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Bristol student wins regional Emerging Engineers Award

11 July 2019

The winning subject was on modifying timber into a high-performing structural material.

Bristol student wins regional Emerging Engineers Award

Bristol University civil engineering student Grace Kelly has won the South West regional final of the ICE Emerging Engineers Awards.

Her winning paper and presentation was on 'modifying natural timber into high-performing structural material'.

Kelly beat two other finalists - fellow Bristol University student Cora Fung and Plymouth University student Josef Wisniewski - to take the crown at the regional final, which was hosted by ICE's Exeter City Club.

Fung's entry was on the subject of ‘slope stabilisation over project lifetimes in Hong Kong’, while Wisniewski's presentation was on ‘the strengths of sand-filled bottled panels for sustainable homes in Nigeria'.

The Emerging Engineers Award promotes and rewards outstanding communication of civil engineering ideas and research. It offers ICE student, graduate and trainee technician members the opportunity to submit a paper on any civil engineering-related topic in the format of research, a report or essay.

The three finalists – who were shortlisted by a specialist ICE panel - were quizzed after their presentations by judges and the audience in question and answer sessions chaired by City Club Chair Alex Crump before Kelly was declared the winner.

Where the ideas came from

Kelly's paper stemmed from her third-year research project which focused on sustainability within the construction industry and explored a method of timber modification which aimed to improve the natural material’s mechanical properties.

As a result of her studies, Fung developed an interest in geotechnical engineering and the adoption of sustainable methods to reduce the carbon footprint associated with construction. Slope stability was part of her third-year research project.

Wisniewski had the opportunity to travel to Abuja, Nigeria, to help with the construction of a unique sustainable, low-cost house, made entirely of plastic bottles. This formed part of his dissertation research project.

  • Ray Chalmers, Marcomms Executive at Institution of Civil Engineers