As a student, “HE” overcomes learning obstacles with sheer determination and the attitude of striving for perfection. As a teacher, “HE” leads his students to develop their productivity, so they can pursue their dreams. As a researcher, “HE” conquers the difficulties in his profession with his conscientious attitude in science and his innovative spirit. “HE” is our alumnus – Prof. Elvis Mak Pui-In. From Undergraduate to Doctorate, from student to teacher, from scholar to researcher; there is one thing that will never change along his boundless study – his sheer determination towards science and technology.

Pure UM Production

Prof. Elvis Mak Pui-In, Associate Professor of Faculty of Science and Technology and Coordinator of the Wireless Research Line of the State-Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI, completed his bachelor and doctoral degrees majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Macau (UM). Elvis has been engaged in fundamental research and applied innovation of CMOS microelectronic area for a long period of time. Due to the setback of development and lack of innovation in High-tech Microelectronics for Wireless Communications in China, he has accomplished some pioneering work in the area of structure design, theory and new technology. Elvis has already published two of his works and over 120 theses and obtained more than 30 national and provincial paper awards and 4 parents in the United States. Moreover, he has also received Honorary Title awarded by the Macau SAR Government in 2005 and the National Scientific and Technological Progress Award (2nd Class) award from State Government of Mainland China in 2011. In addition, he has been named Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS) for the period of 2014-2015 and is the first Macau Scholar to receive this award.

While leading a smooth research path in the public’s eyes, Elvis actually cultivated it with efforts.  “In year 1999, Macau’s economy was not outstanding. As I loved sciences when I was a child, I followed my fondness and chose to study Electrical and Computer. I started getting in touch with Microelectronics at Year 4 and obtained good academic result. Under the suggestion of Prof. Rui Martins, I applied for Doctoral degree directly after I received my Bachelor degree.” Elvis recalled. “We did not have a laboratory to do our experiments at that time, so we had to do at computer labs. But looking back, these experiences helped  polish and enhance my ability.”

Make Good Use of Your Strengths

Elvis has always been trying his best to contribute his heart, effort and wisdom to support the development of the University. Besides publishing academic papers, he also participated actively in international academic activities and research conferences to upgrade his own education, teaching techniques and professional knowledge. He was deeply inspired by the exchange experience with overseas higher educational institutes. “Although UM’s current campus is small, it can still provide the necessary resources for us to conduct our research that might not be available in other universities. We should make use of what is good in us, polish it and strive for perfection. We should not compare our weakness to other’s strengths. Innovation is the essential element for conducting research. It is unnecessary to follow exactly what others are doing; we should have our own points of view. This is the genuine attitude which a scholar should have.” he believes.

Elvis spent merely 7 years to complete his Bachelor and Doctoral degrees, and was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor in 3 years’ time. When we asked him whether there were hints on how he completed his studies and started his career more quickly than the others, he expressed that all you need to do is “focus”. “The achievement I currently have is all because of ‘focus’. As a teacher myself, I found many students were unable to focus while doing things. As a result, this affected their studies or performances and was unfavorable to their long-term development. In my opinion, success or failure will be influenced by whether you can focus or not. This is what we should be aware of.” he enthuses.

Set the Right Target and Make Good Choice

Elvis had a very clear vision and direction whether he was choosing his majors during his school days or choosing his research area. “The key to achievement is to note your ability, locate your position, understand your own strengths and then focus on working ahead.” He also applies the same phenomenon when teaching. He teaches his students according to individual abilities and encourages them to explore their interests. “As a teacher, the only thing we can do is to help the students to begin their research with their interests and then develop it further and deeper. This is not easy indeed. First of all, you have to consider every student’s background and what is special in them. Besides teaching them according to their abilities, we have to provide appropriate psychological counselling to help them to overcome the negative influence brought by individual’s psychological factors.  Then assign appropriate topics to help them to achieve a higher efficiency.” he continues.

To balance the multi roles of being a “teacher”, “researcher”, “husband” and “father” at the same time, Elvis holds the keys of good time management. For instance, he is totally devoted when doing research as well as being a perfect father at home. “Since my daughter was born, it is impossible to stay overnight in the lab like what I did when I was young. My daughter is 3 years old now and is at her critical growing period. Thus, I spend most of my leisure time with my family and daughter, enjoying our time together having lots of family fun. Sometimes, I also participate in volunteer services. ‘Feeling Content’ can best describe my current lifestyle.”

Youngster Should Seize Opportunities Proactively

As the coordinator of the Wireless Research Line of the State-Key Laboratory, Elvis thinks it is necessary to have good study style and a nice academic atmosphere if a school wants to produce a group of high quality students. Furthermore, the new State-Key Laboratory at the new campus contributes a whole new opportunity to UM’s education as well as the development of scientific research. “In comparison with other existing State-Key Laboratory in China, the scale of UM is the smallest. Nevertheless, this issue will definitely be solved after moving to the new campus, since the environmental resources will be upgraded as well as the experimental apparatus and the condition of scientific research. I believe that it will provide a better study condition and atmosphere for students.” he states. Relocation of the laboratory will be the next challenge for him, as the new laboratory is ten times larger than the existing one.

The first batch of his doctoral degree students is going to graduate this year. He felt that to witness the achievement of students is the biggest compliment for a teacher. His future goal is to continue with the leading role of academic innovation as well as cultivating his students to be future talents. For a more long-term goal, he wishes to produce more intermediate products which can play an important role in the national aspect. Meanwhile, he concludes with a motto of his to encourage the younger generations, “It is always difficult to tell what will come out when you try to do something now. But if you want something in return, you have to think of how much effort you can put into it. Learn to seize the opportunities proactively and try to do your best and save more experience. All these will contribute to your own development. Moreover, you must work diligently and strive for perfection in order to keep equipping yourself and exploring your own potentials.”