The final saw three young engineers pit their work against each other to win the top prize.
A presentation on how civil engineers can enhance children’s safety, reduce child mortality and improve the health of communities with safer routes to school has won this year’s ICE Emerging Engineers Award.
Shay Durnin, from Northern Ireland, delivered the winning presentation at the live-streamed, online award final today.
Joining him at the final were Hepzi Rattray (Scotland), who talked about the viability of scaffolding for designing Covid-19 testing tents, and Leo Kauntz-Moderini (London) who presented on self-centring seismic links for eccentrically braced steel frames.
Durnin was awarded a cash prize and the Institution Medal for his efforts.
About Emerging Engineers
The Emerging Engineers competition is aimed at student, graduate and trainee technician members.
The competition encourages and rewards the communication of civil engineering ideas, research and best practice in projects and design.
Candidates from across the world are invited to submit synopsis papers to regional heats, with the final selection of three papers for the overall Emerging Engineer Award final in October each year.
2022 regional finalists
The use of deep cement mixing for temporary excavation
Charles Wong caught the judges' attention with his presentation titled “The Use of Deep Cement Mixing for Temporary Excavation”.
He shared his experience from working with AECOM in Tung Chung East site and illustrated the use of the deep cement mixing (DCM) method in one of the fast-developing areas in Hong Kong.
Charles’ paper highlighted that the successful application of DCM was further extended to the earth retaining system and has since shown multiple advantages against the conventional excavation scheme.
He also identified that the DCM retaining system also displayed a promising solution for retaining walls in relation to sustainability and health and safety, which are vital in engineering projects.
Uncertainty characterisation of self-centring seismic links for eccentrically braced steel frames
Leo Kuantz-Moderini, a fourth-year MEng Engineering and Architectural Design student at University College London, impressed the judges with the presentation of his paper ‘Uncertainty characterisation of self-centring (SC) seismic links for eccentrically craced steel frames’.
His presentation, which took place online on 6 July 2022, focused on the research summarised in his paper. It aimed to determine appropriate safety factors for self-centring (SC) eccentrically braced frames (EBFs) to keep the probability of exceeding a certain maximum value of interstorey drift below a threshold value.
Grade Lloyds and Julian Vercruysse also presented excellent papers, making it a tough decision for the judges.
Grace Lloyds presented on ‘To what extent do engineers need to embrace the arts to succeed’, while Julian Vercruysse’s presentation looked at ‘ Managing climate change transition risks: another potential role for civil engineers’.
Finite element modelling of the Loopline Bridge in Dublin and model validation using ground-based radar interferometry
Conor Flannery, graduate bridge engineer with AECOM, impressed the judges with the presentation of his paper ‘Finite element modelling of the Loopline Bridge in Dublin and model validation using ground-based radar interferometry’.
Flannery felt that current monitoring methods for bridges are inefficient and occasionally inaccurate.
In his presentation, which took place in front of an online audience on 16 June, he described the bridge and showed a three-dimensional finite element model that was developed using RFEM, a commercial software package.
“Ground-based radar interferometry is a new and exciting measurement technique which made carrying out this research thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding,” he said.
“...it's an honour to be able to carry out research on such a recognisable bridge, close to my own home, and where I completed my studies - Dublin, Ireland.”
Matthew Elliott, a student from Leeds University, took second place for his paper entitled ‘Connectivity and Prioritisation: using the Node-Place-Network model for evaluating the strategic case for High Speed Rail in Northern England’.
Can civil engineers enhance children’s safety, reduce child mortality and improve the health of communities with safer routes to school?
Shay Durnin, from AECOM, impressed judges with the presentation of his paper ‘Can civil engineers enhance children’s safety, reduce child mortality and improve the health of communities with safer routes to school?’, at the regional heat held on 14 March 2022.
Shay’s paper detailed a proposed solution to address the health and safety issues for children traveling to school.
