Grunfeld Memorial Award & Medal

For professional contribution of significant influence on the engineering application of components made from alloys in the metallurgical industries.

Grunfeld Memorial Award & Medal

The Grunfeld Memorial Award & Medal is presented in recognition of professional contribution by an individual in early to mid-career, that has had significant influence on the engineering application of components made from any alloys in the metallurgical industries.

The winner will receive a medal and £750.00

The Institute defines early career as meaning someone who is as of 1 September 2020 (and allows for career breaks, e.g. parental leave):
1. within 10 years of the start of their first employment (or self-employment) in a materials, minerals or mining related role, or
2. within 6 years of completing their PhD (in a relevant subject), whichever is sooner
Note - the 10 years from the start of their first employment would not normally include any apprenticeships (or equivalent training scheme)

Award judging

Nominations for the Grunfeld Memorial Award & Medal are judged by the IOM3 Awards Committee.

Past winners

2019 R Morana, 2018 J Strong, 2017 M R Clinch, 2016 Not awarded, 2015 D Armstrong, 2014 Not awarded, 2013 M Preuss, 2012 Not awarded, 2011 Joseph Robson, 2009 R Vanstone, 2005 D Dye, 2003 P Pragnell, 2001 P Lee, 1999 K L Choy, 1997 C N Elliott, 1996 L Christodoulou, 1995 S Flood, 1994 D G McCartney, 1992 J E King, 1991 B A Rickinson, 1989 A A Howe, 1988 C J Peel.

About the Award

Ernst Grunfeld was born in Beuthen, Silesia, on 11 June 1912. He was the second son of Dr Paul Grunfeld who founded the Gesellschaft Fur Elektrometallurgie (GfE) in 1911. After completing school in Berlin, Ernst Grunfels enrolled in the University of Freiburg in the faculty of chemistry. The family were of Jewish descent and after Hitler came to power they emigrated to England in 1938, losing GfE and their homes in Germany. Shortly afterwards London & Scandinavian Metallurgical Co Ltd (LSM) was formed.

Ernst Grunfeld enrolled at Oxford University where he continued reading chemistry. After the fall of France in 1940 there was an imminent danger of invasion in England and many German nationals of military age resident in the UK (including those of Jewish descent) were interned and transported overseas/ Ernst Grunfels was taken to Canada where he remained until 1941 when, with the restrictions on foreign nationals being reduced, he returned to England. He resumed his studies at Oxford, graduating in chemistry in 1942.

Until this time LSM had been engaged in the recovery of tungsten and vanadium for the Ministry of Supply at a small chemical works in Derbyshire, but had been approached by the Ministry of Aircraft Production to produce pure chromium metal for the Nimonic range of heat resisting alloys required for the turbine blade of the newly developed jet engine. The company opened a small metallurgical works in Sheffield in 1942 and installefd Ernst Grunfeld as manager, producing chromium metal by the aluminothermic Goldschmidt process. Later, ferro-titanium and other products were also made.

In 1948 Ernst Grunfeld moved to the Head Office of LSM in London, which was run by his elder brother Herbert. With the return of GfE to the Grunfelds in 1949, and the starting of operations in the USA in the late '40s and early '50s, their various companies started to grow rapidly. Sales offices were opened around the world and the family companies later became known as the Metallurg Group.

EG, as Ernst Grunfeld was know, devoted much of his time travelling around the world looking for new business opportunities. He was instrumental in the Group becoming established in Brazil, which he always believed had a great future. After the death of his elder brother Herbert in 1977, EG became chairman of the Metallurg Group. 

During his travels he established many contacts, whom he was to maintain for the remainder of his life. He attached great importance to the human aspect of industry and took as keen interest in the personal problems of everyone, fostering a remarkable team spirit throughout the Group. He was an excellent host and had a marvellous sense of humour.

In 1986 EG endowed awards in memory of his father. The Dr Paul Grunfeld Memorial Award and Medal is presented biannually by The Institute of Materials for original work carried oyut anywhere in the world on the production and use of alloys in the metallurgical industries. A parallel award is presented by the German professional body GDMB.

On his 80th birthday EG retired from LSM and the Group. Far from retiring to a life of leisure, EG devoted himself to wider issues which have always interested him such as the industrial competitiveness of his adopted country and charities supporting research into mental health.

Ernst Grunfeld remained extremely active until, at the age of 82, he died peacefully on 21 August 1994 at his home near London.

Materials World 1994, p43