Lei qualified with a BEng degree in Chemical Engineering from the Inner Mongolia University of Technology, China in 2005. Following on his undergraduate degree Lei studied at Taiyuan University of Technology, China, and got a MEng degree in Chemical Engineering in 2008.
He went back to the Inner Mongolia University of Technology as a lecturer for two years from 2008 to 2010. After that he came to the UK as a PhD candidate and he was awarded a PhD degree in Chemical, Process and Energy from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2014.
Lei joined the University of Birmingham as a research fellow in 2014.