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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

ORC student wins Ingenious Royal Academy Grant

Published: 13 July 2018
Andrei Donko
Andrei Donko

Andrei Donko, a PhD student at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), has been awarded an Ingenious public engagement grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) to organise a series of interactive workshops for underserved audiences.

Andrei, who is also a director of the ORC’s outreach team, the Lightwave Roadshow, will use his £9,000 grant to run a ‘Photonics Music Workshop’ which challenges the assumption that engineering is mundane and unimaginative.

The workshop aims to inspire the next generation of British engineers into the field of photonics — aimed at school children aged 14-18 years, they will combine basic principles of digital encoding, optical data transfer and lasers to create music.

On learning of the award, Andrei said:

“I’m delighted to have been granted the (Ingenious public engagement) award and cannot wait to get started! The small projects I engage in my free time suddenly have a greater purpose. I really hope the project can make a difference and benefit those who need it most.”

Andrei is a PhD student in the Optical Fibre Devices and Sensors group in the ORC, led by Professor Gilberto Brambilla and Doctor Martynas Beresna.

If you are a school or postgraduate researcher and are interested in getting involved with the Photonics Music Workshop, please contact Andrei via email:

Supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious public engagement awards are a scheme for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering. The grants provide opportunities for engineers to take part in public engagement activities, gain skills in communication and bring engineering to the very centre of society. Funding is available from £3,000 to £30,000 for applicants at graduate level or equivalent and above. Eligibility details can be found here, and details on how to apply can be found here.

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