Head of Department's Report to SOUE 2002 - 2004
The two years have generally been good ones for the Department of
Engineering Science, with recruitment of some very good new members of staff,
many awards on the national and international scene, a continuing high
research profile, and excellent progress on the new Information Engineering
Building, which is now virtually complete. Sadly, however, four past members
of academic staff have died during the period.
In the New Year's Honours 2004, a knighthood was conferred on Professor Sir
Michael Brady, BP Professor of Information Engineering.
A knighthood was also conferred at that time on Sir John Taylor, who was
made a Visiting Professor in the department in October 2003. He has recently
retired as Director General of Research Councils.
- Our undergraduates scooped 4 of the 12 national Science, Engineering
and Technology Student of the Year Awards 2003, announced at a gala dinner in
the Guildhall, London. Given that our students were only eligible for 7 of
the 12 categories, this was a remarkable achievement. Their names and
projects are as follows:
- Spirent Award for the Best Electronic Engineering Student: Paul
Brimicombe (University): Investigation into a novel liquid crystal device
(supervised by Professor Peter Raynes).
- Lloyd's Register Award for the Best Maritime Technology Student: Tim
Moore-Barton (St Peter's): Optimum sail design (supervised by Dr Colin
- GKN Award for the Best Mechanical Engineering Student: Jonathan
Eddolls (Christ Church): Modelling the working process of twin helical screw
compressors (supervised by Dr Peter Ireland).
- Microsoft Award for the Best Use of Information Technology: Matthew
Snowdon (St John's): Noise cancellation — intelligent hearing and design
(supervised by Dr Penny Probert Smith).
- Moira Smith (Jesus) and Ian Watson (Jesus) were amongst the 27 winners
in 2003 of the Royal Academy of Engineering's prestigious national competition
for second year MEng students. In 2004 Jane Kendall (Queens) and Hersh Shah
(St John's) were two of the 25 winners. As well as receiving a financial
award, they will join the Academy's Engineering Leadership programme, which
provides professional development advice and training designed to promote
- David Hughes (Wadham) who graduated in 2003 was awarded a Salters'
Graduate Prize. Candidates are selected on their potential for occupying a
leading position in the chemical or related industries.
- Cleo Choong, a third-year DPhil student, was awarded the 2003 BP
Younger Engineers Award of £5000 and the Gold Medal for Excellence in
Engineering by a Younger Engineer (supported by Exxon Mobil).
- The Prize for the Best Product at the 2002 ISA New Product Showcase was
awarded to the Invensys Digital Coriolis Flow Meter. (ISA is the US-based
Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society, and the annual ISA meeting is
the largest event and premier forum for introducing new technology in this
area.) The significance for us is that the Digital Coriolis meter was
developed by Professor David Clarke and his colleagues here in the Invensys
University Technology Centre for Advanced Instrumentation. Invensys has since
made an award of £3.5M to secure a five year extension to the centre's
research into intelligent instrumentation for industrial applications.
- Professor Andrew Zissermann has been awarded the Marr Prize at the 2003
International Conference on Computer Vision. The prize has been awarded nine
times since it was inaugurated in 1987, and Andrew has won it twice previously
with his colleagues (1993, 1997).
- Dr Amy Zavatsky was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her work in
biomechanics and orthopaedics.
- Emeritus Professor John Allen won the 2003 Von Engel Prize for the
contributions he and his students have made over the years to a range of
topics spanning from dusty plasmas to solitons.
- Two post docs in the Department, Dr Martin Booth and Dr Patrick
McSharry, were awarded RAEng/EPSRC Post-doctoral Research Fellowships. Eight
such awards were made nationally.
- Roderick Kennedy (Christ Church) was awarded the 2003 Culham/IOP Prize
for the Best Doctoral Thesis in Plasma Physics. His thesis was entitled:
"Potential acquired by a dust particle immersed in a plasma".
- Dr Peter Ireland and his DPhil student Janendra Telisinghe won the
IMechE Thomas Stephen Group Prize for their paper "A detailed loss analysis of
a dual seal lattice blade butterfly valve".
- Dr Ian Reid and his student Philip Tresadern (Exeter) were awarded the
Best Science Paper Prize at the British Machine Vision Conference 2003, for
their paper "Synchronizing image sequences of non-rigid objects".
Academic Staff Movements
There has been more than the usual number of retirements and appointments.
The four retirements listed below all took place at the end of September 2003
- Dr Colin Wood (Wadham) retired after 42 years in the Department.
- Dr David Kenning (Lincoln) retired, having joined us in 1963.
- Professor Brian Bellhouse (Magdalen) retired after 37 years on the
staff (though he came to the Department in 1962 as a research student with Don
- Dr Colin Snowdon, who joined us in 1992 from ICI to help establish the
Chemical Engineering course, also retired.
- Dr Carl Brown and Dr Julia Stegemann moved on from their Departmental
Lecturerships to Senior Lecturerships at Staffordshire University and
University College London.
- The following University Lecturers have been appointed:
Dr David Gillespie (St Catherine's): Turbomachinery
Dr René Bañares-Alcantara (New): Chemical Engineering
Dr Yiannis Ventikos (Wadham): Mechanical Engineering/Fluids
Dr Frank Payne (Lincoln): Electronic Materials Engineering
Dr Nik Petrinic (Exeter): Impact Engineering (Nik had previously been a
Departmental Lecturer here)
- Two industrially funded fixed-term University Lecturerships were taken
Dr M Bacic (Control Engineering, Invensys plc)
Dr C Coussios (Biomedical Engineering, PowderJect plc)
- Six new Departmental Lecturers have been appointed: Dr Paul Newman, Dr
Jun Zang, Dr Diganta Das, Dr Stephen Payne, Dr Alex Matthews and Dr Mengxing
We were very sorry to learn of the deaths during the year of four past
members of academic staff.
- Professor William Hemp, Stewarts and Lloyds Professor of Structural
- Professor Ted Paige, Professor of Electrical Engineering
- Professor David Spence, University Lecturer and Reader in the
Department (before he moved to a Chair at Imperial College)
- Mr Stuart Wilson, University Lecturer
- Two companies linked to the Department have been in the news.
PowderJect plc, which was founded in 1993 by Professor Brian Bellhouse
(initially as Oxford Biosciences), was acquired by Chiron Corporation in July
2003 and incorporated into Chiron Vaccines. The University received a
multi-million pound bonus from the realisation of its investment. Mike
Brady's spin-out Mirada Solutions Ltd, which develops medical image analysis
software, has been acquired by CTI Molecular Imaging Inc.
- On 28 March 2003 the Ground Breaking for the new Information
Engineering Building was performed with a JCB by Professor Sue Iversen, Pro
Vice-Chancellor. The construction of this exciting new addition to the
Department is making excellent progress, and hand-over is scheduled for 23
- A special event was held on 27 June 2003, to mark the first 10 years of
the Chemical Engineering course in Oxford. This MEng course is unique in
having Chemical Engineering taught within the framework of a wider General
Engineering degree. An active research programme has also been developed in
Chemical Engineering with two main thrusts, "Bioprocessing and Tissue
Engineering" and "Environmental Technology and Sustainability".
On completion of my five-year term as Head of Department, I handed over on
1 July 2004 to my successor, Professor Richard Darton FREng. In closing this
my last report to SOUE, I should like to express my sincere thanks to the
President and members of the SOUE Committee, and particularly to the officers,
for all their work on behalf of the Society. I offer SOUE my very best wishes
for the future, and I look forward to the continuing pleasure of meeting
members of the Society when they return to Oxford.
Copyright © 2004 Society of Oxford University Engineers