Values of AYL


AYL functions as a community with the collective aim of fostering a lab culture that nurtures both professional and personal growth while promoting inclusivity and embracing diversity. It is a shared responsibility to create this culture, and as such, all AYL members are expected to consistently demonstrate respect and courtesy towards one another. It is important to note that this code of conduct complements, though it does not supersede, the policies at the Department/Faculty/University levels.

Peculiar Facts

• To reach your PhD viva, I do not have a requirement for publications. This depends on your motivation and career plan. Having fewer publications makes my life easier.
• Please consider leaving my lab after 4 years. Typically, a PhD in the UK takes 3.5 years, and you are not obligated to stay after your PhD. I encourage change, and I am always eager to see new faces.
• I value my personal life and privacy. I want people to know that I know what I'm doing, but I don't want them to know the specifics of what I'm doing.

I am more than happy to provide suggestions for your academic questions (but I am not dictating) and help with some of your real-life problems. However, I am not versatile and do not have enough time to intervene in your life. Here are some real questions from students that I would not be willing to address:

• Dr. Yang, do you know how to get married in the UK?
• Dr. Yang, do you recommend any house-buying strategies in London?
• Dr. Yang, could you please drive to my property because I am having disruptions with my landlords?
• Dr. Yang, I need you to push me for my research. Could you please do that?

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

We place a high value on fostering an inclusive and diverse environment that facilitates the development and research endeavours of each individual, contributing to robust decision-making and the production of high-quality research. Every lab member is committed to ensuring a harassment-free experience for all, irrespective of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, and/or religion. Harassment within our lab, in any form, is not tolerated.

Kindness towards others is encouraged, and insults or derogatory remarks towards fellow lab members are strictly discouraged. Acknowledging our growth as a team, we embrace positive, constructive criticism as a means of learning from one another.

For further details, refer to the EDI policies of Imperial College London:

If you experience harassment, feel free to contact Dr. Guang Yang ( at any time. Alternatively, you can seek assistance from the Harassment and Bullying Support of Imperial College London here:

Mental Health

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that certain aspects of research can pose challenges to your mental well-being. These challenges encompass various factors:

• Low pay and issues related to the quality of life
• Feelings of isolation in your research, where each individual works on their own topic, fostering a sense of solitude
• Uncertainty in your research; it's important to note that uncertainty extends beyond just the outcomes but encompasses the very questions posed in all types of research
• Career uncertainty
• Encountering "negative results," where certain research questions may prove more challenging than expected, leading to days, months, or even years of toil with limited visible progress
• Burnout, characterized by an overwhelming need to work excessively to compensate for the aforementioned challenges, leading to exhaustion

These challenges are part of the research journey for all individuals, including MSc, MEng, PhD, Post-Doctoral, and Academic Staff members. I strongly urge everyone in the group to proactively prioritize their mental health. As part of my responsibilities, I aim to ensure you have the necessary time and resources for successful research. If anything is causing undue stress or hindering your potential, please don't hesitate to inform me. Sharing these concerns fosters a supportive environment where others can accommodate your needs, and we may be able to offer assistance.

Familiarizing yourself with mental health resources provided by Imperial College London is encouraged:

Flexible Working and Annual Leave

We embrace a flexible working approach:

• Full-time researchers and PhD students are anticipated to dedicate approximately 36.5 hours per week to their academic activities. Falling significantly short of this commitment may impede research progress, while exceeding it poses potential risks to mental health.
• Members of the lab have the autonomy to determine their working hours, recognizing that certain laboratories and facilities may have specific access hours for health and safety reasons. Encouraging the presence on campus between 10:00am and 16:00pm on some days each week promotes collaborative working and enhances the overall research experience. To facilitate participation, meetings and events are generally scheduled within these hours. Our policy affirms that every member is self-motivated, negating the necessity for a traditional 9-5 workday to achieve goals.
• Respecting the time and efforts of others is crucial, avoiding situations where working extended hours may adversely affect those without the same flexibility.
• Acknowledging the contributions of funders is important. In instances of time constraints, prioritizing work is imperative.
• Remote working away from Imperial College London is supported, provided research goals can be achieved, and virtual attendance is possible for meetings.
• Lab members have the flexibility to work remotely for any reason.
• Group meetings are convened every Friday 9:30am to 10:30am for the MedIA group and 3:30pm to 4:30pm for the Inverse Problem group (mostly online now). Attendance is expected, with active participation in discussions encouraged. Additional one-to-one meetings can be arranged with Dr. Guang Yang (

Annual Leave:

• Holiday permission is rarely required, but it's essential to observe key deadlines within the calendar year and recognize our collaborative group dynamics. As a courtesy, please update the 'Where are we' shared calendar with any planned holidays so that others are informed of your absence.
• Emphasizing the importance of taking holidays, respecting weekends (or compensatory time off), and establishing a sustainable work-life balance, individuals struggling with this balance are encouraged to discuss it early with Dr. Guang Yang (

Communication and Meetings:

We approach one-to-one meetings with a focus on:

• Updating on progress against previously agreed action items.
• Discussing questions or problems requiring assistance.
• Sharing thoughts and plans, regardless of their tentative nature. Whether contemplating an experiment/simulation, a potential paper, collaboration with an organization, internship applications, teaching aspirations, or career progression, open discussion is encouraged.
• Making personal notes during the meeting, documenting key next steps and actions, and sharing them afterward for further discussion. This can be done via email, a Teams message, or by adding them as tasks to an online Planner schedule (

Our primary communication channels include WeChat, Teams or Zoom (group online meetings will be recorded for those who can’t attend). Interaction modes range from one-to-one inquiries to lab-wide discussions in the AYL group, fostering a less formal environment for quick queries, result-sharing, and eliminating the need for subsequent notes. Timely replies may be delayed as it is often due to thoughtful consideration of the presented issues rather than a lack of interest. Active participation in regular lab group meetings is expected, demonstrating respect by attentively engaging in presentations and discussions. While members are welcome to communicate over weekends or late at night, there is no obligation to respond outside of normal working hours.

