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Principal Investigator
About Me
Screenshot 2022-07-15 182401.JPG

Liya Zhao, PhD

Senior Lecturer, ARC DECRA Fellow

School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

University of New South Wales

Ainsworth Building J17, 301B

Sydney 2052 NSW Australia


Dr Liya Zhao is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney). She is the recipient of the ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) for 2021-2024. She received her BEng in Civil Engineering from Tongji University in 2009, and her PhD in Structures and Mechanics from Nanyang Technological University Singapore in Dec 2015. After that, she worked as a Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University Singapore. She moved to the University of Technology Sydney in 2017 as a Lecturer and became a Senior Lecturer in 2021. She joined UNSW Sydney as a Senior Lecturer in 2022. Dr Liya Zhao was featured to be in the World’s Top 2% Scientists list for single year 2020, 2021, and 2022 in subject field of Materials, Energy, and Enabling & Strategic Technologies, published by Stanford University.

Her research interests include nonlinear dynamics, kinetic energy harvesting, smart materials and structures, vibration suppression, electromechanical modelling, aerodynamics, and piezoelectric devices. 

About me


Dec. 2015     Ph.D. in Structures & Mechanics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.        

                      PhD supervisor: Prof Yaowen Yang

Jun. 2009      B.Eng. in Civil Engineering, Tongji University, China 

Academic Experience

03/2022-Present             Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, Australia

07/2021-03/2022            Senior Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

10/2017-06/2021            Lecturer (Assistant Professor), University of Technology Sydney, Australia

02/2016-09/2017            Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

08/2015-01/2016            Project Officer, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

08/2011-05/2015            Research Assistant, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Research Interests

   - Nonlinear Dynamics, Vibration Suppression, Metastructures/metamaterials

  • Structural/material/geometric/aerodynamic nonlinearity

  • Multifunctional metastructure/metamaterial systems for energy harvesting and vibration suppression

   - Kinetic Energy Harvesting

  • Nonlinear adaptive structures for 1) small-scale wind energy harvesting with aeroelastic instabilities 2) broadband vibration energy harvesting 

  • Advanced power extraction interfaces for energy conversion enhancement

  • Human motion energy harvesting; biosensing

  • Wave energy harvesting

  - Smart Materials and Structures

  • Adaptive devices for energy harvesting, vibration suppression, actuating and sensing

  • Electromechanically coupled adaptive structures with smart materials (piezoelectric / flexoelectric / triboelectric / electret mechanisms)

   - Integrated Self-Powered Wireless Sensor Networks/Active Tags

  • Sustainable physiological monitoring with self-powered body sensor networks

  • Sustainable smart environmental/structural health monitoring

  • Sustainable object tracking


2023, MME RIS, CI

2022, MME RIS, Sole CI

2022-2024, UNSW, Start-Up

2021-2024, Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), Sole CI

2021, NSW Defence Innovation Network, CI

2019, UTS Blue Sky Grant, Lead CI

2018, UTS Seed Grant, Sole CI

2018, UTS Midas teaching grant, CI

2011-2012, Nanyang Engineering Doctoral Scholarship (NEDS) Award, NTU Singapore (1 of 12 awardees in the university)


2023-present, Mechanics of Solids II, Course Convenor & Lecturer

2022, Introduction to Aircraft Engineering, Course Convenor & Lecturer

2018-2020, Fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering, Subject Coordinator & Lecturer

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