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ACCIS CDT student wins ORE Catapult prize

Chris (right) with Dr Kirsten Dyer, ORE Catapult Senior Research Engineer

22 November 2017

ACCIS CDT PhD student Chris Hunt has been awarded the 2016/17 ORE Catapult prize for the ‘Best Taught Mark in the ACCIS CDT Taught Component’.

During their first nine months PhD students in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science (ACCIS CDT) take seven taught units to broaden their skills/knowledge base before embarking on an individual six-month research project. Subjects cover a wide range of multidisciplinary topics (e.g. nanocomposites, smart materials, nature’s materials, composites design and manufacture) spanning the length scales from the nano scale right up to large composite structures several metres in length.

For students with engineering backgrounds, learning basic polymer chemistry can prove challenging, and similarly for those with pure science backgrounds getting into an engineering lab and building a carbon fibre landing gear beam definitely means taking a leap out of their comfort zone, but in doing so they get to see the bigger picture and develop the unique blend of skills necessary to work at the interface of science and engineering in the multidisciplinary field of composites research.

Chris, an aerospace engineer by background, performed consistently well in his taught units achieving first class marks across the board and the best overall average mark in his cohort. To recognise this impressive achievement Chris was awarded a £150 prize sponsored by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

Chris said: “I am very grateful to ORE Catapult for providing this award. It has been really nice to have my hard efforts recognised and appreciated. The taught component of the CDT helped me not only broaden my knowledge of composites but also helped develop my teamwork skills with a fantastic group of students on a range of projects. It’s lovely to see collaboration with ORE Catapult which will hopefully aid the development of technologies that are crucial for tackling the climate crisis. Such research will benefit all of society.”

ORE Catapult is the UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre for advancing wind, wave and tidal energy. In June a £2.3 million research partnership between ORE Catapult and the University, called the Wind Blade Research Hub, was announced. PhD students within the ACCIS CDT are amongst the team of world leading composites experts supporting the work of the Hub.

Dr Paul McKeever, Head of Strategic Research at ORE Catapult, said: “Congratulations to Chris on this fantastic achievement. It is vital that we develop the technological and engineering skills needed to support the UK’s growing offshore renewables industry, and we see our work and collaboration with the University of Bristol as an essential part of building that skills base to ensure the UK remains a world leader in offshore wind.”

Earlier this year five students in Chris’ cohort scooped the Imetrum prize for the best team performance in the CDT Design, Build, and Test project, and a separate industry sponsored prize will be awarded in the New Year to the student who produces the best six-month research project.

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