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Personal profile

Research interests

I am currently a Senior Lecturer (Teaching Focused) at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the main focus of my work is improving and modernising courses content and teaching methods to enhance the student’ learning experience.

When I decided to return to academia back in 2006, I was mainly motivated by the desire to further my knowledge of novel technologies and play a pivotal role in their advancement and application. However, during my time at the University of Bristol, I also taught several laboratory exercises, including programming, analogue electronics and RF & Microwave engineering, and this made me realise how much I enjoy working with students and sharing my knowledge in these areas and how considerable a contribution I could make as a teacher in addition to my research.

My vision on academic teaching is that it should not be seen as a simple transfer of knowledge and notions between the instructor and the student. I see it as the process of stimulating curiosity and creating enthusiasm about a subject in a way that encourages, inspires and enables students to explore the subject beyond the classroom walls.  I also believe that the wide availability of powerful simulation tools, new technology and broadband internet access enables academic teaching to be set free from the static setting of a classroom and the black and white pages of a textbook. In particular, in the field of RF Engineering where laboratory work would be impractical, I feel that simulations and animations should be an integral part of teaching. They not only give students the knowledge to play with circuits on the simulator but also allow abstract concepts to be explained in a more conceptual and visual way.

Indeed, one of my main interests in the last few years has been the creation of instructional material in Electronics related subjects which is easy to understand, has practical relevance and takes advantage of modern teaching methods. I started in 2010 by opening a YouTube channel featuring videos on RF & Microwave Engineering based on simulation. Although this material only covered the basics of this vast subject, it became extremely popular and was featured on several well-known websites. The success of my first endeavour also enabled me to strike a deal with the simulator producer to create a comprehensive set of videos and a reference book covering all the basics of active and passive RF & Microwave Circuits. This material has been very popular and it is now free to access thanks to the patronage of Wolfspeed and Cree. I also carried out a second, smaller project, supported by the most prominent instrumentation manufacturers, which led to the production of a full manual and video tutorials on instrumentation control, data acquisition and processing with MATLAB. This material has been accepted on The MathWorks Book Program and is also now free to access thanks to Keysight Technologies.

This recent article provides an overview of the work that I have carried out at the University of Bristol in 2015.

My research interests include wide bandgap semiconductor devices and materials, particularly Gallium Nitride (GaN) High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMTs). During my time as a researcher at UoB, I succeeded in enhancing their application, mainly in the field of pulsed power amplifiers for Radar systems. I also had the opportunity to develop novel test methodologies and practical measurement rigs for GaN amplifiers at microwave frequencies. My PhD thesis, which includes introductory chapters on advanced semiconductor materials and devices in terms of their physics, technology, research status and commercial availability, has had thousands of downloads and very positive feedback. It also formed the basis of a popular webinar on GaN, which I presented. This was sponsored by one of the largest GaN manufacturers in the world, Cree Inc.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Engineering Education Research Group

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Research Output

  • 4 Conference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)
  • 2 Authored book
  • 1 Article (Academic Journal)
  • Facilitating the understanding of RF circuits through time-domain simulations and animations

    Fornetti, F., 2012, European Microwave Week 2012: "Space for Microwaves", EuMW 2012, Conference Proceedings - 42nd European Microwave Conference, EuMC 2012.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

  • Prizes

    Students’ Award for Outstanding Teaching (Engineering)

    Fornetti, Francesco (Recipient), 6 Jun 2017

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants