CUHK Launched Joint Research Centre with University of Exeter

CUHK and the University of Exeter Launch Joint Centre to Promote Environmental Sustainability and Resilience 
First of its kind Joint Centre in Hong Kong


The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the University of Exeter launched a new HK$20m joint research centre named “CUHK – University of Exeter Joint Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience” (ENSURE) today (5 June) at CUHK. The first of its kind in Hong Kong, this joint endeavour aims to embark on large, impactful interdisciplinary collaborations to tackle emerging issues related to a changing environment and human health and wellbeing. ENSURE will serve as a platform for international academic exchange, promoting policy related works, and nurturing the next generation of young researchers to address sustainable development challenges. Officiating at the launch ceremony were Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK and Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter. 

Drawing on the complementary strengths of the two universities, CUHK and the University of Exeter enter into this long-term partnership to strengthen research impact and visibility globally. The joint research effort reflects their common vision in promoting interdisciplinary research excellence which delivers benefits by tackling grand challenges and fulfilling societal needs globally. 

Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, remarked, “CUHK is committed to addressing the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the betterment of Hong Kong and the worldwide community. We are proud to establish ENSURE with the University of Exeter, a member of the elite Russell Group of leading research-intensive universities in the UK which commands a leading position in climate, health, and environmental research. With strong expertise from both universities, I am confident that we will be able to find solutions to sustain a liveable environment and to ensure safe access to food, water, and air in the coming century.” 

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, said, “Ensuring resilience in the face of evolving interactions between ourselves and our environment is one of today’s most important global challenges. Exeter is world-leading in the fields of climate, environment and health research. Our existing strong collaborations include the Met Office—the UK’s weather and climate research centre—and our world-leading research includes our European Centre for Environment and Human Health. ENSURE is pioneering, and brings together our strengths with the wealth of expertise at CUHK. Together we have a unique opportunity to provide transformative solutions and make a real difference worldwide.” 

A workshop was recently held at the University of Exeter, bringing together over 30 researchers from a wide range of disciplines to discuss the forming of large-scale collaborative projects in the coming years. This was led by Professor Gabriel Ngar-cheung Lau and Professor Gavin Shaddick, Co-Directors of ENSURE. 

Professor Lau is excited about the new collaboration opportunities ahead, “A collective effort from across disciplines and sectors, at home and abroad, is needed in tackling global environmental challenges. Capitalising on the strengths and interests of the investigators from CUHK and the University of Exeter, ENSURE will conduct innovative and collaborative research on various environmental issues of strong social relevance to advance global sustainable development.” 

Professor Gabriel Ngar-cheung Lau, currently Director of the Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability (IEES) at CUHK, is a world-renowned scholar in climate research who has been devoted to meteorological research for over 40 years. He was a contributing author of the Fourth Assessment Report and a lead author of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was recognised by the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. 

Professor Gavin Shaddick, currently the Chair of Data Science and Statistics and Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Exeter, is an acknowledged expert in the environment and health, with over 20 years of experience in data intensive research. He leads the Data Integration Task Force of the World Health Organization Global Platform on Air Quality and Health, is actively involved in the calculation of a number of SDG metrics, and serves on the UK government’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) and its subgroup on the Quantification of Air Pollution Risks (QUARK). 

Professor Shaddick remarked, “This Centre provides a fantastic opportunity to engage in truly meaningful collaborations with colleagues at CUHK in one of the most important challenges facing society today. By working together to better understand the complex interactions between climate, environment, and health, we will produce interdisciplinary research with significant global impact.”