School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Graduate Engineer Emerges On Top
A Masters student from the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Portsmouth has won the regional final of a competition to promote the UK's Emerging Engineers.
Akshaya Chapagain graduated from Portsmouth in 2015 with an MSc in Civil Engineering having received a BEng in Civil Engineering in 2014, both 1st Class with Distinction.
On Monday 8 February, at the prestigious headquarters of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) on Great Portland Street in London, he won the regional final of the Emerging Engineers Award and will progress to the Global Final later this year.
The Emerging Engineers Award aims to find the best graduate or student research paper in the field of Civil Engineering. The competition is open to all ICE student and graduate members, and papers can be about engineering design, research or practice. But, ideas have to be innovative and clearly defined, as well as expertly presented and discussed in front of an audience.
“The research that I undertook as part of my Masters was into improving current engineering design practices in bridge construction. It was the lecturers at Portsmouth that convinced me that the findings from my research would be of interest to the wider construction industry.”
Akshaya's project focuses on an innovative bridge design which aims to simplify construction and maintenance and improve load distribution and cost effectiveness. His solution proposes the use of tire chips as a building material.
“Having won the regional Emerging Engineer Award, I now have the opportunity to participate in the Global EEA, where I will compete with engineers from Asia, the Middle-east, America and rest of the world.”
Akshaya is employed as a Graduate Civil Engineer by Balfour Beatty and is currently working on the Crossrail Development in South East London. He is working towards becoming a Chartered Engineer, he is a member of the Graduate and Student Committee of ICE, and he is a STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) Construction Ambassador.
Advancing women’s careers in STEM
The University has been awarded an Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in recognition of its commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The national awards encourage and celebrate good employment practices for women working in STEM in higher education and research. They are awarded by the Equality Challenge Unit.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith said: “This is a significant achievement for the University which confirms our determination to identify and remove gender bias and ensure we have an inclusive culture that values all staff.
“I am personally looking forward to working within the Athena SWAN framework not only to satisfy our commitments related to our Bronze award, but also to build towards an institutional Silver award.”
The University joined the Athena SWAN charter in 2011 and made a commitment to the six charter principles, which included a pledge to achieve a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts in STEM areas, which is one of the key objectives of the action plan over the next three years.
Professor Janis Shute, Chair of the University’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team, said: “I am extremely pleased that the University has achieved this recognition. Through the action plan, as well as individual departmental awards, the University aims to remain responsive to the challenges that face women in STEM and ensure that good practice in gender equality, which benefits both men and women, is shared across all areas.”