Category Archives: Updates

New Vacancy in my Group – Don’t Miss Out Apply NOW – URGENT DEADLINE 2 DAYS LEFT

Apply Now – New Vacancy for Research Assistant in my Group – ONLY 2 DAYS TO GO
I’m looking for a research assistant to complete the jigsaw of my research team at Lincoln. I want someone with the personality and charisma to get on with people. Being helpful and friendly with an eye for the bigger picture will go a long way to filling my needs. If you have experience in vacuum technology/thin films/nanoparticles and characterisation then the technical aspects of the job will be ‘piece of cake’. If you don’t then if you are the right person then training will be provided. You will be part of a large wide research network in a vibrant new school of mathematics and physics. We will provide an environment so that you can develop in the role.
If you are interested in being part of our exciting future then apply using the link below. I happy to answer any questions you have. The link is
https://jobs.lincoln.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=COS540

The details of the vacancy copied from the advert are as follows:

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Research Assistant (Fixed Term)

School of Mathematics and Physics

Location: Brayford
Salary: From £27,285 per annum
This post is full time, and fixed term for approximately two years.
Closing Date: Sunday 22 July 2018
Interview Date: To be confirmed
Reference: COS540

Applications are invited for a Research Assistant position in the School of Mathematics and Physics for a period of 2 years on a research projects from August 2018 (or as soon as possible thereafter). The research focuses on synthesis, deposition and analysis of thin films and nanocomposite materials for energy generation and storage and biomedical applications. The post-holder will develop novel will develop composite coatings and nanomaterials using physical and chemical deposition methods and characterise these using microscopy and surface analysis technique sand work with a multidisciplinary team from engineering, chemistry and pharmacy.

The position offers the opportunity to engage in international collaboration within an ambitious team,to work with state-of-the-art deposition and analysis equipment, and to benefit from excellent support to produce and disseminate original research contributions.

Applicants should have an honours degree or MSc in Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Life Sciences or a related area. Excellent technical, written and organisational skills are essential. Hands-on practical experience in deposition, synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials and thin films are an advantage. Evidence of authorship of research outputs is desirable, as is the ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, including excellent communication skills.

The University of Lincoln is a forward-thinking, ambitious institution and you will be working in the heart of a thriving, beautiful, safe and friendly city. The School of Mathematics and Physics within the College of Science provide a stimulating environment for academic research, and is based in high quality, newly developed facilities.

Informal enquiries about the post can be made to Professor Waqar Ahmed (email: wahmed).

As a member of the Athena SWAN Charter we are committed to advancing gender equality in STEM, therefore female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.

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Delightful PhD Celebrations with my students at UCLAN

I was honoured to be invited along with Dr Mahmood Shah to PhD success celebration dinner in Blackburn. We supervised over a dozen students from Shah Abdul Latif University over the last few years in Preston. It was delightful and distinctive experience filled with exciting challenges i had not experienced before. Well done to final quartet Zahoor, Raza, Qurban and Javid. I wish all of you magnificent success moving forward into new horizons. I feel proud of your achievements and efforts. I shall cherish the amazing time we spent together.

PhD viva at University College Cork and Meeting with my role model – Prof Martyn Pemble

My visit to university college cork was exciting. I went for a PhD viva of Harry Manley and caught up with one of my role models Professor Martyn Pemble. Collaborating with his team is going to be a fantastic experience.

Do nothing, achieve everything – Adam’s Law

I never saw this lad do any work during his school days, university time or at home. He seems to just breeze through life. Nevertheless, I am pleased with the results. Adam needs to enlighten me on law of least effort so my stress levels are tolerable.

20 ideas for creating elements of a dynamic research culture

A lot of people talk about research culture in academic forums and corridors. What is it? I’ve been involved for most of my life and it seems to be an elusive characteristic of good research. I’ve never really been able to define it clearly. The Cambridge English dictionary states that “Culture is the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs of a particular group of people at a particular time, Since Google knows everything I thought I’d Google it. Google says, “culture is the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society” or “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively”.  I’m still not any clearer so I came up with some ideas of my own after some prompting from Head of School Professor Andrei Zvelindovsky.  Even though I have worked with him for over a decade, he still seems like a “weird” genius, so I always argue with him. It stimulates my mind and I like to win.

