Staff profile

Dr Van Bac Nguyen

Associate Professor Programme Leader for BSc in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering and Construction Management


College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering and the Built Environment


Markeaton Street, Derby Campus



I am an Associate Professor in the College of Engineering and Technology. I am also the programme leader for the BSc Programme in Civil Engineering. My duties include teaching and tutorial guidance for under- and post-graduate students, programme leadership, research and industrial consultancy services. I am teaching modules of Mathematics, Materials and Structures; supervising PhD and students' final year projects; and carrying out research in the development and application of advanced testing and computational methods for solving problems in multi-disciplinary areas, and my work is based predominantly in different disciplines of engineering, including structural, mechanical, manufacturing and medical-biological engineering.

Teaching responsibilities

Professional interests

I studied MPhil and PhD programmes in Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham from 2001 to 2006, and in the same time I worked as a Teaching Assistant for teaching in some undergraduate modules and giving support to students' final year projects. Prior to this, I graduated with a distinction of BEng in Civil Engineering, major in Bridge and Highway Engineering at the University of Transportation, Vietnam and then worked as a Lecturer in Bridge Engineering for 4 years until 2001.

I graduated from my doctoral studies at the University of Birmingham in 2006 before beginning a 4-years Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the same university in a research project where I used the best practices in structural and mechanical engineering to solve problems for biomaterials and cells in tissue engineering. I then moved to industry where I spent 7 years with Hadley Industries plc, a cold roll formed steel manufacturer, working as a Research & Development Engineer in technology and product design development projects for steel building products.

I have been collaborating in teaching and research with some universities in the UK and Vietnam. I was an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham for 3 years after I finished my Research Fellowship there in 2009. I have been a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering and Design at the University of Sussex since 2015, a guest lecturer at Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Loughborough since 2012 and working in collaboration with Hadley Group Technology, Hadley Industries plc.

Research interests

My principal research interests lie in the areas of mechanics of materials including biomaterials, material and structural testing, numerical modelling, Finite Element analysis (mechanical & computational fluid dynamics). I am keen on carrying out research that has innovative ideas and industrial specific applications. In particular, I am applying advanced research methods for the following areas:

Membership of professional bodies

Memberships of ICE and IStructE. Student Liaison Officer for IStructE at Derby University.



Recent conferences

Experience in industry

I had 4 years working as a graduate engineer and then a principle engineer in several bridge engineering projects at the University of Transportation, Nippon Engineering Consultants Co. Ltd, Vietnam. I had prestigious internships with Tedi South, a leading consultant for civil and structural engineering services in Vietnam and with the construction of My Thuan Bridge, the first cable-stayed bridge in Vietnam. I spent 7 years with Hadley Group Technology, Hadley Industries plc, working as a Research & Development Engineer where I committed to improve the structural performance of steel building products through the use of advanced methods including design codes (American, British and European codes), physical testing, analytical and numerical modelling using Finite Element Analysis. This included a 3-years KTP project where I worked as a research engineer associate linked with the University of Wolverhampton. My KTP project obtained an 'Outstanding' grade and nominated as a finalist for the Best KTP Award in 2013 by the UK Technology Strategy Board.

Recently, I have been working in a number of industrial consultancy projects including ERDF projects on the development of new products and delivery of training courses on analysis and design of reinforced concrete structures.

International experience

I am a Foreign Talent in the Vietnam FIRST project’s “Foreign Talents STI Grants” in collaboration with the University of Transport and Communications, Vietnam. The research project is about the development of numerical simulation and optimization technologies for optimal performance of concrete asphalt pavements taking into account the changes in traffic and climate conditions. I am also a guest lecturer at some universities in Vietnam.

Recent publications