Professor Nigel Mottram

Mathematics and Statistics

Personal statement

I am currently the Deputy Head of Department, a role which involves strategy development and acting for the Head of Department in all academic and teaching matters, including undergraduate and masters course development, awards and appeals matters. 

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, the British Rheology 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. 

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.

I currently have PhD, MRes and MPhil projects available and prospective applicants should email me at

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.


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)
Electro-manipulation of droplets for microfluidic applications
Corson L T, Tsakonas C, Duffy B R, Mottram N J, Brown C V, Wilson S K
Progress in Industrial Mathematics at ECMI 2014 ECMI 2014 - European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry Mathematics in Industry Vol 22, pp. 1073-1080 (2017)
In-silico characterisation of the Kirkstall QV900 in-vitro system for advanced cell culture
McGinty Sean, Hyndman Lauren, Mottram Nigel, McKee Sean, Webb Steven
CMBE17 5th International Conference on Computational and Mathematical Biomedical Engineering, pp. 1174-1177 (2017)
Dynamic response of a thin sessile drop of conductive liquid to an abruptly applied or removed electric field
Corson L T, Mottram N J, Duffy B R, Wilson S K, Tsakonas C, Brown C V
Physical Review E Vol 94 (2016)
Analytic solutions of a simple advection-diffusion model of an oxygen transfer device
McKee Sean, Dougall Ewan A, Mottram Nigel J
Journal of Mathematics in Industry Vol 6 (2016)

more publications


Current PhD students

  • Areej Abdullah Almuneef
  • Zuhur Moraya Alqahtani
  • Josh Walton
  • Pretheepan Radhakrishnan
  • Joseph Cousins

Current teaching

  • MM512: Optimisation: Theory and Practice
  • EO101: Mathematical Tools (online distance learning class)
  • MM116: Engineering Mathematics
  • CPD: Ordinary Differential Equations for NERC PhD students

Previous teaching:

  • MM405: Fluids and Waves
  • MA409: Calculus of Variations
  • MM311: Mathematics for Physicists
  • MM202: Advanced Calculus
  • MM201: Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • ME209: Mathematical Modelling & Analysis for Mechanical Engineers
  • MM101: Introduction to Calculus
  • MM112/113: Engineering Mathematics



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, Kirkstall, MoD and past collaborators include HP, Sharp, Dow Corning. 

Professional activities

Invited seminar: Bending, flexing, wrinkling and snapping of liquid drops
BLCS Winter Workshop
European Liquid Crystal Conference
3rd Scottish Partial Differential Equation Colloquium
28th Scottish Fluid Mechanics Meeting
Seminar: Mathematical Modelling of Anisotropic Fluids

more professional activities


DTP 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Lesniewska, Magdalena Joanna
Henrich, Oliver (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Lesniewska, Magdalena Joanna (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
Industrial Case Account 2016 | Cousins, Joseph
Wilson, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Cousins, Joseph (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 01-Jan-2020
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
EPSRC Institutional Sponsorship: Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) / R160677-114
Pritchard, David (Principal Investigator) Corson, Stephen (Co-investigator) Mottram, Nigel (Co-investigator) Wilson, Stephen (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2017
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP - University of Strathclyde) | Walton, Joshua
Mottram, Nigel (Principal Investigator) McKay, Geoffrey (Co-investigator) Walton, Joshua (Research Co-investigator)
Active nematic liquid crystals in confined regions
01-Jan-2015 - 01-Jan-2019

more projects


Mathematics and Statistics
Livingstone Tower

Location Map

View University of Strathclyde in a larger map