Training and other events: April 2021 to June 2021

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from April 2021 to June 2021, as far as planning currently allows and subject to change.

PGRs, please highlight any XM²-training related absence times to your supervisors. In regards to annual leave or other absence time planning: all confirmed events have been sent to the PGRs via an Outlook calendar invitation, but please ensure to check the CDT in Metamaterials Outlook calendar and to liaise with your supervisors and the CDT in Metamaterials office ( for approval BEFORE you make any bookings, as there might be a few more events coming up that are yet to be confirmed.

Supervisors, please be mindful of the XM² events when setting expectations on research deliverables with the PGRs.

After six months, (e.g. after the Month 6 project is complete), first year PGRs can undertake teaching and demonstrating, provided that they complete LTHE online training first. The course is self-paced so you can take it whenever you like but please note it is mandatory and you will not be able to undertake teaching and demonstrating until you have completed it.

15.04.21 Cohort 5 meeting with Alastair and Anja 3rd years 09:00-10:00 via Teams
15.04.21 Introduction to Open Access/Symplectic and Research Data Management 1st years, optional for 2nd and 3rd years 10:00-11:30 via Teams
15.04.21 Cohort 7 meeting with Alastair and Anja 1st years 15:00-17:00 via Teams
19.04.21 Cohort 6 meeting with Alastair and Anja 2nd years 11:00-12:00 via Teams
19.04.21 Cohort 4 meeting with Alastair and Anja 4th years 13:30-14:30 via Teams
30.04.21 Metamaterials Colloquium: Dr Mariana Medina Sanchez, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, ‘Physical and Biohybrid Microrobots for Biomedical Applications’ All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
28.05.21 Metamaterials Colloquium: Prof. Montserrat Rivas, University of Oviedo, ‘A New Generation of Rapid Diagnostic Tests: The Role of Magnetic Nanoparticles’ All PGRs 12:30-13:30 TBC
16.06.21 Project Management (Day 1) 1st years 09:30-16:30 TBC
17.06.21 Project Management (Day 2) 1st years 09:30-16:30 TBC
18.06.21 Beyond a PhD: Dr Al Lambourne, Materials Research Engineer at Rolls Royce All PGRs 12:30-13:30 TBC


Zahid Hussain passes his viva!

Zahid Hussain

Congratulations to PGR Zahid Hussain, who has passed his viva. His thesis was titled ‘Metal-organic Framework (MOFs) Derived Nanocomposites: Synthesis and Applications in Photocatalysis’. During his time with the CDT, Zahid published 11 papers, plus an English-to-Urdu translation of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. Zahid now works as a postdoctoral researcher at Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Zahid reflects on his experience of undertaking a PhD as part of the CDT:

I believe that life is a journey from nowhere to nowhere. The pleasure of living is in the process itself, and destinations only milestones leading us to the next journey. On this path, we meet all kinds of people. While some settle down on the way, others continue to live nomadic academic lives. As a foreign student, I identify myself with migratory birds, who leave behind many relationships, friendships, cultural and sensory experiences of material and non-material things, seeking better learning and living conditions. In the quest for knowledge and professional opportunities, the continuous struggle to assimilate into a new environment provides us with great learning opportunities, which broaden our mental horizons and deepen the understanding of life indeed.

The last 4 years of my life at the University of Exeter have been full of happenings, professionally and personally. I met some wonderful people, on-campus and off-campus. Many interactions turned into enduring friendships. First of all, I got a great sense of freedom in working with my PhD supervisors Dr Yongde Xia and Prof Yanqiu Zhu, which helped me to grow as an independent researcher. Also, my supportive colleagues and friendly environment of Functional Materials Laboratory (Lab 08) made the overall PhD experience very joyful and productive.

The doctoral training program (CDT) gave me the confidence to think independently and make my own research decisions. During this time, I developed some fruitful collaborations, especially with Dr Asif Tahir (Penryn campus), Prof. Roland Fischer (TU Munich), Prof. Freek Kapteijn (TU Delft, NL) and Prof. Ovidiu Ersen (University of Strasbourg, France). The work I did in these collaborations, greatly contributed to shaping my PhD project.

Along with the PhD, the last 4 years have been the most important time of my life. I married my partner Anna-Maria and became a parent of our lovely daughter Selma as if a sailboat navigating without a compass saw the shore and anchored. Countless moments of joy, peace and contentment, as well as many sleepless nights of childcare, frustrating days, lockdown months of Covid-19 and moving back and forth from Exeter to Munich, all made this time substantial.

We wish Zahid the best of luck with his future.

Zahid has co-authored the following publications:





Selected outreach activities

Zahid has translated a book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli from English to Urdu. It has recently published by the Mashal Books, LahorePakistan.

Zahid has presented at the following conferences:

  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Xia; Presentation: Bi-MOF derived nanocomposites_applications in photocatalysis, GWPore: Conference on Porous Materials for Energy, Environment and Healthcare Applications, U.K. February 2021. (2nd best presentation award) 
  • M. Z. Hussain, R. A. Fischer, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: Making heterostructures with water: Role of temperature and water steam in MOF derived TiO2/CuOx/Cu/C nanocomposites, Euromof-20193rd International Conference on MOFs and Porous Polymers, Paris, France. October 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Presentation: MOF derived photocatalysts for high efficient solar-light-driven H2 evolution. MCEC 2019, Conference on Materials for Clean Energy, NPL, London, U.K.  April 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, R. A. Fischer, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Presentation: MOF derived bimetal oxide/carbon composites: Synthesis and photocatalytic applications, 6th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials, Sitges, Spain, March 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, R. A. Fischer, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: MOF derived TiO2/C nanocomposites for photocatalysis, ICS Winter School on Catalysis, Innovative Catalysis and Sustainability Scientific and Socio-Economic Aspects, Turin, Italy. January 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: MOF derivatives for visible-light-driven photocatalytic applications, 41st Annual Meeting of the British Zeolite Association (BZA), Cumbria, Ambleside, U.K. July 2018.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: Black porous ZnO@C nanocomposites derived from MOF-5 for highly efficient photocatalytic application, RAMS-Recent Appointees in Materials Science, University of Exeter, U.K. September 2017.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: MOF-5 derived ZnO/C nanocomposites for adsorption and photodegradation of organic pollutants, NIM Conference on Nanostructured Functional Materials for Sustainable Energy Provision, Munich, Germany. July 2017.