Postgraduate Award 2023

Awarded to an officer completing a postgraduate technical degree who has achieved overall academic excellence and contributed most to the advancement of technical knowledge or its application through a research project.

Captain Harry Payne RLC.  During his postgraduate study in Explosive Ordnance Engineering, Capt Payne has significantly contributed to the reduction of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to troops in training. 

Captain Harry Payne RLC being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography] 

The Commando Training Centre Royal Marine (CTCRM) approached Cranfield University to conduct an in-depth study into the optimal helmet design to reduce TBI in their Directing Staff (DS) during explosive methods of entry. 

The CTCRM noted that during the training of explosive methods of entry, their DS are repeatedly exposed to low levels of blast wave energy.  Low-level impact to the head is already an understood cause of TBI in many contact sports, and regulations in those areas have significantly increased to ensure the safety of the competitors.  The DS currently use the same personal protective equipment as the students and wished to know if there was a different helmet solution that would provide them with greater protection from blast overpressure compared to the current in-service item.

Capt Payne’s research has established that the use of a high cut ballistic helmet is optimum for the reduction of the long-term effects of TBI due to repeated exposure to low-level blasts.  This previously unknown and highly valuable information is highly likely to shape the future procurement of helmets and thereby improve safety procedures for military personnel and reduce the ever-present threat of TBIs from a blast event when deployed on Operations.

In summary, Capt Payne developed a sound engineering-based methodology that investigated the background to the causes of TBI, designed an appropriate explosive experiment, generated suitable data through experimentation, and in turn extrapolated this through modelling and simulation computer systems for further results and analysis. A novel secondary finding concluded that standing closer to an explosion (in some instances) is safer due to the Mach Stem effect.  The research into this area is of value not only to Academia but also especially to the front-line Armed Forces across government who may be subject to repeated exposure to low level blast in the United Kingdom and further afield.

The Royal Navy Engineer Officer of the Year 2023

Commander Nigel Winstone CEng FIMarEST Royal Navy has been employed as the Submarine Delivery Agency’s Project Contract Manager assigned to HMS VANGUARD’s Deep Maintenance Project (Refuel) for the last 3 years. This has been the longest and most complex submarine deep maintenance project undertaken at His Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport.  

Commander Nigel Winstone RN being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography] 

There have been over 10,000 Design Authority Requirements including the refuel of the submarine’s nuclear reactor and the introduction of a number of new capabilities to ensure the vessel’s operational capability for its third commission.

Cdr Winstone’s leadership, not only of his team but also the wide network of stakeholders and the Industrial Partners involved with the project’s delivery, has been exemplary.  With consummate professionalism he has managed the resolution of a series technical challenges encountered during the test and commissioning of the naval reactor plant.  He has leveraged superior team performance through a quiet, confident and diligent approach that brings out the best in people and delivers results. One example of the effectiveness of his approach has been the restoration of secondary mechanical defects on the submarine’s main steam system.  This involved close supply chain management and perseverance, repeatedly challenging assumptions over quality and performance. The same rational and methodical approach enabled the commencement and safe operational testing of the newly installed reactor’s core.

Most recently, his work to conclude the engineering administration associated with the assurance and close out of the project has been outstanding.  He has amalgamated newly created safety governance arrangements with the project’s contractual deliverables to achieve clearance for sea, ensuring HMS VANGUARD’s successful return to operations. In sum, the way that Cdr Winstone has applied his professional knowledge to this challenging maintenance project has been simply exceptional. 

The Royal Navy Engineer Rating of the Year 2023

Chief Petty Officer AET (Mechanical) Paul Sayers has dedicated himself to the UK Lightning Force over the last 7 years, displaying unparalleled professionalism, dedication and engineering judgement. His time on the Lightning Force has seen him at the forefront of the delivery of this new capability. 

