Overall winner of this year’s NCE Graduate Awards is Arup engineer Stuart Ross. Described by the judges as “focused, driven and accomplished,” Ross beat off 120 contenders to win the coveted award and a cheque for £1,500.
“The quality of entrants was exceptionally high this year and it was very tough choosing just six finalists,” chairman of judges NCE editor Antony Oliver told over 170 industry leaders attending the awards’ presentation lunch at the ICE.
“But it is vital, especially with the current challenges facing our industry, that we recognise and reward civil engineering’s brightest new talent – our profession’s future leaders.”
Joint runners-up, each receiving £700, were Harriet Kirk from Ramboll and Aecom’s Ben Biggs. Three highly commended finalists − Phoebe Bointon from Mott MacDonald, Ed Dablin from Aecom and Henry Tayler from Arup − were awarded £400.
“Our engineering skills can have important applications in biomechanics, leading to a greater understanding of how our bodies react to stresses and strains.”
Stuart Ross, NCE Graduate of the Year
Directors from all 14 of the award’s top company sponsors had judged the entries, received from engineers who graduated last year, and then interviewed the top six. They were looking for all round academic and engineering skills, with a strong emphasis on enthusiasm, initiative and leadership potential.
24 year old Ross won more than 20 academic and ICE awards during his five years at Dundee University and graduated with a first class MEng.
One of his most significant university achievements was a research project into the structural and material properties of the human eye.
“Modelling the eye’s cornea, to see how it behaves under loading, could lead to more accurate pressure tests for glaucoma,” Ross said. “The cornea performs structurally a bit like a masonry arch bridge and, to me, is pure civil engineering.”
“Our engineering skills can have important applications in biomechanics, leading to a greater understanding of how our bodies react to stresses and strains,” he said.
“We should challenge the perception of what civil engineering is all about and not get stuck in traditional roles. We have the skills to solve a whole range of human problems, including major medical challenges.”
This year’s awards are sponsored by Aecom, Amey, Arup, Atkins, BAA, Balfour Beatty, Capita Symonds, The Institution of Civil Engineers, Mott MacDonald, MWH, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Scott Wilson, Transport for London and WSP Group.