Students Staff

09 October 2015

Meet our Chinese scholars

This October Essex’s Vice-Chancellor is visiting China to celebrate the University's strong research and education links in China, and to establish new partnerships in the region. Here we speak to some of our academics about what it is like to work at Essex and their experiences in the UK.

Dr Nan Zhao

Dr Nan Zhao.

Dr Nan Zhao is Programme Director of Postgraduate Diploma Chinese English Translation and Interpreting in the Department of Language and Linguistics at Essex.

She came to Essex in 2012 after hearing about the research excellence at Essex from Chinese scholars while studying for her PhD in China.

“When I joined Essex I found that the University puts great emphasis on teaching excellence as well as research excellence, which contributes to the university’s highly-rated student satisfaction,” she explained. “This means that I am encouraged to continue my research besides teaching. The research-led teaching approach has made my work enjoyable as well as practical.”

Dr Zhao’s work at Essex involves directing six translation and interpreting courses, interviewing and recruiting applicants from China and the rest of the world and supervising MA dissertation and translation and interpreting-related internships and activities including internships at the UN in Geneva.

Apart from liking the “beautiful” campus at Essex Dr Zhao also likes the diverse culture here. “We have six language directions in the translation and interpreting programmes: Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. It's an amazing experience to work with kind colleagues from different parts of the world.”

Professor Huosheng Hu

Professor Huosheng Hu.

Professor Huosheng Hu joined Essex in 1998, after being attracted by the University’s reputation as one of the top research institutes in the UK.

Based at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, Professor Hu has led human-centred robotics research at Essex for the past 17 years and undertaken a wide-ranging programme including service robots, human-machine interaction and multi-robot collaboration.

His research is focused on two major applications: assisted living and environment protection. Under the strong support from both the University and the School, he has created the world's first daily operational and most innovative biomimetic robot for scientific research, which was displayed at the London Aquarium between 2005 and 2007.

This successful project captured the attention of the world’s media including the BBC, CNN, the Discovery Channel and NHK in Japan.

Since 2009, a school of robotic fish have been developed at Essex for searching and monitoring harmful contaminants and other pollutants and leaks in vessels in port. His team has developed intelligent wheelchairs to support the independent life for disabled and elderly people and has built a close collaboration with the Institute of Automation at Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Xiamen University and Chongqing University of Post and Telecommunications.

Dr Yang Hu

Dr Yang Hu.

Dr Yang Hu is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology who is involved in a number of research projects with strong links to China.

He is currently working on an international collaborative project with colleagues in China and Germany exploring the expectations and experiences of Chinese international students in the UK.

He is also co-investigator on another project which utilizes big data analytic techniques to explore the internationalization of higher education in the UK and China. Added to this, he is also working on projects on social change, family and intergenerational relations in post-reform China.

Dr Hu will be bringing out a book (Palgrave Macmillan) on Chinese-British interethnic marriage, which examines how people negotiate their distinctive sociocultural identities in a cross-cultural context.

He came to Essex on the recommendation of his supervisor while studying for his PhD at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar.

“Working with colleagues here at Essex has proven inspiring and intellectually stimulating. The wide range of research areas covered by Essex scholars also encourages cross-field and interdisciplinary collaboration that is crucial to academic innovation,” he added.

Dr Tianxi Wang

Dr Tianxi Wang.

Dr Tianxi Wang is a Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Essex.

Originally from Jiangxi Province in China, Dr Wang started working at Essex in 2007 after spending four years studying for his PhD at the London School of Economics. Besides teaching, he is doing research in theoretical economics.

Speaking of his time at Essex he said: “I really enjoy the easy atmosphere of the University while interacting with colleagues and students.”

Dr Liya Shen, a Lecturer in Finance at Essex Business School, came to Essex to do her Master’s degree and then progressed to do her PhD here too.

“There are many reasons why I like being Essex,” she explained. “Firstly, people here are very nice and I like working with them. The research environment is also very healthy and very supportive and I can freely do my own research and work on topics that I am interested in. Finally, Essex is an excellent environment to live and work in as there is green everywhere and no air pollution.”

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