His paper focused on integrated street design that reduces traﬃc volumes and speed, discourages set down at the school gate, and provides an alternative, attractive and active means of travel to school.
During his secondment to the NTA Cycle Design Office (CDO), Shay developed the Safe Routes To Schools Design Guidance (SRTSDG) which was subsequently published by the NTA in September 2021.
The guidance included detail on the risks and opportunities posed within school zones and included detail on road geometry, visibility, crossing arrangements, landscaping, construction detail and cost estimates for construction.
Mark Coughlin (Design ID) and Patrick Montgomery (Arup) also presented excellent papers, making the final decision for the judges a difficult one.
Mark Coughlin presented on ‘Using computer vision techniques to measure dynamic bridge displacement’, while Patrick Montgomery’s presentation looked at the ‘Use of parametric design to reduce design time and increase quality on civil engineering projects’.
Viability of scaffold in the structural design of Covid-19 testing tents
Hepzi Rattray, final-year civil engineering with architecture student at Glasgow University, was praised by judges for her well-structured paper on the ‘viability of scaffold in the structural design of Covid-19 testing tents’.
The paper focused on facilities in developing countries and was commended for its clearly thought-out and researched conclusions.
Hepzi said she was proud to have received the award, particularly as it was on a subject close to her heart.
“Scaffold is inexpensive, durable and available globally which means cheap, secure testing facilities could be available anywhere in the world,” she said.
“I aspire to an engineering career in which I will be working towards a sustainable future and designing for the global community and this report was one small step in that direction.”
Runner-up for the award was Ethan Jones, a graduate geotechnical engineer in cementation with Skanska. His paper was on ‘What can history teach engineers in their fight against climate change?’
Ethan said it was the proudest moment of his career.
“Sustainability is an issue close to my heart. This whole experience will help me remain focused and dedicated to making engineering and construction part of the solution.”
An experimental investigation into the influence of the sliding interface and grain size distribution on the dynamic sliding response of a small-scale structure
Kate Conway, a graduate engineer with Atkins, based at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, has beaten stiff competition to win first prize in the South West regional final.
Her paper, ‘An experimental investigation into the influence of the sliding interface and grain size distribution on the dynamic sliding response of a small-scale structure’ assesses the feasibility of a shallow sand-rubber layer as a novel, low cost and sustainable base isolation solution for infrastructure in earthquake-prone developing countries.
As part of her study, Kate tested three sand-rubber mixtures and four material interfaces, comparing the results after experiments using a shaking table.
Her paper highlighted how recycled scrap tyres as a substitute for the rubber within the mixture could create a more sustainable solution, and potentially reduce the environmental risk of old tyres.
Kate said winning the award has been a "fantastic achievement", personally and professionally.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my research into low-cost sustainable earthquake-resilient solutions, and I hope these types of systems become more accessible to developing countries in the future," she said.
Are our drainage designs really sustainable, asks the winning paper in Wales
Ngozi Orji-Chukwu, an undergraduate at the University of South Wales, has taken the top prize in the ICE Wales Cymru Emerging Engineers final 2022.
She will now go through to the international final in October.
Orji-Chukwu, in her third year (on a placement), won £250 with her paper entitled ‘Sustainability in Drainage Design - Are Our Designs Really Sustainable?’
In the paper, she argued that, although there's now growing awareness of sustainability in design, little research had gone into making the design aspect of drainage sustainable.
The economic, social and environmental effects of drainage design had also not been considered, she said.
The regional final was held in person for the first time in two years, with candidates presenting their papers to a panel of judges.
The judges included ICE Wales Cymru chair, Ken Evans, and ICE Wales Cymru Committee – senior vice chair, Peter Burns.
C.y Tsang was presented with the runner-up prize of £100, while Damiano de Gennaro was Highly Commended, winning £50.
Find out more information including entry dates and local contact details for competitions still to take place.
Check back here regularly to get up-to-date information on the competition.