Queen Mary University of London: Queen Mary academic appointed as Research Chair to help solve economic and environmental challenges through computer-manipulated materials

In his role, Professor Hao will help to address some of the most complex challenges facing modern engineers. He will establish a world-leading research group and deliver research that meets current business challenges. In doing so, he will also strengthen the link between academia and business – a crucial connection for making real-world change.

In collaboration with QinetiQ, Professor Hao will look to develop Software Defined Materials – meaning their properties can be modified and updated by simply uploading computer software.

Professor Hao aims to develop these materials to enhance future wireless connectivity in a way that is programmable and flexible. Using these materials to build complex devices will significantly cut the amount of electronic waste produced. They will also mean a lower materials cost, thereby benefitting businesses and the wider economy. Software Defined Materials will positively impact the environment, as devices built from them will use less energy and emit less carbon dioxide.

Queen Mary’s Professor Yang Hao, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), said: “I am immensely honoured and truly thankful to the Academy and my industrial sponsor for their trust and generous support. Under the appointment of QinetiQ/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair, I will be able to concentrate on fundamental research around new electromagnetic materials, and, accelerate technology translation to further develop UK manufacturing capability and circular economy, building upon strong collaboration with our long term industrial partner.”

Professor Andrew Livingston (FREng), Vice Principal (Research) at Queen Mary University of London, said: “Professor Hao’s research has close synergy with the strategic aims of our own research investment priorities and delivers the Queen Mary University of London 2030 Strategy, in which we will be recognised for our distinctive, world-leading, curiosity-driven and applied research, and will continually build our research capacity for social, cultural and economic impact.

“It is great to see Professor Hao’s pre-eminent research in the field of software defined materials recognised in this way. He is a leader in this field, both in fundamental research and commercialising his inventions for the advancement of society. We are thrilled to deepen and broaden our already strong relationship with QinetiQ through this Chair appointment, and look forward to expanding our relationship with them.”

Professor Sajad Haq (FIET), Chief Scientist, QinetiQ, said: “The appointment of Professor Hao, a global leader in the area of electromagnetics, through the RAE Chair enacts the long term aims of the UK strategy in advanced materials and manufacturing, and enables QinetiQ and Queen Mary collectively and synergistically to push the boundaries of innovation from research through to exploitation, for societal benefit. The partnership will enable underpinning R&D to be developed and translated into new products across the marketplace.”

Commenting on the latest announcement of five new Research Chairs and three Senior Research Fellows, Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng FLSW, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University and Chair of the Academy’s Research Committee, said: “It is very encouraging that one of the Academy’s longest established funding programmes—now in its 35th year—received among its strongest set of applications to date and the number of awards we have made this time reflects this.

“I remain endlessly impressed at just how creative engineers are at investigating solutions to real-world problems and these projects will deliver societal benefit not only in the UK but also globally. The partnerships that support innovative engineering like this are vital to our future health and prosperity and the Academy values them very highly.”

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