As he details his chosen field and his team’s research, Weimin explains how his Royal Society of Chemistry student membership is helping him achieve his career goals.
Weimin’s passion for the environment is as evident as it is for his scientific specialism. He continues, explaining exactly how his work is playing an important role in supporting sustainable energy sources and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Weimin takes some time to explain his specialism in depth: “My research is focused on the design and control of the delicate structure of catalyst metal surfaces and the study of its catalytic performance in the hydrogenation reaction of biomass platform compounds.”
He explains that heterogeneous catalysis is where the phase of the catalyst is different from that of the reactants or products - important because it enables faster, large-scale production and selective product formation. Many heterogeneous catalysts are small metal particles on support. In recent years, layered double hydroxides (LDHs) have been used to prepare heterogeneous supported catalysts and have attracted widespread interest because of their adjustability and diversity.
His research group works specifically on the design and synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts with LDHs as precursors. “I mainly work on screening catalysts,” he says, adding: “We have seen good progress recently, so I’m excited for what the future holds.”
It’s tough to research because it’s difficult to successfully prepare catalysts every time. But I’m gaining more confidence as I become more experienced. Hopefully this year I can begin work on writing a paper!
Let’s advance chemistry, together. Reach your full potential with RSC membership.
Weimin studied for his undergraduate degree at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT) where he applied for RSC student membership - becoming a member in 2019. He is currently a research student at BUCT studying for his master’s degree, where he learned a lot about scientific research from his tutor Professor Min Wei, an RSC fellow since 2016. Weimin also points to Dr Yusen Yang and Dr Guirong Wang as key influences within his research, alongside Dr Wei Liu, Dr Zhen Ren, Dr Jun Yu and Dr Lei Wang.
“BUCT has a sizable student membership of 50–60 members,” Weimin says.
RSC membership facilitated publicised activities among the BUCT student club and Professor David Evans, the founder of the Beijing Section of the RSC.
Weimin explains how membership of RSC helped him decide what direction to take in his career.
In 2019 when I first started studying for my master’s degree, I wasn’t very clear on my career goals, but the RSC has really boosted my confidence by giving me the opportunity to meet excellent teachers and classmates. The knowledge I gained from them made me more self-assured and motivated me to study for a doctorate degree.
Weimin believes that RSC membership will support the publishing of his research, with “access to software and support from academic lecturers.”
Weimin is adamant about the importance of student membership, citing academic support as one of the key benefits to students. “The RSC provides a lot of help and support through access to the newest publications and research lectures.”
He also likes that the RSC brings together junior students and senior members to make mentorship and collaboration possible. “The RSC provides a lot of guidance to help us get networking opportunities with chemists and research groups. I haven’t met any international students yet but it’s something I would like to do. It’s a meaningful and important opportunity.”
Weimin emphasises the value that the RSC has had not only on his career but his personal development.
Thanks to the RSC, I have developed my communication and organisational skills,” he smiles. “RSC membership has been crucial to my self-improvement and has definitely boosted my confidence.
As a believer in the positive impact of chemistry on the world, Weimin is confident that public perception of chemistry is becoming more positive. “Thanks to developments in renewable energy, the public is becoming more aware of how chemistry and applied sciences can change the world.”