Dr. Xiaomin Zhao and Dr. Lingwei Yang have received the award to the best Doctoral Thesis at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) in the academic year 2016-2017. The Doctoral Thesis of Dr. Zhao was defended in the Chemical Engineering Program and was co-supervised by Dr. D.-Y. Wang and Prof. J. LLorca. The Doctoral thesis of Dr. Yang was defended in the Structures, Foundations and Materials Program and was co-supervised by Dr. J. Molina-Aldareguía and Prof. J. LLorca. Their research work with us was supported by a fellowship from the China Scholarship Council.