Southampton demonstrates world-leading research to Royal visitor
The University of Southampton has demonstrated its world-leading expertise in engineering, electronics and optoelectronics during a visit by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent.
His Royal Highness, who was welcomed by Southampton President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, was accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson. His Royal Highness has a long-standing relationship with Southampton having previously opened the University of Southampton Science Park in Chilworth in 1986.
This year’s visit featured a tour of the University’s Boldrewood Innovation Campus, a world-leading hub for innovation, business and education including the Centre for Complex Autonomous Systems Engineering where His Royal Highness met academics and students engaged in performance sports engineering, autonomous vehicle control systems civil engineering, fluid dynamics, unmanned aerial vehicles and maritime robotics.
His Royal Highness also visited the Southampton’s Highfield Campus and the world-renowned Zepler Institute, home to the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre and the UK’s best set of nanoelectronics and photonics fabrication capabilities. He also met with staff engaged in Future Worlds which helps the University’s aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into start-up and spinout businesses by tapping into a network of experienced mentors.
“It was a great pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness to the University,” said Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton. “He took a great deal of interest in our world-class engineering, electronic and photonics activities and particularly enjoyed hearing about the projects from students and staff.”
Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the University’s Optoelectronic Research Centre, commented: “Remarkably, His Royal Highness remembered that he had presented me with the Mountbatten Medal on behalf of the Institutions of Engineering and Technology. This was particularly poignant standing in the new Mountbatten Building, a key asset for the university. Lord Mountbatten himself had been a frequent visitor to the university in the 70’s and was fascinated by my early work on optical fibres.”
Kate Parnell, PhD researcher investigating driver distraction who met His Royal Highness during his tour of the Centre for Complex Autonomous Systems Engineering, enthused, “It was really interesting to have someone like The Duke of Kent visit us and take a real interest in the driving simulator and the work that we do here which we enjoy showing off. We have quite a good facility here in Southampton which is one of the first dominant automated simulators in the country.”
Dr Jon Downes, Lecturer in Ship Science and Maritime Engineering who led the tour of the maritime robots laboratory added, “It’s very important for us to welcome visitors like His Royal Highness. Opportunities like these allow us to promote the work that we’re doing in Southampton. We really enjoy talking about our research and showing the range of activities we’re engaged in within the laboratory.”