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Our Missions

The HKU-USI aims to advance A) the sciences of urban systems and B) the applications of urban systems research. The first and foremost task of USI is to explore multiple possible pathways of theorizing the evolving forms and norms of cities and their inherent problems, drawing from urban, geospatial, social, behavioural, economic, environmental, social physics, bio-ecological science theories. Another equally important task is to explore new urban systems models through interdisciplinary approaches that can add new insights into significant questions about present and future urban problems and their solutions, facilitated by the advances in data science, GIS methods, urban sensing and robotics.

 Second, theoretical and methodological innovations in the sciences of urban systems will offer novel and viable solutions to the industry and governments to address present and future urban challenges. USI researchers will endeavour to link urban theorization and multi-scale urban systems models with professional, industrial and policy innovation. Ultimately, the USI will join hands with researchers worldwide to contribute to three central dimensions of human development: economic development, health, education and knowledge production.

Novel theories and modelling approaches drawn from (computational) social sciences, social physics, bio-ecological science, and economics

Advances in data science, GIS methods, urban sensing and robotics

Rigorous qualitative methods and case studies of city performance ‘stories’ to generate and verify deep insights

Advances in the sciences of urban systems




Link urban theorization and multi-scale urban systems models with professional, 
industrial and policy innovation

Global and local partnership: UN, ASEAN, ADB, WB and AIIB, MOHURD, GBA city governments, industries

Application of the sciences of urban systems




Contribute to three central dimensions of human development:
economic development, health, education and knowledge production

our missions

Unique Selling Propositions(USP)


Reunifying the sciences (social and otherwise) of the city


Experimenting social ecological studies of the system of cities and intra-urban systems 


Bridging classical urban systems research with studies of contemporary, controversial and futuristic normative systems


Linking up-stream future city and smart city research with downstream innovations in the planning, design, management and governance of cities

unique sellin propositios

Career at USI

USI Director and Hong Kong Global STEM professor

The Role

The Director will provide a clear vision, strong academic and strategic leadership to help develop HKU-USI into a world-leading research institute to advance the sciences of urban systems and the applications of urban systems research.

Qualifications and Qualities

  • A proven track record of excellence in research, teaching, and service in the field of Urban Science or related disciplines, such as Complex Urban Systems Research, Urban Modelling and Computational Social Sciences.  Candidates from any subject background are welcome

  • Proven ability to work in a multi-disciplinary context in both academic and applied projects, and is committed to developing a socially impactful urban systems research agenda at the highest level

  • Strong interdisciplinarity in research and motivation, outstanding interpersonal, communication skills and stakeholder engagement abilities, demonstrable abilities to inspire, motivate, and create synergies among researchers from different disciplines

  • Prior experience in institutional leadership, such as Faculty Dean, Department Head, or Director of interdisciplinary research center/institute (or Associate/Deputy level of the same) in a world-leading university, with

  • A strong record of attracting external funding and resources, through fundraising activities, donor development and platform/center grant writing, is desirable 

  • Established connections with major international/regional organizations e.g., the world bank, UN, IPCC, WHO, is desirable.

What We Offer

The USI Director will be appointed at the Professor or Chair Professor level.  A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered. Other benefits include annual leave and professional leave, medical benefits, and free access to on-campus gyms and libraries. Housing benefits will be provided as applicable.

How to Apply

 Applicants should submit online application and upload (1) a cover letter; (2) a vision statement; (3) a full C.V.  Shortlisted candidates will be asked to arrange for three letters of reference to be sent in at a later stage of the search.  Review of applications will start as soon as possible and continue until August 31, 2023, or until the post is filled, whichever is earlier.  Enquiries can be sent to: urbansystems‎

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