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Outstanding young engineers of the year recognised by Royal Academy

@RAEngNews – Five young engineers who have been outstandingly successful in their respective fields at an early stage of their careers have each received a prestigious award and a £3,000 prize from the Royal Academy of Engineering. They were presented with their awards from HRH The Princess Royal, Royal Fellow of the Academy, during a specially arranged visit to the Thames Tideway Project in London on 6 July.

All five are winners of the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year competition, awarded by the Academy with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

The overall winner, Dr Marzia Bolpagni, also received the Sir George Macfarlane Medal for excellence in the early stage of her career.

Dr Marzia Bolpagni is Head of Building Information Modelling International at Mace. A chartered building engineer specialising in digital engineering, Marzia recognised the importance of engineers in helping to prevent disasters after surviving an earthquake. Marzia uses digital representations of built assets to facilitate design, construction, and operation processes to support reliable decisions. Her construction clients have included UK Government Departments and Birmingham Airport.

Marzia has been a member of the UK Building Information Modelling (BIM) Alliance since 2016, and an ambassador since 2018. In this role, she has promoted digital engineering across the UK and Europe. Marzia’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of engineers successfully bridges the gap between industry and academia, she gives talks at international universities and acts as a dissertation supervisor for construction students at University College London, where she is an honorary lecturer. She chairs the EC3 Committee on Modelling and Standards, a position usually covered by senior academics. Marzia also acts as Assistant Editor of the BIM Dictionary, coordinating 120+ international volunteers in translating complex concepts into accessible formats.

Since 2019, Marzia has been a member of the ACE Digital Transformation Group and she is lead author of a European standard (BS EN 17412-1) on digital engineering. Her work is internationally renowned and she has been a keynote speaker in 20 countries. She has received multiple awards for her innovative approach to design, construction and operation, including the Women Engineering Ingenious and Digital Innovation Change Maker of the Year by Mace.

The other winners of the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year competition are:

Dr Ben Fletcher is a Physical Design Engineer at Graphcore Ltd, responsible for the physical design of several key components on their flagship ‘Colossus’ series of processors to deal with accelerating AI workloads. Ben is part of the team that developed the largest ever single-die silicon chip earlier this year, the 7nm CMOS Colossus MK2 IPU.

Prior to joining Graphcore in 2020, Ben previously studied for a PhD in the Arm-ECS Research Centre at the University of Southampton where he led the COILS project for two years. His research centred on investigating novel approaches for cost-effective three-dimensional integrated circuit (3D-IC) design, including the first ever 3D-stacked Arm processor with wireless inter-tier links.

His research has been published extensively, including several leading international journals and conference publications which have been downloaded over 4000 times. He has also received numerous accolades including the STEM for Britain/IEEE Communications Society Prize, an IET Postgraduate Prize, and the University of Southampton’s Doctoral College Research Award.

Dr Thomas Fudge is the co-founder and CEO of WASE, a leading wastewater to energy startup, which provides decentralised wastewater treatment and clean energy for food and drink manufactures and low-resource communities in the UK and Kenya.

Founded in 2017, WASE has developed a new Electro-Methanogenic Reactor, enabling decentralised resource recovery from industrial and community organic waste and wastewater Since then, the company has received multiple accolades including the UK Energy Innovation Award 2017, Climate Launchpad UK Winner 2017 and Shell LiveWire Smarter Future Award 2018.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, Thomas’ leadership allowed WASE to exceed in its plan to secure an additional £500,000 in funding, enabling the team to grow from 6 to 15 and doubled its R&D efforts. The increased productivity enabled the company to sell its first units one year ahead of schedule.

In 2017, Thomas won the UK national ‘3 Minute Thesis’ competition with his presentation on Distributed sanitation for developing communities with energy and nutrient recovery; spoke at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin talking about Breaking the Wall of Sanitation; and gave an invited presentation at the World Bank’s Water Week in Washington in 2019.

Dr Gita Khalili Moghaddam is CEO of TumourVue Ltd, which she co-founded in 2018 to address a pronounced unmet need in cancer surgery. Based at the University of Cambridge’s Biomedical Innovation Hub and with funding from the Medtech Accelerator, TumourVue’s technology combines real-time imaging and AI to distinguish a viable tumour from normal brain tissue. Gita innovated the system to improve outcomes for cancer patients undergoing surgery by allowing the surgeon to identify the edges of the tumour accurately, to help preserve as much healthy tissue as possible.

Having obtained her PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge in 2017, Gita is currently on secondment at GSK Global Health until 2023 as a UKRI Innovation Scholar, taking a leading role in the use of AI in tuberculosis drug development.

In 2019, she was awarded a prestigious Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowship at the University of Cambridge in recognition of her outstanding research in the field of biomedical engineering. As an academic entrepreneur, she has been widely recognised as one of the top 18 women in AI & Data by Innovate UK (2019), a BioBeat Mover & Shaker in BioBusiness (2020) and a top contender for Cofinitive 21toWatch (2021).

Dr Emilio Martínez-Pañeda is a lecturer and Research Fellow at Imperial College London, where he has led the Mechanics of Infrastructure Materials research group since 2019.

Emilio is renowned for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of material-environment interactions and their implications for structural integrity, spanning a wide range of applications – from Lithium-Ion battery degradation to iceberg calving models to improve sea-level rise projections. He has combined mechanics with chemistry to predict complex phenomena such as localised corrosion, hydrogen embrittlement and corrosion fatigue. Such research could help to save lives as environmental effects are behind 90% of catastrophic failures and govern the lifespan of most engineering components.

Emilio was previously a Research Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Micromechanics, University of Cambridge where he was awarded two prestigious fellowships: the Research Fellowship of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851 and the Marie Curie Individual Fellowship.

His contributions have been recognised through numerous awards including the Acta Student Award, IMechE Prestige Award and RILEM’s 2021 Gustavo Colonnetti Medal.

RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year: With the generous support of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the Royal Academy of Engineering makes five awards of £3,000 each year to UK engineers in full time higher education, research or industrial employment, who have demonstrated excellence in the early stage of their career (defined as less than ten years since graduation from their first degree in engineering). There is no restriction on the discipline base of the individual nominated.

Sir George Macfarlane Medal. The Award is made in memory of Sir George Macfarlane (1916-2007), one of the founding Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Medal will be presented to the overall winner of the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year awardees, as selected by the Academy’s Awards Committee.


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