• Date : 12 MAR

12 March 2021

HKUST Joins Hands with Industry to Develop Aviation Innovation Blueprint


Sponsored by Airport Authority Hong Kong, Hong Kong Aviation Industry Association, and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, a multidisciplinary team led by Professor Pengyu Zhu of the Division of Public Policy (PPOL) has recently secured full government support from the Innovation and Technology Commission for a one-year research project to develop a strategic plan which aims to transform Hong Kong into a leading global aviation and innovation hub in the next 10 years.


Facing dramatic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and an uncertain outlook, Hong Kong's aviation industry expects significant competition in a shrunken market. Technological innovation will play a critical role in addressing new safety, security, health and reliability concerns, reducing costs in a strained market, and retaining Hong Kong’s leading position in the sector. Furthermore, local development of technological innovations has become even more urgent with the recent US sanctions on technology sales to China.


“Being more self-reliant in pursuing technological transformation will make Hong Kong’s aviation industry less susceptible to the uncertainties and threats brought about by the sanction. In this regard, this strategic planning for upgrading Hong Kong’s aviation technology industry is indeed timely and necessary,” said Professor Zhu. 


The project will deliver a 10-year roadmap to lay out essential innovations in five key areas, including the technology evolution of the Hong Kong International Airport, efficiency in air traffic, sustainable aviation, intelligent logistics, and cross-industry technology sharing. HKUST will convene the first International Aviation Technology and Business Annual Conference in early 2022, to mark the establishment of a long-term government-industry-academia collaborative network to facilitate knowledge exchange in new-tech development and explore commercialization and investment opportunities. 


The research team pools expertise from five leading scholars in the fields of Public Policy, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Artificial Intelligence. Project coordinator, Professor Pengyu Zhu, is a world-leading scholar in transportation, technology, and economic development policy, with over 10 years of leadership experience in funded research in China and the United States. Other team members include Professor Rhea Liem and Professor Huihe Qiu of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Professor Huamin Qu of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Professor Xun Wu, Founding Head of the Division of Public Policy.


"Our team is truly cross-disciplinary, with strong support from industry stakeholders. Given the applicability of many aviation technologies to other industries, the impacts of this study will also spread beyond the aviation industry and benefit the entire community, thereby truly transforming Hong Kong into a world leading innovation hub,” said Professor Huamin Qu, Director of the Interdisciplinary Programs Office at HKUST.


Photo Source: Smart Airport Technovation Conference and Exhibition


About HKUST Division of Public Policy (PPOL)

As a part of Interdisciplinary Programs Office (IPO), PPOL focuses on fostering interdisciplinary public policy research and education by harnessing synergies between PPOL and other academic units through joint appointments, collaborative research and joint workshops and conferences. The division offers several post-graduate programs in public policy as well as courses for undergraduate students in selected policy areas.


Funding organization:



Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material/event (or by members of the project team) do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Innovation and Technology Commission or the Vetting Committee of the General Support Programme of the Innovation and Technology Fund.




For the bilingual press release, please download it HERE.