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Prof. Joseph H.W. LEE

Senior Advisor to the President
Professor Emeritus/Visiting Professor, Division of Public Policy
Professor Emeritus/Visiting Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tel:(852) 2358 8721


Office:Room IAS 3001 (IAS Building)


PBSc, MSc, PhD, Massachusetts Inst of Tech; FREng, FASCE , FHKEng


  • Environmental Hydraulics/Fluid Mechanics
  • Water Quality Modelling
  • Flood Control
  • Environmental Management
  • Science and Technology Policy



Prof. Lee grew up in Hong Kong and obtained his BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1969-1977). After 3 years as Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Delaware, he joined University of Hong Kong (HKU) as Lecturer in 1980, becoming Redmond Chair Professor of Civil Engineering in 1995. At HKU, he was Dean of Engineering from 2000 to 2003, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Staffing) from 2004-2010. He took office as Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies at HKUST in November 2010 and served in that capacity for six years. Currently, he is Chair Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Elman Family Professor of Engineering and Public Policy at HKUST.

Prof. Lee has held visiting appointments as Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellow at Imperial College of Science and Technology (1985-86), Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Institute of Hydromechanics at the University of Karlsruhe (1992-93), and Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (1998). He is an Honorary Professor of Nankai University and Advisory Professor of Hohai University.

Prof Lee's research revolves around the use of hydraulics to solve environmental problems, in particular the prediction and control of water quality. He is the recipient of many awards including the Senior Research Fellowship Award of the Croucher Foundation (1998), Innovation Award for Construction Industry of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (2002), the 2010 China State Scientific and Technological Progress Award (Second Class, Principal Investigator), and the 2013 Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He is also the first Asia-based academic to receive the ASCE Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Award (2009). He was elected into the Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom in 2008, and was bestowed Honorary Membership by the International Association for Hydro-environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) in 2015. He is a Fellow and Past President of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Prof. Lee is the Chief Editor of Journal of Hydro-environment Research, and Associate Editor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. He has served on the International Advisory Board of the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (Nanyang Technological University) and the Selection Committee of the International Climate Protection Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Science and Technology Committee of the Ministry of Education of China, and the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Prof Lee is the Chairman of the Assessment Panel of the Hong Kong Public Policy Research Scheme and a member of the Aviation Development and Three-runway System Advisory Committee of the Hong Kong Government. He has served as independent expert in several high profile investigations that include the Environmental Impact Assessment Appeal for the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line (“Long Valley”) project (2000), the Tai Po Sha Po Tsai Village Debris Flood (2010), and the Commission of Inquiry into Excess Lead Found in Drinking Water (2015).


  • Lee, J.H.W., Qiao, Q.S., Chan, S.N., Choi, K.W. and Huang, J.C., "Field Experiments of Chlorine Demand in Disinfection of Treated Primary Effluent", Journal of Environmental Engineering, ASCE, Vol. 143, No. 11, 2017, 04017073-16.
  • Cong, J., Chan, S.N., and Lee, J.H.W., "Geyser Formation by Release of Entrapped Air from Horizontal Pipe into Vertical Shaft", Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE, Vol. 143, No. 9, 2017, 04017039-13.
  • Lee, J.O.O., Choi, K.W., Chu, J.C.W. and Lee, J.H.W., "Country Paper 9: A science-based management approach for sustainable mariculture in Hong Kong SAR", in W. Miao & K. K. Lal (Eds.), Sustainable intensification of aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region. Documentation of successful practices. Bangkok, Thailand: FAO. 2016, pp.103-109.
  • Chan, S.N., Thoe, W. and Lee, J.H.W., "Real-time forecasting of Hong Kong beach water quality by 3D deterministic model", Water Research, 47(4), 2012, 1631-1647.
  • Lai, A.C.H. and Lee, J.H.W., "Dynamic interaction of multiple buoyant jets", Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol.708, October 2012, pp.539-575.
  • Choi, K.W., Lee, J.H.W., Kwok, K.W.H., and Leung, K.M.Y., "Integrated stochastic environmental risk assessment of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) in Hong Kong", Environmental Science and Technology, 43(10), 2009, pp. 3705-3711.
  • Wong, K.T.M., Lee, J.H.W. and Hodgkiss, I.J., “A simple model for forecast of coastal algal blooms”, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 74, 2007, pp. 175-196.
  • Yu, I.T.S., Li, Y.G.,Wong, T.W., Tam,W., Chan, A.T., Lee, J.H.W., Leung, D.Y.C., and Ho, T., “Evidence of airborne transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus”, New England Journal of Medicine, 350, 2004, pp.1731-1739.
  • Lee, J.H.W., Choi, K.W. and Arega, F., "Environmental management of marine fish culture in Hong Kong'', Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol.47/1-6, 2003, pp. 202-210.
  • Lee, J.H.W. and Chu, V.H., Turbulent jets and plumes - a Lagrangian approach, Kluwer Academic Publishers (Springer), 2003, 380 pp.
  • Lee, J.H.W., Huang, Y., Dickman, M.D., and Jayawardena, A.W., “Neural network modelling of coastal algal blooms”, Ecological Modelling, 159, 2003, pp.179-201.
  • Lee, J.H.W., Wu, R.S.S., and Cheung, Y.K., “Forecasting of dissolved oxygen in marine fish culture zone”, J. of Environmental Engineering, ASCE, 117(6), 1991, pp. 816-833.
  • Lee, J.H.W. and Cheung, V., “Generalized Lagrangian model for buoyant jets in a current”, Journal of Environmental Engineering, ASCE, 116(6), 1990, pp. 1085-1106.
  • Lee, J.H.W. and Neville-Jones, P., “Initial dilution of horizontal jet in crossflow”, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE, 113(5), 1987, pp. 615-629.