Dr Tong Zhang appointed as HI-ACT ECR deputy champion

HI-ACT have recently created a new role within the centre: ECR deputy champion. This role, fixed for 2 years, will offer support to our existing ECR champion Aoife Foley in organising ECR activities within HI-ACT and also for the wider ECR community in Net Zero research. We are happy to announce that Dr Tong Zhang, of Cardiff University, was successful in her application to the role. The core HI-ACT team are looking forward to working with Tong on ECR initiatives over the next 2 years.She has provided the following introduction:

I am excited to introduce myself as the ECR Deputy Champion of HI-ACT project. I received a B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering and its Automation at South China University, China, where I gained a Ph.D. degree in Power System and its Automation in 2021. My doctoral research was to investigate the modelling, simulation and optimisation of integrated electricity, gas, and heating systems. Since 2021, I have been working as a research associate at the School of Engineering, Cardiff University, funded by several EPSRC-funded projects such as Hydrogen Integration for Accelerated Energy Transitions (HI-ACT), Maximising Flexibility through Multi-Scale Integration of Energy Systems (MISSION), and Tidal Range schemes as Configurable Grid-scale Energy Storage facilities (TARGET). My recent work focuses on the modelling and optimisation of integrated energy systems, and the system integration of renewable energy sources, including hydrogen and tidal range energy.

My journey in the energy field began in 2012 with my enrolment in the bachelor program of electrical engineering. Since then, I’ve gained a lot of experience and skills in the modelling and analysis of energy systems within the context of energy transitioning. With the worldwide move towards cleaner, alternative fuels, I got interested in researching hydrogen. I’m now working under WP2, Whole Systems Understanding, to investigate the role of hydrogen in the whole energy system by formulating a co-simulation package of integrated energy systems.  With the efforts of all WPs, I believe HI-ACT will help address the barriers to the integration of hydrogen into energy systems.

Being an ECR is a mix of excitement and pressure – every day with new opportunities and challenges from academic explorations. As the ECR deputy champion for the HI-ACT project, I’m here to make sure all ECR colleagues get the support they need. My goal is to build a nurturing and inclusive environment for ECRs, ensuring everyone feels supported in their professional journey through comprehensive access to training programs and workshops. I will prioritise the maintenance of clear and open communication between the ECR group and other members of the project, making sure every ECR’s perspective is heard with their contributions recognised. I will also endeavour to extend our support outside HI-ACT. This will involve proactively seeking and creating additional pathways for our ECRs to exhibit their research, broaden their professional networks, and engage in collaborations with researchers from other disciplines, universities, and consortia.

We are not just aiming to provide internal support to ECR colleagues, but also elevate the visibility and impact of ECR colleagues within the global research community. Together, we are committed to assisting our ECRs, facilitating their significant contributions to the development of the hydrogen economy and the transitioning of energy systems.