CPO Paul Sayers being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography] 

On No17 Test and Evaluation Squadron he performed the role of Rectification Controller for the first Operational Test of F-35 aboard HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH.  He was the Mechanical Trade Manager on 617 Squadron during the inaugural 7-month deployment of UK Carrier Strike on Op FORTIS in 2021. And recently, he performed excellently in leading a team of 65 personnel in the rectification and delivery of nine F-35B aircraft following the prolonged absence of the Officer in charge of this team. 

It was during Operation FORTIS that CPO Sayers’ expertise, professional judgement and initiative were critical in the development and delivery of new technical procedures that had never been attempted on F-35B at sea. Following a 10-year absence of fixed wing carrier operations, he used his experience of Harrier operations and F-35 Operational Test to devise and deliver the procedures to remove the F-35B’s Lift Fan and Engine while afloat.  An essential first step was his design of the aircraft jacking procedures in absence of any formal guidance. His tenacity and dedication ensured their successful implementation in a deployed environment and the procedures devised and implemented by CPO Sayers have significantly enhanced the operational capability of the Royal Navy and helped deliver a credible Lightning Force for Carrier Strike. 

He quickly gained airworthiness authorisations to defer maintenance, and was selected to lead a short notice, operational task to Eastern Europe. Here CPO Sayers, in 24hrs, devised and delivered an aircraft de-icing capability based on scant technical information and no UK experience.  These procedures were used to de-ice aircraft in temperatures down to -15°C.  His leadership of the team, attention to airworthiness and drive, allowed 617 Squadron to fly armed sorties in defence of NATO airspace following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

CPO Sayers is an outstanding leader who has shown excellent professional engineering judgement in the delivery of F-35B operations to the UK on both land and sea.

The Army Engineer Officer of the Year 2023

Captain (now Major) Monaghan RE is currently employed as the Headquarters Garrison Engineer, 62 Works Group RE. He enlisted in 1994 as a Plant Operator Mechanic, qualified as a Military Plant Foreman in 2006 gaining a HND in Civil Engineering and conducted further education for a BSc (Hons) in Engineering Management.

Major Monaghan being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography] 

Since commissioning in 2016 he has been the Drilling Officer for 521 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Water Development), a Physical Protection Engineer in 502 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Force Protection Engineering) and a Garrison Engineer in 524 Specialist Team Royal Engineers.

Additionally, Captain Monaghan’s leadership and tenacity have been pivotal in advancing digital transformation across the Royal Engineers Works Groups and wider 12 (Force Support) Engr Gp. 

The driving force behind the Innovation Working Group and with a passion for digital engineering, he has inspired and delivered transformational change with the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to RE capability. Notably (and in addition to his workplace commitments), he orchestrated pre-operational deployment training and facilitated experimentation using innovative applications and tools. Subsequently, recognising the capability gap for digital data collection equipment, Capt Monaghan has researched and engaged with subject matter experts to define and secure funding for equipment and training solutions to operationalise modern survey equipment within the RE. 

In a comprehensive campaign, Captain Monaghan’s expertise and focus on digital engineering solutions is revolutionising the way in which the Corps of Royal Engineers plans and delivers operational infrastructure. More than simply theoretical, a third of the personnel from 62 Works Group, Royal Engineers allocated to operational tasks in the Broader Middle East are now able to operate from the UK. The digitised, increasingly rear-based, capability reduces risk to life whilst enhancing operational effectiveness and reducing the strain on Service families.

The Army Engineer Soldier of the Year 2023

Corporal Pa Malik Adams is an Information Services Technician in the Royal Corps of Signals.  Corporal Adams demonstrates initiative and digital engineering ability far beyond his rank and provides an invaluable contribution to professional development, specifically through the creation of a sustainable cyber capability.

Corporal Adams being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography] 

Having read for a Master level degree in Cyber Security, in his own time – gaining a Distinction – he applied professional judgement, leadership and technical acumen to create a Regimental Cyber Development Suite from the ground up. He sourced suitable buildings, equipment, hardware and software, all without any external funding or support. Using cross-platform virtualization and cloud computing software, he created a virtual environment where novices and experts alike can safely experiment with offensive and defensive cyber scenarios. The weekly Cyber Club meetings serve to upskill and test his Regiment’s technicians and, under Corporal Adams’ leadership, the Club has gathered momentum. His inclusive nature has attracted more than forty members from a wide range of ranks, trades and cap badges and is proving contagious.

Demonstrating progress and success, Corporal Adams led the Regimental team on a large, cross government, international and technically demanding cyber exercise achieving outstanding results. Moreover, by mentoring the Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police, he elevated the reputation of the Royal Signals and digital engineering. Across the gamut of professional soldiering, Corporal Adams applies engineering judgement, leadership and technical innovation to encourage enquiry and to accelerate military capability.

The Royal Air Force Engineer Officer of the Year 2023

Squadron Leader Neil Cook RAF is employed within the Military Aviation Authority’s (MAA’s) Certification Division, responsible for the regulation, assurance and subject matter expertise for aircraft structures.

Sqn Ldr Neil Cook being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography] 

He acts as the Project Certification Lead for Puma, Merlin, Rivet Joint and Protector aircraft, and as a structural Subject Matter Expert for multiple other type design changes across all current platforms.

Sqn Ldr Cook’s command of the Military Air Systems Certification Process (MACP) and pursuit of the highest levels of safety across all platforms has been inspirational. He has been highly effective in establishing productive relationships with Platform Type Airworthiness Authorities and Certification Managers and through daily interactions and outreach he has significantly grown the understanding of Certification within DE&S. In support of Rivet Joint, Cook’s tenacity, leadership and technical platform knowledge led to a 96% reduction in historic open Certification Actions against various legacy projects, ultimately leading to the agreement of an MAA-approved Alternative Approach to Certification and the into-service demonstrated safety standard.

Yet it is his work on Protector that has had the most impact in terms of both the acquisition of new capability and its operational performance. In support of both Into-Service and Enhanced Protector, he has been instrumental in developing the complex and novel certification requirements for Airspace Integration, requiring multi-disciplinary engagement and lateral thinking far outside the scope of traditional engineering. Numerous Sub-System Certification Plans and Military Certification Review Items have been developed with the Delivery Team (DT) and staffed through the MAA to achieve the regulatory standard for MACP progression. He has also led the analysis and review of the complex, tailored approaches being applied to multiple elements of the Protector Safety arguments. His detailed analysis of the Protector Safety approach, reviewing interdependence of approaches, potential shortfalls and subsequent risk has allowed the MAA and DT to form and present a view on whether the overall approach will deliver a position that could be considered As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) and Tolerable, and if not, what work would be required to ensure it does so. He has achieved this by establishing open and transparent relationships with the DT and other external agencies; his endeavours, and exacting standards, will ensure that the platform not only enters service fully compliant with regulation, but that it is also more capable and safe to operate.

Sqn Ldr Cook mentors numerous less-experienced individuals within the MAA through individual and joint training activities, whilst standing in for his immediate superior on a regular basis. He has also driven increased engagement within the MAA, leading and supporting several Continuous Improvement events aimed at improving overall assurance between the Certification and Op Assurance divisions. His eye for detail, passionate approach and pragmatism have advanced a revolution in approach to Certification, resulting in much closer engagement between the Regulator and the Regulated Community. In addition to his exceptional work across the MAA, Sqn Ldr Cook has chaired the Engineering Professions Working Group South, delivering numerous key outputs including authoring a Basic Engineering Scheme project to review in-service aircraft workforce requirements for ageing aircraft – all while progressing his Military Aerospace and Airworthiness MSc and achieving Chartered Engineer status.

The Royal Air Force Engineering Technican of the Year 2023

Acting Flight Sergeant Richard Bowman is an outstanding Aviator who has demonstrated exceptional professionalism, leadership and initiative in the last year in both commanding the RAF Leeming Mechanical Transport Maintenance Section and also delivering the Strategic Support Programme Digital Task Portal for all Tri-Service Aviation Workshops.

