Nguyen Huong Duong was awarded the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2023–24. She is currently undertaking a Fellowship in Digital Twin and Machine Learning at Middlesex University.

Why did you choose to pursue your studies in a STEM subject in the UK?

The reason that I chose the UK to pursue my studies in a STEM subject was the quality and style of university education. Middlesex University in general, and London Digital Twin Research Centre (LDTRC) in particular, provide the best environment for international students and fellows. The Centre also oversees research collaborations in a multi-disciplinary context, and participates in knowledge transfer of digital twin research capability. A wide range of opportunities to improve my career and build my professional experience are available in the UK. Moreover, the opportunities to visit cultural attractions, join the student communities, and archive a unique experience attracted me a lot.

Please share with us about your study programme in the UK, what do you like most about this programme, or scholarship scheme, or your UK institution? 

I am a visiting scholar at the LDTRC. My background is in civil engineering, and my research subject is applying some novel machine learning algorithms for structural health monitoring (SHM). The LDRTC has a project that develops digital twins for SHM, and prediction systems to enable continuous monitoring of bridges and other vital infrastructure. I had the opportunity to work in the Faculty of Science and Technology, meet many female professors working in Computer Science, and receive comments on my research. Computer Science is not my strength, and therefore having the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge and do research in this subject is what I like most.

What are your plans after finishing your studies in the UK?

I plan to return to Viet Nam and continue my job as a researcher and lecturer. I will look for and use my experience to apply for some research funds. If I have such a research fund, I can provide financial support for students. I will promote the British Council Women in STEM scholarship to my female students and colleagues. I have received a lot of support during my academic career, and in return I want to contribute and support my students in their future careers.

What advice would you give to Vietnamese students who wish to apply for the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2024–25? 

Good things do not come easily, so my advice is to remember to take time to prepare a good profile and have it ready to submit when the application opens. I have special advice for mothers working in STEM: don't worry too much, confidently follow your dreams, and feel free to ask for help.