New student award in Technology and Design

21 November 2006

At the recent graduate dinner on 10 November, Dr Alan Webb, Chairperson of the Northern Ireland IET, (Institute of Engineering and Technology) handed over the 2006 IET Technology and Design Graduate Award to K M Loughran. The award, which will become an annual event, comprised of a perpetual trophy, a certificate of recognition by the IET and a bursary of £200.

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As this was the first time the award had been made Dr Webb was invited to give a short address to those in attendance. He paid tribute to Mr Kieran McGeown who serves with him on the IET Engineering Policy for Northern Ireland (EPGNI), where he represents St Mary's University College and also the wider interests of Technology and Design.

He pointed out the vital nature of Technology and Design in today's world and its pivotal role in respect of the knowledge economy and the province's emerging role in this area. This was followed by a brief synopsis of the IET as the largest professional engineering society in Europe and reflecting the interdisciplinary, global and inclusive nature of engineering and technology. He pointed out that there was a worldwide membership of more than 150,000, and that the Institution aimed to lead in the advancement of engineering and technology by facilitating the exchange of knowledge and ideas at a local and global level and promoting best practice, ensuring that its members were thoroughly equipped to meet the needs of today's rapidly changing technological world.

He went on to highlight that membership comprises of individuals from a diverse range of technical backgrounds including IT, communications technology, electronics, electrical, power engineering, software, control, informatics and manufacturing and range from students to leading figures in industry, research and development and education. In relation to recent history, he mentioned that the IET was formed in 2006 by the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers. Nevertheless, the origins went back to founding fathers in 1871 and many would probably have been familiar with the IEE and its professional role over the years.

In concluding, Dr Webb extended good wishes to the university college and the future of the award, in encouraging technology teachers to bring vibrancy and motivational teaching to this critical area, of vital importance to future prosperity.

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