Dean's Message
Fall 2013  No.24
PhD Research Excellence Showcased
Three PhD graduates have had their remarkable accomplishments brought to wider attention as winners of the School of Engineering PhD Research Excellence Awards 2012/13. 
After much deliberation by the Engineering Research Committee, comprising one faculty member from each of the School's six departments, Dr Xiaolei Wang, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr Nan Cao, Computer Science and Engineering, and Dr Qixing Wu, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, were selected to receive the awards. Dr Wang and Dr Cao are 2012 graduates while Dr Wu graduated in 2011.
Dr Wang's research centers on the development of sustainable transportation systems, covering issues such as road space rationing, tradable travel credits, speed limits and parking management. As a PhD student, she had several articles published in international journals. These include three in Transportation Research Part B, the field's leading journal, two of which were elected among the top 25 hottest articles in 2011 and 2012.
Information visualization and explorative visual analysis are the primary interests of Dr Cao, with a special focus on heterogeneous multidimensional data, including social media. Prior to joining the School in 2009, Dr Cao worked at IBM China Research Lab, contributing to two IBM research achievements and more than 10 US patents. The independent-minded and highly original researcher also set a record in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering by completing his PhD degree in just 2.5 years.
Dr Wu took part in four projects supported by the RGC General Research Fund and one by the Innovation and Technology Fund while studying for his PhD. He specializes in energy and fuel, including direct methanol fuel cells. He has published 16 peer-reviewed journal papers, eight as first author, and serves as a reviewer for International Journal of Hydrogen Energy and Applied Thermal Engineering, among others.
At the awards presentation ceremony in May, Dr Wu also gave a talk to current students on how to become a successful and happy researcher. His tips included the importance of building a good relationship between student and supervisor and how to alleviate stress. The School is encouraging sharing sessions among research postgraduates to provide more interaction outside the lab and to broaden the research student experience. 
The three award-winners are now pursuing academic and research careers in the US and Mainland China.