Six lecturers, all from the north, are the first ever to be awarded prizes for excellence in teaching by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Dr Ian Cotton, University of Manchester; Dr Malcolm Joyce, Lancaster University; Dr Euan McGookin, University of Glasgow; Dr Graham Ault, University of Strathclyde; Dr Tim Short, Durham University and Dr Anthony Rossiter of the University of Sheffield are all to be awarded prizes of £10,000!

The teaching prizes were inaugurated by the Academy to acknowledge and reward lecturers who have chosen to remain in the higher education sector during the early years of their career.

Prizes are awarded on a competitive basis to lecturers in electronics or electrical engineering at higher education institutions in the UK, and ideal candidates must have distinguished themselves from their peer group by showing a strong and continuing commitment to teaching, professional activities, promoting engineering as a rewarding and creative career, establishing industrial-academic links and other activities which ultimately ensure the output of top quality graduate engineers.

Up to six prizes are to be awarded annually, each having a value of £10,000.

Professor Peter Deasley, Chair of the Selection Committee says,”

“The standard of university undergraduate teaching is, quite rightly, coming under increasing scrutiny. The recipients of the first Royal Academy of Engineering Teaching Prizes are young lecturers with the highest level of teaching competence who display innovation, professional awareness and student mentoring skills"

Notes for editors

  1. The Engineering Teaching Prizes have been established to reward the most able lecturers who have chosen to remain in the higher education sector during the early years of their career. Prizes are awarded on a competitive basis to lecturers in electronics or electrical engineering at higher education institutions in the UK. Ideal candidates should have distinguished themselves from their peer group by showing a strong and continuing commitment to teaching, professional activities, promoting engineering as a rewarding and creative career, establishing industrial-academic links and other activities which ultimately ensure the output of top quality graduate engineers.
  2. Up to six prizes are to be awarded annually, each having a value of £10,000 and the programme has been made possible through the generosity of the ERA Foundation.
  3. Ian Cotton is enigmatically described by his Head of School, Professor Steve Williamson, as “an energetic and enthusiastic young academic who is an asset to the school, the university and the profession of engineering”. One of his most significant roles during his four years at Manchester has been that of School Disability Officer, a role in which he supports students with all forms of disability. He has appeared on ‘Prove It!’, a television programme with a young audience which aims to promote science and engineering and has also visited numerous schools and colleges in the South-East Asia giving Christmas-Lecture style talks. Within his university he has led the development of two taught modules and forged a valued industrial link with National Grid, which has resulted in the development of the National Grid High Voltage Research Centre at Manchester University.
  4. Lancaster University Department of Engineering has 20 teaching staff all of whom need to be flexible and committed. Malcolm Joyce’s strategic, logical and imaginative approach to teaching has enabled the University to present a much more targeted set of courses to its students and been instrumental in positioning Lancaster University in its unique position within UK engineering academia. Among his many notable teaching achievements, Malcolm has completely revised the teaching of embedded electronic systems at Lancaster, established industrial collaborations and has conceived and delivered a new introductory first year module, ‘The World of Electronics’. He has also been instrumental in the conception, launch and delivery of two innovative postgraduate MSc programmes; Safety Engineering and decommissioning and Environmental Clean-up. He is described by his Head of Department, Professor Roger Kemp, as “highly successful in enthusing students, sometimes by unconventional teaching techniques.” On one occasion, when needing to explain a particular aspect of electromagnetic induction, Malcolm apparently took his Fender guitar in to a lecture to demonstrate the interaction between the varying inductance of the pick-up and the electrical signal. So successful was this, he now often uses the guitar as a case-study in teaching ‘The World of Electronics’.
  5. Dr Anthony Rossiter, 40, of the University of Sheffield is described by his Head of Department, Professor D H Owens, as a man with “a strong commitment to teaching development within the Department and the Faculty and a leading light in the development of a number of initiatives within the department.” Professor Owens goes on to say, “No one can doubt his energy and commitment to the area.” Dr Rossiter is also described by colleague, Dr Neil Mort as “an innovative teacher who put the interests of his students at the forefront of his work.”

    With an interest in web-based support for students, amongst his many notable teaching achievements, Anthony Rossiter pioneered blended learning using web-based tools in his university department. As part of his vision for the faculty, John is currently commencing a project looking at maths teaching for engineers and is also pivotal in the university’s schools outreach activities of which there are now many.
  6. Graham Ault, 35, is described by his Head of Department, Professor James R McDonald, Rolls-Royce Chair in Electrical Power Systems, as “an ideal role model for young engineering students and academic staff alike, and an exemplary recipient of such a prestigious award.” Among his many notable achievements, Graham Ault introduced a first year group project in general electrical engineering technology as part of the ’professional studies’ class. This gives students the opportunity to work in a group, putting into practice several elements of the module e.g. project planning, team working, report writing and presenting, early on in their studies. Graham has also introduced industrial lecturers and field visits into undergraduate courses and redeveloped an MSc module in Power System Economics.
  7. Euan McGookin, 34, is a teacher of robotics at Glasgow, who introduced the use of LEGO into teaching the subject. He is described by Professor Robert Matthew, Director of the Teaching and Learning Service, University of Glasgow, as a man who “brings an engineering perspective into his teaching” and as “a young academic delivering on all three aspects of his post; he is a competent administrator, a solid engineering researcher and an enthusiastic and innovative teacher. Indeed, his students speak highly of his supervision both in pastoral support but more importantly how he pushes them to achieve their best.” Euan McGookin has lectured for six years at the University of Glasgow, during which time he has been involved with a number of courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. His most notable achievement however, has to be the introduction of a robotics course for the senior honours undergraduate cohort. The course is the first of its kind in the university and involves all aspects of general and industrial robotics. In order to introduce students to the practical side of the course in a fun way to balance the mathematically intense theory side of the course, Euan’s laboratory sessions involve teams of students using LEGO to design and build robots for competitive activities and the development of autonomous, mobile robots for Robot Olympics!
  8. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Dr Claire McLoughlin at The Royal Academy of Engineering