FS Richard Bowman being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography] 

Seconded to Strategic Support Programme from Oct 21 until Aug 22, he instigated the development of the Digital Task Portal alongside industry, and has been the key actor in delivering the finished product into Service across Defence. This has included providing Digital Task Portal demonstrations to Aviation Workshops across the UK, and briefing at the highest levels of the RAF. In addition to the introduction of this new capability, his work has directly contributed to streamlining Aviation Workshops efficiency and allowed the re-allocation of 12 aviators to other key strategic tasking such as Cyber and Space.

Returning to the Mechanical Transport Maintenance role in Aug 22 he continues to devote all his spare capacity to Strategic Support Programme; he continues to consult with software developers on licence and technical issues and offers a reach-back service to Aviation Workshops experiencing issues with the Digital Task Portal.

FS Bowman is a strong advocate of technological advances and also has an involvement in ASTRA Sprint Project Additive Manufacture. His limitless enthusiasm and professional excellence are responsible for driving forward the exploration of this technology at RAF Leeming.  Securing and utilising a capability that had been previously under-exploited, he was successful in ensuring RAF Leeming was one of the first 2 RAF Units to successfully bid for and secure funding for an improved Additive manufacture capability. Using pre-existing trade skills, on-line learning and peer-to-peer support, he motivated his team ensuring they are now at the forefront of RAF Additive Manufacture capability.  His aim is to move into the world of metallic Additive Manufacture and the manufacture of aircraft parts and spares. He is absolutely determined that Additive Manufacture will be a success in the future RAF.

FS Bowman has shown himself to be an expert within multiple fields.  He has consistently made significant contributions to the enhancement of the RAF General Technician Trade’s reputation through his management, drive and leadership. He has been instrumental in planning, co-ordinating and delivering state of the art technology within Aviation Workshops across Defence.

The Defence Equipment & Support Engineer of the Year 2023

Mr Simon Ransom CEng FRAeS has been the recognised DE&S authority in aircraft propulsion and rotor system technology for 25 years.  This year he has made a substantial contribution to the acquisition of new capabilities to meet the challenges of current conflict.

Simon Ransom being presented with his Award by Major General David Eastman, MBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography]

Simon is the Chief Engineer for the Capability Exploration Team, part of Future Capability Group (IBOC) respected for his unique and profound specialist knowledge, and his incomparable ability take capability requirements rapidly from early research through to front line deployment.  Simon has used his professional engineering judgement to deliver a rapid, agile response to front line operational demands, the technical details of which are necessarily sensitive. His efforts have attracted a CEO Award for his team.

Despite the pressures of providing technical and safety assurance for the urgent deployment of new and often experimental capability into the operational theatre, Simon’s commitment to safety is remarkable.  Simon has at all times demonstrated professional rigor in his approach: generating comprehensive experimentation safety material; leading the technical selection of suppliers; and authoring ‘Approval to Proceed’ statements to drive meticulous control of the conduct of trials where equipment is immature.

Simon collaborates with the Military Aviation Authority (the regulator) to instigate changes to the regulatory framework to keep pace with a rapidly evolving unmanned air system (UAS) landscape that includes large scale re-categorisation of swarming systems, front line use of small UAS, and extensive future capability experimentation. Simon designed and established a Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP) to inform MOD’s intent and scale of ambition for un-crewed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAS capability. He continues to drive engineering excellence into technology maturation activities, including evidence-generating experiments, viability assessments, delivery route maps and innovative use cases.

Notwithstanding his high workload, Simon is dedicated to developing others, offering continuous mentoring, guidance and career support to graduate engineers and professional registration applicants.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers Charitable Trust (the Engineers Trust) acknowledges excellence in engineering, supports engineering education and research, gives grants and assists in the relief of poverty.