Clara Cheung

Clara Cheung


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Personal profile


Throughout my career, I have been motivated by a strong desire to empower others to reach their full potential. I firmly believe that creating a culture of excellence and growth can benefit individuals, teams, organisations, communities, and societies as a whole.

My journey began in the corporate world, where I gained nearly a decade of experience leading organisational change and IT projects in Fortune 500 companies to improve product design, operational safety, and productivity. This experience taught me the importance of taking a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving, which led me to pursue education in multiple fields. I earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a minor in Social Science from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, followed by an MSc and PhD in Civil Engineering from The University of Maryland, USA.

In 2017, I joined the University of Manchester as a Lecturer in Project Management and was later promoted to Senior Lecturer and Reader in recognition of my contributions to the department and wider academic community. Alongside my academic roles, I am also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and an AgilePM® by the Association for Project Management (APM). With over 20 years of international research and work experience in countries including Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, India, and the USA, I was appointed as the Faculty of Science and Engineering Head of Internationalisation for ASEAN, Japan and Korea in 2022, reflecting my commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in academia. In addition, I was appointed as the Deputy Head of Research for the School of Engineering in 2023. 

My research focuses on promoting occupational health, safety, and well-being in high-risk industries, particularly in the construction sector. To achieve this, I draw on theories and methods from organisational psychology, computer science, and engineering management. My work is founded on the belief that international collaboration, interdisciplinary research and evidence-based solutions are crucial to driving positive change. My research has been funded by professional bodies, the UK government, charities, and private companies. My contribution to the field was further recognised by being named in the Top 50 Women in Engineering for Safety and Security by Women’s Engineering Society in 2023.

I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way throughout my career, and committed to using these opportunities to make a meaningful impact in the wider community. In addition to my academic work, I have taken on leadership roles outside the university, such as serving as an Associate Editor for of the ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering and Heliyon. I also serve as a school governor for Springfield Primary School to promote girls' participation in the STEM fields. I believe that working together can create a better future for everyone.


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 and the Department of MACE) - I led the evaluation of 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, Education 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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

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

Bachelor of Commerce, Finance (Minor: Social Science), 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

Associate Editor, ASCE: Journal of Management in Engineering

Dec 2023 → …

Associate Editor, Cell Press (Heliyon)

Sept 2023 → …

External Examiner , University College - Cork

2022 → …

School Governor, Springfield Primary School

2021 → …

Corporate Advisor Board Member, Association for Project Management


Editorial Board Member, ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering

Feb 2019Nov 2023

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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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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