Prof. Ricky Lee of HKUST Guangzhou Granted Top Award from ASEM as the First Chinese Recipient


Good news is coming up from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Guangzhou (hereinafter referred to as “HKUST (GZ)”)! On October 28, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a leading international academic organization for mechanical engineers, announced that the 2021 Avram Bar-Cohen Memorial Award, a top award in the electronics packaging community, goes to Prof. Ricky Lee, Acting Dean of Systems Hub at HKUST (GZ), making him the first Chinese scientist to win this award.


Prof. Ricky Lee, Acting Dean of Systems Hub at HKUST (GZ)



  • Internationally recognized academic achievements and leadership

Founded in 1880, ASME is the world’s top and most influential academic organization in the field of mechanical engineering, with more than 90,000 members in 135 countries around the world.

The Avram Bar-Cohen Memorial Award is devoted to those professionals who have made the most outstanding contributions to electronics packaging and related fields. To qualify for this award, the recipient shall showcase academic excellence, unrivaled leadership and far-reaching influence in the academic and industrial circles. Since its inception in 1999, the award has been granted once every one or two years to only 12 recipients.



Nominators introduce the recipient Prof. Ricky Lee


Prof. Ricky Lee received his PhD degree in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1992 and joined HKUST in 1993. As a leading scholar in electronics packaging, he has made outstanding sustained contributions to lead-free solder joint reliability analysis and import, wafer-level packaging and LED packaging technologies and applications.


Nominators introduce the academic achievements of Prof. Ricky Lee


In the field of microelectronics packaging, the interconnections between different levels need to be realized through solder joints. Despite its low cost and excellent performance, traditional tin-lead solder is harmful to the natural environment and the human body. That is why the industry began to upgrade the technology of lead-free solder joints around 2006. Prof. Ricky Lee has made technical contributions to technical constraints regarding solder joint reliability, greatly promoting the technical transformation of lead-free solder joint application.

In the area of LED packaging, Prof. Ricky Lee has led his team to successfully apply LED to public transportation systems for lighting purposes. The application of LED to the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) in Hong Kong has been recognized as an excellent case internationally. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Ricky Lee, together with other team members, succeeded in using deep UV LED for disinfection and sterilization, which represents a new exploration in the field of public health.


LED lighting launch for MTR with Prof. Ricky Lee (first from right)


With a profound influence in the international academic community, Prof. Ricky Lee has been recognized as a pioneering academic leader in electronic packaging. He once served as Editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Components Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, International Chair of the IEEE CPMT Society and International Chair of the ASME EPPD Society. Currently, he is acting as the Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Electronic Packaging - ASME. IEEE and ASME are two leading academic organizations in the world. Prof. Ricky Lee is the only scholar who served as the chair of the two academic organizations and editor-in-chief of the two journals on electronics packaging.


Press conference for deep UV LED disinfection wardrobe at Po Leung Kuk, Hong Kong


  • “We don’t have the ‘inborn advantage’, so we must redouble efforts.”


“Chinese scientists must make double efforts to gain international recognition,” Prof. Ricky Lee said.


“Over the last 100 years, the center of global science has undeniably been in the West, represented by the United States and Europe. It is easier for western scientists to make their achievements seen and recognized, and they have a bigger say,” Prof. Ricky Lee said. In IEEE and ASME, for example, most of the important positions are held by western scientists or immigrant scholars who have taken root in the West.


“Western scientists have the ‘inborn advantage’. Scholars from outside the United States and Europe must redouble efforts and make world-leading achievements to be recognized.” The success that Prof. Ricky Lee has made amid difficulties is the best example.


Ricky Lee, with a PhD degree in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering, switched to the world of microelectronics due to the industrial environment and the demand for microelectronics research and development in Hong Kong at that time. “I came to HKUST after completing my one-year post-doctoral training. At that time, HKUST was just founded, and everything started from scratch. What those famous western universities took for granted was beyond our reach, but the relaxing and free academic environment enabled scholars to give full play to their talent.”


Since then, Prof. Ricky Lee has conducted extensive and in-depth cooperation with leading enterprises around the world, especially in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, so as to jointly solve technical problems and promote the commercialization of scientific and research achievements. Since 2002, Prof. Ricky Lee has cooperated with many enterprises, such as Huawei and ZTE, and provided systematic training for electronics packaging enterprises in Mainland China, facilitating the high-level development of the industry.


Prof. Ricky Lee receives an appointment certificate of consultant from Huawei


Now, as Acting Dean of Systems Hub at HKUST (GZ), Prof. Ricky Lee hopes to attract more outstanding young scholars to join HKUST and encourages them to go global with his own experience.


“We are recruiting new faculty from world-class universities, who are familiar with the rules of the international academic community. They have an advantage over my generation,” Prof. Ricky Lee said. “More importantly, I hope they can bring back an international vision, empower themselves with an open mind and devote themselves to scientific research while putting no limits on themselves.”


In particular, Prof. Ricky Lee encourages young scholars to increase their voice in international academia. “Don’t just immerse yourselves in research. Go global, make your voice heard and influence others. I hope they will take an active part in international academic events and actively compete for important positions in international academic organizations.”


  • Systems Hub: Form extensive partnerships in the industry and innovate in talent cultivation mechanism


Under the leadership of Prof. Ricky Lee, preparations for Systems Hub at HKUST (GZ) are ongoing in full swing.


According to informed sources, HKUST and Guangzhou Metro Group Co., Ltd. have signed a joint training agreement for talents on intelligent transportation. Both sides will jointly offer guidance to graduate students, and provide them with internship and scientific research opportunities. Ricky Lee said the Systems Hub will conduct more cooperation with the industry in talent cultivation and commercialization of scientific research achievements. For example, the Systems Hub and China Southern Airlines are discussing cooperation in intelligent transportation, robotics and autonomous systems. In the field of life science and biomedicine, the Systems Hub is also approaching high-level hospitals in Guangzhou to investigate the possibility of cooperation.


In addition, the Systems Hub is actively innovating in its talent cultivation mechanism. The core curriculum of the hub has been launched successfully. Model-based Systems Engineering features the active learning mode and organizes teaching in groups.


“All the students are grouped into different Houses, just like those students choosing a House in Harry Potter. Each House comes with a House Head, a House Secretary and a House Speaker, and each member takes turns as the Speaker. In this way, everyone will get motivated, and have a stronger teamwork spirit and sense of honor.” At the end of the course, each House is assessed with a report, and the Systems Hub also awards medals to those who have delivered an excellent presentation.


“We sincerely look forward to more talents joining the Systems Hub and engaging in interdisciplinary research and learning in HKUST (GZ).” According to Ricky Lee, the hub will have as many as 40 professors by the start of the school year in September next year and is actively recruiting high-level faculty around the world.

What to read next