LI Jinghai graduated from the Department of Thermal Engineering of the Harbin Institute of Technology in 1982. He entered a master's degree program at his alma mater in the same year. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing in 1987. He conducted his post-doctoral research at the City University of New York and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. After returning to China in 1990, he served as the assistant professor, associate professor, professor, vice director and director of IPE in succession. From 2004 to 2016, he was a vice president of CAS in charge of strategic study and member election. In February 2018, he was appointed the president of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).
Professor LI established the Energy-Minimization Multi-Scale (EMMS) model for gas-solid systems. The model has been extended to many different complex systems, and generalized into the EMMS paradigm of computation featuring the structural similarity between problems, modeling, software and hardware, which has been implemented by constructing a supercomputer with capacity of 1 Pflops and has been used widely in chemical and energy industries. He is also engaged research in clean coal technology. Currently, he is devoted to promoting the concept of mesoscience based on the EMMS principle of compromise in competition as an interdisciplinary science.
He is the vice president of International Science Council (ISC), the vice president of Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA), the vice President of the China Association for Science and Technology, the vice president of Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China. He is the editor-in-chief ofParticuologyand also sits on editorial committees or international advisory boards for several other international periodicals, such asPowder Technology, Advances in Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering Science, Reviews in Chemical Engineering, andGranular Matter. He holds memberships of CAS, TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences), SATW (Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences), RAEng (The Royal Academy of Engineering) and ATSE (The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering).He received a variety of prizes and honors, both national and international, including Particle Technology Forum Award from AIChE(2010), Medal Lecture Award from the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (2012), Hongkong Qiushi Young Scientist Prize (1996), two National Natural Science Awards (1989, 1995) and Young Scientist Prize(1996) in China, a Technology Innovation Prize from CAS (2001).