Dr Majid Taghavi shares with us his own In2ScienceUK Virtual Placement Programme experience

We were lucky to catch up this week with Dr Majid Taghavi, Senior Research Associate on the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Platform Grant, University of Bristol.

During his course, ‘Nature Inspiration for Creative Engineering’, which he designed and delivered, on our new online platform, he gave our students an overview of bioinspiration and how it can be used as a tool in any engineering discipline. He drew on countless examples to get our students thinking – from looking at geckos to help develop dry adhesive pads, to the invention of Velcro after George de Mestralwas noticed how easy it was for burr grass to stick to his dog’s hair.

Our students were also set a task: To think about attaching rigid materials to soft materials, an area which is of particular research interest to him, through drawing inspiration from nature. As expected, he received a fantastic variety of ideas!

Learning a lot from his own research during his preparation for this course, it enabled him to design an engaging way of summarising this broad discipline for young students, in a short lecture. “I really enjoyed delivering this session as I received wonderful questions, including valuable comments and ideas, which showed me they enjoyed and engaged with the content.”

He got involved with In2scienceUK because of his own experiences at school “I remember from my middle school how participating in a series of workshops delivered by researchers from top universities inspired me to pursue engineering fields. 

In high school, I developed a series of similar team-driven workshops to support young students from low-income backgrounds to assist them in finding their talents and building their future careers. Hearing that In2scienceUK has a similar vision and developed such a well-structured programme encouraged me to assist them in delivering this year’s courses.”

Dr Taghavi was a definitely definite yes on recommending our programme to his colleagues! “There is such a good reason for participating in this programme as it aims to empower students from a disadvantaged background to achieve their potential. Delivering the session to young audiences also provides an interesting challenge of repackaging the content into a simple and easily understandable level.”

Dr Taghavi is currently busy with numerous applications for funding and fellowship opportunities but has been more than happy to take time out of his busy schedule at the University of Bristol to volunteer for us! We really appreciate him sharing his knowledge and insights with our students and hope that he’s gained some new and interesting ideas in the process!

Study @ Bristol University