Research Strategy : The Strategy in Action - Objective 01


VII. 1) Strategic objective 1: Pursue excellence and leadership in research


The Department’s strategic objective is to improve research discovery capabilities by expanding infrastructural support and human resources, and foster regional and international interdisciplinary research opportunities and collaboration. Faculty members always pursue their best to produce high-quality research studies to generate leading-edge research outputs. Our efforts are demonstrated in the KPIs achieved.


VII. 1.1) KPI 1A: Academic activities and publications


Since 2008, a total of 1004 research outputs, that (i) 531 (226 in Q1IF2017) related to China; (ii) 594 (270 in Q1IF2017) related to Environment; and (iii) 442 (179 in Q1IF2017) related to Urban & Transport has been published by our faculty members. Research studies have included multiple aspects and areas of the three thematic groups, such as economic and social development, cultures and humanities, tree-ring studies on long-term variations of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Asian monsoon, riverine and hydrological studies, environmental policy and planning, ecosystem services valuation, urban green infrastructure strategies, environmental conservation and impact assessment, transport mobilities and resilience road safety, travel behavior modelling, Information and Communication Technology, public open space and public health. Research studies have covered a wide range of geographical context across the world, with a main focus in Hong Kong, China and Asia regions. Faculty members have actively published in high-impact journals from their respective fields in Table 5.

VII. 1.2) KPI 1B: Plenary and invited keynote speeches

Since 2008, faculty members have been invited to present a total of 430 plenary and invited keynote speeches that (i) 224 related to China; (ii) 120 related to Environment; and (iii) 266 related to Urban & Transport at local, regional and international conferences across 115 cities in 31 countries. They have shared and presented their insights and findings from our three research thematic groups to local and international audiences, and generated invaluable interdisciplinary collaborative research opportunities for future. Topics presented covered a wide variety of aspects on China’s environment, economy, policy and society, climate change, urban ecosystems, green cities development, heritage trees conservation, forestry, river basins and hydrological studies, sustainability transport mobilities, road safety and walkability, travel behavior modelling and capacity flows, cities development, public open spaces and public health in cities.


Leading examples of plenary and invited keynote speeches include:


(i) China:

  • The University of Amsterdam invited Professor Lin to present a distinguished public lecture in 2014.

  • The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University invited Professor Lin to give a plenary speech in 2014.

  • Dr. Qian was a plenary speaker at the Human Geography Annual Conference of China (中國人文地理學聯合學術年會) in Changchun in 2016.


(ii) Environment:

  • The Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences invited Dr. Li to present a climate study in 2018.

  • The London Tree Officers Association invited Dr. Chen as an invited speaker in London to share her novels on trees conservation in 2017. She was also an invited speaker in The First Sino-Canadian Urban Forest Forum in Vancouver in 2018.


(iii) Urban & Transport:

  • Professor Loo was invited to give Keynote Speeches at major international conferences, including the World Society for Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR) Conference in Brisbane, Australia in 2017 (as the first Asian keynote address); and the Chinese Urban Geography Annual Meeting at Nanjing in 2018.

  • The Ohio State University has invited Dr. Koh as an invited speaker on public health issues in 2017.



VII. 1.3) KPI 1C: Major research awards and honors

Faculty members received distinguished awards and honors in both Hong Kong and worldwide in recognition of their outstanding research works.  Leading examples are shown in Tables 6a to 6b.

VII. 1.4) KPI 1D: Editorial board memberships and research grants reviews

Since 2010, faculty members have actively participated leadership roles of 45 journal editorial board memberships (31 ISI listed journals and 14 in Q1IF2017) to embrace knowledge exchange and dissemination in various research categories. Table 7 presents a summary of these ISI-listed regional and international journal editorial board memberships of our faculty members. They have also involved a total of 25 external reviews or as panel members of research grants and parties to facilitate and support advanced research activities. Details are provided in Table 8.

VII. 1.5) KPI 1E: Advanced laboratories and facilities support

To facilitate a strong research support and provide a decent environment for research activities, the Department has recruited a group of experienced technicians to foster and aid faculty members’ and research postgraduates’ research analyses and projects from a well-developed teamwork research collaboration.


The Department also provides modern and high-performing infrastructures that support teaching, learning and research activities. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory houses high-end mapping and modelling, GIS facilities on digital data visualization, statistical analysis and spatial data processing for teaching and research purposes. Our Geomorphology & Hydrology Laboratory is well-equipped with a full range of environmental monitoring apparatus and instruments for regolith and sediment samples testing and other landforms investigation processes with a Gamma Spectroscopy System. Our Soil & Biogeography Laboratory provides a variety of modern and sophisticated machines, such as spectrometer, CHNS/O elemental analyzer, automatic extractor for cation exchange capacity, to improve the efficiency and accuracy of physical and chemical analysis on soil, plant, water and other environmental samples. Our upgraded Urban & Transport Research Laboratory provides spatial visualization interactive screens for advanced project-based transport and environment research. The laboratory further supports with advanced computing capacities to support geospatial artificial intelligence on smart cities analyses. The Map Library reserves a collection of 61,480 map items and over 15,800 aerial photos (with more than 45,000 catalog items) that particular emphasis on Hong Kong, China and Asia. It also houses around 1700 geography dissertations and postgraduate theses since 1968. A digital online map database system is also recently set up to users for research interests and purposes.