While looking forward to exciting times in 2012, it is also a great joy to look back over what has already been accomplished by the School in recent years. From the establishment of our forward-looking Center for Engineering Education Innovation (E²I) to ground-breaking research and applications to improve people's way of life, members of the School can be rightly proud of how they have been raising the bar across the engineering spectrum.
As we continue to boost our profile, the School has enjoyed dramatic increases in applications for our programs. Consistently ranked one of the best engineering schools globally, we are delighted to be drawing top-quality candidates from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Asia and other regions. This is putting us on track for further success as a multicultural hub of engineering excellence.
At the undergraduate level, the way ahead will be underpinned by our specially created curriculum, which maximizes the opportunities provided by Hong Kong's move to a four-year degree system in the autumn. No doubt there will be challenges to overcome as we implement what we have designed. But there is already a buzz of anticipation in the air here.
We believe our "Engineering PLUS" concept will provide a holistic, whole-person educational experience for our students and produce 21st century engineers who will inspire, innovate, and be ready to take on the major issues of our time: the environment, megacities, energy, healthcare. "Signature" courses, such as Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Engineering Solutions to Grand Challenges of the 21st Century, signal the fundamental qualities we seek to develop in our graduates.
Integrating the big picture
Through our new Global and Community Engagement Program, students can take part in projects and international competitions that will provide hands-on experience of teamwork and leadership issues as well as create links with global peers and different organizations to broaden their social awareness.
Likewise, our Internship and Industry Engagement Program will give greater practical insight into the work of an engineer. With the focus on mutually beneficial projects, we hope to involve companies in Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta, and beyond, and to see 50% of our students take part in the initiative. The launch of the School's annual HKUST Technology Industry Innovation Award, which recognizes an outstanding technology leader with international impact, is also set to foster dialogue with leading industries.
Research and postgraduate excellence
Our own innovative endeavors and world-class faculty continue to attract strong research funding support and draw top-tier postgraduate students, who hail from China and Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa.
In support of our postgraduates' achievements, we inaugurated the School of Engineering PhD Research Excellence Award in 20l1. In the year ahead, we will be boosting their professional and career development by developing workshops in instructional and communication skills, ethics, and public speaking, among others.
Thus, 2012 is set to be a year of positive development at all levels, continuing the forward momentum of the past and bringing to fruition the careful restructuring and pioneering plans to enable us to make an even greater impact in the future. Whether a current member of the School, an interested student, or a potential academic or industry partner, I look forward to sharing successful times with you.
Prof Khaled Ben Letaief
Dean of Engineering