Major Research Area 4: Environment and Sustainability

How can we achieve low carbon and active healthy living with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and integrated environmental and socio-economic sustainability?

The sustainable growth of our world in the future depends on the integration of environmental and socio-economic sustainability aided by advanced information and communication technology. Development is a complex process with many conflicts and trade-offs with interrelated sustainability challenges.

For environmental sustainability, our smart living relies on smart and resilient urban design for climate change and global warming, smart transport for mobility, smart grid for optimal energy consumption and food security. With respect to socio-economic sustainability, the basic research issues are socio-institutional sustainability. We need to examine our population policy, social polarization, relationships among individual well-being, differential housing choices, resilience families and sustainable communities in the process of smart place-making and place-governance. With regard to economic sustainability, we will seek ways to re-engineer our economic and energy structures to achieve low carbon production and consumption.

To achieve sustainable development, we need a powerful ICT backbone that can effectively and efficiently disseminate information to the citizens as well as the public and private sectors, equip us with the capability to perform data decision analytics, and instil into various systems the necessary knowledge to solve complex multi-stakeholders decision making problems on integrated environmental and socio-economic sustainability.

The holistic approach to our sustainable development calls for the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary effort that involves the perspective of humanities and social science that investigates the human and social dimensions of our development, the legal perspective that examines human rights and social justice, the scientific perspective that targets food production and security, the medical perspective that searches for healthy living and ageing, and the engineering perspective that constructs ICT and infrastructure. Only through the joint effort of these disciplines can we ensure sustainable growth of our world in general and our cities in particular. CUHK will work closely with the Government and the private sector so that technology transfer on innovations in smart cities, climate change, agriculture and food security, energy and population policy can be made in an effective and efficient manner.

Smart and Sustainable Cities

  • smart living: urban design, built environment, transport, open urban informatics platform, urban big data analysis and decision making
  • urban resilience, urban environmental sustainability, urban social and economic sustainability, and active healthy living

Climate Change

  • climate variability in monsoonal system
  • climate change and environmental sustainability
  • climate change and health impact
  • changes in the climate system and in air quality
  • modification to climate processes by air pollution

Plant Molecular, Cell and Agricultural Biology and Food Security

  • plant genomic studies for crop improvement
  • plant cell biology and organelle function
  • plant stress molecular biology and physiology
  • food production and climate change

Renewable Energy and Natural Resources

  • solar energy, photo-energy conversion and storage
  • other renewables—biomass, bioenergy and biofuel, wind and tidal wave
  • water resources security and management

Population Studies: Migration, Youth Development and Ageing Management

  • migration and urbanization, and social and economic integration of immigrants
  • youth identity, values transitions into labour market, social and political participation and youth development
  • population ageing-well indicators, physical and psychological well-being, age-friendly environment