Mohd Zainal Abidin Ab Kadir received his B.Eng. degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Universiti Putra Malaysia and Ph.D. degree in High Voltage Engineering from the University of Manchester, U.K, respectively.
Zainal is a Professor at the Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia, after serving as the Head of Department and Deputy Dean (Research & Innovation) between 2011 to 2014 and 2014 to 2017, respectively. He is also the Founding Director at the Centre for Electromagnetic and Lightning Protection Research (CELP), Universiti Putra Malaysia, which is regarded as the World Leader in Lightning Safety by the lightning community. Prof Zainal holds several other roles in UPM such as Cluster Head for Applied Sciences and Engineering, Committee for Knowledge Management and Research Planning and Committee for Putra Global (PG) 200.
Currently, he is being seconded to Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) for 3 years (2018-2021) as part of Strategic Hire under BOLD 2025 Initiative i.e. the University's strategic plan in making UNITEN among the top universities in Asia and World.
He is also an IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Distinguished Lecturer in the field of lightning and high voltage engineering. This prestigious award and recognition is given to the well-known engineers who have been working in the selected areas for long time. He is also the recipient of the Vice Chancellor Fellowship Award for Professional Services in 2017, Vice Chancellor Fellowship Award for Young Scientist in 2012, Young Scientist Network (YSN-ASM) 2012, Top Research Scientist Malaysia (TRSM) 2014, Anugerah Tokoh Jasa Gemilang 2015 (contributions to the school’s development activities), Tokoh Anak Muda Kelantan (Akademik) 2015 and shorlisted for the 2015 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize). To date he has authored and co-authored over 300 technical papers comprising of high impact journals and conference proceedings . He has supervised 17 PhD and 36 MSc students and currently 25 PhD and 7 MSc are on their way. His research interests include high voltage engineering, lightning protection, electromagnetic compatibility and power system transients
Professor Zainal is a Professional Engineer (PEng) and a Chartered Engineer (CEng), as well as a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical dan Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Currently, he is the Chairman of the National Mirror Committee of IEC TC 81 (Lightning Protection) and a country’s representative to the IEC TC 81 Meeting, for which Malaysia is a Permanent Member. Apart from that, he is the Local Convener of MNC-CIGRE C4 on System Technical Performance, Past Chair of IEEE Power & Energy Society Malaysia, Working Group Member of IEEE PES Lightning Performance on Overhead Lines, CIGRE C4.23 on Guide to Procedures for Estimating the Lightning Performance of Transmission Lines and CIGRE C4.23 on Effectiveness of Line Surge Arresters for Lightning Protection of Overhead Transmission Lines. Prof Zainal also contributed as a Specialist in CIGRE SC B5: Protection and Automation, CIGRE SC D2: Information Systems and
Telecommunication, CIGRE SC C3: System Environmental Performance and CIGRE SC D1: Materials and Emerging Test
He is also an Advisory Board Member of the National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI) USA, Research Advisor for the African Centre for Lightning and Electromagnetic (ACLE) and Advisor to many other government agencies such as Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) and the Energy Commission of Malaysia.
Apart from contributing to the national and international standard development on lightning protection and high voltage engineering, among other his notable contributions to the National and International is to assist the Energy Commission of Malaysia issued a circular relating to lightning protection and to produce a lightning protection handbook as a reference for the engineers, consultants and other organizations within and outside the country. This Circular prohibits the use of unsafe lightning protection systems in Malaysia and often referred to as an example to follow by the international lightning protection community. In 2016, another milestone was achieved and marked the important aspect and contribution of lightning protection in Malaysia. Again, CELP was given a responsibility by SEDA to prepare a guidebook on Lightning Protection for Photovoltaic (PV) Systems, which was released in August 2016 and made available to the public. As for the societal contribution, he has shared the knowledge and expertise in the field of lightning protection and safety through his write-up in printed media and his appearances on the national radio and television.