Structural engineering academic earns prestigious Australian honour

Karen Cheng

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Chair Professor Sritawat Kitipornchai, Head of the Department of Building and Construction at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), has been elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). The accolade goes to Professor Kitipornchai in recognition of his outstanding research and world-renowned publications in structural engineering and solid mechanics.

The ATSE, an independent body of 800 eminent Australian technologists, commended Professor Kitipornchai for his pioneering research into structural engineering and mechanics, which has found widespread practical application.

An accomplished structural engineer with more than 30 years of experience in teaching, research and consulting, Professor Kitipornchai is a leading global expert in the fields of structural stability, thin-walled structures and transmission towers. In recent years he has gained a substantial reputation for research into the modelling of structures made of smart materials and novel inhomogeneous functionally graded materials.

The author or co-author of six books, Professor Kitipornchai has published over 250 journal papers and holds two patents. Since 1993 he has been Asia-Pacific Regional Editor for Engineering Structures, the most prestigious journal in its field.

Professor Kitipornchai said he was honoured to accept the ATSE Fellowship and considered it a highlight of a rewarding career as a structural engineering academic that has spanned almost four decades. “I’m pleased and excited that my work has helped promote the application of scientific and engineering knowledge for practical uses”, he continued.

Since his appointment as Head in 2005, Professor Kitipornchai has developed the Department of Building and Construction into a very professionally oriented department.

“There is a need to strike a balance between practical expertise and research in our teaching, as both are important for the development of the building industry”, he noted. “I’m proud that we have been able to excel in both”.

A significant departmental achievement under Professor Kitipornchai’s leadership is the establishment of one of the most advanced wind tunnel facilities in the region, which has enhanced CityU’s research in the important areas of wind engineering, urban development planning and the environment.

His broader service to the University has included, amongst other roles, as Chairman of the College Research Committee for seven years and the Teaching Excellence Awards Selection Panel for three years.

Professor Kitipornchai is also involved in promoting exchanges with academic institutions around the world, particularly with those in Australia, a country with which he has had a long association.

After graduating from Monash University in 1968 with first class honours in civil engineering, Professor Kitipornchai completed his PhD on the stability of steel structures at the University of Sydney in 1973. He then worked as Senior Design Engineer at Rankine and Hill, a leading structural consultancy in Sydney, before joining the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland in 1976. Promotion to professor followed in 1993.

Professor Kitipornchai took the Chair Professorship at CityU’s Department of Building and Construction in 2000. Further recognition came in 2004 with an appointment as Professor Emeritus by the University of Queensland. In 2007 he was awarded Monash University’s Civil Engineering Alumnus of the Year.

Professor Kitipornchai’s election as ATSE Fellow is fitting recognition of an exceptional career.

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