Dr Christina Yan Zhang

Metaverse– PhD(2012): Using Metaverse to augment construction, engineering and architecture process”

Christina is a pioneer in the metaverse. She started her academic research on the topic in 2006 using Second Life, the world’s first metaverse, to develop international strategies for universities worldwide, and this was followed by a PhD in using digital twin services in the metaverse to augment civil engineering and architecture projects, which she completed in 2012.

Christina is an award-winning business leader who has 16 years’ experience turning forward-thinking ideas into ultra-high growth business with global impact. She has a wealth of experience helping universities set up international alliances to develop multidisciplinary, multilateral and cross-functional collaborations in research, teaching and enterprise, sustainability, with government endorsement at the highest levels. She worked for QS, the leading world university rankings agency, between 2013 and 2020, leading their business in China. Starting effectively from scratch, Christina grew the UK-headquartered firm’s profile and commercial success in China substantially. In January 2016, China’s Vice Premier highlighted the use of QS rankings in 5 years budget decisions affecting funding allocations to 3005 universities with 48 million students, and a total budget of £750bn.

Christina was the first Chinese person elected to the national executive of the UK National Union of Students (NUS) since its foundation in 1922, and represented the interests of one million international and EU students studying at 600 UK higher and further education institutions. She has sat on more than 20 advisory committees for UNESCO, the World Bank, the Commonwealth, the EU, and UK Governments among many others. She led many successful national and global campaigns including on students’ visa changes, the future of work and skills, equality, diversity, inclusion, and international strategy. She also contributed to the establishment of the Commonwealth Students Association, representing 2 billion young people across 54 countries. Between 2012 and 2013, she worked in the UK Parliament developing policy for the Shadow Business Secretary’s team.

She also has two years’ experience contributing to the BBC as a campus journalist, and seven years’ experience as a TV presenter for People’s Daily Online, interviewing heads of state and the chairmen of Fortune 500 companies, on global issues. She chairs a weekly twitter space discussion with experts on pragmatic use of metaverse across industries, which is promoted to a global community of 100,000+ leaders.

She is currently the UN International Telecommunication Union(ITU)’s Vice Chair on Metaverse Working Group on Sustainability, Accessibility & Inclusion and Co-chair of Task Group on Pre-standardization of the Citiverse at ITU Focus Group on Metaverse. She sits on TechUK’s Digital Twins Board, Financial Service Council, and Advisory Council of International Science Council’s Centre for Science Futures with a special focus on AI and other frontier technologies.

As a bridge-builder between the education, innovation and skills sector, and global business, she regularly meets with top leaders in these fields, is a frequent keynote speaker at high level events, and is interviewed by leading media. She recently chaired the opening panel for The World Intellectual Property Organization’s summit on IP and Metaverse, addressed UNESCO on the future of education using metaverse as well as the side event of the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development using metaverse for cities.