Winners of the IET Impact in Society Awards revealed

Three global teams delivering telemedicine, clean energy for a community and a world-renowned robotics control system, have been recognised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The winning teams at the IET Impact in Society Awards, which celebrate global teams providing innovative solutions to world challenges, have been revealed.

The awards celebrate people and projects that provide solutions to societal challenges through science, technology, engineering and maths.  

In the awards, the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) RACE team was recognised for their teamwork in the Digital Futures category for its in-house developed robotics control system, CorteX. 

The technology is the result of a collaborative effort between experts in robotics research, software engineering, UI/UX design, quality assurance, standards compliance, and technical authoring, with the aim of supporting other teams all over the globe who are facing complex interoperability challenges. 

CorteX was put to the test in Sellafield’s ‘Grand Challenges’ scheme, where the RACE team successfully performed a complex, unseen task involving multiple robots and cameras, all without interrupting the logic. They demonstrated that their software could make a difference in pressing scenarios like nuclear decommissioning. 

At the moment, the team is using this technology to support the clean-up operations at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. 

“Winning the IET’s Impact in Society Award in the Digital Futures category for our robotics control system CorteX is a really important achievement for UKAEA,” said Robert Skilton, robotics fellow at UKAEA. “It demonstrates how we are bringing immediate benefits to society as a direct result of the research being conducted to enable the future with fusion energy.” 

The UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) RACE

The UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) RACE / The IET

Image credit: The IET

Meanwhile, the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak received an award in the Sustainability and Climate Change category for implementing sustainable, renewable energy projects in rural communities in Sarawak, Malaysia. 

The team has successfully completed Alternative Lighting Project 1 and 2 projects, which aimed to create a sustainable, clean energy system for the village and improve the lives of rural communities.

Throughout the project, the team faced challenges, including the need to maintain the trust of the local community and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which placed restrictions on movement. Despite these challenges, the team persevered and worked actively to communicate with the village heads remotely and find ways to continue the project.  

Dr. Then Yi Lung, the leader of the team, stated: “Winning this award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team towards making a positive impact in the community. It shows that the collective effort of the team has paid off and that our project has been recognised for its importance and significance.

“This award not only celebrates my own achievement but also highlights the importance of teamwork in achieving a common goal. This project has made a real difference in the community and has set an example for others to follow. It is a true reflection of the power of teamwork and the impact that it can have on society. Lastly, let’s keep up all good work and continue to inspire positive change in the world!” 

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak team /The IET

Image credit: The IET

Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd was recognised in the Healthy Lives category for delivering successful telemedicine implementation to benefit both doctors and patients. 

Currently, some of the major challenges facing the adoption of telemedicine in Nigeria are language barriers and the low literacy level of the population, especially in underserved communities. In order to solve this challenge, the team introduced a local support staff team who served as intermediaries between the doctors and the patients.

As a result of the projects, recommendations have been made for University Teaching hospitals to embrace telemedicine and digital-health inclusion in the teaching curriculum of student doctors to fast-track e-Health adoption. 

 “We’re greatly encouraged and deeply honoured to emerge as winners of: ‘Healthy Lives’ – 2023 IET Impact in Society Award,” the team said. “We will continue to exploit the multi-disciplinary expertise of our team, distributed across three continents, to explore satellite communications utilizing software applications to enhance the well-being of citizens in rural and underserved communities in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3: ‘Good Health and Well-being’ for digital health inclusion.” 

Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd team

Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd team /The IET

Image credit: The IET

The awards were open to teams of engineers of all types and sizes from any part of the industry and based anywhere in the world. 

Upon the announcement, Professor Bob Cryan CBE, IET President congratulated all the winning teams.

“At the IET we know first-hand that engineers continue to solve many of the challenges facing communities across the globe – making an ongoing difference to the world around us,” he said. ”These Awards celebrate the teams of ‘unsung heroes’ doing just that, as well as truly celebrating the art of collaboration in engineering workplaces.

“I’d like to congratulate our winners – their work will show the importance of engineering to society, which in turn will help inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians.”  

The winning teams were presented with a trophy at the Impact in Society Awards ceremony on 28 March 2023 in London.  

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