Professor Hamid Sharifzadeh – nurturing curiosity and critical thinking
Hamid Sharifzadeh draws on a wealth of experience and knowledge for his role as the Academic Programme Manager for the School of Computing, Electrical and Applied Technology.
20 March 2023
Hamid Sharifzadeh draws on a wealth of experience and knowledge for his role as the Academic Programme Manager for the School of Computing, Electrical, and Applied Technology.
As a teacher, Hamid says he sees his role as not only transferring knowledge to students but also nurturing their curiosity and critical thinking abilities. He encourages students to become independent learners, utilising various methods to achieve this goal.
He likes to challenge his students to encourage discussion and to help them apply new ideas and concepts to current technology and industry-related issues. He aims to create a positive, engaging learning environment that promotes critical thinking and independent learning.
After joining Unitec as a lecturer in 2014, he took up the APM role in 2020 and is responsible for overseeing the degree programmes (GDCMP and BCS) and postgraduate programmes (PGDAT, MAT, and DCOMP). Before this role, he was Academic Leader of the Master of Computing programmes and Capstone projects.
In these positions, he worked closely with the computing team and Head of School to improve the quality of courses, thesis supervision, and Capstone projects. They developed several highly successful courses and thesis topics in Artificial Intelligence, including Machine Learning, Data Science, and the Internet of Things, to enhance the student experience.
Hamid also collaborated with the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) team to enhance their PG suite and offer a new 18-month Master’s qualification at Unitec, including a PG diploma and certificate plus a 90-credit research thesis, in the context of the Tāmaki Makaurau approach.
In 2020, he was part of the team that won an international funding grant from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFS) in Germany. In addition, Hamid was awarded a three-year external grant from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in 2018 and an external grant from the New Zealand Health Innovation Hub (HIH) in 2016.
Hamid’s ongoing external research collaborations include projects with researchers such as Dr. Marzena Zygis from the Leibniz ZAS (Germany), Professor Ian McLoughlin from the Singapore Institute of Technology (Singapore), Professor Tomoki Toda from The University of Nagoya (Japan), Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh from North Carolina A & T State University (USA), Dr. Nilufar Baghaei from The University of Queensland (Australia), Dr. Jacqui Allen, the Medical Director of the Auckland Voice and Swallow Centre, and Mr. Dion Sheppard, the manager of research and development programme at ESR (NZ).
In recent years, Hamid’s research has focused on two major areas: speech reconstruction and forensic investigations. He won a US patent and the Best Paper Award for vocal reconstruction work in 2011. He has collaborated with WDHB and Auckland Voice and Swallow Centre for natural speech reconstruction for voice-impaired individuals since 2015.
In 2020, the Swallowing Research Laboratory at The University of Auckland approached Hamid for collaboration on his Bionic Voice research. This collaboration led to a co-supervised Master’s thesis, and the findings are currently being refined for publication in an international medical journal.
Hamid’s research on Bionic Voice has received public attention through featured articles published in the NZ Herald and an interview with Radio NZ and has won external and internal funding. One of his doctorate students has been working on aspects of this research since 2017.
Hamid has also continued research on forensics, which he began in 2012 as a postdoc research fellow in Singapore. He was part of the team that won a Singapore Police Award for his work on vein pattern recognition in 2013.
After moving to New Zealand in 2014, he established a research collaboration with the Forensics Department of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) to develop, enhance, and embed artificial intelligence capacities into forensic applications. In 2017, Hamid held a seminar at the Department of Internal Affairs, with parties attending from OCEANZ, NZ Customs, ESR, DIA, and NZ Police.
The seminar introduced the current state of vein pattern analysis research and its potential as an identification tool. In 2019, he was invited to the member meeting of the Biometrics Institute to give a presentation in Wellington. In 2021, the research progressed to the commercialisation phase, led by the ESR under an MoU between Unitec and ESR. Several of his postgraduate students have been working on biometric projects and being co-supervised by forensic experts.
Hamid has also traveled internationally to talk about his research. In 2019, the University of Kent invited him to present on the Bionic Voice project. In 2022, the Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS), a research institute in Berlin, Germany, invited him to present his research and collaborate on projects. He has also been invited to serve as an external referee for European Research Council (ERC) in 2020.