Professor George Carter, an industrial tutor at Durham University’s School of Engineering for the last 30 years, has won recognition for his work in inspiring students with the £10,000 Visiting Professor Education Innovation Prize from the Royal Academy of Engineering, kindly supported by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).

The prize was presented on 16th September at the Academy’s annual conference for its Visiting Professors at Aston University.

Since 1979, Professor Carter has devoted one day a week to teaching at the university, supervising students at various levels, including advising MEng students on their final year projects. He offers the students inspiration from his full-time role as Technical Director of Labman, a North Yorkshire based company designing bespoke robots and automation systems. He makes available student placements at Labman and arranged a £2,000 entrepreneurial prize for final year students. He also supports Durham University’s solar car project, in which students design and build a solar car and compete in the international solar car contest.

Incorporating engineering understanding into practical application and problems solving is the cornerstone of Professor Carter’s approach. He has set up various design and research projects to help students to become open-minded and to develop innovative solutions, and to consider environmental and sustainability issues. His projects range from hybrid propulsion for yachts and robotic weighing machines to sports engineering.

Felicity Milton from Rutland, who did her final year project with Adidas, said “George was always encouraging, enthusiastic and critically positive, giving me confidence and assurance in what I was doing. He was careful not to impose a solution to an engineering problem, but to enlighten me about engineering mechanisms which he thought may be of help.”

“George’s approach in educating students is centred on motivation, innovation and industrial relevance to meet new engineering challenges,” said Dr Hui Long, Design Coordinator in Durham’s School of Engineering. “He believes that motivating students is the key to guide them starting their journey to become a real engineer in the future. He is an invaluable and long-serving member of our Board of Studies and has made a significant contribution to educating our students.”

NNL Chief Science and Technology Officer Dr Graham Fairhall said: “We are delighted and proud to sponsor the Royal Academy’s Education Innovation Prize. The NNL is focused on skills development and we have been involved with the Royal Academy’s Engineering Education Scheme for several years. Many congratulations to George in winning this prestigious and richly deserved recognition. His dedication to engineering and his students reflects great credit on him.”

Notes for editors

  1. Two runners-up prizes of £2,500 each were awarded to:

    Ian Liddell FREng, Visiting Professor at Cambridge University’s Department of Engineering since 1998 – who has brought to students his unrivalled experience in innovative structural design, as the engineer who led the design of such iconic structures as the Mannheim Gridshell, the Globe Theatre, and the Millennium Dome; and Professor Geoff Skates, Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth, which he has supported for over 20 years, pioneering innovative developments such as the UK’s first multidisciplinary degree in robotics and industrial automation.
  2. The Royal Academy of Engineering supports 120 visiting professors at universities across the UK in the following fields:
    - principles of engineering design
    - engineering design for sustainable development
    - integrated systems design
    - innovation
  3. The Visiting Professor Education Innovation Prize is open to all active Visiting Professors on this programme.
  4. 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.
  5. The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) was launched by John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) in July 2008. It is the successor organisation to Nexia Solutions and was originally owned by British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL). The NNL is operated under a Government Owned Contractor Operated (GoCo) arrangement and a management contract was awarded to a consortium of Serco, Battelle and Manchester University (SBM) in April 2009 to run the Lab on Government’s behalf.

    Customers include the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd, Westinghouse, Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), VT Nuclear and British Energy plc. The NNL provides a range of services, notably in support of the nuclear decommissioning programme and the continuing operation of British Energy’s nuclear power plants. The Government has concluded that the NNL contains a number of critical skills essential to support nuclear power generation in the UK.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0636