Meet the Team

Aliya Sembayeva
Founder and President of Association

Aliya Sembayeva is the Founder and President of Kazakhstan PhD Association in the UK, which connects more than 70 PhD students in the UK, specialising in Medicine, Chemistry, Human Rights, Investment, Business Management, Economics, Agriculture, Politics, Engineering, Law and IT.

Aliya Sembayeva is a PhD Candidate in Chemistry at the University of Liverpool (University Scholarship), where she studies the unexplored interface between the chemistry of foldamers and polymer mechanochemistry to design smart material with unusual properties. She is a member of the American and Royal Chemical Societies.

She has a strong theoretical knowledge and practical skills in Organic chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, Mechanochemistry and Supramolecular Chemistry.

Aliya graduated with a BSc in Chemistry in 2015 (Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan) and an MSc by Research degree in Chemistry from the University of Birmingham, UK (2016), where she did her research on the total synthesis of Dictyoxetane, which is a marine natural product with promising antitumor activity.

Khalida Azhigulova
Legal Director

Khalida is a Legal Director of our Association. She is passionate about human rights and rule of law and promoting decent and favourable working conditions for researchers in Kazakhstan.

Khalida is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester, doing research in public international law. Khalida is also a law graduate of the University of Oxford (MJur), a Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy, and a qualified lawyer in Kazakhstani law. Her professional experience includes working as a tax lawyer at Deloitte, a human rights officer at the United Nations and being the founding partner of the law firm Novalex LLP in Kazakhstan.

Khalida holds a number of the professional memberships since 2016:

  • International Association of Refugee Law Judges (Netherlands)
  • Society of Legal Scholars (UK)
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK)
  • and other
Dr Alfiya Wright
Business Development Director

Alfiya is a Business Development Director of our Association. She took the initiative to bring to life the website for our Association and further establish business connections with industries and academia.

She was inspired to develop the Mentorship programme, which will be running on our platform.

Alfiya received her PhD degree in energy economics at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Her research interests are in carbon capture and storage (CCS), oil and gas economics, renewables, market regulations, electricity markets, and sustainable development.

She is a consulting economist and currently a lecturer and course coordinator for the Finance course at the University of Aberdeen, as well as a coordinator for the online course on economics at the University of Aberdeen.

Alfiya has a wide range of industrial experience spanning from oil and gas automation systems to project management in Norway. While working in the oil and gas industry, she engaged in a variety of projects for major companies, such as Siemens, Maersk, Statoil, and ConocoPhillips.

It could be you

Sponsorship Manager

Association is looking for a sponsorship manager in a team — a specialist who organises work on attracting sponsors for the Forum 2019. Beyond the Forum 2019, Sponsorship manager would be expected to attract sponsors to meet the Association’s financial needs, such as maintaining the site and covering the costs of the organising committee. The sponsorship for the Association is required to attract good specialists and compensate their labour aimed at the needs and prosperity of science and industry in Kazakhstan and the countries of Central Asia, which is also aimed at promoting cooperation between science and business. The sponsorship manager will work under the direction of the Development Director.

Marketing Manager

Association requires a marketing manager — a specialist, who organises the marketing work of the Association and the Association’s activities to promote the Association and its goals and objectives. Responsibilities will include the development and monitoring of marketing initiatives in collaboration with the President of the Association and the Director of Development.


Association requires in the team an editor - a specialist, who organises and publishes articles on this site of the Association to promote the site and attract the flow of readers to the website of the Association. The site editor will work directly with the president of the Association.


Association requires in the team a bookkeeper - a specialist, who will keep records of all funds: incoming and outgoing, will track and keep receipts and bills on the cloud. Preliminary experience as a bookkeeper is not required. However, a person with qualities such as being methodical and attentive to detail is welcomed.


Association is looking for translators to translate texts from English and Russian into Kazakh (and also for translations from Russian into English, and vice versa) to maintain the three-linguality of the site.