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Student named UK’s Young Engineer of the Year

Published: 
16 March 2011

University of Southampton student Andrew Cowan was named Young Engineer of the Year at the British Science Association’s ‘Big Bang Fair’ held in London to mark National Science and Engineering Week.

Andrew, who is in the first year of an MEng degree in Electronic Engineering with Mobile and Secure Systems, received the accolade for his Search and Rescue Robot built during his A-level Systems and Control coursework at Sutton Grammar School.

The large tracked vehicle he designed and built is intended for use in disaster zones, and is fitted out with a wireless camera (with tilt, pan and zoom), and a collection of wireless sensors including gas sampling. About 20 microchips control all the sensors, radio links and functions (including lights, a siren and water cannon). Powerful enough to pull a car, the robot weighs around 80kg and is powered by two 750W motors.

Andrew says: “I’m extremely honoured and proud to be awarded such a prestigious title. The standard of entries was so high, which made the finals incredibly tense at times. I’m now really looking forward to representing engineering for young people and I hope my project inspires lots of other people to do the same and pursue a career in engineering.”

As Young Engineer of the Year Andrew will now play a role as an ambassador for Engineering.

“My key role will be to encourage young people into studying and taking up a career in engineering,” he says. “I'm looking forward to being able to talk at events throughout the year to promote engineering.”

Andrew Cowan (centre) was named Young Engineer of the Year
Competition winner

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, one of the judges of the National Science and Engineering Competition, says: “I’m delighted to award Andrew the UK Young Engineer of the Year. The judges were truly overwhelmed by his project and it’s wonderful to witness such enthusiasm and dedication for engineering and technology.

“It’s left me hugely excited about the future of engineering in the UK, with passionate young scientists such as Andrew at the helm.”

Professor Neil White, Head of ECS-Electronics and Computer Science, adds: “This is an outstanding achievement by Andrew and exemplifies the sophisticated and innovative work that can be carried out at A-level.

“We are very proud of Andrew’s success and will of course be keen to support not only his future work in ECS but also his ambassadorial work in encouraging more young people to study engineering at university.”

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