UKESF Scholarships are awarded to the most motivated and capable undergraduate students, and since the Scheme started we have supported over 700 young engineers through their studies. We feel a sense of pride as we see their careers progress, none more so than when their success is recognised by Industry Awards. There are many such national Awards for instance from the IET, Royal Academy of Engineering and Electronics Weekly.

We encourage our Scholars, both current and graduated, to consider applying for Awards that recognise their contribution and impact in Electronics. To help, in this blog we’ve summarised some of these, along with deadlines for applying, and we hear from Ben Fletcher, winner of the RAEng Young Engineer of the Year 2021, and Ronnie Smith, who won the IET Postgraduate Prize.

Ben Fletcher

Physical Design Engineer, Graphcore
RAEng Young Engineer of the Year 2021

I chose to study Electronic Engineering for my undergraduate degree at the University of Southampton. In my second year, I was awarded a UKESF Scholarship, sponsored by Arm, where I worked as a summer intern within the CPU verification group. Although this was a great experience, I also really enjoyed the research element of my degree and hence decided to pursue a PhD in electronics after graduating.

I applied for a competitive iCASE (Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology) studentship for my PhD from the Arm-ECS research centre. I was fortunate enough to be selected, which, alongside providing the funding, meant I was able to work in Arm Research (Cambridge) for the final two years of my PhD which was a great experience. During my postgraduate research I developed a new technology for performing 3D stacking of silicon chips, where each of the layers communicate wirelessly with one another. This novel approach led to several publications, awards and two patents. After graduating from my PhD, I joined Graphcore where I’m a Physical Design Engineer working on the flagship series of IPU (intelligence processing unit) chips for accelerating artificial intelligence applications.

The RAEng Young Engineer of the Year Award was mostly based on my PhD research which explored new approaches for cost-effective 3D chip design wireless communication.

Ronnie Smith

PhD Student, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics
IET Postgraduate Prize

When I was applying for university, I was torn between Computer Science and Electrical and Electronic Engineering. In the end I did a joint programme at Heriot-Watt University because I wanted to understand the “full picture” of technology. This meant that I mostly studied digital Electronics and software, and when I was undertaking my UKESF Scholarship with Leonardo during my degree I worked on FPGA firmware. Although I enjoyed my time there, by the time I was due to graduate I had developed an interest in robotics and AI and was seeking opportunities in that area. My university hosted one of the few Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) in robotics in the UK at the time, the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, so I applied and was lucky to be accepted into the 2018 cohort.

Since then I have been working on my research into assistive robotics, particularly on enabling pro-active robotic assistance to support individuals living with mild impairments at home. In the past few years, I have also been a co-founder of a robotics start-up which creates modular robotic solutions for the care sectors.

My research brings together a number of topics to bring humans ‘in-the-loop’ and give them ownership over their own assistive technology. This involves programming robots to help with assistive tasks (such as picking up objects, handing them over, and so on) and applying a range of machine learning methods to learn from the user over time.

Industry Awards in 2023

We encourage our Scholars, both current and graduated, to consider applying for Awards that recognise their contribution and impact in Electronics.

Undergraduate Awards include:

RAEng Engineering Leaders Scholarships

Applications close 16 January 2023

Support for undergraduates in UK Higher Education Institutions, who display the potential to become leaders and innovators in engineering, and who want to become leadership role models for the next generation of engineers. David Kong, University of Edinburgh / onsemi, was awarded the Engineering Leaders Scholarship in 2019.


Recognising engineers who are already making a difference in the first years of their careers, or those who are still studying but showing the promise to become the innovators and leaders in electronics in the years to come. In 2022, five Scholars were awarded BrightSparks Awards.

IET Future Talent Awards

Applications open March 2023

Scholarships for students, degree apprentices and apprentices who have faced financial challenges or personal obstacles, and Scholarships for high-achieving students and degree apprentices who have a passion for engineering.

Early Career Awards include:

RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year

Applications close 3 February 2023

Recognising engineers in full-time higher education, research or industrial employment, who have demonstrated excellence in the early stage of their career.

Elektra Awards – Rising Star Award

Applications close July 2023

Recognising a talented young engineer in their first five years in the industry who demonstrates a high level of practical skill and ambition and are actively contributing to the business.

The TechWorks Young Engineer of the Year Award

Applications close Autumn 2023

This Award publicly celebrates and promotes the efforts of young professionals at the early stages of their careers. Oisin Robinson, Graduated Scholar and Design Engineer at Picocom, was shortlisted for the Award in 2022.

If you are a Scholar and have any questions about applying for these Awards, or are looking for any support to apply, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected]