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Weiyi Yao


I graduated with a 2.1 Honours degree in Biomedical Sciences at UCL (2013) and subsequently completed a Master degree in Biotech, bioprocessing and business at the University of Warwick (Distinction, 2014), during which time I developed a strong interest in bioenergy given their versatility and strong potential in replacing fossil fuel derived energy.

My final year undergraduate project was on the Qualitative and Quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of Sports Drinks in improving endurance exercises, while my master’s thesis was on analysing Global Biotechnology Venture Capital investments trends between 2004 and 2015.

My background is quite unique in its interdisciplinary nature, and spans the fields of biology, biotechnology, business and consulting. I also possess some experience of working part-time for a technology start-up and am interested in entrepreneurship.

Research Interests

My core interest falls within whole system integration of bioenergy & biomass use, with an emphasis assessing the plausibility for implementing on both centralisation and decentralisation pathways for developing zero carbon cities in the UK. To elaborate, I am particularly interested in exploring and conducting research on the complex interactions between the social, economic, technological and political factors responsible for the development of UK’s bioenergy industry.

I am currently working on a team mini-project on assessing alternative uses of biomass resources on a city scale level. The project is multi-disciplinary in nature and demands a thorough understanding of the commercial, social and technological aspects of bioenergy and biomass resource management.

Why I chose the CDT in Bioenergy

Following significant research in Bioenergy related PhD programs offered by UK University, the Leeds University Bioenergy CDT program is in my view one of the best on offer. I find the program to be not only versatile and expansive in nature, but also very well structured with ample academic and departmental support as well as industrial connections.

The uniqueness of the program is clearly highlighted by the 4 central research themes that are interconnected and complementary in nature: Feedstock, pre-processing, utilization and sustainability & whole systems integration, of which to my knowledge no other research program offers. A second reason for choosing this program would be the tremendous positive feedback from the past cohort of PhD students in Bioenergy, many of whom I contacted personally.