Research areas:
The United States is actively pursuing a transition from fossil fuel-based economy to a bio-based economy that sustainably utilizes renewable biomass resources for producing energy, intermediate and final product. Prof. Yuan Yao is looking for Ph.D. students to take a lead role in developing state-of-the-art analysis tools for quantifying environmental impacts of bioenergy and biomaterials, optimizing existing and future industrial systems, and identifying feasible pathways to a more sustainable future.

About the Advisor:

Dr. Yao is the Assistant Professor of Sustainability Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), where she leads the Sustainability Systems Analysis Lab. Dr. Yao received National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2019, the most prestigious award from NSF to junior faculty in the United States. She has been collaborating with multiple national labs, energy consulting firms, and universities to develop quantitative analysis for accelerating Research and Development in renewable energy technologies, carbon capture, chemical process improvements, and supply chain optimization.

Ph.D. students will receive financial support that includes stipends, tuition and health benefits as Graduate Research Assistants (GRA). The successful applicants should have relevant backgrounds in Chemical Engineering or other related engineering fields. Applicants should hold a Master’s degree or graduate in the very near future – date of graduation must be enclosed in the application. Good speaking and written English is required (TOEFL > 90 is preferred for international applicants). GRE is required for all applicants.

Previous experience and/or documented knowledge in one or more of the following areas are highly recommended to apply:

  • Process optimization and mathematical programming (e.g., Matlab, R, Python, GAMS)
  • Chemical process modeling and simulation (e.g., AspenPlus or similar software)
  • Life Cycle Assessment methodologies and ecosystems services assessment


Dr. Yuan Yao,

More info about application procedures:

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