Born in Shandong Province, Professor LU Gaoqing rose to become the President of the University of Surrey. He made history by being the first Chinese to hold the presidency of a top university in Britain.

Professor Lu obtained his Bachelor of Engineering Degree from Shenyang’s Northeastern University. He won a scholarship for his doctoral studies in chemical engineering from the University of Queensland. From there, he rode his early success to a brilliant career in higher education, beginning as a lecturer at Singapore’s famed Nanyang Technological University. In 1994 he returned to his Australian alma mater where he quickly climbed up the academic ladder, eventually landed a chair professorship and ultimately became its Provost and Senior Vice-President.

Professor Lu served on many Government committees in Australia, including the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. He founded the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials and served as its inaugural director for eight years. He is a Fellow of Institution of Chemical Engineers, Royal Society of Chemistry, Australian Academy of Science, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and World Academy of Science. He was voted Top 100 Most Influential Engineers in Australia, and was awarded the Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship in 2003 and 2008. He won the inaugural Australia-China Achievement Award for Education in 2014 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to education.

In 2016 Professor Lu was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, which was named UK’s “University of the Year” the same year. Professor Lu spent much of his time promoting international collaboration. He built an extensive institutional network between UK and Asia-Pacific, establishing, among other things, a partnership between the University of Surrey and China University of Petroleum. The latter is a well-regarded university with one of its campuses located in Dongying, his hometown.

A year into Professor Lu’s presidency at the University of Surrey, British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed him to the Council for Science and Technology. He also serves on the Boards of UK Research and Innovation, the National Physical Laboratory, Board of Universities UK, and the Leadership Council of the National Centre for Universities and Business. For his exceptional leadership in the international science and educational arena, China appointed him as a member of the 4th State Council of China Overseas Chinese Consultative Committee.

Prof Lu is a highly cited researcher in nanotechnology and chemistry, with more than 500 peer-reviewed articles, and over 20 international patents to his credit. His discoveries will have a huge impact on future developments in clean energy, healthcare and the environment. He has been honoured with numerous awards including Orica Award, RK Murphy Medal, Le Fevre Prize, ExxonMobil Award, China International Science and Technology Award, Japan Chemical Society Lecture Award, Chemeca Medal etc. Time does not permit me to list his many other awards and honours.

Professor Lu’s spectacular rise from a humble family in Shandong to the presidency of the University of Surrey mirrors China’s miraculous growth from a backward country to the world’s second largest economy. His achievements symbolize what appears impossible, can be made possible. He is indeed a role model and an inspiration for all of us.

Mr Chairman, in view of Professor Lu’s distinguished academic achievements and his tireless service to the international scientific and educational community, it is my privilege to present him to you for the award of an Honorary Fellowship.