Symposium 2: 13-15 Febuary 2017, Edinburgh, UK

The second RAEng Frontiers of Engineering for Development symposium took place at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 13-15 February 2017. 

Event chairs

Prof Mercedes Maroto-ValerFRSE, FIChemE, FRSC, FRSA, Robert Buchan Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering, Assistant Deputy Principal Research and Innovation, Heriot Watt University 

Mercedes is Assistant Deputy Principal Research and Innovation at Heriot-Wat University.  She leads a team of 40 researchers developing novel solutions to meet the worldwide strive for energy, with particular emphasis on clean technologies, including carbon dioxide capture, transport, storage and utilization. She has over 410 publications, including editor of 4 books and 32% of her publications are in top 10% most cited worldwide. She holds leading positions in professional societies and editorial boards and has received numerous international prizes and awards.  She is PI/CI projects worth ~ £35m, and has recently been awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Award.


Prof Gareth Harrison, CEng, MIET, SMIEEE, Bert Whittington Chair of Power Energy University of Edinburgh

Professor Gareth Harrison is Bert Whittington Chair of Electrical Power Engineering and Deputy Head of the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Doctorate from the same institution and was appointed to staff in 2000.  He leads research activity across a wide area including grid integration of renewable energy, renewable resource assessment, climate change impacts on electricity systems; and carbon footprints of energy systems. Professor Harrison is a Chartered Engineer, a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is an Affiliate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He was a founding member and now Emeritus member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.


The themes:

Economic sustainability

Session co-chair: Smeeta Fokeer is an Industrial Development Officer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), responsible for project development and implementation of sustainable industrial policies. She is also involved in related research work, including the sustainable assessment of industry sectors as evidence for policy-making and industrial energy efficiency assessments. She regularly engages in global forum events for the advocacy of sustainable industrialisation. Previously she was a research associate at Rolls Royce UTC, where she was responsible for linking the aerodynamics properties of new jet engine fuel injector design to its performance. Smeeta holds a BEng in Environmental Engineering, an MSc in Environmental Management and a PhD in Environmental Fluid Dynamics from the University of Nottingham.

Session co-chair: Meng Ni received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Hong Kong in 2007 and now he is a full Professor in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Professor Ni’s research focuses on solid oxide fuel cells and batteries for energy conversion and storage. He is serving as an associate editor for four scientific journals and a member of editorial board for seven journals. Professor Ni received the Young Scientist Award in Hong Kong in 2007. He is a Humboldt Fellow.



  • Dave Betts, One Acre Fund
  • Nicola Cantore, UNIDO
  • Javier Ealo, Bosch
  • Queena Qian, Delft University of Technology

Economic sustainability - abstract and speakers (319.04 KB)


Clean water

Session co-chair: Patrick Thomson is Lead Researcher for the Water Programme at Oxford University’s SSEE. Patrick's research focuses on the use of improved data to drive institutional change and improved public health in the rural water sector. Patrick invented the first 'Smart Handpump' and leads the continuing technical development and operational implementation of the Smart Handpumps research. He is a Chartered Engineer with an MEng and MSc from the University of Oxford.

Session co-chair: Askwar Hilonga appeared on the RAEng Because Engineering video with Bill Gates and other world renowned dignitaries like His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Prince Andrew. He is the winner of five reputable awards, including the 2015 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation from the British Royal Academy of Engineering – he invented the low-cost water filter Nanofilter®. He has published 41 articles and is a role model for Academia for Society and Industry, an approach promoted by NM-AIST.



  • Wendy Jepson, Texas A&M University
  • Alison Parker, Cranfield University
  • Richard Rushforth, Northern Arizona University

Clean energy

Session co-chair: Namrata Sengar worked as CSIR-research fellow and was awarded Ph.D. in field of solar energy utilization from University of Rajasthan in 2009. Since 2012, she has worked as an Assistant Professor at Department of Pure and Applied Physics, University of Kota, Rajasthan, India. She is also coordinator of course M. Tech. (Solar Energy). She is Lead Representative from University of Kota in Newton-Bhabha Higher Education Partnership Project entitled 'Enhancing teaching and research and development in Solar Energy Materials and Technologies through Capacity Building and Collaborative Research Projects'.

Session co-chair: Mercy Manyuchi is a professional Chemical Engineer and is a research expert in waste to energy technologies mainly biogas and bio pellets. Dr. Mercy is part of the University of Johannesburg’s Bioenergy Technology Research Group, has worked at Harare Institute of Technology as Head of Department in the Chemical and Process Systems Engineering Department as well as a Lecturer. Dr. Mercy’s research interests lies in sustainable technologies that looks at mitigating climate change focusing on biomass renewable energy. Dr. Manyuchi is an alumni to the prestigious German Green Talents Fellowship and the Africa Prize for Innovation. Dr. Mercy is also part of the World Energy Council Future Energy Leaders.



  • Beatriz Fernandez, Cranfield University
  • Pranav Gadhia, VCare Global Pvt.Ltd.
  • Christos Markides, Imperial College London
  • Urbain Nzotcha, Africa Group-Co Plc

Clean energy - abstract and speakers (287.76 KB)


Event materials

Collaboration materials: linking up (452.10 KB)

Collaboration materials: making connections (313.61 KB)

Welcome pack and agenda (972.59 KB)

Seed funding - applicant guidance notes (217.74 KB)

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