Liying holds a B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Dalian University of Technology in China, and two master degrees, first on Environmental Policy and Regulation, from the prestigious London School of Economics and a second masters on Sustainable Project Management from Northwestern University. She has conducted research on environmental economics and management while in her tenure at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She has been in charge of the engineering economic analysis projects for nation-wide water treatment infrastructure investment in China. She has been involved in research project of identifying carbon emission drivers for metropolises like Beijing using life-cycle assessment. She has also studied agricultural adaptation to climate change, integrating climate generation models, and crop process-based modeling. Her current research interests lie in hydro-economic modeling, water allocation optimization, agricultural water use, and climate change adaptation.