Published: 22 August 2018

Surrey honoured by 200th anniversary visit by ICE President

Reflecting Surrey’s longstanding partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the University was visited by ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair to mark the Institution’s 200th anniversary.

(Left to right) Professor Lord Mair, Elizabeth Orchard and Dr Juan Sagaseta.

The visit on 27 June was part of a two-day tour of the South East England – the largest of ICE’s regions – by Professor Lord Mair, during which he attended a number of civil engineering and construction companies. The visit was organised by the ICE Thames Valley Branch.

The only Higher Education institution to be visited, Surrey has close links with ICE, and its Surrey/ICE Scholarship Scheme has run successfully for the past 15 years.

During his visit to Surrey, Professor Lord Mair listened to presentations from three students who talked about their experiences as Surrey/ICE scholars or their time on Professional Training placement: Liam Addley (who has recently returned from his placement at Arcadis), James Merriman (Skanska) and Elizabeth Davies (Hewson).

Professor Lord Mair also toured the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and visited innovative facilities within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, including the SAGE (Surrey Advanced Geotechnical Engineering) lab and EnFlo Research Centre. He later took part in a Q&A session which focused on current issues within civil engineering such as how to tackle the skills shortage, improving equality and diversity and the mental health problems which can affect people working in the sector. This session was chaired by Surrey alumna Elizabeth Orchard, Chair of the Thames Valley branch of the ICE.

At the ICE South East reception dinner held the following day, Dr Juan Sagaseta, who coordinates the Surrey/ICE Scholarship Scheme, was selected for a special honour, receiving a 200th anniversary commemorative medallion for his contributions to ICE. The medallion – one of only four given in the South East – is a reproduction of a commemorative medallion presented to Queen Victoria on completion of the Thames Tunnel by Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

At the event, Professor Lord Mair commended the value of the Surrey/ICE Scholarship Scheme and its impact towards delivering the future generation of civil engineers.

He commented: “The Surrey/ICE Scholarship Scheme offers a fantastic platform for the development of future generations of civil engineers. Civil engineering students are offered a great opportunity to receive professional training during their academic studies and companies are strongly involved from the beginning.”

The Surrey/ICE scholarship scheme is the only university scheme to be run in collaboration with ICE. It enables civil engineering students to be partnered with a relevant industrial company and benefit from paid placements as well as a scholarship bursary for each year of their course.

Jonathan Baggs, Director of ICE, South East England, said: “I’d like to thank the University of Surrey for hosting Professor Lord Mair’s visit. The tour of the research labs and the presentations by undergraduates showed the great breadth of activities underway in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as the excellent partnerships it has with the ICE and other organsations and companies.”

Elizabeth Orchard added: “As a Surrey alumna who has personally benefitted from the Surrey/ICE Scholarship Scheme, it was a pleasure to showcase the Department to Lord Mair and share in celebrating the successes of the course, its students and alumni. The Surrey staff and industry partners are to be commended for their passion and vision in helping to educate and inspire successive generations of quality civil engineers.”


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