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Engineering has 117 PGR students registered for a doctorate degree in 2019/20 and 145 PhDs have been awarded in the current REF cycle. Students are encouraged to participate in academic activities with undergraduates, equipping them for careers beyond the successful completion of their thesis. 

Take a look at the showcase below to see some of our students and their work. 


Danstan ChipondeDanstan Bwalya Chiponde

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Supervisors: Dr Barry Gledson and Prof. David Greenwood

Title of thesis: Learning from Project-Related Failures in UK Construction Project Based Organisation: An Examination of Actor Approaches, Intentions and Behaviour.

My PhD research is focused on learning from project-related failures by Project-Based Organisations in the UK construction sector. This is by changing the negative perception associated with failure and realising that valuable lessons can be learnt from such occurrences which may also aid in developing resilience among project actors. I hold a Bsc in Building Science and Msc in Construction Management. Prior to joining Northumbria university as a PhD student, I worked as a lecturer in construction management and quantity surveying at the Copperbelt university, Zambia. My research interests include, learning within project organisations, Building Information Modelling, lean construction and managing people on projects.



Published and presented papers at the prestigious ARCOM conference since 2019.

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Hossein Abdolnezhad

Department: Engineering and Environment

Supervisor: Dr Ciro Semprebon 

Title of thesis: Dynamics of complex fluids on Slippery Liquid Infused Substrates 

I gained MSc in Mechanical Engineering at Shahrood University of Technology. Through the M.Sc. program, I got a thorough inception of fluid mechanics particularly non-Newtonian materials and I have obtained considerable knowledge in the usage of them. I am currently undertaking my PhD at Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering (MPEE), Faculty of Engineering and Environment with focusing on dynamics of complex fluids (non-Newtonian fluids) on Slippery Liquid Infused Substrates (SLIPS). My field of interest and research include: fluid mechanics, non-Newtonian fluids, drop dynamic, drop impacts and high speed imaging. 



M Norouzi, H Abdolnezhad, S Mandani. An experimental investigation on inertia motion and deformation of Boger drops falling through Newtonian media. Meccanica 54 (3), 473-490, 2019. 

A Emamian, M Norouzi, H Abdolnezhad. An analytical and experimental study on dynamics of Newtonian falling drops in inertia regime with low Reynolds numbers. Amirkabir Journal of Mechanical Engineering, 2019. 

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Mahsa Bagheri Tookanlou 

Department: Engineering and Environment

Supervisor: Dr. Mousa Marzband 

Title of thesis: An Optimal Day-Ahead Scheduling Framework for E-Mobility Ecosystem Operation Considering Uncertainties and Drivers’ Preferences

The aim of my PhD (funded by Northumbria University) is to develop a comprehensive day-ahead grid-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-grid scheduling framework for an e-mobility ecosystem. My research interests are mainly about power system management, electric vehicle scheduling, renewable energy, and the smart grid. During 2019-2020, I was chair of IEEE WIE (Wemon in Engineering) Committee of Northumbria University IEEE branch. I obtained my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering (emphasis on power systems and energy management) at Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. Prior to joining Northumbria University, I worked as an Electrical Engineer for a company involved in engineering of oil and gas industries for more than five years. 



Mahsa Bagheri Tookanlou, S. Ali Pourmousavi Kani, Mousa Marzband, A comprehensive day-ahead scheduling strategy for electric vehicles operation, International Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems, 2021. 

Mahsa Bagheri Tookanlou, Mousa Marzband, Ameena Saad Al-Sumaiti, Somayeh Asadi, Energy vehicles as means of energy storage: Impacts on Energy Markets and Infrastructure, Energy Storage in Energy Markets, 2021. 

Mohammad Hossein Fouladfar, Abdolah Loni, Mahsa Bagheri Tookanlou, Mousa Marzband, Radu Godina, Ameena Al-Sumaiti, Edris Pouresmaeil, The impact of demand response programs on reducing the emissions and cost of a neighbourhood home microgrid, Applied Sciences (9), 2019.  

