International Research - Yan Jiao

Yan Jiao headshot

Dr Yan Jiao is a 2020 recipient of the Young Tall Poppy Science Award. Dr Jiao is currently researching modelling materials for clean energy conversion reaction. 

Dr Jiao obtained her PhD from the University of Queensland (UQ) in October 2012. After graduating, she joined the University of Adelaide as a Research Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials. Dr Jiao is currently a Senior Lecturer and ARC Future Fellow. She is also a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher (Chemistry).


How did you become interested in your field of research?

I’ve always been interested in clean energy conversion, and that started when I was in secondary school. At that time, my interest was fuel cell, an energy conversion device that consumes hydrogen and produces energy plus water, with much higher (energy conversion) efficiency compared to the internal combustion engine. But then it evolved to a broader range of clean energy conversion reactions, such as electrocatalytic CO2 reduction, nitrogen reduction, etc.


What do you hope to achieve through your research?

The long term goal of my research is to alleviate humanity's dependence on fossil fuels, by producing fuels from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or geothermal. The short term goal is to design better catalyst materials so we can achieve higher energy conversion efficiency, which means more fuel by less (renewable) electricity.


What research outcomes have you achieved so far?

I have designed many efficient catalyst materials for hydrogen production, for fuel cell, and many other energy conversion reactions. I have also contributed to the development of theory and methodology behind the scenes. Once my current research is completed, I see myself designing electrocatalyst materials to produce bigger molecules, such as amides. 


Dr Jiao has received the following awards and grants to assist with and acknowledge her research:

  • 2020 Young Tall Poppy Science Award
  • 2019 Australian Research Council Future Fellow Award
    • Develop Catalyst Materials for Future Fuels by Operando Computation
  • 2019 Highly Cited Researcher (Chemistry) by Clarivate Analytics
  • 2019 ARC Discovery Project: Design of Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen-free Ammonia Production under Ambient Conditions
  • 2018 University of Adelaide - Research Fellowship Scheme
    • Density Functional Theory aided material design for solar-fuel generation
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