Blog: ASPIRE Summer School

merit_14-%20hkust%20at%20first%20sightFrom July 3 – 8, 2016, the annual ASPIRE Forum and student workshop was hosted at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. ASPIRE League is a consortium of 5 leading science and technology universities in Asia (HKUST, Tokyo Tech, KAIST, NTU, Tsinghua) and often collaborates with the IDEA League. The ASPIRE Forum and ASPIRE League – IDEA League Graduate Summer School was a collaborative summer programme for graduate students and PhDs of the respective member universities. Aviva Opsomer, a TU Delft student, wrote a blog about her experiences at the Summer School.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the views of the IDEA League nor of its affiliated programmes.

This year’s topic was “Developing Sustainable Urban Environments and Low Carbon Economies”, thereby bringing together students from various disciplines with a keen interest in sustainability-related topics. With a background in civil engineering and architecture, my personal main interest lies in green buildings that contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation and, consequently, the development of sustainable cities.

Programme Outline

The programme comprised the following
– Personalized Real-Time Air Quality Informatics System
– From Low Carbon Construction Materials to Low Carbon Green Buildings
– Sustainable Development and Low Carbon Hong Kong: Improving Our Solid Waste Management
– Future Studies on Ecology in China
– WWF Hong Kong: Sustainable City Policy Advocacy for Hong Kong

Site visits:
– Hong Kong Science and Technology Park
– Energizing Kowloon East
– Mai Po Nature Reserve

Besides, all students were assigned to a working group and tasked with the preparation of a presentation to the universities’ Vice Presidents and Senior Staff. The objective was to come up with innovative ideas on how to create sustainable urban environments and low carbon economies, either for existing or new cities. A broad variety of solutions was presented, ranging from transport systems to waste management, building performance etc. The forum concluded with the symposium, during which the ASPIRE universities reported on the related research that has been done in the past year. Hence, the programme was a well-balanced combination of instructive theoretical and practical activities, supplemented with visits in Hong Kong itself.


This forum / summer school at HKUST was an excellent opportunity to acquire further knowledge on sustainable urban environments and the latest innovations in science and technology, while getting to know enthusiastic and ambitious students from different countries and academic backgrounds. It was great to be part of an event which fosters collaboration between highly recognized universities in science and technology in finding solutions to environmental issues.

anonymous-personAviva Opsomer
Student Civil Engineering
Delft University of Technology

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