Researcher Zhuangkun Wei working hard on a laptop

Hello everyone! It is a great honor to join the TAS-S project and the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University as a Research Fellow on Research Strand 2.  My part in this project is to secure the wireless communications for autonomous systems and vehicles. Since this is the first blog of mine, I would like to share with you the experiences of my new Research Fellow occupation and my PhD life.

I have just finished my 2.5-year PhD at School of Engineering, University of Warwick, where I pursued and studied graph signal processing, and matrix completion on the dynamics sampling and recovery.  (Thesis title: Sampling of Time-Varying Network Signals from Equation-Driven to Data-Driven Techniques) It was a remarkable experience that I could do purely academic study and research, and that I finally published a paper on the top 1 signal processing journal (IEEE Trans. Signal Process.), which was actually my ultimate goal that I had planned at the beginning of my PhD life.  

Then, I moved on and became a Research Fellow at Cranfield University. Actually, being a research fellow is quite different from the PhD study (from both an academic and life-style point of view), and I admit that I found the transition to be a struggle and quite painful for at least 5 months from my starting date in May 2021.  Don’t get me wrong, my line manager Prof. Guo offered a great volume of help, but it is still hard to count on myself to play a different role. Nevertheless, I love new challenges, and everything went the right way after I concentrated purely on the research and academics. For the past 6 months, I have pursued the related Literature review, and finished and submitted my first security paper (see

I reckon that most PhDs may have a similar tough period when transforming from  student to employee roles, especially for those who have to leave (partially or totally) what they are experts in and start a new research topic (plus starting salaries can often be lower in academia than in industry)! However, the key is to keep in mind the reasons why we have chosen this path:  the research and the process to seeking the truth are what we love and want to pursue further.  This is also the pathway we have to pass to construct and sharpen our idea and thinking. Several years later, I bet when we become a Professor and have the ability to really change our world, all these hardships will be worthwhile!