Here some of my ideas and observations in random order. Most stem from experience of having supervised 76 research students from all over the world over the last few decades. Let me know what you think in the comments to this post and if you have other ideas please share.

  1. The first rule is to develop a “childlike curiosity” to understand and learn and improve. The best way is to ask tons of questions. Don’t worry about how simple or intricate the questions are; the main rule is to keep asking. Your questions will stimulate other researchers to reflect and go deeper into their subject creating a greater level of clarity and deepen understanding. I read somewhere that if you can’t explain an idea simply then you don’t understand it. Ask great questions and you’ll get wonderful answers.
  2. People are multidimensional and multifaceted, so develop an interest in the whole person not just the research topic. Often the depth of emotion behind research is the fuel that drives success. For example, just over a decade ago I attended a conference in King Abdel Aziz Univeristy in Jedda, Saudi Arabia as a invited speaker and had dinner with the Scottish chemist Professor Fraser Stoddart who was keynote speaker. His talk was brilliant. He wanted to find a cure for cancer using his cyclic molecules to deliver anticancer drugs. His intensity, passionate and focus was “laser like” as if he was going to burn a hole in the table. He asked me lots of questions about my research. I was delighted but not entirely surprised to learn that Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart won the coveted Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2016 for his work on synthesising molecular machines. His drive was not to win the Nobel Prize but to cure cancer. With tears in his eyes he told me, “my wife had died of cancer. That nearly killed me. So I decided I am going to beat this thing”. Try to understand the motivations behind members of the group. Once you understand the motivations that fuels the engine you can use it to progress research.
  3.   Create a safe and comfortable environment of curiosity and fun. Enjoy each other company. Create special occasions where everyone can meet and talk. Respect everybody’s opinions and views. Give everyone opportunities to express themselves in formal and informal environments. Tell jokes. Make people laugh.
  4. Look for opportunities for students to show their brilliance. See all your students as talented and brilliant, not as they are but as they can be. Celebrate their victories.
  5. Lower your level to that of the student you’re talking to because you can only understand and influence their thinking speaking on their ground. This way you can both enjoy the journey and you’ll delight in the success of your students. Gradually you’ll inspire and guide them to reach their full potential.
  6. Reverse the pyramid of leadership. When I was leading the group, running things, organising meetings etc. I found it stressful keeping on top of it all. A few years ago, I had 28 PhD students at one time with no postdoctoral support and health issues. I decided to let go of control and appointed a PhD student Sneha as chairperson of the group. I gave her full responsibility to organise everything the way she wanted. She was brilliant and took to leadership and organisation like a duck in water. Sneha organised meetings, talks, booked rooms, talked to other students to get collective views, organised boot camps, sorted out issues in the labs, invited people to social events, etc. In short, she took care of the “nitty gritty”. At same time the atmosphere in the group was buzzing. That period was the most productive. Now at Lincoln I have another amazing person, Hatem in charge of my group and its expanding quickly.
  7. Be honest and open in your communication. If you are at fault, then openly admit it. Bring your faults, lack of knowledge and understanding and mistakes you’ve made to the surface. This creates empathy and makes it easier for others to share their negative and positive experiences, so everyone can learn and develop. Make sure any criticism is constructive and leads to improvements. Toxic criticism is no good for anyone and serves no purpose in a research culture. Don’t tolerate it. Positive constructive criticism is the key to success and negative destructive criticism is the path to failure in creating a good research culture.
  8. Always be impeccable in your behaviour, manners and attitude. Students tend to mirror their supervisors. Therefore, be an excellent role model. Never be angry unless there are strong and clear reasons. Explain them properly. You must never lose control of yourself. Politeness and courtesy essential to develop mutual respect amongst researchers.
