PhD candidate first CDU student to receive prominent Chinese government award

Charles Darwin University

PhD candidate and researcher Chongjia (Charlie) Huang has impressed both fellow academics and international ministers after being awarded the ‘2021 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad’ at a prestigious dinner and ceremony recently.

A photonics researcher in the CDU College of Engineering, IT and Environment, Mr Huang is the first student from Charles Darwin University (CDU) to be presented with the award, which is only given to 650 Higher Degree by Research students across the world each year.

“I am honoured that the Chinese government has not only recognised my research in fibre optics and telecommunications, but supported my goal to personally finance my studies,” Mr Huang said.

“It is a prestigious award for many students like myself who choose to study abroad.”

The number of Chinese students studying overseas is more than half a million each year, and the Committee only selects doctoral students with outstanding academic achievements or research potential during their international studies.

Counsellor Jiao Yang Guo from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China travelled from Canberra to Darwin to present Charlie with the award and a cheque for $6,000 USD.

“I was both humbled and excited to meet Counsellor Guo – it was certainly a proud moment in my early research career,” Mr Huang said.

Associate Professor Erwin Chan said Mr Huang is one of the most academically gifted students he has supervised in 20 years of PhD candidates, and is immensely proud of his various achievements.

“Charlie is a very talented student in his field, and has always applied himself diligently to his studies in fibre optics and telecommunications,” Associate Professor Chan said.

“This is a well-deserved achievement and highly commendable among Chinese students who are pursuing higher degrees by research abroad.”

“Charlie has competed with students from Harvard, Cambridge and MIT universities to receive this award, so it is a great representation of the significant research we do at CDU.”

Among Mr Huang’s research outputs, he has published 20 scientific articles in high-impact journals over the three and a half years of his PhD. He has also recently submitted his thesis and hopes to continue his work as a research associate after conferral.

“My colleagues and peers have always encouraged collaboration and to pursue new ideas. I want to give my sincere thanks to Professor Friso De Boer, Professor David Young and Professor Steve Rogers for their ongoing support.”

CDU Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor Steve Rogers, said the award demonstrated the strong research capabilities and innovative techniques that CDU researchers have continuously strived towards.

“Our research impact as a university has always focused on solving real-world problems and contributing to advancements in technology that benefit society,” Professor Rogers said.

“Charlie’s contribution to photonics research has made such an outstanding impact in his field. We look forward to seeing his next accomplishments with the support of CDU.”

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