A talented AS-level design and technology student has won The Royal Academy of Engineering Prize at the Big Bang Fair for his ‘Multi-Lift’ tractor attachment, designed to lift and transport farming machinery and heavy items such as 500kg fertiliser bags.

Mark McEvoy from St. Colman’s College, Newry, Northern Ireland, impressed the judges with his use of force calculations and diagrams for his design, using mathematics far in advance of AS-level. He was consequently awarded the senior prize for the project that demonstrates the best application of engineering principles.

While the standard of entries this year was consistently high, Mark’s entry combined a rigorous application of engineering principles with high level practical skill to create a fully functioning product. He was praised for the quality of his design thinking and the innovation, which has made lifting more accurate and quicker by including a hydraulic jib that can be controlled from the cab of the tractor.

Mark designed and made Multi-Lift as part of his AS-level design and technology course and told the judges about the considerable challenges he faced and overcame to develop the innovative design. He needed a plasma cutter to cut and join the thick steel he planned to use for his project. As this was not available at school, he arranged work experience at a local engineering firm which had the equipment. Mark also demonstrated considerable commitment by enrolling on a welding course and spending many evenings at his local college to perfect this new skill so he could join the parts of his design.

Philip Greenish CBE, Chief Executive of the Academy, presented Mark with his prize. He said: “Mark’s ability to apply his A-level design and technology, mathematics and physics knowledge to a very practical and demonstrably successful project is enormously impressive, as is his admirable commitment to a career in engineering. He is an excellent role model for young engineers across the UK.”

The prize ceremony was also attended by Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, who presented Mark with second prize in the prestigious National Science and Engineering Competition’s Young Engineer of the Year Award.

Mark intends to spread the engineering message to other students while he studies for his A-level examinations and hopes to read Engineering at Queen’s University, Belfast.

His Academy prize consists of a visit to the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, including a tour of a lab run by Professor Mark Sephton, who is a biogeochemist/planetary scientist running a team investigating life on Mars and a visit to the Department of Bioengineering where Lecturer in Neurotechnology, Dr Aldo Faisal, will demonstrate research into controlling computers with eye movement. Mark will also be given a tour of the Department of Materials and visit the Carbon Capture and Storage plant.

Notes for editors

  1. 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.
  2. The Big Bang is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK, designed to demonstrate how many exciting and rewarding opportunities there are for students with the right experience and qualifications. The Big Bang Fair national event takes place every March. The Big Bang is delivered by over 150 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors and is led by EngineeringUK in partnership with the British Science Association, the Institute of Physics, the Science Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Young Engineers. The event is supported by The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

For more information please contact

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