Opening of Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing at HKU

A makerspace connecting cross-disciplinary students with innovative ideas and advanced technology


Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing at HKU

A Plaque Unveiling and Opening Ceremony took place today (December 1, 2020) at the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing to honour the opening of this new iconic landmark of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

With the generous donation of HK$140 million from Mr and Mrs Tam Wing Fan to the Faculty, the Innovation Wing was developed with the aim to creating an atmosphere of creativity, openness and vibrancy to foster interdisciplinary innovations among students and teachers in Engineering and Technology.

The Ceremony was officiated by Mrs Tam Wing Fan and Professor Xiang Zhang, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU. Professor Norman C. Tien, Vice-President (Institutional Advancement) and Head of Innovation Academy of HKU; Professor Christopher Chao, Dean of Engineering, HKU; Professor T.H. Tse, Honorary Professor of Department of Computer Science, HKU and Mr Edward Ho, Former Chairman of the Wong & Tung Group were also invited to join the Ceremony.

Addressing the guests at the Ceremony, HKU President Professor Xiang Zhang said: “Innovation is the magic word heard frequently these days. At HKU, as we aspire to be a world leading university, we are constantly seeking to enrich our campus to ensure we provide a stimulating intellectual environment. This Innovation Wing will be the cradle to facilitate bold exploration and cross-discipline collaboration among engineering and non-engineering students. I like particularly the Dream Chamber in the Innovation Wing, as daring to dream and having the courage to face failure is key in research breakthrough and innovation.”

“Engineering education will not be the same with the establishment of the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing. We hope to attract talents and inspire and motivate them to pursue their dreams, so as to continue to ignite Mr Tam’s spirit in supporting innovations for society,” said Dean of Engineering Professor Christopher Chao.

Among the HK$140 million donation, HK$100 million donation is for setting up the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing, Mr and Mrs Tam further donated $20 million for setting up the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing Two and another $20 million for the establishment of the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Fund, in support of the Innovation Academy at the Faculty of Engineering.

“The Innovation Wing is a place for students to pursue their dreams, to turn ideas into reality, to meet with peers with common interests and work hard together, to perform outreach and serve people in need, to nurture our students, to learn about responsibilities, to build awareness and to bring a positive impact to the society and the world. I look forward to seeing it filled with people who will make a difference,” said Mrs May Tam at the Opening Ceremony.

State-of-the-art Facilities

Located at G/F and LG/F of the Hui Oi Chow Building, the two-storeyed Innovation Wing covers over 2,400 sqm of floor area. Being one of the world-class integrated makerspaces in Hong Kong as well as in Asia, the Innovation Wing is fully equipped with comprehensive prototyping facilities and equipment of all engineering natures under the same roof. The concept of makerspace originated from the US where a group of people with shared interests can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge.

The makerspace offers a spacious assembling area that can accommodate more than 100 students to work on their projects at the same time. Numerous workshops are equipped with state-of-the-art digital controlled facilities such as 3D printing machines, laser cutting and engraving machines, waterjet cutting machine, measuring tools, hand/power toolsets and specialised electronic workbenches, etc. Students and student interest groups can use the computer-aid design studio, multimedia and soundproof studio, AR/VR studio to turn ideas into reality.

The Innovation Wing encourages knowledge exchange and peer learning. Apart from the poster hallway, project wall and social media sharing platform for displaying and sharing of inventions, ideas and achievements, students can also brainstorm and exchange ideas in a relaxing area. A selection of inspirational books, magazines, journals and user manuals of machines/equipment are placed in the “Dream Chamber” to stimulate creative thinking.

“Thematic Workshops” – Access to Advanced Technology

The Innovation Wing houses “Thematic workshops” where professors can showcase their research outcomes from pioneering Engineering projects. These workshops cover various themes such as healthcare technology, advanced and new materials, smart technology for better living and aviation.

“Students will be sparked off with fresh ideas by learning about cutting-edge research in those areas,” said Dr C.K. Chui, Director of Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing. The Faculty encourages multidisciplinary collaborations between academics and researchers too. For example, the healthcare workshop is co-hosted by professors from Biomedical Engineering and research experts in Computer Science for further collaborations on new projects.

The Innovation Wing is not only a makerspace, but also a place to connect students with advanced technologies. The Faculty has set up a micro-precision 3D printer in the thematic workshop for advanced and new materials. The machine is based on innovative projection micro stereolithography technology which is designed for production of high resolution, highly precise parts for prototyping and short run production with photosensitive resins and ceramic.

“Innovation Academy” – Accelerator for inspiration and implementation

The Innovation Wing is far beyond a new infrastructure. It is also an incubator for creativity and innovation. With the funding support from Mrs Tam Wing Fan, the Faculty established an “Innovation Academy” for nurturing future innovators to generate impactful ideas and products.

Professor Norman C. Tien, Head of Innovation Academy, said: “We are most thankful for the generous support from Mrs Tam in support of the Innovation Academy for cultivating new generations of talents, not only scholars and researchers, but also industry leaders and influencers. The Academy serves as a magnet to attract new talents to work together on innovative projects through a series of programmes and activities, which are designed to capture three goals: Inspire, Equip and Showcase.” The Innovation Academy targets not only engineering students, but also selected students from other faculties.

“The InnoHub programme is dedicated to providing a platform to connect students from all ten faculties at the University for cross-disciplinary collaboration and to prepare them for addressing the grand challenges of the world.” Professor Tien added.

Industrial Consortium

The Innovation Academy will establish an industrial consortium to bootstrap the collaboration and networking with both local and international industries and industrial leaders, through building partnerships among industry, business organisations, governments and academia at the University.

Dr Henry Lau, Associate Dean of Engineering (Innovation), explained: “the University and the industry will mutually benefit from the partnership where the industry can gain access to world-class and leading-edge research, whereas academics can obtain industry intelligence for frontier commercial technology. We will also work together in organising competitions and programmes to arouse students’ interest in technology and innovation.”

About HKU Faculty of Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering is one of the founding Faculties of The University of Hong Kong established in 1912. Since its foundation, the Faculty has kept pace with developments in the engineering world and is always at the forefront of engineering research, evolving into one of the largest Faculties at the University with five departments providing undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in a wide range of important fields of modern engineering, technology and computer science.

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