Global Minds: Reflection on Human Factors & Design Engineering Summer Experience

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Ahmed Patel Qatar Exchange

Student Clinicians from Qatar University & Design Engineers from Imperial College London Reflect on their Summer Exchange and Placements

The Dyson School of Design Engineering hosted two student doctors from Qatar on a summer exchange and a Design Engineering student on the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP). One year on, the students reflect on their summer experience in Human Factors Engineering.

The international summer exchange was facilitated by Dr Neel Sharma, founder of The Clinician Engineer Hub, an international network bridging the gap between medicine and engineering. Participating student doctors from Qatar University College of Medicine included Majed Abdulaziz M A Al-Theyab & Mohammed Yousef S Y Al-Hor. The UROP placement was undertaken by Ruby Grut, a second year Design Engineering student from the Dyson School of Design Engineering.

Majed, Mohammed, and Ruby were introduced to ongoing research at the department, alongside site visits to the Dementia Care Research & Technology Centre at White City and Charing Cross Hospital to see how A&E and surgery theatres operate in the UK. Read more about activities undertaken throughout the placement.

Exchange & Placement: Research Activities

Throughout the exchange and placement programmes, the students also had the opportunity to work on individual research projects, including a review of primary care Electronic Health Record Systems used around the world and how Covid-19 was visually communicated to the public in the last two years, alongside research activities including NVivo analysis of pre-transcribed data, qualitative analysis and an introduction to information visualisations.

It was a valuable experience for us, as medical students, to observe the intersection of engineering and medicine. - Majed Abdulaziz M A Al-Theyab Qatar University College of Medicine.

Qatar University's Majed Abdulaziz M A Al-Theyab and Mohammed Yousef S Y Al-Hor shared their transformative experience. Witnessing the synergy between engineering and medicine, they explored groundbreaking technologies, such as a robot detecting facial expressions during an abdominal exam and highly precise prosthetic hands.

Reflecting on the program, Mohammed emphasised the enriching collaboration with peers from diverse backgrounds. This collaborative spirit sparked innovative solutions, creating an intellectually stimulating environment that promised enduring benefits for their academic and professional journeys.

UROP Success: Design Engineering at the Forefront

Ruby Grut, a Design Engineering student at the Dyson School of Design Engineering showcased excellence in the UROP summer programme following successful completion of her second year. Her seven-week journey involved in-depth analysis, transforming qualitative data into impactful insights, and visualising outcomes that added a new dimension to human-centered design. 

Both the summer exchange programme with the students from Qatar University, College of Medicine, in addition to Imperial’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme are great initiatives and opportunities for designers, engineers and healthcare professionals to collaborate together for impactful solutions in the healthcare environments. Ahmed Mohammed Patel PhD candidate

Ruby mentions, “I thoroughly enjoyed my UROP with Talya and Ahmed. Having gone into it unsure of what to expect, I learned many skills and furthered my knowledge in formulating impactful outcomes in research from user testing. Over seven weeks, I analysed interviews, transformed qualitative data into valuable insights, and visualised these in exciting ways. I am grateful for the opportunity and would recommend it to anyone looking to explore the research side of human-centred design and human-computer interaction under great supervisors!”

PhD candidate Ahmed Mohammed Patel expressed the significance of initiatives like the summer exchange program and UROP. He highlighted the transformative potential of collaborations between designers, engineers, and healthcare professionals, offering a glimpse into the future of multidisciplinary innovation.

He shared “The Clinician Engineer Hub, has facilitated several brilliant initiatives for collaborations between students and practitioners from the design and medicine and engineering fields including the previous virtual programme between the Dyson School of Design Engineering and MBRU Dubai. Read more about the DSDE and MBRU Dubai collaboration

Mentorship Matters

Dr Talya Porat, a senior lecturer at Imperial College London, and and researcher in the fields of human factors, human-computer interaction, usability and cognitive engineering played a crucial role as the lead supervisor for the exchange and placement students. Her guidance ensured a seamless and enriching experience, leaving a lasting impact on the participants.

“It was a pleasure having Majed and Mohammed join the ‘Human Factors in Healthcare’ group at the Dyson School of Design Engineering. They were very enthusiastic to learn about human factors and how we apply cognitive psychology theories and models to design digital healthcare interventions. “ Dr Talya Porat Senior Lecturer, Dyson School of Design Engineering

Majed emphasised “It was also great that we were able to see the ongoing work and research from within the department and were guided by Dr. Talya Porat and PhD student Ahmed Patel. It's good that you gained some understanding of the latest technology and its potential in the field of medicine. I would be honoured to have the opportunity to participate in a program like this again in the future, as it provided me with valuable knowledge and experience.

“The exchange program at the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College was definitely a memorable experience and it was made even more special by the guidance and supervision of Dr. Talya and Ahmed. They dedicated a lot of time and effort to ensure that we were satisfied with everything we saw and learned during the exchange program. They played a significant role in making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  They made the program a great success and their dedication, guidance and efforts are definitely appreciated and deserving of thanks.”

Invitation to Future Pioneers

These exchanges or cross collaborations between institutions highlights the importance of multidisciplinary in innovation and allows the participants to better understand the process and value of human-centred design. I really enjoyed the opportunity to supervise the students under Dr Talya’s supervision and look forward to future opportunities to foster collaboration between universities, departments and disciplines.”

If you are interested in human factors in healthcare, and are an excellent prospective PhD or placement student, please feel free to get in touch with Dr Talya Porat. 


Ahmed Patel

Ahmed Patel
Dyson School of Design Engineering

Sanjana Kakar

Sanjana Kakar
Dyson School of Design Engineering

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