Professor Zhang is a Professor in Structural Engineering and Head of International for the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University. Before joining Edinburgh Napier University in 2004, he worked on his PhD project at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology investigating structural performance and developing novel finite elements for transfer plate structures in tall buildings. Prior to his PhD study, he also practised as a structural engineer in China and became a chartered engineer in China in 1999.
Professor Zhang's research focuses on engineered bamboo-timber composite in construction, laminate glass structures, pre-stressed concrete and steel-reinforced concrete structures in complex loading conditions. Currently, he is devoting himself to developing bamboo-timber composite materials for long span and tall building structures with a patent filed in 2020. and his research is featured as a case study by the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has extensive experiences in photogrammetry technology, software development and multiple sensor systems in civil engineering studies. In one of his research projects with the advantages of tailored photogrammetry system, he has been able to give several convincing recommendations on the torsion test method for timber beams which have been adopted by the European standard: EN 408. (EN 408:2010 currently under review and revision). He is also an experienced computer programmer who developed several analyse and design software packages for trusses and scaffolding structures.
Professor Zhang has led several research and knowledge transfer projects funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Scottish Founding Council, Innovation UK, British Council, etc. His research has been published widely in both highly ranked civil engineering journals and conference proceedings. He is a member of CEN/TC 124/WG-1 committee for European Standard: EN408 review and revision. He also frequently organised and chaired special sessions, gave keynote speeches and guest lectures in international conferences and other universities.