M.B.Tookanlou, M.M.Ardehali, M.E.Nazari, Combined cooling, heating, and power system optimal pricing for electricity and natural gas using particle swarm optimization based on bi-level programming approach: Case study of Canadian energy sector, Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering (23), 2015.   

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Ansu SunAnsu Sun

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Professor: Prof. Ben Bin Xu

Title of thesis: 3D Printing Assisted Development of Bio-inspired Structure and Device for Advanced Engineering

I joined Northumbria as an undergraduate student in 2013 and continued my postgraduate studies after it. In 2017, I was fortunate to continue my PhD in MCE Department. My doctoral project mainly focuses on 3D micro-fabrication techniques for soft active materials-based bio-inspired structures and devices. It designs and 3D-fabricate the bio-inspired structure capable of behaving fundamental surface physical/chemical transitions/switches such as mechano-geometrically surface morphing and swollen/shrank. Apart from the technique exploration, interesting physics/mechanics of soft materials are studied to support broad range of applications in emerging fields such as sensors and actuators, soft robotics, and biomedical engineering.




Ansu Sun, Ding Wang, Honghao Zhou, Yifan Li, Chris Connor, Jie Kong, Jining Sun, Ben Bin Xu, Spatially Engraving Morphological Structure on Polymeric Surface by Ion Beam Milling, Polymers 2019, 11(7), 1229.

Dongjie Liu, Yong Li, Fei Liu, Wenjing Zhou, Ansu Sun, Xiaoteng Liu, Fei Chen, Ben Bin Xu, Jinjia Wei, Interfacial Interaction Enhanced Rheological Behavior in PAM/CTAC/Salt Aqueous Solution- A Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Study, Polymers 2020, 12(2), 265.

Zhenghong Li, Yingzhi Liu, Ming Lei, Ansu Sun, Sreepathy Sridhar, Yifan Li, Xuqing Liu, Haibao Lu, Richard Fu, Ben Bin Xu, A Stimuli-responsive Gel Impregnated Surface with Switchable Lipophilic/Oleophobic Properties, Soft Matter 2020, 16(6), 1636-1641

Ziyu Xing, Haibao Lu, Ansu Sun, Yong Qing Fu, Muhammad Wakil Shahzad and Ben Bin Xu, Understanding complex dynamics of interfacial reconstruction in polyampholyte hydrogels undergoing mechano-chemo-electrotaxis coupling, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 2020, 54(8), 085301.

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Neeru Bala

Department: Physics

Supervisor: Dr. Ciro Semprebon

Title of thesis: High density ratio Lattice Boltzmann simulations for ternary systems

My PhD research is focused on a computational project aimed to study the fluid dynamic properties of immiscible ternary fluid systems. The significance of my research is to gain the potential to conduct numerical simulations of realistic liquid-liquid-gas systems, for example, water-oil emulsions in the air or slippery liquid-infused surfaces. My research interests focus on the modelling and simulation of multiphase fluid systems, capillarity and wetting phenomenon.




Neeru Bala, Marianna Pepona, Ilya Karlin, Halim Kusumaatmaja, and Ciro Semprebon. Wetting boundaries for a ternary high-density-ratio lattice boltzmann method. Physical Review E, 100(1):013308, 2019.



Mohammadreza Aghakashkooli 

Department: Engineering and Environment

Supervisor: Dr. Milutin Jovanovic 

Title of thesis: Control and Grid Integration of Brushless Doubly Fed Reluctance Wind Generators

Grid-connected doubly fed generators allow variable speed wind energy conversion by using a partially rated power electronics converter. This lowers the system cost and provides a better reliability compared with a fully-rated permanent magnet synchronous generators. The Brushless Doubly Fed Reluctance Generators (BDFRG) is viewed as a suitable brushless, medium-speed alternative to a traditional Doubly Fed Induction Generator (DFIG) with better economic and reliability advantages over DFIG. The aim of this research is to develop sensorless algorithms for the BDRFG wind turbines which are evaluated by experimental studies on a small-scale test rig and simulations of a large-scale wind turbine. 




