Awards motivate
Outstanding Researcher Awards, introduced by The University of Hong Kong to encourage and recognise research excellence, have had their first winners. Altogether 23 staff have been awarded under four categories: Distinguished Research Achievement, Outstanding Researcher, Outstanding Young Researcher, and Outstanding Research Supervisor. Another initiative involves bringing excellent applied research results into the performance assessment of academic staff for recruitment and other personnel-related functions. Opportunities have also been introduced for researchers to enhance their applied research capabilities by taking short-term secondments to industry.
Soil weakness model curbs landslide danger
The Po Shan Road landslide in June 1972
Geotechnical engineers are using research from The University of Hong Kong to help minimise landslides, long been a feature of the rainy season.
Debris flows can be more accurately predicted using models from the research which studied the fundamental stress-strain behaviour of Hong Kong’s two main soil types; decomposed granite and decomposed volcanic.
The model was calibrated using data from some of Hong Kong’s major landslides such as the 1925 Mid-levels disaster which killed 75 people, and the two major slides of 1972 in which a total of 138 died.
Among more effective preventive measures coming out of the research are designs of soil nails and earth retaining structures.
University researchers, under Prof C F Lee of the Civil Engineering Department, defined for the first time the weakening and collapsing process that takes place in Hong Kong’s indigenous soils when strained beyond their strength. Various factors involved include rainfall duration and intensity, slope geometry, geologic conditions and vegetation cover. As well as helping engineers from the government’s Geotechnical Engineering Office which is responsible for landslip prevention, the research will be useful to their counterparts in mainland China and other regions with similar geologic conditions and climate.

Principal Investigator
Prof C F Lee, Civil Engineering Dept