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Bursary cash available for young engineers

Young engineers and architects with a passion to improve the lives of communities in the world’s most economically deprived areas still have time to apply for a £20,000 bursary to get their ideas off the ground.

The RIBA/ICE bursary − formerly known as the McAslan bursary − is still accepting applications from projects. Up to £20,000 will be made available to one or more projects

The bursary was set up by architect John McAslan in 2004 to help promote social and community improvements through collaboration between architectural and engineering students. Some 150 projects have received funding in the last six years.

This year McAslan has teamed up with engineer Mark Whitby, with both committing £50,000 to the bursary over the next five years.

“The subjects that will be more attractive will be those that aren’t currently being done elsewhere.”

John McAslan

“We are not looking for doctorate level research but rather to help people who are interested in investigating specific needs,” explained McAslan. “The subjects that will be more attractive will be those that aren’t currently being done elsewhere.”

Past recipients of bursary funding include work by Tom Corsellis to develop new international standards for emergency family shelters. Architects Asif Khan and Julia King also received bursaries, first for their sustainable housing on the Thailand-Burma border and later for their work to design zero carbon furniture for communities in the developing world.

As well as submitting their own ideas, students will this year be able to select work from a shortlist of projects put forward by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

McAslan has recently been working with the CGI on projects in Haiti before and after the recent earthquake and is keen to use this relationship to boost the bursary.

However, he also stressed that he was keen for the bursary to focus on communities in the UK and encouraged students to come forward with ideas.

“We would be delighted to have more entries from UK-based projects and we’re not simply looking for single year projects.”

John McAslan

“We would be delighted to have more entries from UK-based projects,” said McAslan, pointing out that the bursary was not only focused on developing world issues. “Nor are we simply looking for single year projects. We will consider funding requirements over a number of years.”

Applicants should be current students of accredited engineering or architecture courses or have up to five years postgraduate experience.

Projects should ideally have funding or in-kind sponsorship in place, or committed, to match the bursary funding applied for.

The official closing date for application to the bursary is 5 March. However, McAslan stressed that he would still consider applications after this date.

The judging panel expects to start making awards by the summer.

■ Visit the RIBA website for details of how to enter for the bursary.

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