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Being a volunteer is a fantastic experience

There’s just no stopping Ejay. He’s always on the lookout for new learning, development and improvement opportunities – for himself and others.

Ejay’s BEng (Hons) degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Sussex in 2012 sparked his interest in control and cybernetics, with an emphasis on self-regulating systems and predictive models.

He went on to complete an MSc in Engineering Control Systems at the University of Sheffield in 2013 and was awarded a PhD in Manufacturing Cybernetics by Cranfield University in 2017.

Entrepreneurial spirit

In 2020 Ejay founded Nsugbe Research Labs (NRL). “It started off as a way of channelling my spare time during the first COVID-19 lockdown, but then it kept going,” he said. “We are a group of about a dozen multi-disciplinary scholars from around the world.

“We specialise in using the principles of AI [artificial intelligence] and cybernetics to bridge gaps where limitations in medical capabilities and knowledge are preventing practitioners from meeting patient needs. We have a budding international presence, having published dozens of peer-reviewed papers and been nominated for a number of awards.”

As a finalist in the Engineering category of the STEM for BRITAIN 2022 competition, NRL was invited to the Palace of Westminster to talk to MPs and senior academics about its scientific contributions. Ejay and some of his fellow NRL scholars spoke in detail about their recent breakthrough, which involves using AI and cybernetics to predict premature births based on uterine contractions in the third trimester of pregnancy.

In August 2022, four-time chartered professional (CEng, CMath, CPhys and CSci) Ejay was appointed Lead Data Scientist at Fishbone Consulting.

Inspirational volunteer

Ejay volunteered as an IET Education Officer from 2015 for two years, during which time he promoted engineering at several local school events, including open days, career days and talks. His knowledge and infectious enthusiasm about his work will doubtless have inspired many young people to consider embarking on an engineering career.

Ejay’s own journey to becoming a Chartered Engineer was an unusual one. “In my early 20s, I wasn’t fortunate enough to get onto a graduate scheme and be mentored through the system,” he said. “But once I got my act together in my mid-20s I became an academic, did a PhD and had a research position at university.

“Then I faced a new challenge: my skills were based in academia, so were difficult to match up with the CEng criteria, which mainly have an industrial focus. I really had to think outside the box about equivalent competencies, so when I finally got my CEng I was on cloud nine!

“It occurred to me that there would be many other applicants like me out there who could benefit from my experience, input and guidance on how to ‘re-tune’ their competencies to meet the CEng requirements. That’s what motivated me to become a PRA [Professional Registration Adviser] in May 2019.

“Being a PRA requires a lot of time, thought and effort. I am proud to have supported 10 applicants through the registration process. I have also volunteered as a Mentor, a Registration Assessor and  a Professional Review Interviewer.”

Tangible contribution

In June 2019 Ejay became a member of Council and the Membership and Professional Development (MPD) Board. He said: “I was in a period of my career when I had started to believe that I could make a tangible contribution to the IET and to engineering.

“My roles on Council and the MPD Board gave me the insight I wanted – about the IET, how it is governed, how it develops policies and the work it does to influence the public’s perception of engineering. I took part in many discussions, including about professional papers.

“As a ‘newbie’ I was fairly limited in terms of the number of levers I was able to pull, to help shape the engineering profession – understandably, the big decisions tended to be made by the more seasoned Council members. But it was very interesting to be part of the discussion and I was responsible for co-authoring Board updates for publication in Member News.”

Practical assistance

Inspired by a presentation to Council about the importance of strengthening the IET’s global presence and impact, in 2020 Ejay represented the IET on a collaborative project involving the University of West of Scotland, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria.

The project aimed to provide resources to underrepresented groups in West Africa and train 200 women teachers in sub-Saharan Africa to deliver STEM content effectively to school children. Ejay was quick to step in and provide practical assistance: “I sourced a range of IET STEM resources that would complement the training workshops and arranged for them to be shipped out for use by the teachers.” 

The multi-day programme was successfully delivered during the pandemic and received international coverage from multiple media sources. “It helped strengthen the IET’s presence in West Africa,” said Ejay.

Exerting influence

In 2021 Ejay was elected as Chair of the IET Control and Automation Technical Network. “I have the privilege of leading a group of very talented control engineers,” he said. “I’m currently exploring how we can recruit more members and expand the network’s remit.”

Ejay embraced an exciting additional challenge in 2022 when he accepted an invitation to chair a group responsible for establishing a new IET award designed to highlight and celebrate practical engineering contributions that are shaping the outside world.

He said: “I guided the group through a lot of heavy scoping work: clarifying the remit of the award; deciding what the template should look like; establishing the admission criteria and assessment framework; and identifying board member sponsors and a deputy chair.”

The new IET Engineering and Society Award went live in September 2022.

Altruistic spirit

Volunteering is something that Ejay feels he has an obligation to do, especially now that he’s in a mid-senior position. He said: “It means that I get to give back to the system, while also helping to guide and steer the engineering bright sparks of the future.

“Being a volunteer is a fantastic experience and something that can be tailored around your own personal and work commitments. Volunteering also provides opportunities to develop your soft skills and leadership skills.”

Ejay has gained a reputation for going the extra mile to succeed in whatever he undertakes. This impressive quality made him the ideal nominee for the 2022 IET Volunteer Core Values Award for Excellence, yet the win took him completely by surprise: “It was absolutely amazing!”

“Even though I go into volunteering with an altruistic spirit, it’s so nice to be recognised for my contribution, especially in respect of strengthening the profile of engineering among schools and members of the community. I certainly consider this award to be one of the highlights of my career to date.

“To me, excellence is about going above and beyond. I try to embody this concept in all my volunteering activities. Over the next few years I intend to keep volunteering – and to look for new ways to align my volunteer activities with the IET’s remit and vision.”