Mohammad Alqassim, PhD in ‘Forensic Engineering'

“I am sponsored by Dubai Police to complete my PhD -‘Forensic Engineering techniques employed on fire-damaged concrete structures’ - in the UK. My project is about the forensic investigation of fire damaged buildings. CAHID has great expertise in this and I have a second supervisor who is an expert in concrete, so I work between the engineering and forensic science disciplines. 

“CAHID Director of Research Professor Niamh Nic Daéid is well known for her work in this field and that is the main reason I have come here. I’ve been working with the police for 10 years. I’m a civil engineer by profession but they wanted engineers to work in forensics, so asked me to specialise in this area.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at the University of Dundee so far. It has a good reputation for science and for engineering. I’m not the first student from the United Arab Emirates to come here either – I have colleagues who have studied forensic medicine. In fact, there are three doctors in the Dubai Police who have done their masters at the university.

“The engineering lab is very good and I feel well supported. I’ve good access to excellent equipment, which is benefitting my project. We recently moved into a new building with new facilities. In the future, this lab will be a very strong research lab within the university.

“Everyone is conducting research on different topics. I’m doing fire investigation; my colleague ink; another on fingerprints. Everyone benefits from the work of the others. Some people have worked in professions; others come direct from CAHID’s Masters’ courses.  The different combinations of backgrounds and experiences are very helpful.    

“When I return to Dubai, I’ll be the first doctor working within my section. I’ll try to make use of PhD results to improve our work. It will be the beginning of an improvement for the section and a change in the way we deal with incidents and investigations.

“I’m married and I’ve come here with my family. It’s a smaller city than they are used to – because Dubai is huge. It’s a bit cold, but other than that it’s perfect.”