Group Policy

  1. Lab usage
    Safety is the most important thing in our lab. Finish the safety training at HKUST before working in the lab. Get enough theoretical knowledge and training from your advisor or seniors before using an instrument or chemical. Take notice of all the dangerous sources in the lab (lasers, heat sources, corrosives, etc.) and keep yourself and others away from dangers. Don’t eat your samples. Dress properly in the lab. Put on your lab coat when you are working. Use the lasers in your booking time and share your time with others when it is in surplus. Clear up the instrument and the surroundings after the experiment. Mark all your samples/tools properly and collect all your unused samples/tools into your cupboard at least once a day. Don’t hide your mistakes. Report all the accidents and breakages to your advisor in time. Don’t eat in the lab.
  2. Daily working hours
    Your normal working hours are from 8 AM on working days (except those in severe weather, e.g., typhoons). It is not suggested that you work in the lab after 7 PM. You must work with at least one collaborator if you really need to work during non-office hours. Never work alone in the lab after 7 PM. 
    Term 2 can be waived if the member is married and living with his/her family. We highly recommend you to get married and have children early.
  3. Data repeatability: Back up your original data frequently. Make sure the samples and data used in your publications can be repeated. If the samples can be stored, store them in the lab for at least five years. If not, back up a detailed fabrication record for repeating. The unrepeatable data may lead to the withdrawal of your Ph.D. degree.
  4. Weekly progress
    Plan your research and thesis wisely.
  5. Exercises and Entertainment
    Work out at least twice a week unless you are pregnant or sick. Swimming, jogging, going to the gym, and doing other sports will count, not shopping. Write it in your calendar. Ensure you have at least half a day or a full day away from work every week. Try to join in the collective activities of the group (off-campus dining, shopping, sports, etc.) at least once a month.
  6. Psychological health
    Take notice of your and the other members’ psychological conditions. Communicate with your advisor or others in time. Don’t hesitate to discuss with your advisor or seniors when you feel your study task is overloaded or hopeless. Don’t hesitate to apply for a break or even a suspension when you feel tired or depressed. Life is long. You have enough time to finish your study.
  7. Anti-Plagiarism
    If you want to submit to a decent journal nowadays, you cannot use similar wording from the previous articles, even if you add the reference.
    You have to ensure that in each TWO sentences, there can not be any similar wording larger than FIVE words from any reference. You have to re-write it using your own words. Also, avoid using ChatGPT or other AI-generated tools to generate the words for any of your paper writing.
  8. Reimbursement policy
    Only Ph.D. students or their delegates are eligible to claim money for general expenses or central lab usage. When submitting your request, please also include the paper number, which is assigned by Mitch to each work. 
  9. Policy on RPG Progress Report Grading
    If a member rarely works on holidays or weekends or does not check emails, this will be considered unsatisfactory for bench hour. If the member is frequently found doing non-research/study-related stuff during office hours (including but not limited to playing games, watching unrelated videos/movies, checking Instagram/Facebook, etc.), it will also be treated as unsatisfactory. If you keep working hard with outstanding bench hours but limited research output, your advisor will do his best to help you graduate within the normal period.

  10. PhD Graduation Requirement:

    Option 1: We expect you to publish 1 or 2 review papers (impact factor equal to or higher than Topics in Current Chemistry) in your related field and 2 or more research papers in top journals (impact factor equal to or higher than 10), all as first authors (not counting equal contributions papers unless Nature or Science something) by the normal period. If you publish five or more papers at the above levels (impact factor equal to or higher than 10) as the first author during the Ph.D., you can graduate anytime and join your next career level (early graduation requirements).
    Option 2: A sum of the impact factor of 40 for the first author’s papers.
    Option 3: If no review paper is available, then an additional research paper (impact factor over 10) can also count towards graduation requirements.
    Option 4: If you cannot deliver such a number of papers by the end of the normal period of your Ph.D., then we will recommend the thesis committee review your thesis according to a world-class interdisciplinary journal, such as Advanced Science.
    Other significant contributions to our group will also be considered, such as setting up the lab (for the first cohort) and helping successfully secure external major funds (RGC/ITC and RAE impact cases).

    To further accomplish “conduct and lead world-class research” in the learning outcomes of a Ph.D. of ISD, we will provide additional support from now on. After PQE, every Ph.D. candidate can request additional support to help with her/his research, including MPhil students, first-year PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and UG students (either UROP or paid UG researchers). Of course, you must ask them nicely to work with you and draft the paper yourself.

Lastly, my recommendation on the priority of handling our time:

  1. Health comes first, both physically and mentally.
  2. Work hard. Our work occupies most of our lifetime and will be the foundation of our role in this world. Work/study is the second important one. 
  3. Maintain a healthy relationship with your family/close friends. They will mostly support you all the time. So, visit them physically regularly, not over the phone.



-updated on Feb 14, 2024, after consulting most PhD students.