  9. Share your experiences, failures and successes. Opening aspects of your private life so that students can relate to your journey. I talk to my students about my family, fears, problems, hopes, desires and past life and lessons I’ve learned from lots of failures. Encourage students to try new things and eliminate fear of failure and criticism. Let them know that everyone fails from time to time and it’s OK as long as you learn and improve.
  10. Give credit where it is due. Always give credit away, don’t take credit for yourself. Be fair and honest in your praises.  Admire and highlight the success, achievements and performances of your students. This will encourage them and also inspire others in the group. Be genuine. False praise is like no praise.
  11. Group success takes precedence over individual bias. Encourage everyone to support and contribute to team success. Always think win-win and not you win and someone else loses. If the group is successful, then individual success is a natural by-product. Always encourage everyone to add value to others and the group.
  12. You must have clear values and goals. Each individual must have own daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and 3 yearly goals clearly mapped out. Each activity will be a piece of the jigsaw of success for everyone. If everyone knows the dreams and goals of others they can support with specific actions and encouragement. You can’t help a person to get to a destination if you don’t know where he is going. Clarity is the key.
  13. Look at every person in the group as a whole. We are all multifaceted with a wide range of interests, desire, skills and backgrounds. One way will not fit all of the people. So, take an interest in the whole individual and try to understand what make an individual tick. Research is only one component of the machine which has to function in a coordinated way to perform its functions. I have supervised students from all over the world and it is so much fun learning about various cultures and etiquettes.
  14. Be a source of support and guidance. Always try to add value to the whole in every situation. Take an active interest and list ideas for other where you can make a contribution. When you get the chance then act on the ideas that you have listed. Give your ideas freely. You may say something that will ignite a spark in others.
  15. Have fun and socialise together. Have tea, lunch or dinner together. Create away days. Go to the cinema. Learn about the interests of others and participate in some way, even if it’s asking questions to learn more. Learn something together e.g. new language, a skill or an experience. Celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Eid, Diwali etc.
  16. Create special focused breakthrough events. If someone is struggling with writing a research paper, then run a boot camp on it. People are afraid of public speaking so if a student has a conference presentation then organise a mock talk for practice and improvement. If somebody is writing a thesis then run a thesis writing retreat. Expand their experiences and raise confidence.
  17. Encourage, set up and support dialogue and debate with researchers from other groups, from across the university, nationally and internationally. Share knowledge and experience and learn from everyone. They may be doing things differently that you can adapt to your practice. Send researchers to conferences, workshops and visits to expand their sphere of experience.
  18. Always be interested in students. Make an effort to attend their graduations, talks, events, etc. This shows that you care, and this goes a long way in building rapport amongst the group. Show support and appreciation.
  19. Encourage students to set up and build a social media presence where they can share their research, thoughts and ideas. Get them to build their research profile. Encourage them to post regularly.
  20. Develop an attitude or culture of daily deliberate practice. Develop a plan and act on it to improve daily in gaining knowledge, become a great technical writer, fantastic speaker, develop laboratory skills, communication skills and experiences that are needed for success. I ask my students to write a weekly summary of a research paper they have read in the form of a blog for non-specialist audience. The steps are i) take action ii) review and plan improvement iii) get feedback from others and iv) repeat action again and get better and better all the time.