M. R. Agha Kashkooli and Milutin Jovanovic, “Sensorless MRAS Control of Emerging Doubly-Fed Reluctance Wind Generators,” IET Renewable Power Generation, Early Access, Jan. 2021.  

M. R. Agha Kashkooli, Seyed. M. Madani and Thomas. A. Lipo, “Improved Direct Torque Control fora DFIG under Symmetrical Voltage Dip with Transient Flux Damping,” IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 28-37, Jan. 2020.  

M. R. Agha Kashkooli and M. G. Jovanovic, “A MRAS Observer Based Sensorless Control of Doubly-Fed Reluctance Wind Turbine Generators," IEEE 46th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IECON), Singapore, 2020, pp. 1734-1739.  

M. R. Agha Kashkooli and M. G. Jovanovic, “Sensorless MRAS Control of Brushless Doubly-Fed Reluctance Generators for Wind Turbines," IEEE International Conference on Electrical Machines (ICEM), Gothenburg, Sweden, 2020, pp. 2202-2208.  

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Jennifer LiJennifer Li

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Supervisors: Professor Mohamad Kassem and Professor David Greenwood

Title of thesis: A socio-technical framework to guide implementation and value realisation of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in the construction sector

The construction sector has many challenges preventing it from advancing technologically that stem from an ingrained culture of change resistance, fragmentation, and a lack of trust and collaboration. Distributed ledger technologies (DLT) (e.g. blockchain) are emerging as a way to address some of these challenges. My research centres on a socio-technical framework to support implementation of DLT-based applications in to the sector by driving changes to create an ecosystem ready to adopt such technologies.


Twitter: @PhDJen


Kassem, M., Li, J., Kumar, B., Malleson, A., Gibbs, D.J., Kelly, G. and Watson, R. (2020) ‘Building Information Modelling: Evaluation Tools for Maturity and Benefits Measurement’, Centre for Digital Built Britain.

Li, J., Greenwood, D. and Kassem, M. (2019) ‘Blockchain in the built environment and construction industry: a systematic review, conceptual models and practical use cases’, Automation in Construction, 102, pp. 288-307. DOI:

Li, J. and Kassem, M. (2019) ‘Informing implementation of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in construction: interviews with industry and academia’, 36th CIB W78 2019 Conference, 18-20 September, Newcastle, UK.

Watson, R. Kassem, M. and Li, J. (2019) ‘A Framework for Product Recall in the Construction Industry’, 36th CIB W78 2019 Conference, 18-20 September, Newcastle, UK.

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Anass TaoufikAnass Taoufik

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Supervisor: Krishna Busawon

Title of thesis: Distributed fault detection and isolation in multi-robot systems.

The purpose of my thesis is to design and develop efficient and scalable algorithms for cooperative mobile robots to address fault detection and isolation as well as fault tolerant control issues in such cooperative systems, with the aim of improving both flexibility and resilience. In order to achieve this, my focus is directed towards physical faults on robots (on the actuators or/and sensors) and cyber-attacks that target the network topology (i.e., communication links between robots), detecting, isolating them and mitigating their effects. This thesis was initially jointly proposed by the department of Automatic Control of LAMIH research laboratory (France) and by the Nonlinear Control research group in the Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University (UK).


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Shahrzad Zahertar

Department: Engineering and Environment

Supervisor: Dr. Hamdi Torun

Title of thesis: Development of Electromagnetic Metamaterials and Surface Acoustic Wave Transducers on a Single Device Geometry

During my PhD at Northumbria University, I have investigated a new method of bringing biosensing and fluid manipulation capabilities on a single structure that can be integrated in various biosensing platforms. The sensing capability is realised using metamaterial-based electromagnetic split ring resonators (SRR), and the fluid manipulation capability is realised using surface acoustic wave (SAW) actuators. Background: I have received my MSc degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bogazici University, Turkey and my BSc degree in Electrical Engineering-Bioelectric from University of Tehran, Iran. My current research interests include metamaterials for biosensing applications, SAW actuators, Lab-on-Chip devices, and microsystems.




