Following twenty-four years of membership that commenced when he was a student at the University of Nottingham, during which time he had undertaken a variety of roles on committees within the Institute, the award was made to Dr Foster for particular achievements during 2013. As President of the Cornish Institute of Engineers during its centenary year, he had held a variety of special events including a one-day conference at the Heartlands centre near Camborne featuring Cornish companies in the global mining sector, a centenary dinner in Redruth and other celebratory functions. In the same year, he chaired and convened a major international conference in London for IOM3, the 35th International Conference of Safety in Mines Research Institutes', sometimes travelling between Cornwall and London for back-to-back meetings for these voluntary activities amongst the other demands upon this time.
Professor Pine led the tributes to Dr Foster's contribution to the industry. He sais: 'This award reflected not only Pat's specific achievements but also the popularity and respect with which he is held both locally and beyond. It is thoroughly deserved.'
Dr Foster, a Fellow of the Institute, has been lecturing in Cornwall since 2000 and has made a huge contribution to local activities, from innovative mining research with global impact to organising the Camborne School of Mines rugby club. He has a particular passion for safety in the mining industry and has done a great deal to promote a 'zero-harm' environment through technological and behavioural advances and work with mining companies in several countries, having close ties with the Unviersity of Queensland, Australia, and Laurentian University in Canada.
Speaking after the ceremony, Dr Foster said: 'I am surprised but absolutely delighted. To be recognised in this way is a real honour, and I'm very grateul to everyone involved for this truly special award.'