I hope you’ve found these ideas useful in developing a fun, dynamic and productive research culture. I look forward to receiving feedback and ideas from you to improve myself further.

 

 

 

New Vacancy for Research Assistant in my Group

I’m looking for a research assistant to complete the jigsaw of my research team at Lincoln. I want someone with the personality and charisma to get on with people. Being helpful and friendly with an eye for the bigger picture will go a long way to filling my needs. If you have experience in vacuum technology/thin films/nanoparticles and characterisation then the technical aspects of the job will be ‘piece of cake’. If you don’t then if you are the right person then training will be provided. You will be part of a large wide research network in a vibrant new school of mathematics and physics. We will provide an environment so that you can develop in the role.

If you are interested in being part of our exciting future then apply using the link below. I happy to answer any questions you have. The link is

https://jobs.lincoln.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=COS540

The details of the vacancy copied from the advert are as follows:

Research Assistant (Fixed Term)

School of Mathematics and Physics

Location:  Brayford
Salary:   From £27,285 per annum
This post is full time, and fixed term for approximately two years.
Closing Date:   Sunday 22 July 2018
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  COS540

Applications are invited for a Research Assistant position in the School of Mathematics and Physics for a period of 2 years on a research projects from August 2018 (or as soon as possible thereafter). The research focuses on synthesis, deposition and analysis of thin films and nanocomposite materials for energy generation and storage and biomedical applications. The post-holder will develop novel will develop composite coatings and nanomaterials using physical and chemical deposition methods and characterise these using microscopy and surface analysis technique sand work with a multidisciplinary team from engineering, chemistry and pharmacy.

The position offers the opportunity to engage in international collaboration within an ambitious team,to work with state-of-the-art deposition and analysis equipment, and to benefit from excellent support to produce and disseminate original research contributions.

Applicants should have an honours degree or MSc in Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Life Sciences or a related area. Excellent technical, written and organisational skills are essential. Hands-on practical experience in deposition, synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials and thin films are an advantage. Evidence of authorship of research outputs is desirable, as is the ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, including excellent communication skills.

The University of Lincoln is a forward-thinking, ambitious institution and you will be working in the heart of a thriving, beautiful, safe and friendly city. The School of Mathematics and Physics within the College of Science provide a stimulating environment for academic research, and is based in high quality, newly developed facilities.

Informal enquiries about the post can be made to Professor Waqar Ahmed (email: wahmed@lincoln.ac.uk).

As a member of the Athena SWAN Charter we are committed to advancing gender equality in STEM, therefore female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

 

 

Physics Prize Giving

Physics prize giving event was a memorable occasion. We presented prizes to the top students and to lecturers voted the best for year 1, 2 and 3. I had the honour of presenting some of the prizes.

It was a strange and exhilarating feeling to present the prizes but I don’t recall ever winning one as a student. I didn’t have the talent and dedication to win. But I remember that as a student I kept improving without getting to the podium. I must be a late developer.

Well I can still enjoy the lunch with talented people like Fabian, Andrei and Manuela. I am hoping that some of their magic will rub off on me. I’m convinced that one day someone will present me with some sort of a prize if not for talent but for longevity and working with the right people.

PhD viva Success for Nathaniel

It was wonderful to examine a PhD at University of Western Scotland. Nathaniel Tsendzughul, supervised by Prof Abraham Ogwu and Dr Monjtaba Mirzacian, defended his work splendidly. It’s inspiring to see people dedicating a big part of their lives to a single project for 3-4 years, throughout thinking of giving up or questioning if it’s worth the all nighters. Brought back old memories of my time in Glasgow and defending my own research work. My own viva frightening, I thought I was going to fail. Looking back, I never expected to one day of being on the opposite side of the table. It’s a strange feeling, it’s like a long dream.

Congratulations to Nathaniel. This is your first step to an amazing new life.

PhD viva Success for Nathaniel

It was wonderful to examine a PhD at University of Western Scotland. Nathaniel Tsendzughul, supervised by Prof Abraham Ogwu and Dr Monjtaba Mirzacian, defended his work splendidly. It’s inspiring to see people dedicating a big part of their lives to a single project for 3-4 years, throughout thinking of giving up or questioning if it’s worth the all nighters. Brought back old memories of my time in Glasgow and defending my own research work. My own viva frightening, I thought I was going to fail. Looking back, I never expected to one day of being on the opposite side of the table. It’s a strange feeling, it’s like a long dream.

Congratulations to Nathaniel. This is your first step to an amazing new life.

It’s so good to be back in Glasgow for a PhD viva

Just arrived in Glasgow Central. It’s breathtaking. I’m here to do a PhD viva at University of West Scotland. After decades away my trip has brought back great memories of my year here as a final year PhD student. I worked under the fantastic supervision, support and life changing guidance from the eminent Professor Micheal Hitchman. It was tough year but provided a strong foundation for all the success I’ve had subsequently. People are still so friendly and helpful. Rihana, Aisha and I moved to Glasgow. It was amazing year for us as a family in the greatest city in the world. We must come back as a family for a holiday.