The University of Wollongong (UOW) has so many high achieving PhD students, working towards solving real world problems. Behind every great PhD candidate is a great supervisor (or two). We hear from both to understand their perspective of the post graduate journey.

During his PhD, Ahmed Faaiq Sultan has published six journal papers and one conference papers, and he still has other papers in the pipeline. He has a Bachelors degree from the College of Engineering-Civil Department from the University of Tikrit in Iraq and a Masters from the College of Engineering from the University Sains Malaysia. His research interests are in the area of high performance concrete. His supervisor is Associate Professor Muhammad Hadi from the School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering from the Faculty of EIS.

Meet the supervisor: A/Prof Muhammad Hadi

How did you find yourself where you are now professionally?

After finishing my Master’s degree, I secured a scholarship to study a PhD in the UK. I am an academic, but I also am an engineer. I always think from the practical point of view. I always think, will this work in the field? Will the practicing engineers benefit from this? The best research is the research that can advance our scientific knowledge and have practical application. I have successfully supervised 26 PhD students to completion and currently I am supervising a further 12 PhD students. This is in addition to countless Master’s degree students and thousands of undergraduate students that I have taught. I have published over 200 papers many of them have high citations. Every PhD student has published at least two papers with me. I take pride and satisfaction in knowing that all my PhD graduates went on to excel either as academics or practicing engineers. That after all their hard work and perseverance, the degree helped them achieve professional success.

What makes a great PhD candidate?

A great PhD candidate is someone who is inspired by their research field. The topic you choose to undertake can be overwhelming and can take some time to decide on. Cutting edge research relies on the PhD student thinking outside the square and being bold in taking calculated risks. Being organised and decisive makes you a leader both in research and in life. Being a team player allows you to collaborate with fellow students and staff. Excellent communication skills will help you to express your ideas. A step wise approach to increasing control of the project allows you to take lead of the project over the first few months.

Meet the candidate: Ahmed Sultan

How did you find your supervisor?

My supervisor A/Prof Muhammad Hadi has shown endless support through countless meetings and ongoing supervision. His guidance, patience and optimism put me on the way of success. He reviews my work, assisted me with his great motivation and kept me engaged with useful guidance. We managed to develop a wonderful level of progression and have built knowledge within this field of study. I’m very lucky to have such a great supervisor who has enriched my thoughts with valuable vision, ongoing motivation and positive personality.

How do you think your research can change the world?

The good results that I achieved by improving this type of concrete under different loading conditions by using different types of steel fibres; including waste steel fibre recovered from discarded tyres can results in positive economical and environmental impacts; and can be applied practically in every day life. The concerns of using this type of concrete can be mitigated by applying the knowledge obtained from our investigations.

This is an excerpt from the full article available here.