Institution of Structural Engineers Young Researchers’ Conference 2014: Report

The Young Researchers’ Conference is hosted every year by The Institution of Structural Engineers to showcase the very best structural engineering research. This year’s event, which took place on 5 March at the King’s Fund, London, saw around 100 students, industry professionals and academics take part.

Molly Stevens, Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine at Imperial College London, was keynote speaker on the day. Molly is a leading light in biomedical engineering and gave a fascinating talk on the materials she is currently designing to help heal the human body.

Molly said:

“It’s a pleasure to be here today as keynote speaker. Events like these are a great opportunity for students to network and generate new ideas. Hopefully my talk gave the attendees an idea of the importance of collaborative working in multidisciplinary teams, which is a must in my field and, I imagine, in structural engineering too.”

Laurence Clough, from the University of Southampton, took first prize in the poster competition for his piece of work entitled: ‘The synergistic response of structures to thermal and blast loading’.

Laurence said:

“Given the quality of work on show I never expected to win – I’ve never won anything before, so this is a real pleasure!”

Meanwhile the Oral Presentation First Prize was presented to Ross Johnston from Queen’s University Belfast, for his presentation: ‘Behaviour of a cold formed steel portal frame in fire: full scale testing and finite element analysis.’

Ross said:

“It’s an honour to win, and very unexpected too. I’d like to thank the Institution for hosting this wonderful event and Queen’s University for all their support.”

Leroy Gardner, Chairman of the Institution’s Research Panel, who presented the prizes said:

“This is the tenth Young Researchers’ Conference I’ve attended, and I continue to be impressed by the high standard of work on display. It is a marvellous opportunity for these students to get their work into the public eye, and perhaps be exposed to questions that their PhD supervisor might not ask. There is always a terrific, lively atmosphere based on the exchange of ideas, which is tremendously motivating, I think.”

Ed Clark, Director of Arup’s Building Engineering Group, attended on the day. He said:

“It’s great to attend this event. It’s truly unique, as one of the few opportunities we have as industry professionals to connect with researchers and see how their work reflects our own thoughts about the direction of structural engineering. To be honest, the quality of research is much better than I was expecting – I’m really impressed, and it’s interesting to see how industry trends are reflected in the presentations.

“This event is a really stimulating day out and makes you ask the old question again: does industry drive research or research drive industry?”

More information about the Young Researchers’ Conference is available at www.istructe.org/yrc .