Professor Lei Jiang

Honorary Doctor of Science

Citation delivered by Professor Alex Frino Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Senior Vice-President (Innovation, Enterprise and External Relations) at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Lei Jiang as a Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on 1 November 2022.


Deputy Chancellor, I present Professor Lei Jiang.

The relationship between the advancement of humankind and environmental conservation is a complicated one. There is an inherent need to meticulously balance scientific advancements for industrial application with sustainable resource management and environmental protection. Professor Lei Jiang has sought to understand and craft this balance, for which he has produced a revolutionary body of academic work.

With a Bachelor of Science (Solid State Physics) and Master of Science (Physical Chemistry) at Jilin University, Professor Jiang completed his PhD under joint supervision at Jilin University and the University of Tokyo. He has had a prolific research career and is extensively published. Named in the global top one per cent of Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers in both Chemistry and Material Science for more than five years, Professor Jiang is the recipient of many awards which attest to the international breadth and gravity of his influence as a scientist.

It was a passing statement on the mechanisms used by lotus leaves to repel water which led Professor Jiang on a research trajectory that was non-existent at the time. Whilst trained as an inorganic chemist, Professor Jiang takes his inspiration from nature to create and commercialise technologies. He strives to understand our natural world’s most energy-efficient surfaces, to determine which mechanisms are employed to absorb or repel matter such as liquids or gases, when provoked by an external stimulus. Through his research he discovered and established the basic principles of interfacial material systems with superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic properties and used them to design new and successful innovative applications.

Today, Professor Jiang is a pre-eminent scientist in the field of nanotechnology. The many uses for bio-inspired superwettable materials are awe-inspiring and include self-cleaning, anti-icing, anti-fogging, water collection, pollutant removal and oil-water separation. The total scope for their application has yet to be determined, but these innovative technologies are determinedly better for our environment.

Deputy Chancellor, Professor Jiang’s scientific contributions to the field of nanomaterials and the creation of bio-inspired superwettable materials is invaluable. UOW and the world are richer for his revolutionary discoveries and contributions.

It is a privilege to present Professor Lei Jiang for the award of Doctor of Science honoris causa.