Published: 24 October 2017

Royal Commission 1851 Fellowship funds further research for EngD student

Currently working as a Research Engineer at Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear, Ed Williamson has been honoured with a highly prestigious Industrial Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.


The Fellowship was awarded to Ed Williamson at a special ceremony held on 4 October, and represents up to £80,000 in additional funding to help commercialise his research.

As an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) student in Surrey’s EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Micro- and Nanomaterials and Technologies (MiNMaT), Ed is undertaking a four-year research project with Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear, working mainly on the company’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) programme. During the project he aims to develop new coating materials for components in SMRs – a type of factory-built fission reactor – using Surrey’s Ion Beam Centre facilities to test the stability of the materials.

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851’s Industrial Fellowship is highly prestigious and has an illustrious history. Aimed at encouraging profitable innovation and creativity in British industry, the scheme has produced 13 Nobel Laureates to date. The Fellowships are awarded to exceptional graduates with the potential to make an outstanding contribution to industry via a programme of doctoral level research.

Ed said: “I am incredibly honoured to be awarded such a prestigious Fellowship. The award will have a significant impact on my research, resulting in increased international conference attendance to disseminate the research. It will also greatly increase the number of different materials and geometries I am able to manufacture and test. I am confident this will have an important influence on the small modular reactor programme at Rolls-Royce. I am very grateful to my supervisors and the MiNMaT team for all of their help and support during the project so far.”

Dr Mark Whiting, Senior Lecturer in Metallic Materials within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, is the principal supervisor of Ed’s project. He commented: “Ed is now the third student from our Centre for Doctoral Training over the past five years to have secured this prestigious Fellowship, and we are very proud of him. The opportunities that come with being part of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 ‘family’ are tremendous.”

Professor Rob Dorey, Director of the CDT in MiNMaT, added: “Ed is continuing a strong tradition of high quality industrially relevant research as exemplified by this award. As the third of our Research Engineers to receive this prestigious award he continues to fly the flag for the Centre’s mission to provide industry-ready doctoral graduates skilled in delivering industrially relevant research.”

Surrey’s EngD in Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies (MiNMaT) is a four-year programme which enables graduates to undertake a research project with an industrial organisation while visiting the University regularly for short courses and experimental work. Read more about Ed’s experience as an EngD student.

The Industrial Fellowship is given by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, which was appointed in 1850 under Prince Albert to organise the first world trade fair. Following the success of the ‘Great Exhibition’ it was established in perpetuity to use the profits to ‘increase the means of industrial education and extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry’. Today it distributes some £2m a year, primarily through fellowships supporting research by the brightest scientists and engineers.

Discover our programmes in Mechanical Engineering Sciences, including our EngD in MiNMaT and our PhD programmes in Engineering Materials.

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