Aberdeen University PhD student Bryan Horton has won a prestigious new training award from The Royal Academy of Engineering. Bryan is to receive a £5,000 grant for personal development projects as part of his PhD work on a new kind of wave power system.

“Bryan, one of my best undergraduate students, has proved to be an excellent postgraduate researcher with a unique combination of practical and theoretical skills,” says his research supervisor Professor Marian Wiercigroch, Head of Engineering at Aberdeen University. “For the last year and half he has been working hard on a challenging multidisciplinary project to harvest the energy of sea waves using parametric pendula. This development is in collaboration with two leading Italian research groups at the Universities of Rome and Ancona.”

The Academy’s award, one of five given this year for the first time, will enable Bryan to broaden his experience while doing his research, including a study visit to his collaborators in Rome and Ancona this summer and a course of Italian language lessons before he goes. He has developed a mathematical model and just built a scale physical model of the wave-power generator and will start testing it on a shaking table soon and hopes to move on to testing it in a wave tank by the summer.

“I feel very privileged to receive this award from the Academy,” says Bryan, who grew up in Peterhead. “The grant will be really useful and enable me to do some more practical things like learning a new language. My project involves a lot of mathematical modelling and I will now be able to incorporate more practical work to calibrate the predictions and attend the top international conferences.”

"The winners of the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Student Development Fellowships are a highly innovative group of young researchers studying important topics such as medicine, energy, security and sport,” says Professor Peter Deasley FREng, Lead Assessor for the awards. “The Fellowships will enable them to initiate technical collaborations with overseas universities and industry and broarden their perspectives by learning languages and developing their individual skills, both technical and cultural."

Notes for editors

  1. The Research Student Development Fellowships have been set up to add value to the research-oriented education of PhD and EngD students, in fields related to electrotechnology, who submit the best personal development plans at the start of their second year of study. After completing their doctoral studies they are eligible to apply for a further £5,000 prize provided they go on to pursue a career in either academic or industrial engineering research in the UK.
  2. 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

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Angela Ferguson at the University of Aberdeen, tel. 01224 272960