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Press releases 2022

Dr Alalea Kia named winner of the 2022 Hawley Award for Kiacrete – her Climate change resilient permeable infrastructure for a net-zero future

Published: 15/07/2022

Worshipful Company of Engineers logoThe Engineers Trust has announced the winner of its 2022 Hawley Award for Engineering Innovation that helps to achieve Net Zero Carbon. Dr Alalea Kia has been awarded the £5,000 cash prize for her project ‘Climate change resilient permeable infrastructure for a net-zero future – Kiacrete’. 

It is estimated that the cost of global flooding will top £500 billion by 2030. Current permeable pavements offer a solution to urban flooding, however they have low strength and durability and suffer from clogging. Kiacrete is a next-generation permeable pavement that has been engineered to solve these challenges, whilst offering flood mitigation and major environmental benefits. Kiacrete contributes towards achieving net zero through:

  • reduced emissions (material savings, long service-life, recycled material),
  • water reuse and
  • decreased urban heat island effect.

From a shortlist of five innovative submissions for this year’s award, the panel of experienced senior engineer members of the Livery were impressed by Dr Alalea’s innovation, her successful trials to prove the practical success of Kiacrete, and her plans for commercial application. She was presented with her award at the Worshipful Company of Engineers’ Annual Awards Dinner, held at the Guildhall, City of London, on 14 July.

Alalea said:

“I am honoured to receive the prestigious Hawley Award for engineering innovation. Kiacrete is a next-generation climate change resilient permeable pavement that solves the long-standing clogging, strength and durability challenges associated with conventional systems. This award will be used to supervise new field sites in India, verifying Kiacrete’s performance under extreme monsoon and drought conditions, enabling the wider adoption of permeable infrastructure internationally."

Professor Peter Cawley, Associate Dean for Enterprise for the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London said:

“Alalea is an exceptional researcher and entrepreneur with a great drive to transform the built environment infrastructure. Her disruptive novel permeable pavement technology has wider economic, environmental and societal benefits to the construction and transportation sectors, whilst also mitigating the urgent urban flooding challenge. We are grateful to the Hawley Award for their recognition of Alalea’s engineering innovation in permeable infrastructure and its contribution towards achieving net zero."

Barry Brooks, Hawley Award Manager for the Engineers Trust (the charitable arm of the Worshipful Company of Engineers), added:

“As in previous years, this award attracted some fascinating examples of the innovative work that is being undertaken across the UK to apply science and engineering to solve problems that affect our environment. Whilst other submissions this year offer good prospects for the future, Alalea’s case stood out as a perfect example of how our young engineer designers are developing their own ideas, establishing a spin out company, Permia, and negotiating further trials in more testing scenarios in the UK and India. Her patented technique, seemingly simple, has huge benefits for the environment, contributing to the achievement of Net Zero Carbon.” 

Professor Washington Yotto Ochieng, FREng, Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering said:

Alalea is an outstanding researcher, innovator and entrepreneur with the potential to be a global leader in her discipline. We are very proud and lucky to have her in the Department where she is leading from the front in creating solutions that will contribute significantly to making this world a better place. The Department owes deep gratitude to the Hawley Award, Engineers Livery Company and Engineers Trust for the award which recognises Alalea’s contribution with the added influence of catapulting her to even greater heights of impactful discovery.”

Alasdair Coates CEng FICE MCIHT CMIOSH, CEO of the Engineering Council said:
Engineers have a significant role to play in helping society achieve a more sustainable future. We at the Engineering Council are delighted to hear of Alalea's fantastic new innovation, and would like to congratulate her on this extremely deserved recognition in winning the Hawley Award for Kiacrete."

The campaign to find the 2023 Hawley Award winner will launch in September 2022.

For press enquiries:
Kate Webster, Engineering Council – 3206 0567

Notes for editors

The Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Award was established in 2006 and is made annually to recognise excellent work in “Engineering Innovation that benefits the Environment” by an early career stage engineer or scientist, resident of the UK, graduate or more senior member of a recognised engineering institution.  In 2019, the Award was modified to reflect more precisely the UK Government’s focus on Net Zero Carbon, to: “Engineering Innovation that helps to achieve Net Zero Carbon”

The Hawley Award is aimed at inspiring younger engineers who can best demonstrate the application of proven technology which they have developed at least to prototype stage, with an expectation of commercial development to have positive benefits to the environment.

The Engineers Trust ( is the charitable trust of the Worshipful Company of Engineers ( (one of the City of London’s modern Livery Companies with over 300 members) promoting the development and advancement of the science, art and practice of engineering.  The Trust Fund gives annual awards and prizes to support and encourage excellence amongst qualified engineers and those training to be Chartered Engineers, Incorporated Engineers and Engineering Technicians, as well as grants that use engineering to relieve poverty.

The Award is supported by the Engineering Council, the UK regulator of the engineering profession. For over 40 years it has set and maintained standards, to ensure society has confidence and trust in the profession - both in the UK and overseas. The Engineering Council holds the national Register of over 229,000 Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communication Technology Technicians (ICTTech). It also sets and maintains the internationally recognised standards of competence and ethics, governing the award and retention of these professional titles. For more information visit:

Permia Ltd is a start-up from Imperial College London, delivering Kiacrete, a next generation climate change resilient permeable infrastructure. The primary aim of Permia is to work closely with the construction industry to deliver Kiacrete, raise the profile of permeable pavements and enable their widespread adoption.  

About Imperial College London 

Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 20,000 students and 8,000 staff are working to solve the biggest challenges in science, medicine, engineering and business.    

Imperial is University of the Year 2022 in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is the world’s sixth most international university, according to Times Higher Education, with academic ties to more than 150 countries. Reuters named the College as the UK's most innovative university because of its exceptional entrepreneurial culture and ties to industry.  

Imperial has a greater proportion of world-leading research than any other UK university, according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Imperial ranks first in the UK for research outputs, first in the UK for research environment, and first for research impact among Russell Group universities.