February 8, 2016, by sustainablenottingham

Career profile: Naghman Khan

First in a series of guest posts from alumni working in the field of sustainability, Naghman Khan talks about his career path.

Dr Naghman Khan studied BSc Physics at UCL, MSc Environmental Technology at Imperial College then came to The University of Nottingham for his PhD and Post Doc.

What is your role, how long have you been in it and where are you based?

Naghman KhanI work for Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) and I am based in London. As a company our goal is to enable every building in every City in every Country in the World to be designed and operated as sustainably as possible. Not just buildings but entire Cities. I believe in this cause very much and it is absolutely fundamental to tackling the problems from climate change, energy prices and security of supply. I’ve been a technical consultant for a long time but my new role has transitioned me towards business development. My role is to identify and plan energy and environmental saving opportunities in the built environment. I work with a diverse group of people from building owners, operators and designers to energy and sustainability consultants. This could be both private and public sectors in any country in the World. I also have the privilege of continuing to work with academia as we sponsor many research and development projects.

What’s your career path looked like since leaving University?

I completed my PhD in 2009 and then entered into an industrial post-doc with The University of Nottingham and a Danish company called VKR. They manufactured low carbon and renewable energy technology to integrate with buildings and my research was on simulating buildings with these technologies to predict performance and assess risk from climate change. It was incredibly interesting and I had a fantastic opportunity to travel to many international conferences to present my work  including Italy, Greece, USA and Canada. Integrating research into industry was a key aspect of my role. I was one of the founders and Group Secretary of the CIBSE Building Simulation Group (Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers) and also co-author of a leading publication CIBSE AM11: Building Performance Modelling. I remember one of my Professors at Nottingham had written a well renowned book on environmental design a few years earlier and once jokingly said to me that one day I too could have my own book. Well, I took that as a challenge and I’m pleased to say that CIBSE AM11 has just been published with me as a main co-author.

In 2011 I decided to gain some international experience and I moved abroad. I was appointed by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan as a distinguished foreign faculty. I designed and setup a series of MSc courses on Energy and Climate Change. This was capacity building for a country ravaged by the serious effects of a changing and unpredictable climate as well as poor infrastructure and planning needed to cope with the problems. I travelled extensively across Pakistan, a country of 200 million people. I was lecturing at Universities, schools and industry conferences. I also set up my own consultancy to help businesses and industry cope with crippling power cuts and high energy prices. I designed and installed numerous solar PV and biogas plants across Pakistan, a challenging but immensely rewarding experience. My travels took me to China, South Africa, the Middle East and many other places.

I also had the privilege at this time of becoming an international ambassador for The University of Nottingham. My role was to promote the University across that region of the World. I was working very closely with the International Office and the senior leadership in Nottingham. I organised many trips with Nottingham faculty from the UK, the Malaysia and China Campuses and represented our University at dozens of education exhibitions across Pakistan. I was very proud to talk to academics, and aspiring students about research and study opportunities at Nottingham and I gained a very strong appreciation and respect for the higher education sector and all the hard working people who contribute to it. I had the pleasure of hosting several alumni events and meet with our numerous and distinguished alumni network around the World.

I then moved back to the UK and before my current role at IES I was working as an Energy and Carbon consultant in London.

How did your degree at Nottingham help you get the job?

I had the opportunity to become a technical expert in my area. This was because of the excellent depth and breadth of knowledge, experience and expertise my department had at the University of Nottingham. The Department of Architecture and Built Environment is well renowned and the Energy & Sustainability division is one of the oldest and best in the UK. My degree at Nottingham helped me not only to gain the technical knowledge and skills but also fast tracked my professional, networking, and management skills, all of which were a core part of my course.

What skills have you developed since joining IESVE?

Business development, sales, negotiating, presenting to large industry audiences and most importantly as IES is a global organisation, working with talented people from all over the World.

What advice would you give current students looking to get a job (generally) and with IESVE?

I always say that experience and expertise are two totally different things. For graduates focus on being expert at something you’re passionate about, good at or both. Experience comes with time. Be honest and always expect to learn and gain new skills throughout your career. IES are expanding globally and are on the lookout for graduate programmers and software developers.


If you’re interested in finding out more about careers within the sustainability sector, go along to the Spotlight On… Sustainability event on Tuesday 9 February 2016 6-8pm.

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