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LIFD Mobility Award 2023 Case Study

Report written by Francis Dent 

Prob. Hiroshi Yabu’s research group

Prob. Hiroshi Yabu’s research group


Funding scope: 

Funding contribution towards travel and accommodation stay in Japan over September 2023. I presented at the 2023 International Soft Matter Conference in Osaka, then visited Prof. Hiroshi Yabu at the Institute for Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR), Tohoku University. 

Visit objectives: 

This funding facilitated most of the cost in getting to Japan, alongside costs towards the hotel during the research visit. The aim of the trip was to deliver an oral presentation at my first major international conference, enable international networking opportunities, develop cross-cultural communication and actively engage in knowledge transfer with the host laboratory. Prof. Yabu has an established research history with extensive publications in fluid-based micropatterning which was the main rationale for visiting the laboratory. 


SEM images of samples created

SEM images of samples created


Outcomes of visit: 

The trip was very successful, allowing me to experience international academic culture both at a conference and local institutional level. The research visit was a lot more challenging than I initially expected, having to communicate and work with people with relatively no English speaking level. Despite this I was able to spend a few weeks in the lab, learning about the fabrication approach and fabricating samples to bring back to Leeds for further testing. To summarise: 

  • Successfully presented at an international conference. 
  • Engaged in relevant discussion around my work and similar research, seeking inspiration for new potential studies. 
  • Immersed myself in a foreign research culture and learned how others approach research. 
  • Created samples to develop a longer term collaboration between our respective labs. 
  • Learned that two bowls of ramen in a day really is the limit.


Francis and Sasaki-San

2. Me and Sasaki-san, the research technician who helped me operate the equipment and fabricate samples