MU Connect issue 2 (May 2022) page 08 and 09

Home About HKMU University Publications MU Connect MU Connect issue 2 (May 2022) page 08 and 09

Applied studies and research at S&T

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Science can sometimes give the impression of a lofty yet abstruse field, but at HKMU, science studies are always down to earth and approachable. HKMU's School of Science and Technology (S&T), which has recently been restructured to comprise the Department of Applied Science, Department of Construction and Quality Management, and Department of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, sees a conglomeration of practical disciplines. 'Facilities at our laboratories are constantly reviewed to ensure that they keep pace with industry developments. We also work closely with our industry partners to provide students with training and work placement opportunities,' says Dean Prof. Philips Wang. 'Our research work is also growing in leaps and bounds. Following the establishment of the Institute for Research in Innovative Technology & Sustainability (IRITS) with Research Grants Council (RGC) funding in 2014, the School has attracted more than HK$20 million in research grants in the last three years.' Let's take a look at some of the School's strongest areas.

An emerging hub in environmental science research


The School is fast emerging as a regional hub of environmental science research. Right from the beginning, the IRITS Centre for Research in Environmental Science, affiliated with the Department of Applied Science, has strategically identified three research directions: environmental monitoring, harmful algal blooms, and the relationship between mangroves and microbes. This focused approach, as well as the Centre's regional emphasis, proved to be recognized when the proposal to set up University Research Facilities for Basic and Applied Coastal Wetland Research in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area successfully won HK$9.3 million from the RGC in 2020. In 2021, the team's enthusiasm convinced world-class environmental biologist Prof. Nora Tam to put off her retirement plan and serve as the Centre's adviser. Thanks to her extensive network, the University became a member institution of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution located at CityU, and concluded a tripartite agreement with the Futian National Nature Reserve Management Bureau and Shenzhen University to establish the Greater Bay Area Mangrove Wetland Research and Development Centre in the Futian reserve. The faculty's involvement in knowledge creation and institutional collaboration will surely enrich the Department's academic programmes and expand students' horizons.

Meeting wide-ranging demand for testing, including medical testing

Testing and certification, placed under the Department of Construction and Quality Management, is another signature area of the School. Over the years, various programmes with different training emphases have been developed to meet rising concerns over safety issues in all areas of life. The latest offering is the Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours in Integrated Testing, Inspection and Certification. It was modified from the well-established Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Testing and Certification, which was one of the four programmes selected by the Education Bureau for the Pilot Project on the Development of Applied Degree Programmes last year, showing government approval of its industry elements and the discipline's manpower demand. The new programme is strengthened with work placement extended to four semesters.

The HKMU testing and certification team frequently receives invitations for product testing. Recently, it was commissioned by start-up company C-POLAR Biotech Limited to test the efficacy of their new bioelectret filter in killing viruses and bacteria, including the new coronavirus causing COVID-19. More than that, as the pandemic reveals the demand for scaling up local medical testing capacity, the Department of Applied Science is launching a targeted postgraduate programme in 2022–23 — the Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Science.