Research Student Centre and DreamLab

Apr 12, 2017


Research Student Centre

Innovation is one of the three pillars in the strategy plan of HKU and the Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty has always been the source of innovations and talents that, in the past 100+ years, helped build up the modern Hong Kong as we know it. We have created the Research Student Centre (RSC), located at the ground and mezzanine floors of Haking Wong Building, to continue this tradition and further foster a research culture which is dynamic, interdisciplinary and forward-thinking. The RSC is a pioneer project to provide a better environment and organises activities to facilitates their interdisciplinary exchange of research ideas and integrate local and non-local research postgraduate (RPg) students.
Feature wall at main entrance of the RSC

As the RSC has been in full operation since October 2017, a total of 144 Year One RPg students from 5 departments have moved in. They have been mixed in their seating based on their research interests, which are (1) Smart Systems, (2) Health Technologies and (3) Clean Energy and Environment, in line with the Faculty’s three inter-disciplinary research clusters. The objective is to build a strong community among the RPg students in the entire Faculty of Engineering. With 24-hour air-conditioning, full WiFi connectivity, printing facilities and pantries, the RSC provides a pleasant work environment for our research students during their formative year of their research endeavour. In addition, 6 discussion rooms of various sizes have been open for reservation by our Faculty staff and RPg students for small group meetings. Another 5 rooms are made available for accommodating distinguished visiting professors of the Faculty and Departments. The on-line booking system of these rooms has been setup and is available on the RSC’s website.

An internal spiral staircase enhancing the connectivity between the two floors in the RSC

What distinguishes the RSC from just another centre or laboratory is the active and innovative programmes to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, new approaches to research and activities for academic, personal and professional development, as well as elevation of engagement of supervisors with students to a higher level. A variety of student-centred learning activities have been organised, among them Interdisciplinary Research Series, Distinguished Scholar Sharing Series, Entrepreneurship Series, Alumni/Senior Student Sharing Series, Orientation Series, and Experiential Learning/Visit.

Welcome reception for Year One RPg students on September 2, 2016

To develop a strong sense of community among students, we must treat students as our partners in the endeavour. Therefore, with the support and guidance by the Director of RSC, a group of Year One RPg students have formed the Research Student Centre Committee (RSCC) to plan and organise activities to enrich students’ learning and research experience, build identity of the RSC and Engineering DreamLab, and foster a sense of community and interdisciplinary collaboration.

The details of the RSC can be found at


Engineering DreamLab

To promote innovation and entrepreneurial spirit with tangible impacts, the Faculty of Engineering has setup an Innovative Space, named “Engineering DreamLab”, on the mezzanine floor of Research Student Centre (RSC) where innovative ideas and design concepts can be developed into functional prototypes in an interdisciplinary environment. Basic tools and equipment are available to cultivate and enhance the “Maker-culture” among students. We have obtained donation of a power tools and rack from Dr. Roy Chung, co-founder of TTI.

RPg students making robots on "Robot making day" on October 8, 2016 at the Engineering DreamLab

The Engineering DreamLab also provides a testing ground for cross stimulations among undergraduate and postgraduate students, knowledge exchange with partners at different geographic locations, more flexibility for internship, and preparation for external competitions. The Engineering DreamLab runs various innovation and entrepreneurship programmes, including seed funding for innovative ideas and project, talks, networking events, workshops, hackathon, etc. to achieve our objectives. The ultimate objective is to build an innovative, lively and cross-culture, cross-discipline community of students, alumni and staff who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship in areas where engineering can contribute and make a difference.

RPg students interacting with each other in a distinguished scholar's sharing session by Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard University in the DreamLab

To further drive the entrepreneurial culture, with the support and guidance by the Director of RSC, a student self-initiative platform Engineering Research Student Entrepreneurship Club (ERSEC) has been established to foster the innovation and entrepreneurship knowledge and skills of RPg students, and aiming at incubating and facilitating passion in the RPg students to pursue knowledge and cultivate interests in innovation and entrepreneurship.