Press release

Oxford PhD student receives prestigious engineering scholarship

26 August 2014

A University of Oxford student, originally from Paignton in Devon, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship from one of the world’s largest professional bodies for engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

James Gilbert, 27, has been awarded the IET’s Leslie H Paddle Scholarship, worth £5,000, which specifically recognises doctorate research that furthers the art, science or practice of electronic engineering or radio engineering.

Currently studying a DPhil in Astronomical Instrumentation, James receives this award for his research in the field of astronomical instrumentation for large optical telescopes. He is developing new ways to enable observations of thousands of stars or galaxies in a single night, by quickly repositioning optical components within the telescope using robotic systems.

James said: “It's a terrific achievement. To have received recognition from such a prestigious organisation as the IET means a great deal to me. I worked as an electronics engineer before returning to academia, so it's a comfort to know that a professional institution I've been a member of since my first degree is there to support my postgraduate research.

“The funds have already allowed me to pursue a new idea which may not have been possible otherwise. In a university it's not always easy to find funds for speculative projects that are at a tangent to your main project work - at least not quickly.  In my case, the IET award makes this possible.”

Trevor Grimshaw, Chair of the IET Scholarships Committee, said: “Every year we receive a very high calibre of applications, and this year has been no exception. The scholarship recipients have demonstrated outstanding talent as well as real engineering potential, and I look forward to seeing the results of their inspirational work.”

The Leslie H Paddle Scholarship was established in 1979 under a bequest from Mr Leslie H Paddle to the Institution of Electronic and Radio Engineers (IERE), now part of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Mr Paddle was vice-president of the IERE.

In 2013, the IET provided over £1,000,000 in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence, innovation and encouragement of the next generation of engineers and technicians. The IET will maintain this investment in 2014 with its portfolio of awards, which includes Diamond Jubilee scholarships, Apprentice and Technician awards, scholarships in India, the Present around the World competition and the IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize.

For more information about IET Awards, please visit http://www.theiet.org/awards.

Media enquiries to:

Katie Stanton
Communications Executive

Tel: +44(0)1438 765608
Mob: +44(0)7738 713867
Email: kstanton@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multi-disciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
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