Professor Sarah Spurgeon’s ‘catalytic’ role at Chinese university

Professor Sarah Spurgeon, OBE, is playing a ‘catalytic’ role at a Chinese university after receiving China’s highest academic accolade.

Professor Sarah Spurgeon, Head of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, has been awarded the Yangtze Visiting Professorship at China University of Petroleum (CUP) . Nominated among scholars from institutions worldwide, including Yale, Harvard, Berkeley, Kyoto University and the National University of Singapore, Professor Spurgeon is one of just six other academics from the UK to receive the award in 2014.

Welcoming Professor Spurgeon on her appointment ceremony, the University’s Vice President, Minzhao Li, said he hoped her appointment would have a catalytic impact in personnel training, scientific research, academic development and international cooperation as well as other aspects of university development.

Awarded by the Ministry of Education in China, the Yangtze Visiting Professorship is considered one of the highest accolades an overseas academic can receive. The professorship is for three years’ duration, with research funding in excess of 4 million RMB to support Professor Spurgeon’s work.

So far, Professor Spurgeon has written an academic report ‘Developing your career as an International Researcher’, addressed young teachers from the University’s College of Chemical Engineering, taken part in an international seminar and another national conference where she gave a keynote speech.

Professor Spurgeon is a leading expert on control theory and control engineering and her research in non-linear control and sliding mode control has made a significant impact on industrial applications. During her time at CUP, she will teach and undertake research on sliding mode control with supports from the State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing and State Key Discipline of Chemical Technology.

Professor Spurgeon was awarded an OBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours for services to engineering. She is committed to advancing women’s careers in higher education and research in the sciences through her membership of the University’s Athena SWAN Committee.