Alumni Website and Record of Award Holders

2012 Alumni Science Evening

The Keynote Address was given by Professor John O'Reilly DSc FREng FLSW.  As well as being a Commissioner and Member of the Industry & Engineering Committee, Sir John O'Reilly is Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University.  His technical interests focus on Information and Communication Technologies with an emphasis on communication networks and applications.  He has served as a specialist adviser to UK Government and the European Commission and currently chairs the UK's Network Interoperability Consultative Committee for Ofcom and the telecommunications industry. 

Previously he has been Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Professor of Telecommunications and Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College, London and Head of the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Systems  at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. 

"There is no such thing as engineering research"

Sir John said, "I hasten to add that I am not the originator of this statement. It was made to me by a senior official in government involved in leading research policy and management during my time as Chief Executive of EPSRC. Since EPSRC is woqwthe Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, I felt I had a bit of a problem! The experience prompted me to reflect on the nature of engineering research. The term most used when describing research is ‘discovery', whereas engineering is essentially a creative enterprise. But engineering research is not an oxymoron: a science-engineering divide is a false dichotomy. That said some engineering research has very distinctive characteristics that may seem to distinguish it from ‘mainstream' science research. It is worth exposing and exploring these, not least because these distinctive paradigms of engineering research are finding their way into areas that we commonly call science. To the extent that there is a boundary, it is fuzzier than ever before. And then there is the nature of research in the ‘knowledge age', increasingly recognised as inherently interdisciplinary. Of course, in one sense it was ever thus; but never more so than today.        

In the talk I propose to range widely over the science-engineering and research-innovation continua. Illustrative examples will serve to draw out and illuminate some of the distinctive characteristics I have alluded to above. In doing so I shall highlight also how intimate engagement with industrially-inspired challenges can open up new intellectual horizons for research. This will underscore the benefits of interdisciplinary engagement in strong partnerships based on industry and universities working together and thereby, in the spirit of 1851, "extending the influence of science and art upon productive industry"."

Prior to the keynote address, four Royal Commission current Fellows presented their research projects:

Dr Stephen Graham  - Science and Engineering Research Fellow - "How do you solve a protein structure and what can it tell you?Stephen, won his Science and Engineering Research Fellowship in 2009.  an Australian biomedical scientist who graduated with a first class honours degree in 2001 and completed a PhD in 2006, at the University of Sydney.  He then moved to Oxford for a post doctoral fellowship investigating the interactions of vaccinia virus with mammalian host cells before a further move to the Cambridge Institute of Medical Research in 2009 for his 1851Fellowship.  Stephen already has an impressive number of prizes and scholarships to his name which have enabled him to travel to Sweden, Italy China and Turkey and present his work at numerous conferences.  His list of published papers is equally impressive.

Dr Gareth Conduit - Science and Engineering Research Fellow - "Alloys by design".  Gareth is a physicist who graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Cambridge in 2006, placed first out of 592 candidates in his class.  He remained at Cambridge as a Corfield Research Scholar for his  PhD and won the Abdus Salem Prize for graduate level research in 2009.   Gareth's 1851 Fellowship, combined with a Kreitman Post-Doctoral Fellowship, took him to Ben Gurion University of the Negev to research non-equilibrium effects in atomic gases.   He is presently enjoying a six month intermission to start a junior research fellowship at Cambridge before concluding his 1851 Fellowship with a period of research at Harvard.

Michael Conti-Ramsden - Industrial Fellow -"Odour and VOC Removal Using The Arvia Process".  Michael has the distinction of being one of the first EngD students admitted to the Fellowship.  Graduating from the University of Bath with a first class honours degree in Natural Sciences in 2008, Michael enrolled in his EngD programme at the University of Manchester the same year.  In partnership with Arvia Technology he is researching the development of a novel malodorous gas treatment plant based on the Arvia Process. 

Last year Michael led a team of University of Manchester EngD students in the Engineering Young Entrepreneurs Scheme competition which required participants to present a business plan for an imaginary start-up company to a group of shrewd investors and industry experts.    They won both the peer review and the Judge's prize in the regional heat and took first prize in the national final.  This year Michael has been nominated for Postgraduate Student of the Year award in the University of Manchester's Distinguished Achievement Awards.  He has presented his work at several international conferences and plays an active role with the International Young Water Professionals. 

Sara Ridley - Industrial fellow - "Remanufacturing - a strategy for material efficiency". As the Assembly and Test Manager for Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services Ltd Sara was awarded an Industrial Fellowship in 2009 to research a Robust Methodology for Functional Testing of Components from used Donor Units for Remanufacturing in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde.  

Sara completed a technical apprenticeship in electrical and mechanical engineering with the Express Lift Company before working as a Design Engineer for Building Services Consultants Steensen, Varming Mulcahy.  Following a career break to raise a family she gained a first class honours degree in engineering at the University of Northampton while working at Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services, Rushden as the lead engineer on the introduction of the Aston Martin Lagonda 6 litre V12 engine remanufacturing programme.



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