15 under 30
IOM3 is looking to the future and celebrating young talent and ambition. Idha Valeur talks to the ones to watch in STEM.
Job: Robotics Engineer at Woodside Energy.
Education: PhD Engineering in Submarine Vibration and Acoustics, BSc in Physics and Applied Mathematics, BME (Honours).
Current project: Deployment of robotic technology onto Woodside’s oil and gas plant for surveillance, and performing tasks through robot manipulation.
Achievements: Best honours thesis, several hackathon wins, top IBM 2018 graduate in Australia/New Zealand, 2018 Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition Winner, world’s largest bungee jumper, blogger and hosting a podcast to inspire people in technology.
Ultimate goal: To positively impact the world through the power of technology.
Job: Research Engineer.
Education: Undertaking an EngD in Structural Metals for Gas Turbine Applications, BEng in Aerospace Engineering, with a year in industry, Swansea University.
Current project: I am researching the development of bespoke test facilities and fundamental understanding of thermo-mechanical fatigue crack growth behaviour in titanium alloys.
Achievements: Graduating with a BEng in Aerospace Engineering with First-Class Honours, presenting my research at national and international conferences, having research published in an internationally recognised journal and a Green Belt Certificate in Lean Six Sigma.
Ultimate goal: To become a well-established, technical expert in my engineering field.
Job: Lecturer at University of Birmingham
Education: MEng in Materials Science at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. DPhil in Materials at St Cross College, Oxford.
Current project: The use of fullerenes — nanometre-sized balls of carbon — in biomedical applications. One of the methods I have devised, to make them soluble in water, helps in the formation of large self-assembled structures that hold great promise as multi-modal drug delivery vehicles.
Achievements: The IOM3 international Literature Review Prize in 2016. Final of the IOM3 Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition in 2017. I joined the P1 Graphene Solutions as an advanced materials engineer and became a lecturer at the University of Birmingham. In 2019, I joined IOM3’s Younger Members’ Committee.
Ultimate goal: To make a contribution to the wide deployment of transformative nanomedicine in a clinical setting within my lifetime. My broader vision is to continue to champion materials science and make more accessible the obfuscated world of academic research.
Job: Development Engineer.
Education: BEng Materials Science and Technology, University of Birmingham.
Current project: Trying to finish my PhD on additive manufacturing of tungsten for nuclear fusion reactors. It’s challenging but worthwhile because the success of nuclear fusion would go a long way to solving the energy crisis. I’m working in additive manufacturing.
Achievements: I have presented my work at international conferences. I was involved with an experimental parabolic flight campaign for the European Space Agency where we used a demonstrator device to 3D print metal in zero gravity. I came second in the IOM3 Young Persons Lecture Competition.
Ultimate Goal: To keep working in additive manufacturing. I’d like to stay in R&D as you get such variety in your role and you have the potential to make significant improvements to a product or a technology, or design new ones yourself.
Job: PhD Student in Materials Chemistry.
Education: MChem with a year in industry, University of Manchester.
Undertaking a PhD in Materials Chemistry, University of Manchester, in collaboration with AkzoNobel.
Current project: To analyse the impact of different polymers on the corrosion protection afforded by emulsion paints. I aim to achieve this by synthesising and testing polymer’s corrosion performance. This is to better understand how polymer chemistry can affect the corrosion protection offered by the dried paint.
Achievements: A First Class Master’s degree in chemistry. My PhD at the School of Materials at The University of Manchester. Awarded the President’s Doctoral Scholar Award. Presented my work at conferences such as the RSC’s MacroGroup YRM, Dublin, 2018. Won the regional Young Persons’ Lecture Competition this year.
Ultimate goal: To develop my research and management skills in order to have my own research group in the field of polymer chemistry and colloid science.
Job: PhD Candidate at the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, University of Cambridge.
Education: MSci in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, specialising in Materials Science.
