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Surrey PhD student a winner in national competition

Ran Cheng, a Computing PGR student, has won first prize in the 2015 ABTA (Association of British Turkish Academics) Doctoral Research Awards in the category of Engineering Sciences.

The prize was highly competitive as ABTA received 156 applications from 49 UK Universities. The ceremony took place at University College, London, on Saturday May 16 with a welcome speech from DRA Programme Chair, Dr Hasan Yardimci.

Ran said, “It is a great honour for me to win first place in this ABTA Award. This is very encouraging recognition and a big incentive for me to continue doing my current research. I am now more confident to become an academic researcher after completing my PhD.”

Dr Shujun Li, PGR Director of the Computing Department, commented, “The new ABTA prize Ran received did not come as a big surprise to me because Ran is one of our best performing PGR students in the Department. He was the winner of the Best Paper prize at the Department’s Annual PGR Conference in 2014 and 2015. The ABTA prize shows that what our PGR students are doing at Surrey is of a high standard comparable with other research active universities such as Cambridge, Oxford and UCL.”

Ran’s research, funded by Honda Research Institute Europe, Germany, focuses on solving optimisation problems of complex engineering systems using artificial intelligence techniques inspired from natural phenomena.

Said Ran, “Albert Einstein said, ‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.’ I believe this is true not only for natural sciences, but also for engineering sciences.”

Ran, who is supervised by Professor Yaochu Jin, is aiming to complete his PhD before April 2016 and is keen to pursue a career in academia.

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