan are also in place and will be further strengthened.
Community Outreach for the Betterment of the Territory
The local community will be significantly benefited through the outreach and knowledge transfer programmes driven by IEES, such as exhibitions, seminars and sustainability partnership programmes. A Climate Change and Polar Museum housing a valuable collection of renowned environmentalist Dr. Lee Lok-sze through her lifelong field work in the three poles (North Pole, South Pole and Mt. Everest) will be developed. This collection will vividly demonstrate to students and the community on global warming, climate change as well as human impact on these issues.
Besides, IEES will develop an outreach programme to assist various organizations in designing and formulating sustainability plans with a view to reducing carbon emissions at the community level. Activities involved in the programme will also serve as teaching platforms for liberal studies at schools.
Six Flagship Programmes of IEES:
- Climate Change, Environmental Monitoring and Management – To investigate the impact of climate change, monitor environmental changes and provide pertinent information for planning, policy-making and formulation of strategies in tackling daunting challenges of climate change.
- Energy Technology and Conservation – To further develop new energy technologies (e.g. high efficiency thin-film solar cells) and intelligent energy saving strategies.
- Sustainable Urban Design and Public Health –To investigate the flow of heat, air, water, sound and wastes in cities to explore innovative solutions to problems arisen through urban planning and design, and to assess the impact of climate change on public health.
- Environmental Policy and Governance – The territory’s first programme to develop strategies of public engagement, environmental and social movement to facilitate environmental policy formulation and implementation.
- China’s Environment Programme – To provide policy advice on regional and national environmental and developmental strategies, especially to the Pearl River Delta Region, e.g. the promotion of sustainable urban and rural development.
- Environmental Sustainability Outreach Programme– To develop a balanced and all-rounded environmental education programme in the University; reach out to the community to increase public environmental awareness; and to assist schools and NGOs to develop environmental and/or carbon reduction programmes.