Current project: A PhD project investigating a new intermetallic alloy for commercial gas turbine engines. Specifically, trying to develop a novel coating material required to attach abrasives onto the end of rotating turbine blades, in pursuit of a more efficient sealing system.
Achievements: I enjoy teaching in the department, and was recently awarded the Departmental Demonstrator Prize. I talked at the Cambridge Science Festival and the inaugural Cambridge Soapbox Science event. I will be representing the South Eastern Region in the final of the IOM3 Young Persons’ Lecture Competition this year, selected for an RCUK Public Policy Internship at the Government Office for Science in 2018, where I got to contribute to government policy.
Ultimate goal: To see the material I am working on make it into a commercial gas turbine engine. I want to take my expertise in this area into industry, and be able to contribute to the development of the hybrid-electric aircraft sector.
Abigail Georgia Robinson
Job: Geology student.
Education: MGeol in Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, graduating in 2020.
Current project: I will co-lead an expedition to the Lofdal Complex, Namibia, which hosts a suite of carbonatitic and silicic igneous rocks, some of which are enriched in heavy rare earth elements. I aim to integrate geological field data with geochemical and isotopic datasets to model the petrogenesis of the scientifically interesting igneous rocks.
Achievements: I was awarded the prestigious Laidlaw Scholarship in Research and Leadership in 2018. This supported my field campaign in Armenia, to investigate the interplay between climate change, hydrology and medieval irrigation systems. I did a research placement at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre where I learned to code in Python and used this to statistically investigate the geographical origin of lunar meteorites across the lunar surface. This work was included in Dr Marissa Tremblay’s published abstract and presentation at the 2019 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, USA.
Ultimate goal: I plan to embark on a PhD on the tectonically imposed planet-wide cycling of the volatile elements. I plan to be an active communicator promoting an understanding of geoscience and the global scale problems that we, the geoscientists, can work to solve.
Federica Rosaria Lisa
Job: Technical Graduate at British Steel.
Education: MChem Chemistry with Forensic Science with a year in industry, University of Leicester.
Current project: A variety of research and development projects – one on understanding and reducing the factors that influence power and electrode consumption at the ladle arc furnaces in the secondary steelmaking process.
Achievements: Graduated with a First Class Honours and secured a 12-month industrial placement and a place on a graduate programme. I succeeded in my secondary school exams after moving to a new continent and starting International School.
Ultimate goal: To work for a sustainable discovery/development that will improve lives and I would like to lead a company. I would also like to promote the importance of education, support developing countries in the construction of more schools and strengthen the educational system.
Job: Materials Technologist – Surface Engineering.
Education: MEng Aerospace Engineering with a year in industry, University of Sheffield.
Current project: Surface engineering at Rolls-Royce. I’m involved with different projects across the engine, including compressor sealing systems, hot end environmental protection and anti-seize coatings.
Achievements: Developed a novel method to flow test ceramic filters used in the investment casting process. The technique contributed to a 3% improvement in casting yield and the reduced variation helps lower the amount of metal. Patents may be filed on the work.
Ultimate goal: I’d like to work with academia to co-develop novel coatings/surface treatments. I enjoy the challenges that come with working on new technology as the answers can’t simply be found in a textbook.
Job: Materials Engineer at Rolls-Royce Plc.
Education: MSci & MA in Natural Sciences, specialising in Materials Science, University of Cambridge.
Current project: The development of ceramic matrix composites for introduction into aerospace gas turbine engines. My responsibilities include running mechanical testing programmes, supervising work at our university partners as well as the analysis and fractography of tested samples to elucidate damage mechanisms.
Achievements: Completing the Rolls-Royce Graduate Scheme, including obtaining funding for an international placement in the Materials Testing Department in Berlin. I became Technical Lead of a £2.5mln project which was part of a government-funded programme to develop SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composites. I developed the £7mln, three-year materials development component to the follow on project that was approved in late 2017.
Ultimate goal: To become an expert on ceramic and composite materials systems.
Job: EngD student with TATA Steel and M2A, Materials and Manufacturing Academy.
