In the world of academic research, the pursuit of knowledge knows no bounds. It’s a journey driven by curiosity, passion, and the desire to make an impact. Today, we delve into the intriguing world of Dayu, a Ph.D. candidate at TU Delft, coming from Southeast University with a background in Geo-Engineering. Dayu’s research revolves around the axial resistance of pipe piles in high-strength soils. What motivates this young mathematician-engineer to embark on this journey? What drives his passion, and how does he see collaboration enhancing the effectiveness of FRONTIErS DN? Join us as we uncover Dayu’s remarkable story and the impact he envisions making in the world of research and engineering.

Can you provide a brief introduction of yourself and your project within the FRONTIErS DN?

I am a Ph.D. candidate at TU Delft. I have received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Geo-Engineering from Southeast University.

My research topic is the axial resistance of pipe piles driven in high-strength soils.

What motivated you to apply to FRONTIErS DN?

I always loved mathematics when I was a child. Experiments and empirical methods are nice, but math excites me most. As an engineer, I am delicate to solving engineering problems by math.

Fortunately, here is a project that could provide me with a platform where I could enjoy math and a position where I could rely on math.

What drives your passion for the work you have done so far and the work you will do within FRONTIErS?

A dream to be Doctor Yang. Though I know how wonderful the world is, the title of doctor is still appealing to me. Perhaps because I have held this dream since I went to primary school.

A decision to leave my comfort zone. I have been in China for 25 years while still could not find peace of mind. Globalization develops as I stay in my comfort zone. I must make changes, no matter how challenging that is.

All the things I love here. This is my first time coming to a developed country, I do not think the most significant gap between a developed country and a developing country is located on economy, but on culture.

No one would monitor me when I worked here, I could travel around the world in the days I should have worked. However, the freedom does not lead to my indolence, the environment here makes me feel that I work for myself. I enjoy the atmosphere which always arouses my desire to do something for this place.

How do you believe collaboration enhances the effectiveness of FRONTIErS DN?

Knowledge could be transmitted more efficiently. We could be encyclopaedias for each other which could help us find the right directions in a short time. And the collision of our minds triggers new ideas as well.

Can you share any personal stories or experiences that have shaped your decision to apply?

When I was still in my master’s career, I would like to transfer to another field, Computer Engineering. But my colleague told me there may be a chance I could be a PhD of TU Delft, the group which invented Plaxis. I must admit I wanted to take part in the group Plaxis at first, that is the only thing I knew about TU Delft at that time. And my colleague then told me a lot of things about Prof. Gavin, my supervisor now. I was deeply attracted by the story and after I googled a lot about Prof. Gavin, I became a fan of him. Thus, at first, I just wanted to work under the supervision of Prof. Gavin, and when Prof. Gavin introduced a project to me and let me choose among four research topics, only I chose the one exciting me most. When I signed my contract, I started to realize it was the famous Marie Curie Project and my project was called FRONTIErS. I was so flattered when I knew the truth.

Nevertheless, I did just want to be a student of Prof. Gavin when I applied for the PhD candidate.

What are your future goals and aspirations as a member of the FRONTIErS DN?

At first, I wanted papers as much as possible, but now I hope I can do some that could be used in practice.

How do you envision your role evolving and contributing to the FRONTIErS DN success?

I could not tell my success or my contributions to my team’s success now. My colleagues are all very smart, I still need to learn a lot from them. But at least, in my area, I would perform like a pile driven into the seabed providing necessary and reliable support for their work.

How do you anticipate your MSCA fellowship will impact your broader career aspirations?

It is not a question about money or the research environment, but confidence. It is a great honor to obtain an MSCA fellowship. I knew somebody’s ideas were not valuable, they were willing to share their experience as a loser, but these ideas did torture me. I stayed in a state of self-doubt for a long time after I went to the university. I would never have thought the broader world may belong to me until I received an MSCA fellowship. I do not know what would happen, but this time, I am ready for every challenge with confidence because several months ago I won my MSCA fellowship I never thought.

Can you provide insights or advice for individuals interested in pursuing similar programs and fellowships?

Keep enthusiastic and confident.

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