What is your typical workday like?
I am responsible for the planning and implementation of new research programs with the aim to create the technologies of tomorrow. I am also Aalborg CSP’s strong link to knowledge-based institutions. In addition to technical responsibilities, my daily routine in the company is to play an instrumental role in establishing sales activities and relationships with the Middle East and North Africa region. In addition to my role in Aalborg CSP, I am still also associated with AAU in an ongoing research mobility project called "WESET" that is funded by Erasmus-Plus. I am part of AAU's management team for the WESET project where I am also part of preparing educational modules for Wind Energy courses. The modules are intended to be used for educational purposes in the beneficiary institutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
What has your career path looked like up until now?
In addition to my full time employment in Aalborg CSP as Senior Sales and R&D Engineer, and my AAU association, I am also associated with House of Energy as a Business Developer. Such association is strongly connected to my recent achievement of establishing my company "ENENCO". Although my calendar is fully booked, I have managed in my spare time to establish an Engineering and Consultancy company where I can still practice research and development activities that is more relevant to my PhD education scope.
How close is your current career to the ideas and dreams you had as a PhD fellow at AAU?
Being a PhD fellow in AAU is the main tool that helped me to achieve my dream since I was an undergraduate student. My dream was to be a Sales Engineer, but with getting involved deeply in academia, I thought I would never be part of the industrial field. Thankfully, the PhD fellow position was in the Center of Reliable Power Electronics (CORPE) team. A team that is doing research with close industrial collaboration. Therefore, CORPE has widely opened the industrial gates to me.
How have you made use of your PhD education, and which of your PhD competences have been most important to you?
PhD education has developed my mind-set totally. Thinking of each problem in an analytical way, knowing how to search for information, working effectively even under pressure and before deadline, being flexible when exposed to new challenges even in last minute situations, and presenting my ideas in the best-simplified method are the most important competences. Those competences have helped me after my PhD to find a job and build a strong network.
What do you remember most from your PhD studies?
It is actually very different, from what I imagined, when I am trying to recall memories from my PhD after the graduation. During the PhD, I always thought that I would only remember the long nights and days I spent at my desk to solve a certain problem, or to go through the comments of my rejected publications. After finishing my PhD, the first memories that cross my mind are the achievements I have made during this 4 years journey. Half of all my memories are not about the PhD itself, but for example related to our first kid that was born in the first year of my PhD and the good friends I have made. Furthermore, my wife is also a PhD graduate and I remember all our technical discussions and arguments and our cooperation to find the ideal work-life-balance between our PhD studies and little home. It was a long ride and we have enjoyed it.
What is your best memory from AAU?
Sharing the office with my wife as a colleague for 2 years during our PhD studies is an amazing memory.
Is there a teacher/colleague from AAU you remember especially, and why?
Prof. Frede Blaabjerg, my supervisor. He is a kind and understanding person. He was very caring and keen on providing all the PhD students with their needs so they can have the best environment to be productive and innovative. He was and is still very supportive. I learned from him how to be patient and optimistic. I have never felt that he did not have time for his team; whenever I needed him, he was available.
What made the strongest impression on you during your PhD defense?
My own ability to present my thesis and engage in dialogue with the committee with a lot of confidence. I had spent three years on becoming an expert within this particular field – and at the defense I really felt like one.
Why did you decide to do a PhD, and would you have chosen differently if you were to do it today?
I specifically chose to do a PhD under the CORPE team due to that fact that they are working closely with the industry. I felt that there was a big chance to achieve my dream if I joined them. And I would surely choose to do so again!
What advice would you give to current PhD fellows at AAU that want a career outside academia?
Get involved in every single activity during your PhD. Build a huge network and always socialize without thinking into the benefits. Work on yourself and be confident. Act as you are a brand yourself on the available social networks. Be proactive and always take the initiative.
What are your dreams for the future?
My company’s size to increase and to be a global R&D center that is able to attract researchers, so my company could have collaboration with universities and other research institutions.
about Hammam soliman
Place of birth: UAE
Current employment: Senior Sales and R&D Engineer at Aalborg CSP
MA programme and university: Electrical and Control Engineering at Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport
Department at AAU: Energy Technology
Year of graduation: 2017
Title of PhD dissertation: Condition Monitoring of Capacitors for DC Link Application in Power Electronic Converters