Education: School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, College of Engineering, Swansea University.
Current project: Development of novel coating solutions for the improvement of pre/post heat treatment of carbon steel conveyance tubes. My project aims to reduce high-temperature oxidation caused by the normalising process.
Achievements: I developed a novel anodisation system for fabricating alumina masks in the molecular beam epitaxy application. In addition to this, my placement with Merck successfully optimised electrophoretic fluids to further enhance the E-ink display technology. I’ve been competing in the 2019 IOM3 Young Persons Lecture Competition. Having won the SWMA heat and the South West Regional, presenting at the national final in May.
Ultimate goal: To educate and encourage the next generation of students to take up STEM subjects. I hope I can engage and excite a younger audience about materials science and demonstrate the opportunities available in engineering.
Vidya Chamundeswari Narasimhan
Age: 28 years
Job: Post-doctoral Research Fellow Department of Materials Science and Engineering, NTU.
Education: PhD in Materials Engineering.
Current project: Developing responsive nasogastric tubes for the elderly and using nature-derived biopolymers for biomedical applications.
Achievements: Young Scientist Award conferred by VIWA in India, Title Winner of the IOM3 Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition 2017, Women in Engineering Travel Grant in 2018, Chair of the Young Scientists Forum at the European Materials Research Society conference in Poland 2018.
Ultimate goal: To lead and manage a diverse team, foster interdisciplinary collaboration and offer R&D support for cutting edge research in the healthcare sector. I also want to contribute significantly towards mentoring the next generation of young girls towards pursuing exciting careers in STEM fields.
Job: Research Engineer and PhD student.
Education: BEng with Honours, Swansea University.
Current project: Microstructural and mechanical characterisation of flow formed F1E – a novel, maraging steel.
Achievements: Used flow form to develop materials for detailed metallographic, micro-textural, and mechanical assessment. I run two small businesses, have an Associate Diploma from the National College of Music, and an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and was appointed as a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers.
Ultimate goal: To complete my current project and transfer a comprehensive mechanical property database detailing static and fatigue performance to a major engineering sponsor – to enable novel component manufacture. Further, I would like to use my experience to develop a career in public engagement or education.
Job: Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow.
Education: PhD, Cambridge University, BE(Hons).
Current project: I am looking at two areas that could accelerate the scale of photovoltaics. This makes an attractive technology for producing clean energy, especially in remote regions.
Achievements: Developed a recombination contact to couple a metal-halide perovskite top-cell with an n-type silicon bottom cell, which lead to new design rules to identify promising classes of materials that could tolerate defects, and an all-inorganic device structure that led to 80% external quantum efficiency in solar cells. This went on display in the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, Germany. 2018 Young Engineer of the Year Award by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which also awarded me £500,000 to start an independent group at the University of Cambridge. European Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Ultimate goal: To create new classes of defect-tolerant semiconductors that can be used as low-cost and efficient top-cells in tandem with silicon.
Job: PhD Researcher.
Education: BSc(Hons) Biomedical Materials Science & PhD (ongoing), University Of Nottingham.
Current project: Exploring novel formation and ion-exchange reactions of titanate surfaces for biomedical applications.
Achievements: Achieved eight awards during my undergraduate degree including the Best Student Prize, Best Project Prize, and The Armourers and Brasiers’ Best Student Prize for achieving the highest project mark within the faculty. I have since won the Armourers and Brasiers’/TWI Best BSc/BEng Student of the Year Award, Best Oral Presentation Prize from the UK Society for Biomaterials Conference in 2018. Published my first journal paper during the first year of my PhD. I am one of the Nottingham coordinators for this year’s Pint of Science festival.
Ultimate goal: To try and improve a patient’s quality of life, from improving fixation of hip stems for improved longevity, through to antibacterial surfaces for minimising infections. I aim to continue on into academia post PhD to share my experiences, and hopefully train the next generation of bioengineers and biomaterial scientists.