Dr Hieu Nguyen AFHEA
As one of the University’s most accomplished young academics, Dr Hieu Nguyen AFHEA is no stranger to research projects. His role as supervisor of a project designed to spot defects in mobile phones and solar cells has captured the attention of multiple media outlets in recent months.
Nguyen, an early-career academic and supervisor within the Research School of Electricity, Energy and Materials Engineering was responsible for the conception, experimental design, and supervision of a project which culminated in the development of a very fast imaging technique. This technique has the ability to assist engineers and scientists in detecting defects in their devices earlier, and more easily, in the fabrication process. It works by capturing very high-resolution images of semiconductor materials that are used in daily technologies such as solar cells, mobile phones, batteries and optical sensors.
In recent years, Nguyen has been a participant in the EFS modules, and the Principles of Tutoring or Demonstrating (PTD) program at the Centre for Higher Education Learning and Teaching CHELT. He credits the skills learned from these programs as integral to his successful role in the project, from both a technical, and a human-centred perspective.
“In this project, I had to stimulate my students’ interest first, and I was able to flexibly apply various learning and teaching strategies I learned from PTD, starting with the transferring and shaping phases at the beginning, and eventually moving into the discovery and travelling phases for my student,” he recalls.
“Also, since I had to work with, and coordinate, the work of many other researchers with various backgrounds in this project, respecting the diversity among the group, and utilising this diversity, is also a critical thing. The PTD, and EFS modules, provided me with an excellent background to deal with this diversity, so I feel very thankful to have attended them.
“If I had started this project without the skills obtained from the EFS, I would not have gone this far. I would have asked my students to just run the experiments I wanted, and then collected the results every week. Luckily, I did not do that. We worked, learned and shared experience together. I can train my students to become good machine operators, but I cannot train them to become researchers with breakthrough inventions and discoveries. All should start with stimulating their curiosities and motivations, and with a clear strategy to utilise their talents.”