Skip to content

The Harding Prize: celebrating young tunnelling engineers

Event organised by The British Tunnelling Society

13 April 2023

This event has now ended

You can catch-up on details or any broadcast and downloads here.


The Harding Prize is an annual (or biannual) highlight of the BTS calendar and is awarded to the best original paper and presentation by a tunnelling engineer under the age of 33. The content can be any aspect of tunnelling which the entrant considers to be of interest to others in the tunnelling industry.

The Harding Prize is named after the founder Chairman of the Society, Sir Harold Harding. Three finalists will be presenting their papers who were shortlisted from all applications by the BTS Sub-Committee.

The finalists and their papers are (in no particular order):

  • Jake Rankin – CGI – Artificial intelligence for forecasting tunnelling projects
  • Ricardo Manias – The Riverlinx CJV – The pressure ring launch system at the Silvertown Tunnel
  • Agustin Ruiz Lopez – Imperial College - New insights into the structural behaviour of grey cast iron linings


Please note that post-lecture drinks and food will be served at the newly reopened ICE bar, sponsored by Mapei.


The British Tunnelling Society

The British Tunnelling Society

The BTS is a vibrant group of tunnelling professionals which spreads knowledge amongst members and the tunnelling industry.


Jake Rankin

Jake Rankin


data scientist

Read more

Jake Rankin

He gained a Product Design Engineering MEng from Loughborough University in 2017, during which he worked for J C Bamford Excavators Ltd as a Design Engineer.

Jake recently completed a PhD in Artificial Intelligence for Trench Excavation at Loughborough University. During his studies, Jake worked as a Data Scientist for Murphy and Sons Ltd where he used artificial intelligence to forecast tunnelling productivity.

Afterwards, Jake worked at Havas Media as a Data Scientist where he was responsible for the analysis, classification, and prediction of customer data.

Currently, Jake works in consultancy for CGI where he develops artificial intelligence tools and analytics for clients in industries such as government, sustainability, and healthcare.

Ricardo Manias

Ricardo Manias

Riverlinx CJV

senior mechanical engineer

Read more

Ricardo Manias

Ricardo Manias is a Mechanical engineer currently working for Ferrovial UK in Silvertown Tunnel Project. He has professionally grown within the company step by step for the last six years, starting as a shift mechanical engineer in the Northern Line Extension helping with the assembly, launching and dismantling of both TBMs.

After the completion of the NLE tunnels and for more than four years at Tideway he was promoted to deputy plant manager.

Ricardo was in charge of the mechanical assemblies in Tideway Central becoming one of the key people delivering the Secondary Lining works at Kirtling St. When the major works in the tunnels came to an end at Tideway, he joined the Silvertown Tunnel Project as a Senior Mechanical Engineer assisting with the assembly of the TBM and executing the launching of the tunnel.

Currently delivering the works involved for the rotation of the TBM and its relaunch.

Agustin Ruiz Lopez

Agustin Ruiz Lopez

Imperial College London

research associate

Read more

Agustin Ruiz Lopez

Dr. Agustin Ruiz Lopez is a research associate in the Geotechnics Section at Imperial College London. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Madrid, Dr. Ruiz Lopez moved to the UK to undertake postgraduate studies at Swansea University where he completed a MSc in computer modelling techniques applied to engineering.

He then joined Rockfield Global where he worked on geomechanics solutions for the oil and gas industry using advanced finite element analysis. After three years in industry, he joined Imperial College to undertake his PhD studies in the development of advanced numerical models for grey cast iron tunnel linings.

After completing his PhD in 2022, he continued working as a postgraduate researcher on the thermal analysis of the heat of hydration generated by newly constructed piles, on tunnel-tunnel interaction problems and on the application of machine learning techniques in geotechnical engineering

For more information please contact:

Shelly-Ann Russell