CONTRIBUTING TO the Afghan relief effort helped Rachel Battilana win the title Best Civil Engineering Student in the 2001 Science, Engineering & Technology Student of the Year Awards, held this week in London.
Battilana, from Cambridge University, won the award for her project to improve the design of cold climate emergency shelters for refugees. She developed an internal lining that is easy to erect within an existing shelter.
Full-scale wind tunnel tests and a trial in conditions similar to those in Afghanistan were used in designing the lining, which offers cost and transport savings for aid agencies.
The next move was to have been a field trial on the Pakistan/ Afghanistan border, but this has been cancelled because of the potential conflict.
Other shortlisted candidates were Andrew Phillips from Edinburgh University and Kirsty McMullen from Leeds University.
Phillips developed a new procedure for grafting joints during hip replacement operations, working with surgeons at the Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh.
Launched in 1998, the awards attracted 500 entries this year.