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Universities in Hong Kong

Veteran aerospace engineer Wei Shyy preferred candidate for top job at HKUST

University council will meet on Thursday to consider committee’s recommendation after global search for new president

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 8:47pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 10:44pm

The current provost of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, veteran aerospace engineer Wei Shyy, has been recommended as the institution’s next president.

The news came against a backdrop of several changes in university leadership in Hong Kong, with two other top institutions appointing new vice chancellors this year.

HKUST initiated a global search to find the right candidate for president last year.

In an email to students, staff and alumni on Monday, Andrew Liao Cheung-sing, chairman of university’s governing council, said the search committee had recommended the appointment of Shyy, who is also executive vice-president and chair professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at HKUST.

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The council would meet on Thursday to consider the recommendation. Should Shyy be appointed, the announcement would be made that day and he would meet students, staff and alumni.

Before joining HKUST in August 2010, Shyy was Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson Collegiate Professor and chairman of the department of aerospace engineering of the University of Michigan.

His research interests include computational fluid dynamics and heat/mass transfer, energy and power, moving boundary problems, biofluid dynamics, biological and micro air vehicles, surrogate modelling and optimisation.

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Shyy earned his bachelor’s degree from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan before moving to the US, where he received his master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan.

The professor, who is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, had received awards for his research and professional contributions, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2003 Pendray Aerospace Literature Award.

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Last June, HKUST announced that current president Tony Chan Fan-cheong would step down from his position in September 2018.

Chan did not reveal the reasons for his early departure, saying only that the search for a successor at that stage would facilitate the university’s growth and development.

The university set up the search committee in September last year.

Lam Tsz-kon, a year four student and former student union external vice-president, said he was generally satisfied with Shyy’s performance as provost. But Lam said he did not have much contact with the professor and hoped Shyy would communicate more with students if he took over as president.

Lam also wished the school would release information about how many candidates sought the post, as well as the criteria used to choose the final candidate.