UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Celebrating EEE excellency at the Festival of Research

18 May 2022

UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) recently hosted a daylong event to showcase their research to a broad audience, culminating in the prestigious biennial Mildner Lecture.

EEE Poster Presentations

After a three-year hiatus, the UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) department showcased and celebrated their research in an event entitled ‘Festival of Research’ (FOR). 

The event included PhD student posters, research demos, academic talks and the return of the Mildner Lecture, hosted this year by Simon Knowles, CTO and Founder of Graphcore. 

The day kicked off with over 140 poster presentations from EEE’s strong research community including students of affiliated Centres for Doctoral Training and Early Career Researchers of the TERAOPTICS European Training Networks.

Posters were on display across UCL Cloisters with attendees from across academia, industry, the wider research community and members of the public dropping in to explore and engage in further discussions with the students. Topics ranged from Photonics, Quantum Technologies and Advanced Materials Characterisation, as discussions took place around how EEE are shaping the future of electronic and electrical engineering.

For the first time, EEE also presented a series of academic talks by leading EEE academics; short lectures with a focus on the cutting-edge research of the department, with each session focused on a particular theme, from International Day of Light, Autonomous Systems and AI and Industrial Applications of EEE. The turnout for these was excellent, varying from industry persons to members of the research community and wider public who engaged enthusiastically in informative Q&A sessions. 

As Dr Robert Thompson, EEE’s Strategic Alliance Director and co-organiser of the event states:

 It is a strength of UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering that we work so closely with industry in the co-creation and application of research. The EEE Festival of Research gave us an opportunity to bring our collaborators from industry and academia together, helping strengthen those relationships, and inspiring new opportunities for joint research and innovation.

The day ended with a grand celebration. An awards ceremony where members of the research community were presented with the Fabrizio Lombardi Prize for best doctoral thesis (spanning three years) and the Cullen Prize for best student poster, announced by Head of Department, Prof Sarah Spurgeon. Winners were: 

  • 2022 Lombardi Prize: Silvia Rossi, Understanding user interactivity for the next-generation immersive communication: design, optimisation, and behavioural analysis
  • 2022 Cullen Prize: Jonathan Hawkins, Monitoring Spatio-temporal Changes in Ice Shelf Basal Melt with HF Phase-Sensitive Radar
  • 2021 Lombardi Prize: Boris Karanov, End-to-End Deep Learning in Optical Fibre Communication Systems
  • 2020 Lombardi Prize: Tianyi Li, Understanding user interactivity for the next-generation immersive communication: design, optimisation, and behavioural analysis 

On being awarded the 2022 Lombardi Prize, Dr Silvia Rossi states: 

I am deeply honoured and grateful to receive this award for my PhD thesis. The best recognition to conclude my experience at UCL and perhaps a lucky sign for my future research career. I'm thankful to my supervisor Dr Laura Toni for having supported and encouraged me through my PhD journey,  as well as to all my colleagues for the friendly and stimulating environment in our laboratory of the EEE department

 The day’s proceedings ended with an extremely engaging Mildner Lecture, delivered to a full house, by Simon Knowles, CTO and Founder of Graphcore, discussing ‘Silicon Computing in the age of AI’. 

Further information and links

Fabrizio Lombardi Prize

This is awarded by the EEE department to the student who submitted the best PhD thesis. A number of criteria is taken into account by the awarding committee such as publications record, previously received awards for research excellence, as well as the examiner reports on the thesis and the oral examination. The Lombardi Prize money has been generously donated by Professor Fabrizio Lombardi, a distinguished alumnus of the department who received both his MSc and PhD from UCL in the field of Microwave Engineering.

Cullen Prize

Awarded for the best student poster, in memory of Professor Alexander Cullen, former head of department and Faraday Medal recipient.

Simon Knowles, Graphcore

Simon is co-founder, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Executive Vice President (EVP) Engineering of Graphcore and is the original architect of the “Colossus” Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU). He has been designing original processors for emergent workloads for over 30 years, focussing on intelligence since 2012. Before Graphcore, Simon co-founded two other successful processor companies – Element14, acquired by Broadcom in 2000, and Icera, acquired by Nvidia in 2011.  Simon is an EE graduate of Cambridge University.
Website: https://www.graphcore.ai/

Event images

All images were photographed by James Tye. To access all images.


EEE’s research community showcased over 140 research posters spanning innovative topics across electronic engineering. For a comprehensive poster list and associated abstract.