How I Became Young Chemical Engineer of the Year

This is a guest post by Prabhuraj Balakrishnan. PhD student in FSE and Young Chemical Engineer of the year 2017.


With my award

It was thrilling to be selected as Young Chemical Engineer of the year 2017 by the prestigious IChemE (Institute of Chemical Engineers), IMech (Institute of Mechanical Engineers) and IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology). The award was made to me based on my research (graphene for fuel cells), teaching and outreaching activities. 

Feeling energised and enthused by this recognition I would like to share my story with you…

In the Beginning…

The first year of my PhD was all about excitement. I was excited to discover a new campus, a new city, and a new research area. But as every PhD student experiences, these early days are also full of uncertainties about where the research will lead and how to excel.


In 2013 when I started my research

During this time I undertook a deep literature review of the articles published in my research area (graphene) and explored the amazing facilities available both in and around campus.





My first graphene membrane

It is well known that Manchester University is the hub of grapheme research. I had the chance to discuss graphene preparation methodologies with the Nobel Prize winning team from the School of Physics.  Further discussions this prestigious group helped provide a new outlook on my research  and after a while, our group started obtaining research results using the ‘wonder material.’ The significance of our research led to publication and global attention!


Beyond the lab…


At Wythenshaw stables


I always have a passion for sports and definitely believe that recreational activity can boost creative thinking. My favourite way to exercise is horse riding across the country side. I would definitely recommend a sports activity both for enhancing our physical and mental endurance.







TEDx talk in Edinburgh

Aside from my research I am also involved in teaching, skills training, conferences and outreach activities. I always look out for relevant conference so that I can meet and discuss  research ideas with other researchers. It’s a great way to keep yourself up to date in your field. Travelling has also taught me to engage with people from different backgrounds and cultures.


It is this combination of research and outreach that led me to achieve the award of Young Chemical Engineer of the Year and I would like to thank the staff from CEAS and collaborators from across the institution for supporting me in all my activities.


Please join me through my webpage: www.prabhuraj.co.uk

I am also available in: LinkedIn Prabhuraj IChemE   https://uk.linkedin.com/in/prabhuraj-icheme-74510a45

Twitter: @PrabhurajIChemE https://twitter.com/PrabhurajIChemE


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