Clara Cheung

Clara Cheung


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Personal profile


Throughout my career in academia and industries, my calling has been about enabling others to perform their best at work through my influence and leadership. I believe this little step could shape a culture where people thrive unleashing their full potential individually and collectively, which benefits not only individual performance but also their teams, organisations, communities, and societies.

I joined the University of Manchester (UoM) in 2017 as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Project Management at the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in 2021. I am also a Project Management Professional (PMP) certified by Project Management Institute (PMI) and an AgilePM® certified by the Association for Project Management (APM). With over two decades of international research and work experience in Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, India, and the USA, I was promoted to the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Head of Internationalisation for ASEAN, Japan and Korea, in 2022. Before joining UoM, I conducted my research and taught a variety of project management units at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Maryland, the USA.

Before being an academic, I spent almost a decade working in Fortune 500 companies in which I initiated and led a vast number of organisational change, and IT projects to improve product design, production efficiency and operational safety in the retail and manufacturing sectors. This experience taught me the importance of tackling issues using multiple disciplinary approaches, which eventually led me to extend my education background from business and social science to engineering. As a result, I got a cross-disciplinary track with a bachelor's degree majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Social Science from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, an MSc and PhD in Civil Engineering from The University of Maryland, the USA.

With a mixed educational background and work experience, my research focuses on improving occupational health, safety, and well-being in high-risk industries such as construction using theories and methods in organisational psychology, data science, and engineering management. My research has been funded by professional bodies (e.g. APM), the UK government (e.g. Health and Safety Executive), charities (e.g. Lloyds Register Foundation) and private companies.

Examples of Funded Research Projects:

  • High-Performance Graphene Enhanced Cement: A Revolutionary Innovation in Low Carbon Manufacturing Process (Funded by Innovate UK) - I lead the work package to evaluate the occupational health and safety impact of the newly developed graphene-enhanced cement.
  • Occupational Safety and Health - understanding decision making and the role of evidence (Funded by Lloyds Register Foundation) - I lead evaluating the evidence of how occupational safety and health leading indicators have been applied and their effectiveness in high-risk industries. 
  • Machine learning-powered safety leading indicators for enhancing safety performance in high-risk industries (Funded by EPSRC-IAA) - I led a project team to identify the critical health and safety leading indicators of high-risk industries for the business partner by applying various machine learning methods.
  • Keep the UK Building Safely Project (Funded by Health and Safety Executive) - I led the work package to simulate and model the COVID-19 transmission risk of construction sites with different protective measures (e.g. social distance, masks, and isolation, etc). The government commission report of the project can be found here:
  • Workplace well-being of project professionals (Funded by the Association for Project Management) - I led a project team to conduct the first benchmarking study on evaluating the well-being levels of project professionals and recommended ways to enhance it. The APM project report can be found here:
Research Interests:
  • Occupational Well-being, Health and Safety Management
  • Digitalisation and Complexity (e.g. Simulation and Modelling)
  • Training and Evaluation
  • Leadership and Team

Teaching Units:

  • Postgraduate Level
    • ENGM 62012 (Project Planning and Control): Unit Lead
  • Undergraduate Level
    • MACE 12112 (Civil Engineering Practice)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

AgilePM (R), Association for Project Management (APM)

Bachelor of Commerce, Finance, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Institute Inc

Master in Science, Civil Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park

Doctor of Philosophy, Civil Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park

External positions

External Examiner , University College - Cork

2022 → …

School Governor, Springfield Primary School


Association for Project Management:Corporate Advisory Group Member


ASCE: Journal of Management in Engineering (Editorial Board Memeber)

Feb 2019 → …

Areas of expertise

  • BF Psychology
  • Positive and Organisational Psychology
  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Health and Safety
  • Engineering Management
  • HA Statistics
  • Structural Equation Modeling
  • Agent-based modeling

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Institute for Data Science and AI
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Thomas Ashton Institute


  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Project Management
  • Data Science
  • Organisational Psychology
  • Training and Assessment


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