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Award-winning year for AECOM maritime structures engineer

05 November 2019

An engineer at AECOM has been recognised by the ICE several times, most recently as the winner of the UK Emerging Engineers final.

Award-winning year for AECOM maritime structures engineer

Nerea Palacios, Maritime Structures Engineer at AECOM in Hampshire, has been announced asthe winner of the ICE Emerging Engineers Competition 2019.

Entitled 'An analysis of flood risk and potential adaptations in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight', Nerea’s paper was based on research from her master’s dissertation at the University of Southampton.

Technical excellence

Her paper assesses the economic damage caused by flooding in Yarmouth and proposes potential innovative measures against flooding.

Using innovative approach in flood defence, it proposes flexible adaptations that can easily change over time according to the actual evolution of sea level rise. The greatest benefit of this approach is reducing uncertainties in predicting future rise of sea level.

Palacios' paper concluded that there's a wide scope for interventions, but they're unlikely to be implemented unless new sources of funding arise in the future. This is transferable to many other small coastal towns that, like Yarmouth, will also have this challenge.

She said: "I felt thrilled that my paper made it through all the stages up to the final. It is very rewarding to see your hard work recognised and I fully enjoyed defending and improving my presentation along the way."

Watching the UK final at ICE's headquarters, One Great George Street, included ICE Director of UK Regions Wendy Blundell, ICE Vice President Emer Murnaghan and Nick Gray, ICE South East England 2018/19 Chair.

Commenting on the high standard of the presentations, Nick Gray said: “There were three brilliant presentations, all with fantastic technical content and all superbly delivered.

"I would like to congratulate Nerea on behalf of ICE South East England for winning the competition, a tremendous achievement. Well done to Ana Saavedra Justo and Grace Kelly for making it such a good competition”.

Contribution to the profession

Emerging Engineers was the second ICE award for Palacio this year.

She received the One to Watch for Young Professional award in South Branch from ICE President 18/19 Andrew Wyllie – during his President’s visit to South East England in July.

She was applauded by the judges for her positive impact on an international level, and inspiring and motivating others, including coaching young engineers in the workplace and providing support to civil engineering students.

Palacios has also been shortlisted for Graduate of the Year at the Construction News Talent Awards 2019, with the winner announced in November.

Achieving professional qualification

To top off a hugely successful year for Palacios, she has also achieved professional qualification with the ICE, recognised as ‘member’ (MICE) last month.

She will attend and receive her certificate at the official ICE ceremony in February 2020 at One Great George Street.

Get Involved If you're interested in showcasing your expertise and raising your profile, enter ICE awards such as Pitch 200 and the Emerging Engineer’s competition 2020.

Contact your regional support team for local competition details.

  • Jemma Ralphs, regional marketing and communications manger at ICE