Professor Huijun Zhao honoured for research leadership

Professor Huijun Zhao
Professor Huijun Zhao, Director of Griffith's Centre for Clean Environment and Energy

As much as his own research has contributed to the scientific community and society in general over many years, Griffith University’s Professor Huijun Zhao is most excited about guiding the next generation of research leaders.

With a record of prolific publication in refereed journals, securing more than $12 million in research funding and earning international regard for his expertise particularly as it pertains to chemistry, energy and environmental materials, Professor Zhao believes today’s emerging scientists have the potential and prowess to achieve much more.

The Director of Griffith University’s Centre for Clean Environment and Energy (CCEE), Professor Zhao is the recipient of the 2015 Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award for Research Leadership.

“It is a great honour, both personally and because I see this recognition as feeding into the University’s strategy and philosophy,” says Professor Zhao.

“Research creates knowledge and knowledge is power. It makes you, your society and your country more learned and hopefully wiser.”

Professor Zhao obtained his Bachelor of Science in chemistry (1982) and a Master of Science in electrochemistry (1986) from Northeastern University in Shenyang, China. He completed a PhD in chemistry from the University of Wollongong in 1994.

Joining Griffith University’s School of Environment in 1997, Professor Zhao has been the Chair Professor of Analytical Chemistry since 2005 and is the founding Director of the CCEE, which is a Griffith University Strategic Research Centre operating within the Environmental Futures Research Institute and launched in 2010. It has since gained international recognition for the quality of its research into renewable energy and clean environmental materials.

Professor Zhao has also initiated new research fields, including field-based analytical principles and instrumentations; biosensors/electrochemical sensors; fundamentals of electrocatalysis, photocatalysis and photelectrocatalysis; multi-functional inorganic membranes for the removal of environmental and industrial pollutants; and control synthesis of energy and environmental nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage.

Furthermore, he has supervised more than 30 Honours, Master and PhD students to successful completion and mentored more than 20 research fellows and academics.

“Research is so important and it is a very exciting time for young researchers,” he says. “Science has developed so quickly in the internet age. Data analysis is faster, equipment and facilities are better and the future, I think, is full of possibility.

“Young scientists are the future and I see it as my job to help them realise that and make them ready. They’re much better than I was at the same time, but that’s fine. My goals are all about furthering the science and developing the next wave of scientific achievers.”