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The City Council initiated a scheme to commemorate the Silver Jubilee by making an annual award to a student at a Birmingham Institution of Higher Education, in any field of Engineering. The project was approved by Her Majesty and is known as ‘The City of Birmingham Queen’s Silver Jubilee Engineering Award’.

Discussions took place with the three universities, who are prepared to co-operate in the scheme by nominating a maximum of two students for consideration by an independent judging panel. The actual determination of the recipient is undertaken by an invited panel that includes the Lord Mayor, and representatives from various institutions and organisations.

Greg Carty won the overall prize, and Mikkel Andresen was runner up (you can read about some of their experiences leading up to this below). The applications were assembled with the help of Dr Karl Dearn who looks after scholarships and awards in our School. Greg’s tutor is Dr Bob Cripps who also helped with Greg’s application.

Candidates for the award were judged in the following areas:

• Work within the community including any promotion of engineering particularly with young people.
• Industrial / business placement or work experience.
• Academic achievement including any innovation.
• Overcoming adversity / challenges
• Communication – personal, professional and social
• Ambitions and future aspirations

Candidates are also expected to give a 15 minute presentation to the panel on their background covering the criteria as highlighted above, which will be followed by a question session from the panel.

You can read more about the awards here:  

Greg Carty (overall winner)

What got you into this area of research?
At Sixth Form College I attended “Headstart”, the engineering activity week, where I was part of a team that designed and built a gravity powered propulsion system for a boat. I enjoyed both the technical aspects of the challenge and the teamwork, as well as the thrill of seeing our ideas come to life. I already knew that I would go on to study a mathematical or physical subject at university but “Headstart” confirmed that I enjoyed the design process just as much as the science. I chose mechanical engineering because I believe it will lead to a career that will give me the opportunity to use my knowledge to make products and devices that are new and innovative, and that have not been done before.

How did your industry experience help?
Before attending university I completed a gap year industrial placement in the Medical Technology division at Cambridge Consultants. It was there I had my first experience of the software tools that mechanical engineers use every day, such as Solidworks and Matlab, as well as my first experience of the design process and watching concepts come to life. I was involved across a broad spectrum of projects at various points during the design process and was often involved in laboratory work, where I was able to use test data to diagnose problems with devices and suggest improvements.

During my year in industry, I was part of a team of other gap year students that developed a medical electro-mechanical device for the aspiration of trapped air from the chest cavity of patients who have suffered a collapsed lung. I thoroughly enjoy my degree program, and especially welcome the mixture of group based design projects and more traditional academic subjects. The course has taught me a lot about myself and how I work within a team and has given me the opportunity to be involved in several successful team based projects; such as the Aston Martin car breakdown in my second year for which my group was awarded a factory tour. I have also been fortunate enough to receive recognition for my academic performance, including the University’s First Class Scholarship and the Moran Memorial Prize for the best all round results in my first year.

What’s next for you?
After graduation, I hope to embark on an exciting and challenging career in the design consultancy industry. My industrial experience has shown me that design consultancy is a highly desirable career path that will grant me many opportunities to work on new and innovative products. In particular, I am interested in the innovation opportunities available in the growing field of medical device design and I hope to have the opportunity to apply medical developments to devices that can make a difference.

Finishing my degree will only be the end of the beginning and I look forward to continuing my professional development after graduation by working towards chartered status. I hope that there will be many years of exciting intellectual developments ahead of me, and I know that I will always be able to apply the leadership, technical and personal skills I have learnt at Birmingham.

Mikkel Andresen (runner up)

What got you into this area of research?
Since a young age I have had a keen interest in all Engineering fields. I was always fascinated by new technologies and advancements in engineering. This passion grew as I got older and from early on in my secondary education I had decided on a career in Engineering. As I progressed through secondary school I became more interested in the Mechanical side of Engineering. I have had a huge interest in the technical advancements in the automotive sector, especially the optimization of all the systems to meet the demand for reduced costs and emissions. Vehicles are something that has a massive bearing on the everyday life and I have wanted to be part of the ongoing innovation within the automotive sector. This naturally led me to studying for a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

How did your industry experience help?
During the summer after my first year at University, I secured a job at a Process Engineering company called Olympus Automation in Peterborough. Whilst I was at Olympus I learnt many valuable skills. I gained hands-on experience including the use of CAD programs such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD. I was able to apply the knowledge which I had learnt in my first year, in particular the use of CAD and the production of engineering drawings. I could also easily identify the best manufacturing method for different components and this enabled me to design the parts in the most efficient manner.

After my third year I completed a 3 month summer placement with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). I was based within the Powertrain Systems Engineering department which looked at the cooling and fuel systems in their vehicles. During my 3 months, I gained a wealth of experience of working within a large multi-national company. My placement at JLR was vastly different from my job at Olympus. My projects included designing a new system for benchmarking for the cooling department, which they now use to compare systems from competitor vehicles, through to running tests on vehicle emissions systems. My projects required me to use a wide variety of skills from hands on testing, component design and networking. As a result of my good performance during my summer placement, I was offered a place on the Graduate Scheme which I will be starting in September 2013.

In September 2012 I began my final year project. This is a project that I am doing in conjunction with JLR. The project is to investigate new methods of ducting air through a horizontally mounted automotive radiator. This project involves CFD modeling of the current system which JLR use on their current model sports cars. I have to design new systems which will look to optimize the cooling performance of the radiator. Other factors which must be considered are the packaging and cost of the system.

What’s next for you?
I have secured a graduate job with Jaguar Land Rover. I will begin work there in September 2013. Whilst at Jaguar Land Rover I plan on working towards my chartership through the IMechE. After completing the graduate scheme I would like to stay in JLR and gain as much experience as possible within different departments. I have always dreamed of being self-employed, and setting up my own company would be something that I would like to do in the long term. I would like a company within the automotive industry. The exact direction I would like to go will depend on the experience I gain in my early career and the general direction the automotive sector is heading in the future. As the industry is constantly changing I feel is it important to keep my options open and to be able to adapt any plans to the advancements in the industry.