Meet the UOW academics leading research across the country

Seven researchers named best in Australia.

Seven researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW) have been named as leading researchers across 10 scientific fields by The Australian’s Research Magazine 2024.

The annual publication names the top Australian research institution and top researchers across 250 fields of research. The rankings are determined by impact scores based on the number of citations of works published over the last five years, cementing UOW’s place as a national and global leader in research.

Distinguished Professor Shujun Zhang

Professor Zhang from the Australian Institute of Innovative Materials (AIIM) at UOW was named a leading researcher in ceramics engineering. He holds a PhD in materials engineering from Shandong University in China and before moving to Australia, was a senior scientist and professor at Pennsylvania State University in the US.

Professor Zhang has authored and/or co-authored more than 600 technical papers, with more than 40,000 citations and is Fellow of the American Cermaic Society, and Vice president for Ferroelectrics at the Insitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Emeritus Professor Shi Xue Dou

Professor Dou is the founding director of UOW’s Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials and was named a leading researcher across electrochemistry, materials engineering and nanotechnology.

The recognition from Research Magazine is the latest in a long list of accolades, including an Australian Government Centenary Medal in 2003, a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 for his contribution to materials science and engineering, and a Lifetime Achiever Award in 2020.

Senior Professor Huijun Li 

After completing his PhD at UOW in 1996, Professor Li has gone on to publish seven book chapters and more than 500 papers. Professor Li rejoined UOW as a researcher in 2008, where he has secured more than $20 million in grant funding.

He has also received the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia in 2013, Australia Endeavour Fellowship in 2014, and Defence Materials Technology Centre - Capability Improvement Award in 2014 and 2016, among others. This year, Professor Li was named by Research Magazine as a leader in metallurgy studies.

Professor Wanqing Li

Professor Li is the Director of the Advanced Multimedia Research Lab (AMRL) at UOW, and Research Magazine’s leading researcher in multimedia research.

With a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Zhejiang University in China and a Phd from the University of Western Australia, Professor Li is one of the world’s earliest researchers in understanding human activities from 3D data.

Before joining UOW in 2021, Professor Li was previously a principal researcher for Motorola Lab, and a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research in the US.

Associate Professor Michael Kirchhoff

Associate Professor Michael Kirchhoff was named the leader in the field of philosophy, and in the field of epistemology and scientific history.

Recognised as a rising star in The Australian: Research Magazine in 2019, Kirchhoff serves as a chief investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project on 'Minds in Skilled Performance' with colleagues from UOW. His work has been published in leading philosophy journals and has contributed to interdisciplinary journals such as the Journal for the Royal Society Interface and Entropy.

His future endeavours include applying for a Future Fellowship and developing a book proposal addressing key issues in the philosophy of science and the sciences of the mind.

Distinguished Professor Sharon Robinson

Distinguished Professor Sharon Robinson ranked first in biophysics research. Professor Robinson first visited East Antartica in 1996 and has since been on 13 expeditions to the continent. She is the custodian for the only Antarctic State of the Environment Indicator concerned with Antarctic vegetation and is passionate about conserving Antarctic biodiversity. 

Robinson studied in the United Kingdom and held postdoctoral positions in the USA and Australia. She is currently UOW’s Dean Researcher Development and was previously Executive Director of the Global Challenges program 2020-2022. 

Distinguished Professor Aidan Sims

Distinguished Professor Aidan Sims was named a leading researcher in algebra. Sims is a professor of pure mathematics in the School of Mathematics & Applied Statistics, researching operator algebras and its applications in related fields. He explores complex mathematical structures, like directed graphs and topological dynamical systems, using C*-algebras and Hilbert bimodules.