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International Symposiumon Technology for Sustainability: Facilitating Academic Exchange
  • “I was proud that we succeeded in completing the project based on a shared concept with my Japanese partners.”

“I was proud that we succeeded in completing the project based on a shared concept with my Japanese partners.”

Dec 2013

IVE students were engaged in an academic exchange with their counterparts from Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan during the International Symposium on Technology for Sustainability (ISTS) that was held at IVE (Tsing Yi) from November 20 to 22.

The ISTS is an annual event started in 2011 by the Institute of National Colleges of Technology (INCT), Japan in partnership with an academic institution from another country. Its objective is to give students an opportunity to present their project work in English and participate in academic dialogues with their peers from other countries on ways to lower carbon footprint and to improve the environment.

The IVE Engineering was the host of this year’s Symposium which had attracted more than 300 participants, with many of them flying to Hong Kong specifically for the event; a total of 180 papers addressing different topics on sustainability were presented.

The INCT representatives were exceedingly pleased with the outcome of ISTS 2013, which took more than one year of preparation. “We are moved by the sincerity of the IVE Engineering staff,” said Masahiro Kouzuki, INCT’s Executive Director. “For us, the main objective is to improve INCT students’ English abilities and technical communication skills in a global context. It is a great event for our students.”

There were three keynote speakers at the Symposium, including Ir Dr. Hon. Lo Wai-kwok, Legislative Council, Hong Kong, Prof.Dr. Makoto Kaneko, Osaka University, Japan, and Ir Dr. Lawrence W Chan, VTC. After the keynote addresses, the student presenters were then divided into parallel sessions for the oral report of their project work. IVE students are not totally unfamiliar with such an exercise, as they are already required to present their final-year project results in front of their teachers and classmates. ISTS however brings the project presentation to a totally new level, offering students glimpses of the rigorous standards of academic research.

“It is a challenging experience to our students because you never know what questions the participants are going to ask,” said Jonathan Lee Kam-fat, Head of Department of Engineering, IVE (Chai Wan), co-chairman of the ISTS organising committee. However, Mr. Lee said ISTS presented an excellent opportunity for students to perfect their studies. They need to make sure the materials in their paper are academically sound and to prepare for questions of every sort.

“The panel chairman and others asked very in-depth questions. They didn’t only ask questions about the theories behind the subject. They were like real buyers, inquiring the cost and feasibility of the solar-powered car,” said Max Lam Yuk-hong, one of the IVE student presenters in ISTS. Majoring in electrical engineering, Mr. Lam had spent a year developing the solar power converter of SOPHIE, a solar car developed by IVE. Apart from presenting his project in front of a large audience, he also learnt a lot from his Japanese counterparts. “The Japanese students explained the theories behind their studies very thoroughly and clearly,” Mr. Lam said. “They also answered questions very confidently and swiftly because they had prepared well.”

Matthew Wong Wai-man, another electrical engineering student who participated in ISTS, agreed that the Symposium had broadened his international perspective. He was also a member of the SOPHIE team, and his research focused on the development of an electrical system to monitor solar energy. “Some topics might be more academic in nature, but one of the Japanese teams created the concept of a cardiac pacemaker with batteries that can be charged externally,” Mr. Wong said.

Some IVE students had the chance to present their studies jointly with students and staff of INCT. Jason Kong, a higher diploma student in mechanical engineering, was one of the lucky ones. From March to May 2013, Mr. Kong went to Kagoshima, Japan and worked on his final-year project on hydraulic power with INCT students and staff. “I was proud that we succeeded in completing the project based on a shared concept with my Japanese partners,” Mr. Kong said.

Mr. Kong’s unique learning experience, including the two-month stay in Japan and the chance to attend the Symposium, was only made possible by the partnership between IVE Engineering Discipline and INCT. “In 2009 when we started the academic collaboration, only 50 students participated in the exchange programme. The number of exchange students has since increased dramatically,” said Tsutomu Matsumoto, General Manager of INCT’s International Affairs Office. Besides the 200 attendees of ISTS 2013, more than 250 students from INCT and IVE have participated in the institutes’ exchange programmes this year. ISTS 2013 only marked the beginning of a blossoming partnership between the IVE Engineering Discipline and INCT.

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