I was attracted to Manchester by its reputation and the city life. The quality and the amount of research that they do here is phenomenal. I actually did my undergraduate degree here; once I finished that I thought it’d be a shame not to carry on.
Omar’s research has relevance in fields far beyond academia. His work on landmine detection could help save lives around the world. It’s taken him to some unusual places too.
" I’m working on an intelligent discriminating landmine detector. The work is funded by the Find a Better Way charity, which was founded in Manchester by Sir Bobby Charlton to support the extraction of landmines. I didn’t realise I’d be involved in so many activities beyond my research – when the charity launched, we went to Lloyd’s of London to talk with these guys who were making a huge donation. I’ve recently visited the House of Commons to present the project to MPs. I’m even running a 10k race to raise awareness!
Manchester is a diverse city. I’m from Alexandria from Egypt and so, coming from a big city, I like the fact that there is a lot to do. There is a big student influence and population here; a lot of similarly aged people at similar positions in their lives. Outside my research, I’m part of the University’s swimming and water polo teams, which is good socially and keeps me fit.
My career prospects have changed. I’m considering either going into research or doing consultancy, whereas before I was going to go into oil and gas or electricity. I’ve developed problem-solving skills and patience, as you spend a lot of time trying things that don’t work. Manchester has definitely made me more mature. I now know I can take command of what I want to do with my life and how I’m going to do it."