Weiyi Yao

Favourite Thing: Do experiments, conduct research and explore!



Tiffin Boys School (A-levels), UCL (BSc), Warwick University (MSc), University of Leeds (PhD)


AAAA (3 Sciences and maths at A level), BSc (2.1 Honors) Biomedical Sciences, MSc (Distinction) Biotech and Business management

Work History:

Current Job:

PhD Student


University of Leeds

About Me

A highly quirky and inquisitive individual that loves to learn about many new things!

My academic background is quite diverse, and spans the disciplines of biomedical sciences, biotechnology, business management and more recently, bioenergy. I am therefore more of a jack of all trades type (as opposed to master of one) scientist or academic researcher I suppose.

My share of hobby is just as varied, with performance arts (mainly singing, piano, acting and dancing) being at the forefront, followed by exercise and sports (gymnastic, badminton and table tennis), documentary/movie browsing, photography, hiking and travelling.

I was originally born in China, but have been here in the UK since the age of 10, for 15 years (and counting).  Throughout this time I lived in a number of cities including Southampton, Lincoln, various places in London (Richmond, Kingston, Euston), Coventry, Bristol and am now based in Leeds. I currently work as a PhD student/researcher at the university of Leeds, funded by a 4 year CDT (centre for doctoral trainning) scholarship by the EPSRC (Engineerign and Physical Sciences Research Council).

My Work

PhD Student at University of Leeds

Currently I am conducting my research in combined and synergistic use of Biofuel and Automation technology in Road Freight Vehicles (also called Heavy Goods Vehcles or HGVs). The nature of my research is whole systems based, where I aim to explore not only the environmental, but also the social, financial and political as well as regulatory impacts of biofuel and automation technology implementation within a social-technical context.

A large part of my research also resolves around system dynamics modelling using the VENSIM software, to determine possibilities (measured in GHG emissions savings and costs differential applied to stakeholders in the short to long term) imposed by different penetrations of automation and biofuel technology amongst existing and new HGVs. I hope to ultimately translate the research findings to i) help trucking companies and relevant stakeholders better shape and develop their business roadmap and strategy in a way that is both sustainable and morally just (applying the concepts of distributional justice, or rather, minimizing distributional injustice).

My Typical Day

Moving around Leeds city in effort to find ideal places to work, and once found, work quietly and efficiently (often supported by an arsenal of coffee/tea infusions and a lot of electronic equipment).

In contrast to the typical office worker, I am a habitual traveller and remote worker – working in the sense of conducting scientific research. As for working location, anywhere goes! I often hike around different parts of Leeds city based on sentiment of where I could most efficiently. Although I do work quite often in Libraries, various cafe around town, and sometimes even outdoors – depending on the weather of course.

I also try to integrated non-work related activities such as dancing, gym, sports and by attending various social events in and outside campus to make my day more varied, fun and therefore effective – and often halt most activities as I reach boredom so to try and make sure I keep up my efficiency (as the old saying goes – you’re being the most efficient when you are enjoying doing something)!

I aim to put in around 7 hours of efficient work per day, which typically involves 2 to 3 rotations of work shifts lasting anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. In between could involve anything from short city hikes to an occasional sports centre visit for dancing and other sports activities.

What I'd do with the money

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Quirky, Inquisitive, Proactive

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Jackie Evancho – Singer

What's your favourite food?

Smoked Salmon dishes!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Karaoke with a bit of Latin dancing~

What did you want to be after you left school?

Singer or Artist

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Yep, when I was younger

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Research, poster and public engagement”

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Tough question…no one in particular I guess.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Singer, artist, dancer? Something related to performance arts!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Time manage myself better, be more focused, and also more intelligent I guess.

Tell us a joke.

Did you know that a Chicken can actually fly for up to 10 seconds?

Other stuff

Work photos: