Engineering business minds awarded Silver Medals

22 April 2014
By Tereza Pultarova
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nventors of concrete canvas - a rapid setting water activated fabric impregnated with concrete - have been awarded the Silver Medals

Inventors of concrete canvas - a rapid setting water activated fabric impregnated with concrete - have been awarded the Silver Medals

Chris Young is the mastermind behind Rolls-Royce's best selling aircraft engine

Chris Young is the mastermind behind Rolls-Royce's best selling aircraft engine

Facebook software engineer Dino Distefano is one of the world’s leading experts in automatic error detection

Facebook software engineer Dino Distefano is one of the world’s leading experts in automatic error detection

Professor Máire O’Neill has invented security chips that are now used in TV set-top boxes all over the world

Professor Máire O’Neill has invented security chips that are now used in TV set-top boxes all over the world

Engineers behind cutting edge projects that succeeded in the market have been awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medals.

A Facebook software engineer, Rolls-Royce director behind the new and fastest-selling Rolls-Royce civil aircraft engine ever made, one of Europe’s leading authorities on digital security, and two of the UK’s sharpest young manufacturing entrepreneurs are among the awarded by the panel of Academy Fellows.

The Silver Medals, an award launched 20 years ago, don't focus solely on the engineering excellence. Each year, the medals go to young and mid-career engineers whose work has had a major impact on the society in terms of facilitating economic growth.

“The Silver Medals recognise individual excellence, not only technically, but also in the ability to turn knowledge and ideas into useful, wealth-creating products and services,” said Dervilla Mitchell FREng, Chair of the Academy’s Awards Committee. “This is essential to UK economic prosperity, and this year’s winners are all excellent examples of the kind of world-class entrepreneurs that the Academy is championing through its Engineering for Growth campaign and supporting through its Enterprise Hub.”

45 year old Chris Young has been awarded the medal for his contribution to the development of the next-generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB aircraft engine. Designed for the Airbus A350 aircraft, Trent XWB is hailed as the most efficient large aircraft engine ever invented.

Young, leading the team behind the multibillion-pound project that has already become the fastest selling civil aircraft engine ever, previously worked in the energy sector developing concepts to enhance and replace industrial gas turbines.

Professor Máire O’Neill, at 35 the youngest ever professor at Queen’s University Belfast and its first female professor in electrical and electronic engineering, has been awarded the medal for her invention of high-speed security silicon chips, which have since spread into over 100 million television set-top boxes.

35-year old Peter Brewin and Will Crawford are founders of internationally successful and multi-award winning company Concrete Canvas. The pair invented a rapid setting water activated fabric impregnated with concrete while at university and founded their business to commercialise the innovation. The canvas allows many construction projects to be completed faster, more efficiently, and with a lower environmental impact than conventional concrete. It is already used in over 40 countries worldwide.

Concrete Canvas’s sales have doubled every year since the company was established, and tripled in 2013 with a turnover of £5m. In 2013, the invention was nominated for the MacRobert Award, the UK’s most prestigious engineering prize.

Facebook software engineer and London's Queen Mary University Professor Dino Distefano is one of the world’s leading experts in automatic error detection software. His start-up company Monoidics, founded in 2009, was last year acquired by Facebook. Prior to the acquisition, Monoidics’ commercial products were utilised by major organisations in security, avionics, and consumer electronics.

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