Norman C. Tien

Job title: 
Former BSAC Co-Director
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC)

Professor Norman C. Tien is the Taikoo Professor of Engineering and Chair Professor of Microsystems Technology at the University of Hong Kong. He served as the Dean of Engineering from June 2012 to May 2018. During his term in HKU, the undergraduate curriculum structure of BEng underwent a major transformation to emphasize a shift towards inter-disciplinarity by building a solid contemporary core and yet retaining the flexibility of individual study plans.

He encouraged innovation and maker culture in student learning by pooling resources in building the Research Student Centre and the DreamLab. Having secured a major donation of HK$100M for the Faculty in late 2017, the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing project was kick-started and shall serve as a demonstration hub of innovation and technology of staff and students in HKU on completion in year 2020.

Another major initiative under his leadership was the launch of the Advanced Robotics Laboratory for promoting multi-disciplinary, collaborative and impactful research in robotics. Supporting the drive for Innovation and Technology in the society, Professor Tien takes up different advisory roles in the Government including Committee on Innovation, Technology and Re-industrialisation, the Research Grants Council, Airport Technology Advisory Council, and chairs the HK Robotics Alliance.
Previous to his arrival at HKU in 2012, he served for five years as Dean and Nord Professor of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University’s Case School of Engineering in Cleveland, Ohio. He was also the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Condensed Matter Physics. During his tenure as Dean of the Case School of Engineering, Professor Tien realized several key elements for his vision for the school with initiatives in energy and global outreach. He created the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation to develop and advance sustainable energy generation through research, development, and education. To expand the school’s global presence, he also developed new collaborative partnerships with Chinese and Southeast Asian universities.

Professor Tien’s research interests are in the area of micro and nanotechnology-including microelectromechanical (MEMS) systems-the fabrication of small structures, tools and instruments for use in wireless communications, biomedical systems and environmental monitoring. With over 131 publications in the field, he has had 14 Ph.D. students graduate under his supervision since he began teaching in 1996. He helped establish the International Networked Sensor Systems Conference (INSS), and served as editor for the leading MEMS publication, the IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems. Professor Tien was also founder and chief technology officer of AIP Networks, an optical communication components company now part of Optoplex Corporation.

Prior to CWRU, Professor Tien served as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California at Davis and held a joint appointment at the University of California at Berkeley. He also served as co-director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC). He previously held faculty positions in Cornell University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Professor Tien served as a guest professor at Peking University and has received the distinction of honorary professor of Tianjin University in Tianjin, China.

A National Science Foundation CAREER award recipient, Professor Tien received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego, his MS from the University of Illinois, and his BS from the University of California at Berkeley. He received the second annual Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award that recognizes the accomplishments of rising Asian American leaders in higher education to support their professional development and advancement.