New Dean of UIC’s Division of Science and Technology (DST), Prof Huang Huaxiong, has assumed his post since August 2019.

Leading industrial applied mathematician

Prof Huang Huaxiong is an internationally acclaimed professor of mathematics. He has demonstrated strong and extensive research capacities in fluid mechanics and scientific computing, with interdisciplinary applications in finance, biology, physiology, energy and medicine. He has published over 100 papers and serves on the editorial board of several academic journals.

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Prof Huang received his BSc in Mathematics from Fudan University, China in 1984 and PhD in Applied Mathematics in 1992 from the University of British Columbia, Canada, obtaining his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University, US and Simon Fraser University, Canada.

In his over two decades of teaching and research career, Prof Huang has imparted his knowledge at Canada’s York University, University of Toronto and UK’s University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. He served as Deputy Director of the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto between 2016 and 2019. In 2018, he became the inaugural Director of the Fields Centre for Quantitative Analysis and Modelling, building solid relationships between industrial and research sectors.

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In addition, Prof Huang Huaxiong was a JSPS Fellow at the University of Tokyo, a 3-time Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury. He was also the winner of the 2016 CAIMS-Fields Industrial Mathematics Prize for his contribution and leadership in the Canadian Industrial and Applied Math community.

Well-rounded STEM students

“Some say STEM students are more likely to find jobs after graduation. However, the truth is liberal arts students are inclined to get promotion opportunities. Why?” asks Prof Huang Huaxiong. “Many STEM students put all their effort into studying and researching while ignoring the importance of cultivating interpersonal talent.”

Coming all his way from Canada, Prof Huang Huaxiong was impressed with DST students’ communication skills. “They are open-minded and critical thinkers.” All these are the traits that Prof Huang hopes a STEM student should possess.

“We are planning to launch a new programme that integrates liberal arts with science, in order to produce outstanding STEM talents with all-round development,” Prof Huang adds.

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Prof Huang visits Year 1 students soon after they settle in at UIC

In addition to providing state-of-the-art facilities and encouraging students to participate in research projects, DST strives to develop more interdisciplinary and industrial partners for students’ internship opportunities and practical skills.

Prof Huang deems that the various academic programmes of DST, including Statistics and Data Science, can cooperate with the other Divisions of UIC such as the Division of Business and Management, to enhance students’ interdisciplinary research.

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DST's newest faculty members with Prof Huang Huaxiong at the Teachers' Day reception

Research and industrial cooperation

Other than his responsibilities at DST, Prof Huang Huaxiong serves as executive director of the mathematics research centre that is jointly established by UIC and Beijing Normal University.

UIC is building an industrial-university research collaboration centre with Zhuhai National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone to introduce talent teams and projects in emerging industries.

UIC has also founded an institute of artificial intelligence and big data to provide a research platform for teachers, postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Prof Huang believes that promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and industrial development with scientific research will bring new vitality to the development of DST.

Back to China

Prof Huang Huaxiong first met Prof Tang Tao when he was a postdoc at Simon Fraser University.

At the invitation of Prof Tang, Prof Huang left Canada where he had stayed for decades. “I am thankful to President Tang and UIC colleagues to give me this opportunity. UIC has achieved a lot during its first 14 years and I am very excited to be a part of this excellent young university.”

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Prof Huang Huaxiong has a conversation with a foreign intern at a welcoming lunch

Prof Huang left behind a research lab in Toronto with over 10 postdocs and PhD students, and he hopes to gradually move it to Zhuhai, which is becoming his new home where he likes the liveable environment, and the stimulating vibe to continue scientific research with like-minded colleagues. He is developing new collaborations by reaching out to local hospitals and industries as well as government labs and partner universities.

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UIC delegation including Prof Huang explores collaborative opportunities with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Reporter: Deen He
Photographer: Ivy Liao, Lauren Richardson
Editor: Samuel Burgess
(from MPRO)