The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has established the PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research (PAIR) – the largest research platform of its kind in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area to foster interdisciplinary research, partnership with world-renowned scholars, and the transfer of technologies to stakeholders.
PAIR focuses on research in frontier areas such as artificial intelligence, carbon neutrality, deep space exploration, smart cities, smart energy, and many more. The Academy will make impactful contributions to the development of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area into an international innovation and technology hub.
Comprising 16 research institutes and centres with over 400 highly qualified PolyU senior researchers from all over the world, the interdisciplinary research platform is the largest among its peers in the Greater Bay Area. It pools top brains with a wealth of investigative and professional experience to conduct PAIR’s cutting-edge interdisciplinary research programmes.
The Academy aspires to offer solutions to unprecedented societal challenges arising from climate change, food safety, an ageing population, disease, energy shortages, etc. It will also aim to promote sustainable development and growth. The PAIR research institutes and centres will furthermore address the opportunities brought about by the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that will change how people work and live, such as artificial intelligence, data science, the Internet of Things, and robotics.
PAIR’s innovative research projects are supported by PolyU’s world-class laboratories and state-of-the-art facilities, including the State Key Laboratories and the Chinese National Engineering Research Centres (Hong Kong Branches).
Prof. Jin-Guang TENG, President of PolyU, said the University is committed to developing innovations across disciplines and cultivating impactful solutions to the global challenges of today. He said, “PAIR will also promote and facilitate the establishment of close partnerships with industries and the community, ensuring the real-world significance and impact of its research. Furthermore, the Academy will play an important role in developing and supporting research collaboration activities with counterparts in the Mainland and around the world. PolyU will leverage its leading research and innovation capability and capitalise on the Greater Bay Area’s manufacturing strength to build the region into an international innovation and technology hub.”
Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, said the expansion of interdisciplinary research over the past decade has brought about a fundamental change in the basic concepts and practices of a scientific discipline. He added, “New disciplines may also emerge from the extensive research currently being performed by scientists in this interdisciplinary environment. Their research may have a wide-ranging positive impact, expanding knowledge and improving the quality of life.”
The Academy is headed by Prof. Qingyan CHEN, Director of PAIR, Global STEM Professor, and Chair Professor of Building Thermal Science in the Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering of PolyU. He is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, United States, after a distinguished stint of two decades at the prestigious university. He also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Building and Environment journal since 2008.
Prof. Chen said, “Interdisciplinary research can be one of the most productive and inspiring of human pursuits to produce solutions to the profound issues that society is facing. PAIR researchers are expanding knowledge and solving challenging problems through basic and applied interdisciplinary research, integrating disciplines not only from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but also from business, design, social science, humanities, and management.”
The official inauguration of PAIR will be held on 16 July 2022 at the Jockey Club Auditorium on campus and is one of the key events at the PolyU InnoTech Open Day.