Loughborough University academic and CDT-EI supervisor, Dr  Will Whittow, won the inaugural Men As Allies Award at The Women's Engineering Society (WES) Awards 2017.

On receiving the award Will has said "I'm genuinely honoured to win this inaugural award. There are many amazing people who work tirelessly to promote STEM and Women in Engineering. We need to work together to change public perceptions. Engineering is millions of well paid jobs and covers incredibly diverse topics demonstrated by the PhD opportunities at Lboro! We need diversity of people to continue to innovate. My 1st PhD student won the Sir Robert Martin Prize for the Best Loughborough Student. If she can do it so can you."

More details about WES can be found here.

EDF Energy Research Day

28 September 2017

Cohort 3 researcher, Robin Hamer, reports on the 3 day event organised by his co-sponsor EDF Energy for postgraduates, EDF personnel and academics. 

Day 1 – Monday 25th September

The first day of the event consisted of interesting talks from Xavier Mamo (UK R&D Director) and Jean-Paul Chabard (Scientific Director R&D). These talks consisted of EDF’s scientific plan, their 2020 and 2030 vision which included plans for innovation. It was useful to align my PhD with the future plans of EDF as it was possible to see the contribution that I could make. Furthermore, I gained an understanding of how the business operates more thoroughly, aided by the ILM assignments. The poster session provided an opportunity to network and share work with fellow PhD students, the directors of EDF and other academics whom were interested by the concept of ‘safety-II’, especially Xavier Mamo.

Day 2 – Tuesday 26th September

The second day consisted of more presentations from EDF employees, previous PhD students and technical presentations from current PhD students. The technical presentations provided a good insight into what other students at various universities around the UK were doing within the realm of the energy sector. Although my PhD seems to be very different from the purely Engineering and Chemistry based PhDs, it was still good to have some exposure to where my PhD fits in with EDF as a company, and the other students. Two presentations stuck out for me on this day: Paul Spence, EDF Energy Director of Strategy & Cooperate Affairs and Philip Ball, Leadership Development Partner. I enjoyed Paul’s talk about how EDF plans to grow, change and innovate to meet their 2020 and 2030 goals and I enjoyed the discussion regarding the imminent and future challenges, of which I posed my own questions. Philip’s talk about leadership and a technique to develop ones own leadership (Transactional Analysis) was very useful as we have not yet touched on it in our CDT training sessions. I felt the presentation made me more aware of how I act myself and thus how to best deal with others in a leadership role. The evening was a great time to relax and network in a less formal way as everyone headed to the pub and did an Olympic themed quiz. I found it much easier to talk to network especially with the higher up members of EDF as everyone seemed to drop their guard which made conversation and discussion much easier.


Day 3 – Wednesday 27th September

Day three was the last day and since we all left at midday not much happened on this day. Everyone had the opportunity to have a tour of EDFs on sight Geo-solar centre which supplies Cannington Court with 100% renewable energy making it fully self-sustaining. It was interesting to see the technology behind this initiative and to see how easily building can become fully self-sustained.


This event was in all a great success. It was extremely useful to listen to the presentations by employees higher up in the company whom exposed the students to the overall goals and vision of EDF. This helped us not only understand the different subsections of the business but helped us understand where our PhD fits into the bigger picture and thus gave us a sense of purpose and that our work was actually mattering. I found it very useful to network with other students and found that three other students at the retreat are from Loughborough also. I have definitely created some network opportunities and am looking forward to returning next year where I hope to give a technical presentation about my work.

Cohort 3 research, Jorge Garcia, attended the first ever International School on Computational Microscopy (ISCM) in the paradisiac Mediterranean coast of Amalfi, Italy organized by the Institute of Applied Science and Intelligent Systems of the Italian National Research Council. It reunited researchers, postdoctoral and postgrad student’s universities and international research centres. The main topic of the international school was label-free unconventional imaging systems, which basically consists on optical systems for imaging of microscopic objects without the need of marking them with external labels or fluorescent toxic substances. The sessions also focused on the synergy of technologic research and start-up companies with workshops and lectures conducted by successful researchers.

The lectures were carried by worldwide famous researches in the optics field from all over the world. Moreover, the new technologies and developments presented by the lecturers were outstanding. For example, Dr. Zalevsky from the Bar-Ilan University presented a project about a photonic “super ear” which was able to monitor heart beats and voice vibration from a long distance using a low-intensity non-invasive light source and a camera. Other highlight of the summer school was the workshop “Starting up your ideas” given by Dr. Park from the Korean company Tomocube. Dr. Park shared his experiences and advises in an interactive talk focusing on making the big step from research to entrepreneurship.

Additionally, the event was the perfect opportunity to make networking with other postgraduate student working in the field of optics and digital signal processing. At the same time the event included a poster session where the participants were able to share their work to the others. Jorge presented his project about a compact holographic coherent sensor, which was well accepted by the optical community in attendance.

