Alumnus named Young Engineer of the Year

George Imafidon
George Imafidon
Mechanical Engineering alumnus George Imafidon has been named a Young Engineer of the Year by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which has also awarded him the Sir George Macfarlane Medal.

The Academy awards the Young Engineer of the Year prize to those who have demonstrated excellence in the early stage of their career. George, who graduated with a First Class MEng in 2020, was soon selected to join the Hamilton Commission, set up by Formula One champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, which works to improve the representation of Black people in motorsport. He has also worked with companies including Google, Rolls-Royce and J.P. Morgan.

George is now a performance engineer with Sir Lewis’ Team X44 which competes in the world’s most remote locations as part of the Extreme E electric racing series. He is also the co-founder of award-winning app Motivez, which works to improve access to STEM careers for 14- to 25-year-olds from underrepresented backgrounds through coaching, career development programmes and events. So far, the platform has directly supported over 8,000 young people into their chosen career.

He won the Diana Award in 2019 for Motivez and chaired the #AB1Million campaign to raise £1m for the Amos Bursary, which supports men of African and Caribbean heritage to excel in education and beyond.

George said of his award: "I’m truly grateful to have been named a Young Engineer of the Year and to have also won the Sir George Macfarlane Medal. Sir George was an engineer, public servant and one of the founding Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering so it was a big deal to meet the family and be entrusted with building on his legacy.

" One of the biggest barriers to STEM, and engineering more specifically, is finances. With the prize money, I’ve committed to building on Sir George’s legacy immediately by using this funding to invest in our Motivez programmes and in supporting young people in Nigeria into STEM. This is to empower the next generation of engineers that really needs the support."

Supported by the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the Royal Academy of Engineering selects five Young Engineer winners each year, who each receive £3,000 from the Academy, but only one receives the Sir George Macfarlane Medal as the overall winner.

Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Executive Dean of UCL Engineering, said: "These are hard won accolades and speak to the brilliance of the student whilst reflecting on the education and insights they have received. I know all of the staff and students across the faculty will join me in congratulating George for this tremendous achievement and for raising our expectations and aspirations still higher."

Professor Yiannis Ventikos, Head of UCL Mechanical Engineering, added: "I speak for the whole department, and for UCL Engineering in general, conveying my most heartfelt congratulations to George for this totally deserved recognition. From his student years and beyond, George has made us all very proud, championing the open, inclusive and world-changing engineering that the world so desperately needs. From all of us, congratulations George!"

George added: "I wouldn’t be here without the community that helped me with my first bike, karting membership and studies, and I’m doing my part with Motivez, the Co-op Foundation, Amos Bursary and Mission 44 to make sure that we reduce even more barriers for young people."

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  • George Imafidon. Credit: Royal Academy of Engineering

Kate Corry

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Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk

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