Dr Qianqian Li was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2020. We talk to her about her background, research interests and how the Department supported her following her maternity leave.Dr Qianqian Li

"For my undergraduate degree, I studied at Donghua University in Shanghai, China. After completing my PhD in Polymer Material Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, I moved to Germany to do my post-doc at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Finally, I joined Imperial in 2013 as a Lecturer in Composites." 

"My research focuses on lightweight composites manufacturing and nanoparticle dispersion, including lightweight metal composites and polymer composites reinforced by nanoparticles. The basic motivation to develop strong lightweight materials is for environmental protection and economic benefits: for example, if the vehicles can use more lightweight composites, it will help to reduce fuel consumption, resulting in lower CO2 emissions."

 "Additionally, these lightweight composites, along with mechanical property improvements can provide different advantages to create multifunctional behaviour. For example, a strong structural lightweight composite can also provide good electrical and thermal conductivity."

"It's fantastic that the Department is absolutely committed to supporting women in their academic careers, no matter what path they choose to take. "

Dr Qianqian Li

"In my research group, we focus on using nanocarbon as reinforcements, which are super light, with excellent mechanical and physical properties. By putting them into lightweight metal composites, they can be potentially seen as next-generation materials, which can be used both in aeronautic and automotive applications."

"I’m very proud of building my own lab for nano-metal composites (manufacturing from scratch in the College). The Lab features a custom-made furnace for metal composite production and nanoparticle dispersion, as well as fully equipped facilities handling nanoparticle safety. It is unique in the college and allowed me to build collaborations across College and other well-known Universities nationally and internationally."

"Another thing I am very proud of is that I have managed to reach where I am now despite having taken a more difficult career path to stay in academia since the birth of my second daughter. I especially appreciate that I am strongly supported by both the Department and the College. After I returned from my maternity leave in 2015, I was one of the first academic staff in the Department to become a part-time working parent, allowing me to develop my successful academic career while also managing my family life."

"It's fantastic that the Department is absolutely committed to supporting women in their academic careers, no matter what path they choose to take. I also would like to share my experience with other colleagues and encourage them to find their own path to pursue their chosen career."