Manchester graduate scoops Whittle award

ManchesterUniversity graduate David Wright has won the 2007 Sir Frank Whittle Award, organised by the North West Aerospace Alliance.

Wright’s study on optimising heat treatments on friction stir welded aluminium aerospace alloys was judged the best among entries from students at the north west’s eight universities.

Wright, from Golcar, Huddersfield, graduated with a masters degree in engineering earlier this year and has remained at ManchesterUniversity studying for his doctorate in nuclear materials.

The Sir Frank Whittle Award, named in honour of the British jet engine pioneer, has been awarded annually to an outstanding north west graduate since its inauguration in 1999.

A further award for the region’s best aerospace university was received by Dr Thurai Rahulan on behalf of SalfordUniversity.

NWAA chief executive officer Martin Wright said that graduates and young people were a vital element of the knowledge base that was crucial in helping the north west aerospace cluster to keep driving forward, compete internationally, continue developing and remain sustainable.

He said: ‘We need to sell the aerospace industry and remedy some of the misconceptions of previous years. We need to ensure that young people, from junior school age upwards, realise that we are not a back street workshop industry — we are exciting, we are high tech, we are science-based and that is our future.’

In addition to the NWAA and Rolls-Royce, sponsors of the awards event included BAE Systems, the Lancashire Learning and Skills Council, the NationalSkillsAcademy for Manufacturing and the Liverpool University.