Surrey said that the China-born scientist’s “exceptional research, teaching and leadership credentials” were key reasons for his appointment. He will take over in April 2016.
The university’s former vice-chancellor, Sir Christopher Snowden, left earlier this year to take over at the University of Southampton. Deputy vice-chancellor Michael Kearney has served as acting vice-chancellor since then.
Professor Lu grew up in Shandong Province in eastern China and studied engineering at Northeastern University in the US aged just 16, according to Queensland’s website. He arrived at Queensland in 1987 to study for his PhD, becoming a full-time academic in 1994.
Surrey said he has been “recognised among Australia’s top 100 most influential engineers” and is one of “only 150 double highly cited academics in the world, with over 500 peer-reviewed articles published in top journals, attracting more than 31,000 citations”.
An expert in materials chemistry and nanotechnology, Professor Lu is also the “co-inventor of more than 20 international patents”, Surrey said.
Jim Glover, chair of Surrey’s council, said Professor Lu has “a proven track record of strong leadership, delivery of income growth and provision of an excellent student experience in a world top 50 institution.
“He has an extensive network of collaborators in both the UK and the Asia-Pacific region, which, coupled with his strong international outlook, will undoubtedly help the university in its mission to build an even stronger reputation across the globe.”
Professor Lu said: “It is an exciting albeit challenging time for the higher education sector and we have the chance to shape government policy to ensure the UK stays at the top of this increasingly competitive market.
“Our central mission in higher education is to educate and equip students with the skills and confidence to become future leaders, driving positive change around the world despite the many global challenges society is facing.”