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Seven Engineering DPhils receive highly competitive Clarendon Scholarships in latest awards

Clarendon Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and potential across all graduate degree-bearing subjects at the University of Oxford


Clarendon offers over 200 new, fully-funded scholarships each year to assist outstanding graduate scholars, and give them the opportunity to join one of the most active, internationally diverse, and multidisciplinary communities at Oxford. The scholarships are competitive, prestigious and highly sought-after. By covering course fees, and providing a generous grant for living expenses, the funding helps reduce financial barriers that may stand in the way of the best students, from across the world, coming to study at Oxford.

Any full-time or part-time DPhil and Master’s students are eligible and are automatically considered for the scholarships when they apply. There are no restrictions on nationality, ordinary residence or field of study. Originally established to support Overseas students, the Clarendon Fund first welcomed scholars to Oxford in 2001. The scheme was expanded in 2012 to include students from the UK and EU, therefore providing funding for all fee statuses.

The Clarendon scholars for 2022/23 are:

Fenglin Liu, supervised by Professor David Clifton, who says, “Fenglin has an extraordinary track record of publication in the very top-tier literature for AI, during his time as a Masters student in Beijing. During the final year of his Masters course, he undertook a research placement at the second site of my lab, in Suzhou, China, focusing on advanced methods of natural language processing (NLP) for medical data. This work was so successful that he has two accepted publications from that period in NeurIPS 2022, one of the most prestigious and selective AI conferences. He begins his Oxford career with the generous support of a Clarendon scholarship, where our medical collaborators are looking forward to working with him on the next generation of NLP for solving difficult medical problems.”

Guokun Liu, supervised by Professor Aidong Yang, who says, “As a Master’s student with very relevant research experience in electrochemical energy devices and systems, Guokun has received multiple prizes that recognise his outstanding academic performance since his undergraduate studies. His research has led to several publications in established journals. In Oxford, Guokun will explore the potential of electrochemical processes in clean energy supply and carbon dioxide removal.”

Aristotelis Papatheodorou, supervised by Professor Ioannis Havoutis, who says “Aris has an outstanding academic track record, being the recipient of a prestigious awards for his performance during his undergraduate studies and graduating with top marks from the most competitive university in Greece. Aris' has been part of the Legged Robots Lab (CSL-EP LRT) throughout his undergraduate studies on his own initiative, has been the youngest ever member or the lab, and has published two first-author research papers on real-time robotics control for legged systems. At Oxford he begins his career with the generous support of the prestigious Clarendon scholarship, where he will be working on enabling autonomous locomanipulation methods for robots with arms and legs. I am very excited to welcome Aris to the Dynamic Robot Systems group of the Oxford Robotics Institute and wish him every success and a stellar start.”

Aniq Ur Rahman, supervised by Professor Justin Coon, who says, “Aniq applied having received top marks and references from KAUST. At the time of application, he was at the end of his Master’s studies (communication engineering) and had precociously secured grant funding and led projects on his own initiative. Aniq will join the Information and Network Science Lab, where he will conduct research on radio access networks and graph information theory.”

Gayatri Sundar Rajan, supervised by Professor Nick Hankins, who says “Gayatri arrives in the Department from Boston University, where she completed a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and was top of her class. She will be working with me to develop a novel process for vacuum assisted desalination in water-scarce rural areas.”

Kirill Sechkar, supervised by Professor Harrison Steel, who says, “Kirill was able to win a prestigious Clarendon Scholarship on the back of his excellent undergraduate study record, as well as his extensive involvement in extra-curricular research projects that included several publications. This combination of broad knowledge and practical experience will provide a great basis for DPhil study. Kirill will work on outstanding challenges faced by designing and implementing robust Synthetic Biological systems, including advancing our understanding of how engineered systems interact with their host organisms, and how these relationships can be leveraged to improve their stability and robustness when deployed in applications.”

Sawsan El Zahr, supervised by Professor Noa Zilberman, who says "We are extremely happy to welcome Sawsan to the Computing Infrastructure group. She is a talented early-career researcher, who won the Outstanding Researcher Award at her alma mater, Lebanese American University, and was also awarded the Oxford Qatar Thatcher Scholarship. Sawsan's undergraduate research led to two publications in IEEE Transactions journals, a marker of excellent research. Sawsan's ambitious DPhil project is aimed at future networks, supporting critical services in domains such as health care, traffic, and environmental monitoring. It focuses on cooperative communications as a means to provide robustness and sustainability to such networks."