現今世界面對數碼科技、流動傳訊裝置、大數據和人工智能等的發展，社會經歷著急速且不能逆轉的變化。 在過去的十年，科技對城市帶來不同的影響，例如優步(Uber)，無人駕駛汽車，共享乘坐；我們的溝通和管治方式也明顯轉變，例如假新聞，群眾外包，特朗普選舉等；社會對健康和福祉的理解也在演化中 ，例如電競運動的出現等等。智能社會 (Smart Societies) 正是配合高技術發展來建立更好的社會和更優質的生活。
本院學者積極研究當前最炙手可熱的議題 ─ 智慧城市，我們紮基於學院四個研究主題，目標是要透過跨學科研究合作，構建本院獨特的研究優勢 ─ 智能社會。
Smart Societies revolutionise knowledge: how it is made, and shared, and how it is used. The application of big data creates endless possibilities for truths and false positives and, combined with the social and political mediation of supposedly objective scientific knowledge, places the public in an ambiguous position with regard to its understanding of the world around. The so-called “debate” on climate change is one ongoing example. At the same time, citizen science, enabled by connected society and digital technology, opens new possibilities for understanding and engagement in Smart Societies.
The Faculty of Social Science has promoted a trans-disciplinary approach to praxis since 2011 (Faculty Strategy, 2011). Trans-disciplinary praxis is distinct from multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary scholarship because of its orientation to engaged social science. It is suited to studying global relations and working with partners cross-culturally because of its emphasis on the ethics of research partnership.