Five young engineers who have had an outstanding impact in their respective fields early in their careers will each receive a prestigious award at the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner on Wednesday 27 June.

All five are winners of the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year competition. Awarded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the competition recognises outstanding early career engineers with prizes of £3,000 each.

The overall winner, Khouloud El Hakim, will also receive the Sir George Macfarlane Medal for excellence in the early stage of her career.

Khouloud El Hakim

Khouloud El Hakim
Bechtel engineer Khouloud El Hakim is currently Project Manager leading the development of a 40-year renewal plan for High Speed 1, a strategy that involves the complex balance of carrying out renewals on an operational rail system without disrupting local and international train services.

Prior to this, Khouloud was the Project Engineer on Crossrail’s Farringdon Station, managing design and construction assurance for the station’s redevelopment in preparation for the Elizabeth Line’s launch later this year. Farringdon station is one of Crossrail’s most complex projects and Khouloud has been responsible for leading the successful integration of the old London Underground Station with the new state-of-the-art Crossrail facilities. Khouloud’s strong leadership and dedication highlighted her as one of Crossrail’s most exceptional young engineers, working in various roles for its Delivery Partner, Bechtel.

Khouloud is also an ambassador for women working in the construction industry. She was selected to deliver a Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution and participated in several government and engineering institutions’ programmes to promote engineering in the UK. She has also worked with leads of NGOs in Europe and Africa to set up education support programmes, securing funding for teaching construction skills and personal finance to enable maintained employment where it is needed most.

Simon Bowcock

Simon Bowcock
Simon is a Lead Materials & Corrosion Engineer for BP Exploration, working for the Angola region. Having worked with BP for over seven years, he successfully led a team of engineers from disparate disciplines to land a challenging and innovative qualification process for flowlines exposed to environments containing hydrogen sulphide, referred to as ‘sour service’. Simon’s leadership ensured that the correct decisions were made to deliver a safe and reliable solution that fully integrated different aspects of process, mechanical, pipeline, materials and corrosion engineering.

Before joining BP, Simon’s university research involved developing a novel method for producing oxide-free nanoparticles for use in new fuel technologies. His process has since been patented by the University of Oxford, and Simon retains a one third share in the technology.

Simon also promotes engineering outside BP through his work with the Institute of Corrosion, leading their Route to Chartered Status programme, and he is actively involved in engaging STEM students and future talent. He successfully mentored a team of Year 12 students and last year he hosted four work experience students and two six-week interns from local community schools, providing them with a real insight into the breadth of opportunities that a career in engineering can offer.

Dr Christopher Donaghy-Spargo

Dr Christopher Donaghy-Spargo
Dr Christopher Donaghy-Spargo is Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Deputy Research Director for Future Energy Systems at Durham University. He is the author of over 25 peer-reviewed technical articles, with his first journal paper published while he was an undergraduate student – a rare achievement. During his PhD investigating high-efficiency motor technologies for industry, Dr Donaghy-Spargo won a number of prestigious awards, including the Sir Henry Royce Medal for Young Professionals from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

He was a Chartered Engineer by the age of 28, working with Dyson, where he led industrial research and development projects before returning to academia. He has gained both Chartered Mathematician and Chartered Scientist status, demonstrating his extensive technical achievements, and his commitment to the profession and continuing professional development.

Beyond his technical achievements, Dr Donaghy-Spargo is an enthusiastic public communicator and is engaged in a variety of activities to promote engineering, including chairing Durham University’s prestigious Sir Gordon Higginson lecture. As well as being responsible for STEM outreach activities at Durham University Energy Institute he has been elected to sit on the IET’s main board and serves as Vice-Chair of the Electromagnetics Technical Professional Network.

Dr Robert Hoye

Dr Robert Hoye
Dr Robert Hoye is a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, working on the development of new materials for use in the production of clean energy. Dr Hoye has demonstrated outstanding creativity in finding unique ways to address the pressing challenge of clean energy, developing the materials and tools needed to create commercially viable and efficient devices.

Robert graduated in 2015 with a PhD in material science from the University of Cambridge, having been awarded the Jackman prize for best thesis. He subsequently took a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he played a leading role in a multi-institute team that created new design rules to accelerate the development of new semiconductors. His ground-breaking new ideas for developing non-toxic solar cells were recognised by the US Department of Energy and awarded a patent in 2016 and Robert was the only awardee of the prestigious Thomas Nevile Research Fellowship at Magdalene College Cambridge.

On returning to Cambridge Robert has demonstrated outstanding leadership at the University by creating a new final-year undergraduate Materials Science course, and is currently co-supervising six PhD students and four Masters students. He is also working with the Royal Academy of Engineering to create resources inspired by materials engineering to enrich the primary and secondary school STEM curriculum.

Chetan Kotur

Chetan Kotur
Chetan is currently working at the forefront of the automotive industry as the CEO’s Assistant at Polestar, a Volvo electric car startup that he helped launch at the end of 2017 in Shanghai. Following his passion for cars, Chetan uniquely combines creative flair, design skills and deep engineering understanding. He is rapidly emerging as a bright, dynamic and driven future leader in the automotive industry.

At age 16, Chetan faced a career dilemma, between following his family’s tradition of studying medicine or pursuing his interest in designing cars. After being selected for the Channel 4 documentary ”Vocation, Vocation, Vocation” he chose to follow his passion for cars. He excelled academically, achieving a first-class degree in Automotive Engineering from Loughborough University. Having secured a place on the Volvo Cars Global Graduate Programme, Chetan progressed quickly as a Studio Engineer designing new cars. He has led the design of autonomous vehicle projects for Volvo and worked on the development of the company’s first autonomous steering and braking safety system. He also presented Volvo’s future technology strategy to Swedish Governmental Authorities - ensuring funding for cross-industry technology development.

Chetan promotes STEM activities in the North East to help inspire the next generation of engineers. He founded the ”Future Engineers Scheme” at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, which over the last five years has given over 200 students a headstart in engineering. He was also awarded an Engineering Leadership Advanced Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, allowing him to travel the world developing leadership skills. Five years on, Chetan continues to support and mentor a boy he met in a Rio de Janeiro favela who dreams of becoming a car designer.

Notes for editors

  1. RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year. With the generous support of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the Royal Academy of Engineering is making five awards of £3,000 each year to UK engineers in full time higher education, research or industrial employment, who has demonstrated excellence in the early stage of their career (defined as less than ten years since graduation from their first degree in engineering). There is no restriction on the discipline base of the individual nominated.
  2. Sir George Macfarlane Medal. The Award is made in memory of Sir George Macfarlane (1916-2007), one of the founding Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Medal will be presented to the overall winner of the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year awardees, as selected by the Academy’s Awards Committee.
  3. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

    We have three strategic challenges:
    - Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
    - Address the engineering skills crisis
    - Position engineering at the heart of society

For more information please contact:

Siobhan Pipa at the Royal Academy of Engineering
T: 020 7766 0745
E:  Siobhan Pipa