Regular Journal Clubs are organised every two weeks (except for holidays).

Manuscript Writing

Embrace the dissemination of your work; it's an integral aspect of being a proficient researcher. Crafting papers and chapters demands time, and initial drafts are often subpar. Commence writing as early as possible and solicit regular feedback to enhance your writing skills. Achieving an accepted paper may require up to 12 drafts – comprising 6 drafts from you and 6 rounds of comments from me.

When seeking feedback, provide at least a week's notice. Ideally, establish deadlines for each of the 6 drafts needed to refine your manuscript. Avoid leaving writing to the last minute, as it requires co-authors to sacrifice their free time. Assistance with your paper during regular working hours is preferable.

PhD students are encouraged to submit a conference paper by the end of their first year or the beginning of their second year. Aim to publish at least one journal paper before completing your Ph.D., considering the potential for standalone papers in your thesis chapters. Publications often culminate toward the end of a Ph.D., so there's no need to stress if they aren't ready until the conclusion of year 3. Again, I personally do not have a requirement for publications for students.

We strive to include supplementary materials with our papers whenever possible. Acknowledging that writing can be a protracted and mentally taxing endeavor, I recommend dedicating 30 minutes every day to writing, regardless of the content. Whether contributing to your next paper, thesis, or grant, consistent writing fosters progress.


Foster collaboration and consistently recognize the contributions of others. Authorship of any manuscript or presentation will be openly deliberated in supervision meetings, with a commitment to inclusivity for those making significant contributions to the presented work. "Significant contribution" encompasses idea development, data collection, or interpretation.

We adhere to four criteria for authorship:

• Substantial contributions to the conception or design, acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data.
• Drafting or critically revising the work for important intellectual content.
• Providing final approval for the version to be published.
• Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work, ensuring questions regarding accuracy or integrity are appropriately addressed.

As a group, we strive to promote an open dialogue about authorship, conducting check-ins throughout the study's duration. Before approaching potential authors outside your supervision team, discuss with me to ensure transparency.

Seek permission before submitting a paper for peer review, and ensure all authors acknowledge contentment with the submission, even after re-review. If assistance is needed, please consult with Dr. Guang Yang ( during this process.

The order of authors typically adheres to field conventions. The lead author usually leads the document's writing, with upfront positions based on each author's approximate percentage contribution. Latter author positions are often occupied by supervisors. In case of conflicts, I will facilitate discussions to find resolutions.

Mentoring and Personal Development

As your leader, my commitment extends to being a mentor for both your research endeavors and your personal and professional growth. This aligns with the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (, to which Imperial College London is a signatory.

In line with this commitment, we will conduct an annual review meeting to delve into current research goals, plan for the upcoming year, and establish personal and professional career objectives. A survey will be provided to identify skills gaps and set goals (

In reciprocation, I encourage you to engage in mutual mentoring, especially for junior lab members and visiting individuals such as undergraduate project students. Mentoring is integral to fostering a thriving research culture, and all members are encouraged to actively participate.

Expectations from me:

• I am dedicated to caring about you and your research, prioritizing your success and well-being.
• I will exert effort to secure funding to sustain ongoing research.
• Your research will be publicized to promote it and stimulate new collaborations and opportunities.
• Consultation with the entire lab will precede any decisions about recruiting new members.
• I will review drafts promptly, aiming for within two weeks of receiving them, though more time may be needed for thorough revisions.
• Personal development plans will be reviewed, and assistance provided in setting goals.
• Support will be extended for your attendance at a minimum of one conference per year.
• Opportunities to collaborate on exciting side projects will be extended, with no obligation to commit if time constraints exist.
• Inclusion in papers and fostering an inclusive and diverse lab culture will be a priority.

Expectations from you:

• Take ownership of your research project, striving to achieve goals and produce high-quality results.
• Feel free to propose new ideas for projects/proposals, with a request to take ownership of initial drafts.
• Support, mentor, and collaborate with others whenever possible.
• Maintain open lines of communication for celebrating successes and addressing problems promptly.
• Investigate and discuss potential funding opportunities with me.
• Complete and regularly update your Individual Development Plan (IDP) (
• As a Ph.D. student, be self-motiveated to aim for ~2-3 submitted (ideally accepted) peer-reviewed papers before your viva, considering 6 chapters of your PhD thesis, with post-docs aiming for around one paper per year on average. Your ambition is important here and no hard requirement.
• Strive to be the most knowledgeable individual in the room on your topic by the time of your viva.
• Don’t fake any results! You can’t always expect positive outcomes.
• Communicate your evolving career goals as they develop.

Some contents are adopted from Dr. George S. D. Gordon. Any suggestions please email:


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