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Award Winning – National ChemEngDay UK 2021

I’m very honoured and proud to receive the award for best presentation at the national ChemEngDay UK conference 2021.

A year has passed since the first national lockdown in the UK and during this time, all of the conferences at which I was scheduled to give a lecture have been either cancelled or postponed. Nobody knew exactly when these could be reorganised, with some of them falling victim to multiple delays. This all too familiar situation resonated with me personally: with universities closed and no professional or social events, life has seemingly been paused. For someone entering a crucial phase of his professional life, with my PhD coming to an end, I had the impression of being constrained by what feels like an endless mass of limited horizons created by the current pandemic and I can see this feeling reflected in the minds of my fellow students.

Time has passed and the idea of virtual venues has – luckily – increasingly appeared as the solution. All students, institutions and industries have needed to adapt, but it has not been without its challenges. Weekly face-to-face meetings with supervisors and colleagues have been transferred to Zoom, Teams, Skype… Being a sociable person and seeking authentic connections, it was hard to admit that all human interactions would be performed through a screen. Having met my industrial and academic co-workers in pre-covid times, I consider myself lucky; I know from people’s feedback that integrating a team remotely without having met them in real life feels strange and sometimes hard to cope with.

And here I am, for my first national conference of 2021, having prepared myself for it. I could witness all the efforts put in place by the organisers to create a stimulating and interactive environment for the participants. Considering the difficulty of the task, I’m admiring of their work and would like to thank Professor Hadj Benkreira and the ChemEngDayUK committee for delivering this event, despite the technological, organisational and social obstacles that have faced them. Special thanks to Graham Hart (Process Technology) Ltd for sponsoring the prize.

My message to all students in this lockdown situation who are feeling limited in their personal and professional development is this:
This accomplishment taught me that lockdown doesn’t put your life on pause and you can still be acknowledged for your efforts. This situation is a challenge like many to come in life, but it doesn’t have to become a barrier if you’re resilient and believe in your capabilities.

I’m grateful to my academic and industrial supervisors Professor Andrew Bayly, Professor Frans Muller and Dr. Claire MacLeod for their mentoring during my PhD. I’d like to thank the EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training CDT CP3 (University of Leeds), AstraZeneca and UKRI for sponsoring my research on the breakage of particles in pharmaceutical production.

Lab Photo AZ