Four Professors Awarded Grants in RGC Collaborative Research Fund 2022/23

Four cross-institutional multidisciplinary projects led by School of Engineering faculty were awarded a total of over HK$16.56 million under the Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) 2022/23 of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC). These include two Collaborative Research Project Grants and two Young Collaborative Research Grants. All four studies will be conducted over a three-year period.

Titled “High-Performance Ionic Thermoelectric Hydrogels for Multifunctional Smart Skin and Body Heat Harvesting”, the project led by Prof. HUANG Baoling of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering received a Collaborative Research Project Grant of around HK$4.78 million. Working together with CityU and CUHK researchers, the study aims to investigate the factors that influence the thermopower in polymer electrolytes and to develop different strategies for tuning the thermoelectric properties of ionic hydrogels. Ionic hydrogel-based multifunctional smart skin and hybrid body heat harvester will then be developed to explore the potential applications of high-performance ionic hydrogels in thermal sensing and low-grade heat harvesting.

Another Collaborative Research Project Grant of nearly HK$4.16 million was awarded to a project led by Prof. LI Zhigang of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The project focuses on “Shaping Gas Fuel Storage: Understanding the Thermal Properties of Porous Metal-Organic Frameworks”. It sets out to advance the understanding and manipulate the physical and thermal properties of porous metal-organic frameworks, thereby providing design guidance for future gas fuel storage systems. Collaborators include CityU and HKU researchers.

Prof. Mitch LI, Integrative Systems & Design and Electronic & Computer Engineering, and his collaborators from HKU received a Young Collaborative Research Grant of around HK$4.17 million for their project on “Scalable Manufacturing of Antiviral Self-Cleaning Surfaces Against Respiratory Infectious Diseases”. The work seeks to develop a smart manufacturing system to fabricate low-cost antiviral films for deploying on public surfaces against such diseases.

Another Young Collaborative Research Grant of around HK$3.46 million was awarded to a project titled “Toward 2060 Carbon Neutrality: Life-cycle Planning and Design of Photovoltaic Integrated Green Roof (PVIGR) Systems for Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area”. Led by Prof. WANG Zhe of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the project will investigate the thermal interaction between photovoltaic panel, vegetation, building roof, and ambient micro-environment, based on which to optimize the PVIGR design, and to quantify its life-cycle benefits. The study will be collaborated with CityU and PolyU researchers.

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science.  HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking.  Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 23rd worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2021.

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