UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Celebrating EEE's world-leading work at the Festival of Research

6 June 2023

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

EEE researcher demo-ing research

UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) department returned this year with their annual showcase, celebrating 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 Barlow Memorial Lecture, hosted this year by Dame Helen Atkinson DBE FREng Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University's School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing.

The day kicked off with over 110 poster presentations from EEE’s strong research community including students of affiliated Centres for Doctoral Training.

Posters were on display across UCL’s Cloisters with attendees joining from academia, industry, the wider research community and members of the public dropping in to explore and engage in further discussions with the students. Research topics covered the breadth of the department’s research and explored application areas including digitally connected societies, computing beyond Moore’s law, mental and physical wellbeing and the climate crisis.

Back by popular demand from the previous year, EEE also presented a series of academic talks. These were hosted by EEE academics of all levels, from early career academics to world leaders; short lectures with a focus on the cutting-edge research from the department, with each session looking at applications of EEE in the real-world.  The first session focused on ‘EEE for a more resilient world’, with the second exploring ‘EEE research in the wild’. 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. 

EEE lecturer during the academic talks

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

This year we wanted to build on last year’s success and use the festival to cultivate our relationships with the wider community. It was inspiring to see the level of attendance and breadth of engagement. The Festival gives us a real opportunity to showcase our research at every level, and celebrate the importance of our collaborations with industry, along with the impact those collaborations enable.

The day ended with a grand celebration. An awards ceremony where the hard work of our PhD student was recognised with the presentation of the Fabrizio Lombardi Prize for best doctoral thesis and the Cullen Prize for best student poster, announced by Head of Department, Prof Sarah Spurgeon. Winners were: 

  • 2023 Lombardi Prize: Callum Deakin, Optical Networks Group (ONG) for the Best Doctoral Thesis “Dual optical frequency comb analog to digital conversion”.
  • 2023 Cullen Prize: Onur Kiris, for the Best Student Poster “Automated Detection of Pyroclastic Density Currents”.

    Dr Onur Kiris receiving the Cullen Prize

On being awarded the 2023 Cullen Prize for Best Student Poster, Dr Onur Kiris stated: 

I am so proud and honoured to receive this prize in the second year of my research. The long trips to Guatemala, field trials under the tropical sun right next to an active volcano, and all the hard work we do within this research can be extremely tiring and even overwhelming sometimes. To be recognised with the Cullen Prize is the best reward for a PhD student and such a big motivation to keep going. I am so thankful to my department, colleagues, Sir Eric Ash lab technicians, and my supervisor, Prof. Paul Brennan for being a part of this journey.

The day’s proceedings ended with the Barlow Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges’, delivered to a full house by Dame Helen Atkinson DBE FREng Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University's School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing.

Dame Helen delivering the Barlow Memorial Lecture

Further information and links 
Collaborating with EEE

The EEE Festival of Research is an opportunity to both showcase and develop the collaborations EEE has across our broad network of partners. There are many ways in which you can engage with the department across our portfolio of Education, Research and Innovation, you can explore these in more detail on our collaboration webpages. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/electronic-electrical-engineering/collaborate 

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.

Dame Professor Helen Atkinson DBE FREng 

Professor Dame Helen Atkinson is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the highest honour for an engineer in the UK, and joined Cranfield University as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing in September 2017.  She was previously at the University of Leicester where she was Head of the Department of Engineering and then served as Graduate Dean with oversight of PhD students across the whole university. Professor Atkinson was the first woman President of the Engineering Professors’ Council (the body which represents Engineering in universities throughout the UK) in its fifty-year history and has also served as a Vice President and Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2010 she won a national award as a Woman of Outstanding Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology for ‘Leadership and Inspiration to Others’.  

Dame Helen is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (as a President’s nomination), a Fellow of the Institution of Materials, Minerals and Mining and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  She has served on the Skills Panel of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (one of the world’s largest Engineering institutions), the Engineering Leaders Panel of the National Council for Universities and Business, and for five years was Chair of the Education and Skills Committee at the Royal Academy of Engineering. She has served as a government appointment on a major safety committee and chairs ‘This is Engineering’ for the Royal Academy of Engineering, a campaign which aims to encourage more young people to consider Engineering as a career and which has had more than sixty million video views by the target age group. She co-chaired the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) ‘Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges’ major consultation, which launched its report in 2022.  

Helen was made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2021 for services to Engineering and Education. 

The EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Engineering theme initiated a major consultation in late 2021 to identify ‘Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges’.  This initiative was arguably one of the largest engagement exercises performed with the engineering research community in recent years in the UK. It involved listening hard to a whole range of groups including: PhD students; early career researchers; EDI groups; Chief Technology Officers; professional engineering institutions; Royal Academy of Engineering; and Government Chief Scientific Advisors. The listening process highlighted significant opportunities for UK engineering research to play an even more major role in addressing the critical challenges facing the UK and the world. Engineering research needs to be more open, inclusive and integrated across the engineering disciplines and into the socio-technological realm.  

Event images

All images were photographed by James Tye. Click for access

Posters and abstracts

EEE’s research community showcased over 110 research posters spanning innovative topics across electronic engineering. For a comprehensive poster list and associated abstract.