CityU PhD students win Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Awards

Fanny Ho

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Ms Joan Ho Pui-yee  and Mr Peter Ha Cao-thang , PhD students in CityU’s Department of Physics and Materials Science, have won the “Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Awards” jointly offered by the Cheung Kong Group and the Australian Government. Joan and Peter will further their research on “Plasma Surface Modification of Biomaterials” and “Diamond-like Carbon Coating on Cutting Tools”, respectively, in Australia and Hong Kong. The students’ achievement typifies CityU’s success in applied research.


The “Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Awards” is a postgraduate scholarship programme which aims to attract top scholars and research proposals that can benefit the further development of Asia and Australia’s social and economic environment. In 2004/05, the Awards will provide financial support for 20 Asian students (14 from the mainland or Hong Kong) and 20 Australian students (14 of whom are to study on the mainland or in Hong Kong) to undertake postgraduate or postdoctoral research work for four to six months. Each recipient will receive a scholarship amounting to A$25,000 (approx. HK$138,000).  


CityU is committed to internationalisation in education. In December 2003, CityU and the University of Sydney, Australia, signed a cooperation agreement to offer a joint PhD programme through which students from both institutions can visit and conduct research in the partner institution. Students of the programme are supervised at CityU by Professor Paul Chu, Professor (Chair) of Materials Engineering in the Department of Physics and Materials Science, and at the University of Sydney by Professor Marcela Bilek, Professor of Applied Physics in the School of Physics. Both Joan and Peter have enrolled in this programme and thereby are qualified to compete in the “Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Awards” as a Hong Kong student and an Australian student, respectively.


Joan Ho, 25, focuses her research on “Plasma Surface Modification of Biomaterials”. Her ambition is to become a scientist and to invent novel biomaterials suitable for implantation in human bodies in order to prolong human life.  Joan has continued her studies at CityU upon graduation from AP in 2001. “I believe that cultural diversity in the research environment helps broadening my knowledge and vision,” she says. “After careful consideration, I decided to register in the PhD programme jointly offered by CityU and the University of Sydney because through collaboration with scholars in different regions.  I will bring my research skills to new heights.” Joan will undertake research at the University of Sydney starting this summer with the support of the “Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Awards”.


Peter Cao Thang Ha, 28, was born in Vietnam and he emigrated to Australia at the age of ten. He started his research studies at the University of Sydney in 2002 and joined the joint PhD programme with CityU in 2004. His research explores “Diamond-like Carbon Coating on Cutting Tools” to extend the life of cutting tools through plasma immersion ion implantation. Peter recognises that the joint PhD programme is a stepping stone for his future career. “CityU has already forged close ties with many institutions in Asia, and is the only institution in Hong Kong that offers a joint PhD programme in Materials Science with the University of Sydney. Through studying in this programme, I can receive a research degree awarded by the two universities,” he says. “Moreover, I can expand my network and extend my research career to the mainland.”


CityU’s Plasma Laboratory is an internationally renowned research centre and pioneer in plasma technology. Many research degree students from elite institutions including CityU, the University of Sydney, the ChineseAcademy of Sciences, ShanghaiJiaTongUniversity, NanjingUniversity and the Harbin Institute of Technology, have been supervised by Professor Paul Chu while conducting research in the Laboratory. Professor Chu and his researchers have published some 400 conference and symposium reports and over 300 scientific articles in peer-reviewed international journals. They have also received eight US patents and three Chinese patents with their research results on plasma technology.



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