Student profile: Stephane Bertin


Stephane Bertin is a PhD Candidate studying in the Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory

Since 2011, Stephane has been conducting doctoral research in the Hydraulic Engineering Lab alongside his main supervisor Heide Friedrich. He talks about his doctoral thesis topic: Characterisation of mobile roughness parameters in water-worked environments, along with his experiences at the University.

“What I love the most about this research area is that all living things use water in some way. And yet the physics behind this are at once tangible and difficult to conceptualise. By doing research in this area, we are constantly facing real-world problems – mixing fundamental research and engineering,” Stephane says.

“Water is ubiquitous and is certainly the most fundamental resource on Earth. Understanding how to deal with water is essential to developing our society in a sustainable manner. Research objectives are numerous, with potential implications in everyday life. It’s thrilling and I really enjoy doing this research as it allows interactions with a variety of people; and it provides means to better understand the world we live in,” Stephan explains.

The New Hydraulic Engineering Lab at Newmarket Campus

“We have a brand new research laboratory, with state-of-the art equipment. The lab is ideal for in-depth studies on the science of water and to conceptualise models, which can then be applied to solve real-world problems.

“Staff members are specialists in the field. They are involved in a variety of projects and collaborate with other scientists world-wide.

“Both local and international students work in the Hydraulics Lab, making for an enriching experience and a great place to exchange ideas.

Facilities and equipment

Research conducted within the Hydraulics lab has led to a rich portfolio of scientific papers, which have been delivered to the public through journals, books and lectures. Working in the Hydraulics Lab allows for interactions with other students of different level and background, laboratory technicians, research staff and visiting scholars.

Broad environmental applications

“The work I am doing will be beneficial to the scientific community to extend our knowledge in the science of water and develop new experimental practices. Also, it later allows applications, such as a better understanding and modelling of flood flows, which is crucial for a safe and perennial usage of our rivers, estuaries and coastal zones.”

A supportive research environment

“I would say to anyone considering studying Hydraulic Engineering here, that an excellent and supportive environment awaits you. I work closely with Dr Heide Friedrich, a senior lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She was very supportive and has provided excellent guidance during my studies. In general, people I have come across while working at the Faculty of Engineering are all affable and very helpful,” he says.

During his studies, Stephane accessed some helpful on-campus networking and study skills programmes. “I participated in Doctoral Morning teas, in order to meet with other PhD students and gain more insights on PhD practices,” he explains. “I also attended a few specialised courses to develop further my skills, which were incredibly useful for conducting my PhD project,” Stephane says.

Scholarship funding for study

To help fund his PhD, he has received a number of scholarships which were vital for his tuition and living costs. “I received the Faculty of Engineering PhD (FRDF) Scholarship for the duration of my studies. This scholarship was fundamental in helping me focus on my work. I also received the AUEA Braithwaite-Thompson Graduate Research Award, which assisted me financially during my first year of PhD studies, and recognised the originality and innovative aspect of my PhD project,” he says.

The University of Auckland is a wonderful place to study, with great facilities and people making it. It has several self-contained campuses, organised around parks and relaxing places. The environment is very friendly and supportive, and dedicated to make students’ life successful and enjoyable.

I definitely recommend studying at The University of Auckland because of the quality of the education, the supportive environment and the unique opportunity to live in one of the most liveable city and discover New Zealand in general.

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