Tianyue Li

PhD Chemistry 2019

Your Time at the University

I started my PhD journey with School of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh back in 2015. The first time I talked to my supervisor, Prof Neil Robertson, was during the postgraduate School Open Day, where I developed a strong interest in his research topic focusing on energy related functional materials for photovoltaic applications. I can still clearly remember how excited I was after receiving my unconditional offer with the Tercentenary Scholarship from this distinguished university.

The academic part of my PhD study was full of challenges, yet with the invaluable help and support from my supervisor, group members, school staff and collaborators, these challenges were turned into precious stepping stones to achievements of my research progress and personal development. One thing I enjoyed the most during my PhD study was the open, supportive and sharing research environment in the School, which allowed me to access all the resources, equipment, courses and instructions from the experts. Besides, research collaborations across schools, universities and even countries have always been encouraged, which enabled me to widen and deepen my project with researchers from China, America, and India. Additionally, regular seminars and talks were held and open for everyone to encourage learning and communication. I also expanded my horizon and research network by attending world-leading research conferences.

Tianyue Li

The extra-curricular time during my PhD study has also contributed largely to my personal development, especially from my experiences of being a Resident Assistant, Lab Demonstrator, Internationalisation coordinator and project student supervisor. I was also keen to volunteer for scientific public engagement events and member in sport societies. I felt that I was always surrounded by warm, supportive and like-minded people, thanks to the open and inspiring spirit that was created for every student.

Overall, my PhD journey with School of Chemistry has been one of the most valuable and memorable chapters of my life, and all the personal development I gained from this experience will light up my future career and life.

Your Experiences Since Leaving the University

I currently work for Sunamp Ltd as a business development manager for our Chinese market. Before I joined Sunamp, I have followed their development on thermal storage technologies and commercialisation, since our School of Chemistry and Sunamp have been strategic R&D partners for many years. Working for the business side for Sunamp, my work content mainly includes managing our business accounts and related projects, ranging from OEM, procurement to production and distribution. Meanwhile, I also present Sunamp in related exhibitions and help with organising events. My work could be as little as a poster design, or as big as organising an event having Scottish Prime Minister meeting a boss group from China in a related field.

Admittedly it has been very challenging for me to switch from academic research to business. I enjoy my current role in the ‘real world’ with Sunamp, not only because I can develop myself further in dealing with different business scenarios, but also because I am passionate about PCM thermal storage technology, which contributes to the carbon neutral society and tackles with the climate change. Additionally, this role also allows me to fulfil my advantage of bridging Scotland and China in energy related technology and market applications. As I was born and raised in China and spent the last seven years living in Scotland, I am confident with my communication capabilities in dealing work related issues between both countries to bring wider impact to the renewable energy field. This is also a career I wish to contribute myself to in the long term.

Alumni Wisdom

Stay hungry, stay foolish. There are almost unlimited possibilities for making discoveries and to uncover the unknowns.

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