My project at CARES was in the C4T decarbonisation programme under Work Package 3.1, which is concerned with understanding the properties of sustainable alternative fuels during combustion, specifically the formation of soot. I investigated four promising alternative fuels and tested them in two different combustion systems: a laminar coflow diffusion flame and a compression ignition engine.

I was thrilled to be able to collaborate with researchers at NUS for my engine experiment, which provided me with the opportunity to learn from experts in engine research at NUS which added enormous value to my overall PhD research work.

Additionally, to gain a better understanding of the soot formation process during combustion, I conducted a more in-depth experimental investigation by injecting a non-thermal plasma into a flame. The experiment yielded very interesting results, which were presented during the 39th International Symposium on Combustion’s poster session. I am currently working on completing my PhD thesis and finalising my research.

My time at CARES and in Singapore was incredible, although half of it was spent during the pandemic. From the time I arrived in Singapore (visa, on-arrival PCR tests, and quarantine arrangements) until I returned to the UK, I was well-supported. When the social distancing policies in Singapore were gradually relaxed, I was able to participate in many CARES social activities, such as the Easter bunny hunt, ketupat weaving during Hari Raya, and movie nights!

In my spare time, I was able to explore many mesmerising spots in Singapore, ranging from the far east of Singapore, where I visited the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at Jewel Changi, to the far west of Singapore, where I watched the sunset from the Raffles Marina Lighthouse. I would like to thank the CARES corporate staff for their tremendous support, especially during the challenging times of the pandemic.

I am appreciative of the opportunity to conduct my PhD research at world-class academic institutes in both Singapore and the UK. The strategic location of CARES within the CREATE Tower on the NUS campus was particularly exciting as I could see the synergy between researchers in CREATE and local institutions.

My time at CARES would not have been possible without the financial assistance offered to me through the CARES studentship. In addition, I would like to thank Fitzwilliam College Cambridge for the Lee Kuan Yew PhD scholarship, Trinity College Cambridge for the Trinity Henry-Barlow Scholarship, and the Cambridge Trust for their financial support whilst I am in the UK.


Yong Ren’s PhD was supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme. The Cambridge-CARES Studentship Scheme is not currently acitve, but please get in touch with us at if you have any questions.

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