Professor Nigel Mottram

Visiting Professor

Mathematics and Statistics

Personal statement

My research interests are in the mathematical modelling of real-world systems, generally focussing on those that include the dynamics of non-Newtonian fluids. I am particularly interested in anisotropic fluids such as liquid crystals, where viscoelasticity is an important consideration, as is their behaviour under electric fields. I also have projects in the areas of medical and biological systems. Current projects also include investigations of active fluids, such as bacterium or micro-organism organisation within fluid flows, and biological flow systems. 

In a wider context I am a member of the British Liquid Crystal Society, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, and a Fellow of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, as well as an active participant in the European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry and the UK Fluids Network. 

I am interested in mathematics applied to real-world problems in a general sense and I welcome enquiries from anyone interested to understand more about mathematical modelling.


Has expertise in:

    Research areas of expertise

    • Mathematical modelling of real-world systems
    • Fluid dynamics
    • Liquid crystal theory
    • Optical devices
    • Multiphyscics models
    • Numerical simulation of fluids, electrostatics, ions.


Prizes and awards

2017 Hilsum Medal
Fellowship of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications
200 Young Scientist Award

More prizes and awards


  • 1989-1992: BA in Mathematics at the University of Oxford (Keble College).
  • 1992-1996: PhD in the Department of Engineering Mathematics at the University of Bristol. Boundary effects in nematic liquid crystal cells, supervised by Prof. S. J. Hogan (external link)
  • 1995-1997: Post Doctoral Research Assistant in the Department of Engineering Mathematics at the University of Bristol. Working on nematic liquid crystal theory with Prof. Hogan.
  • 1997-1999: Post Doctoral Research Assistant in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. Working on smectic liquid crystal theory with Dr S. J. Elston (external link).
  • 1999-2004: Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Strathclyde.
  • 2001-2006: EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow
  • 2004-2007: Reader in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Strathclyde.
  • 2007-present: Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Strathclyde.


Electrically controlled topological micro cargo transportation
Bhadwal A S, Mottram N J, Saxena A, Sage I C, Brown C V
Soft Matter Vol 16, pp. 2961-2970 (2020)
Derivative-order-dependent stability and transient behaviour in a predator-prey system of fractional differential equations
Alqahtani Z M, El-Shahed M, Mottram N J
Letters in Biomathematics Vol 6, pp. 32-49 (2019)
Squeezing a drop of nematic liquid crystal with strong elasticity effects
Cousins J R L, Wilson S K, Mottram N J, Wilkes D, Weegels L
Physics of Fluids Vol 31 (2019)
Microfluidic Flow of Colloid-Liquid Crystal Composite Materials
Lesniewska Magdalena, Henrich Oliver, Mottram Nigel
5th International Soft Matter Conference (ISMC2019) (2019)
A model for the formation of mura during the One-Drop-Filling process
Cousins Joseph R L, Wilson Stephen K, Mottram Nigel J, Wilkes David, Weegels Leo, Lin KY
25th International Display Workshop 2018, pp. LCT8-4 (2018)
Nematic liquid crystal director structures in rectangular regions
Walton J, Mottram NJ, McKay G
Physical Review E Vol 97 (2018)

More publications

Research interests

Continuum theory of anisotropic materials

  • Anisotropy in the natural environment: swimming/self-organised organisms, tissue growth, mixing 
  • Order parameter changes in nematic liquid crystals: defects, field induced changes, tensor theory.
  • Theories of biaxial nematic liquid crytals
  • Surface effects: induced order, bistabilty in anisotropic fluids.
  • Disclination line motion: annihilation, formation, effects of electric field and surface interactions.
  • Thin films: flow in thin films of anisotropic fluids, painting and spin-coating.
  • Use of fractional calculus to represent memory in dynamical systems.
  • Physiologically-based Pharmacokinetics and dynamics
  • Blood flow: non-newtonian models of blood flow in microfluidic devices.
  • Oxygen transfer: novel medical device modelling for artificial livers.


  • I collaborate with scientists from many different disciplines and many countries around the world.
  • My industrial collaborations currently include GSK, Merck and Kirkstall and past collaborators include HP, Sharp, Dow Corning. 

Professional activities

Edinburgh Mathematical Society (External organisation)
LMS Bath-Oxford-Strathclyde Network on Anisotropic Materials
Student Experience And Enhancement Services (Organisational unit)
Newcastle University (External organisation)
SIAM Annual Meeting and Materials Science Conference
Newcastle University (External organisation)

More professional activities


Control of free-surface flow morphologies in anisotropic liquids
Mottram, Nigel (Principal Investigator) Wilson, Stephen (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2023
Doctoral Training Partnership 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Allen, Erika
McKay, Geoffrey (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Allen, Erika (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2022
Doctoral Training Partnership 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Lesniewska, Magdalena
Henrich, Oliver (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Lesniewska, Magdalena (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2022
EPSRC Global Challenges Research Fund Institutional Sponsorship Award 2017 (GCRF) / R171051-104
Mottram, Nigel (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018
Mathematical Modelling and Analysis of Industrially-Important Flows of Liquid Crystals: Spreading and Channel Filling
Wilson, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 30-Jan-2020
Industrial Case Account 2016 | Cousins, Joseph
Wilson, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Cousins, Joseph (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 01-Jan-2021

More projects


Mathematics and Statistics
Livingstone Tower

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