Shahrzad Zahertar, Y. Wang, Ran Tao, J. Xie, Yong Qing Fu, Hamdi Torun, A fully integrated biosensing platform combining acoustofluidics and electromagnetic metamaterials. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 52 485004, 17 September 2019.

Shahrzad Zahertar, Emma Laurin, Linzi E. Dodd, Hamdi Torun, Embroidered Rectangular Split-Ring Resonators for the Characterization of Dielectric Materials. IEEE Sensors Journal, Volume: 20, Issue: 5, 2434 - 2439, 13 November 2019.

Ran Tao, Shahrzad Zahertar, Hamdi Torun, Yi Ru Liu, Meng Wang, Yuchao Lu, Jing Ting Luo, Jethro Vernon, Richard Binns, Yang He, Kai Tao, Qiang Wu, Hong Long Chang, and Yong Qing Fu, Flexible and Integrated Sensing Platform of Acoustic Waves and Metamaterials based on Polyimide-Coated Woven Carbon Fibers. ACS Sens., 5, 8, 2563–2569, 20 July 2020.

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Othman YounusOthman Younus

Department: Engineering and Environment

Supervisor: Prof. Zabih Ghassemlooy

Title of thesis: Artificial Intelligence Based Visible Light and Optical Camera Communications for Indoor Localizations

I am currently pursuing a PhD degree in electrical engineering. With more than 6 years of academic and +3 years of professional experience as a radio frequency and quality engineer. I have co-authored more than 10 academic papers in the area of visible and infrared optical wireless communications OWC (indoor and outdoor). My research focuses on the implementation of theoretical and experimental optical camera communications, equalizer applications, in particular the artificial neural network, and the localization based on OWC systems.



O. I. Younus, N. Chaudhary, Z. Ghassemlooy, L. N. Alves, Z. N. Chaleshtori, and S. Zvanovec, " The Impact of Blocking and Shadowing on the Indoor Visible Light Positioning System," [Reviewing Process] 

Younus, Othman, Hassan, Navid Bani, Ghassemlooy, Zabih, Zvanovec, Stanislav, Alves, L.N., Haigh, Paul Anthony, and Le Minh, Hoa,"An Artificial Neural Network Equalizer for Constant Power 4-PAM in Optical Camera Communications," 2020 12th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing (CSNDSP), Porto, Portugal, 2020, pp. 1-6, doi: 10.1109/CSNDSP49049.2020.9249579.

3- M. R. Soares, N. Chaudhary, E. Eso, O. I. Younus, L. Nero Alves and Z. Ghassemlooy, "Optical Camera Communications with Convolutional Neural Network for Vehicle-toVehicle Links," 2020 12th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing (CSNDSP), Porto, Portugal, 2020, pp. 1-6, doi: 10.1109/CSNDSP49049.2020.9249499.

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Gatheeshgar Perampalam

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Supervisor: Principal supervisor: A/Prof Keerthan Poologanathan Co-supervisors: A/Prof Marco Corradi & Dr Brabha Nagaratnam

Title of thesis: Optimum design of cold-formed steel beams

My PhD research focuses on developing optimised cold-formed steel beams for the overall structural, fire, energy and acoustic performances. This research involves optimisation techniques, staggered slotted perforations, experiments, and advanced finite element modelling. To date, I have 16 research publications arising from PhD research (10 Journals and 6 conference papers). Recently I have proposed a timely needed overall performance improved modular unit including health care consideration which ideally suits for present crisis (Covid-19). This appears in a Q1 Journal, Structures. My research interests are thin-walled structures, modular structures, optimisation, fire safety and energy performance of buildings.



Publications: Peer-Reviewed Journals 1. Gatheeshgar, P., Poologanathan, K., Gunalan, S., Nagaratnam, B., Tsavdaridis, K. and Ye, J., (2020). Structural behaviour of optimized cold‐formed steel beams. Steel Construction, 13(4), pp.294-304. 2.

Degtyareva, N., Gatheeshgar, P., Poologanathan, K., Gunalan, S., Lawson, M. and Sunday, P., (2019). Combined bending and shear behaviour of slotted perforated steel channels: Numerical studies. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 161, pp.369-384.

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