In summary, the ISCM 2017 was a well-organized event where the new advances in the optical imaging field where presented. The relevance of this international school was to increase our knowledge on non-conventional optical measurements methods and being aware of what other similar research groups are doing in other universities around the world, meeting new people for possible collaborations in the future.

Welcoming Cohort 4

20 September 2017


To welcome our fourth cohort of researchers we held our induction week in the highlands of Scotland. Representatives from cohorts 1, 2 and 3 also attended to meet the incoming cohort and use the remote and idyllic location for a writing retreat.


The European Safety & Reliability Conference took place from Monday 19th June 2017 to 22nd June 2017 in Portorož, Slovenia. This conference focusses on a wide variety of topics related to safety and reliability. In its 27th iteration this conference attracted many academic and industry delegates from around the world, including numerous delegates from outside the European Union.

The conference was attended by Darius Roman & Ross Dickie from Cohort 3 of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence who presented their paper entitled “A Review of the Role of Prognostics in Predicting the Remaining Useful Life of Assets". This is a paper which highlights case studies from their field of Prognostics and Health Management and illustrates the distinctions between data-driven and model-based prognostics and discusses the blending of these approaches through so-called fusion prognostic methods. Their work uses the case studies to highlight features of these distinct prognostic methods.

The work was presented in the afternoon of the first day of the conference as the first presentation in the afternoon parallel session “Prognostics & Health Management 2", as a review paper this provided a good framing and context for the work subsequent presentations within the session.
The experience at ESREL gave Darius and Ross an opportunity not only to showcase their work in an international setting, first-hand but also the opportunity to gain exposure across both the industrial and academic worlds due to the mixing provided in this conference. The conference also provided the researchers an opportunity to learn about cutting edge work in their field and discuss their work with a diverse group of delegates within the conference.


BioMIM Expo

22 August 2017

Prof. Marc Desmulliez, HWU ex-CDT-EI Director and supervisor of several CDT-EI students, gave an invited talk at the latest BioMIM Expo at Senlis in July 2017. It was the first time in his 25 years as an academic that Marc presented a technical talk in French, his mother tongue.

The Conference, one of the few in the world devoted exclusively to biomimetics and nature-inspired engineering, was attended by over 1,000 people and combined scientific talk, exhibitions as well as presentations for the general public.

“It was quite a daunting experience for me, said Marc, as I had to look for French technical words in my dictionary. I never used French in the past to present my work. The format of the Conference was quite new but worked perfectly as there is an inherent affinity of the public for all things related to Nature.”

The talk was devoted to the latest advances made by his research group towards the 3D printing of multi-materials using green chemistry. The £1M EPSRC research is funded under the “Manufacturing with Light” programme, and is in collaboration with Dr Robert Kay’s research group, formally from Loughborough University, now at Leeds University.

The talk can be downloaded in YouTube at the following link  https://youtu.be/yBEJuBLte0w alongside all presentations made in 2017 and 2016.

Article by Cohort 2 researcher Rhys Comissiong

Since my Undergraduate studies I have worked for Exscitec, a STEM education outreach company based in Petersfield. During the summers, I would work as an academic mentor assisting in the delivery of fun based scientific activities in physics, maths, engineering and robotics for students aged 9 to 17 years old. This summer I had the opportunity to deliver a summer school at Uppingham School for the week of 17th to 21st July. The subject of the week was Engineering Intelligence which involved using the power of modern computing to create innovative solutions for engineering projects.

Traditionally, we focussed on mechanical engineering projects using a robotics kit called Assemblr (produced by Richard Palfrey, Business Development Officer for Exscitec). For this week, we integrated Arduino-based sensors with the mechanical actuation. We taught subjects including basic C programming, electronics, microcontrollers and basic principles of computer architecture. The students then had an opportunity to put these ideas together to build robots including autonomous vehicles with obstacle avoidance.

Another element of the week was using my experiences of CDT EI to explain how the digital economy is shaping the world of tomorrow and what kind of challenges we have to face in the work place and in society. Talks on future technologies, internet of things and industry 4.0 underpinned the relevance of why it’s important to learn the skills of the week and what potential careers are out there. At the end of the week the students presented their work to the rest of the summer school students on the other subject strands and their parents. It was great to see how much they learned.

It was particularly rewarding to see how the students took the knowledge and turned it into creative ideas. The fact they were able to gain keen insight into what you can do with STEM subjects led to many students stating that they were now keen to work on their own projects. I personally got to learn how to tailor technical information to range of abilities, a skill I will apply when explaining my own work to my company sponsor and at presentations. I also got to work on my teaching abilities which I will put into practice in the tutorials I assist with the Automotive and Aeronautical Engineering undergraduates.



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