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Press Releases 2015

Winner of the Hawley Award for Engineering Innovation

Published: 14/07/2015

The Hawley Award for Engineering Innovation that benefits the Environment Winner 2015 (Prize £5000) – Alister Smith for his work on “acoustic emission monitoring for landslide early warning”, the 2015 Hawley Award goes to Alister Smith, of Loughborough University. 

His work has produced a means of early warning of landslides through detecting accelerations of slope movement, continuously and in real-time, by quantifying slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring.  Field trials in the UK, Italy and Canada have demonstrated proof of concept and discussions have started to commercialise the approach.  

Alister was presented with the Hawley Award and a cheque for £5,000 at the Worshipful Company of Engineers’ Annual Awards Dinner, on Tuesday 14 July 2015 at Drapers’ Hall, London, by the Master of the Engineers’ Company, Air Vice Marshal Pat O’Reilly CB RAF and the guest speaker, Liveryman Dr Paul Golby CBE FREng.

Alister’s work has made a significant contribution to the ALARMS (Assessment of Landslides using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems) project, which is led by Professor Neil Dixon at Loughborough University. The acoustic emission monitoring and warning system was developed in a collaboration between Loughborough University and the British Geological Survey with support for numerous other organisations in the UK and abroad. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK, and the Loughborough University Graduate School funded Alister’s doctoral research, which has developed the approach to quantify slope displacement rates from measured acoustic emission.

Barry Brooks, Hawley Award Co-ordinator for the Engineers Trust (the charitable arm of the Worshipful Company of Engineers) said: “There was a wide range of technologies presented by this year’s applicants, each with potential to improve the environment.  However, Alister’s project stood out for its combination of proven technology in a relatively simple system that has been demonstrated in the field, with great prospects for commercial use to protect people.”