Virtual highflier set to become UST president

Local | Amy Nip 16 Jan 2018

Amy Nip

Aerospace expert and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology provost Wei Shyy is the recommendation to become the university's new president.

A search committee recommended that Shyy take over from Tony Chan Fan-cheong, who has been in the post for nine years.

The board will discuss the recommendation on Thursday, UST council chairman Andrew Liao Cheung-sing said in an e-mail to staff members, students and alumni yesterday. The search committee had approved appointing an independent consultant to conduct a global hunt for candidates, a UST spokesman said, and the recommendation of was made after multiple rounds of screening and discussion.

Shyy is chair professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Prior to joining UST in August 2010 he was Clarence L "Kelly" Johnson collegiate professor and chairman of the department of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. He was previously employed by the University of Florida and the GE Research and Development Center in New York.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Taiwan's Tsing Hua University and his MSE and PhD degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.

During his time at Michigan Shyy undertook research with Thomas Adamson Jr, who was a student of Qian Xuesen, the rocket scientist regarded as the father of China's missile and space technology program.

In the 1990s Shyy received funding from the US Department of Defense for working on so-called "micro aerial vehicles." He developed a 15-centimeter flying vehicle called Gator in 2001.

He was also the principal investigator of collaboration of three universities in 2007 on developing agile, autonomous flapping-wing micro vehicles for operations in urban environments. In 2002 he led a group to establish the Institute for Future Space Transport, a seven-university consortium funded by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

He became principal investigator of the Michigan University/Air-Force Research Laboratory/Boeing Collaborative Center in Aeronautical Sciences four years later.

He was appointed UST provost in 2010.

Chan, a mathematician, was to end his term in 2019, but now he finishes this September.

And he goes on a exchange program to Stanford University next month, when Shyy becomes acting president.

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