Q: What is the major motive that drives you returning to China to work?

A: Australia is a country with vast land and very few people, while China offers a lively way of living, which is what I enjoy the most. Also living in China is living in the time of tremendous change, opportunity and challenge. I love to choose to live and work in my own country.

Q: How do you feel like going back to China? What is your goal in your future career?

A: Generally I feel happier to get reunion with my friends and relatives when I returned. In my future career I think I will continue focusing on my scientific research and teaching, and I hope all my students can achieve their study goals.

Q: What are the major differences of the development in transportation engineering home and abroad?

A: In some foreign countries transportation engineering is a minor branch of study, especially in Australia. There researchers often carry on their study based on personal interest as transport problem is not such a big issue. In China we are encountering a bigger and broader picture. Everything here is going through rapid changes so you always have to keep a vast perspective when solving problems in transportation areas.

Q: Would you like to share some of the main reasons for the success in your scientific study?

A: Interest is the best teacher. Only when you find your study interesting and rewarding can you fully devote yourself in it. Luckily I have found more joy in my research after I became a teacher. When I was at school, I was learning passively and followed what the teacher told us which is not a happy study experience at all. Now after communicating with many young college teachers from all over the world I discover that we all deeply understand the true joy and enlightment when doing our research, as in this stage of our lives we are able to set free our minds and do any study purely based on our interests. If you guys guide yourself with your love and interest of study and devote yourself heart and soul, success will definitely come to you sometime.

Q: What guidance do you provide to your graduate students?

A: Critical thinking is what I value the most. It is the cornerstone of research. Frankly speaking, critical thinking means to derive each formula and knowledge point relating to the topic step by step before apply it to anything else. Because we are studying new things, we need to stand on the shoulders of the past scholars to see things thoroughly. By seeing clearly the past we can get to a high place for new discoveries.

Q: In a pluralistic society nowadays how do graduate students design their academic life?

A: If you get lost, one good advice is to ask yourself: what is my core-competitiveness? In the stage of graduate study, you should have found your career life. So it is necessary to deduct useless social activities so that you have more energy to shape yourself to become the person you wish to be.

Another point I want to emphasize is that the identity of a master student and a doctor student varies a lot. A doctor is cultivated by the country to be a scientist or a researcher who has to devote the time to pursue academic success. A master is cultivated to be a future engineer, so combing practical and theoretical knowledge is very important.

Q: Please introduce your hobbies in your spare time as we are all very curious to know.

A: I enjoy reading history books and philosophy books. Hiking, swimming and going to gym are also my hobbies. For an engineering scholar, both art and sport hobbies are useful and rewarding.

Q: In the coming New Year, do you have some resolutions and expectations?

A: 2016 is the first year after I returned to work in China. I hope I can take on new challenges in the new environment and become a better me. Academic life should be down-to-earth and that is what my life will be.

“Leading a quiet simple life with high ambition” is what impressed us most from Liu Zhiyuan after the interview. His sharp and smart analysis of transportation industry home and abroad, modest and diligent attitude towards work and life make him a good model for young scholars. We wish him great success in his academic life.