Queen Alexandra Sixth Form student wins regional engineering award

A Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College student has won a regional engineering award for a research project that aims to improve the accuracy and safety of building design.

Talented Karthik Mysore received the Big Bang North East Young Engineer award for his work during a placement with Northumbria University in Newcastle.

Karthik, 17, undertook the project while working with the university’s School of Computing and Information Science, as part of the Nuffield Research Placement (NRP) Scheme.

The scheme offers students the chance to work alongside professionals on a range of projects and is open to those in the first year of a post-16 science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) course.

He worked with Northumbria academics to understand Building Information Modelling (BIM) – a process which creates digital and 3D representations of the physical and functional characteristics of a place or a building, including its contents. The project aims to explore the options for automatically attaching additional information about objects, to a building plan.

Karthik used his knowledge of BIM to apply a powerful digital algorithm that could learn to predict object types within a building model, using just 3D object data.

As reward, he received a £100 Amazon voucher for his work and has been invited to participate in the national Big Bang finals, which will be held in Birmingham during early 2019.

Karthik, who has a passion for ICT, particularly machine learning and robotics, hopes his award success will support his ambition to graduate as an engineer and work in frontier technologies like robotic automation and artificial intelligence.

He said: “Currently when engineers and architects design a building plan, they usually need information about products such as tables, chairs and light bulbs.

“This information is often added or changed manually, which can be time consuming and inefficient. BIM can make that process more efficient and minimise human error.”

The BIM Academy, based in Newcastle, is a joint venture between Northumbria University and Ryder Architecture to create a centre of excellence for digital engineering and transformation.

Karthik was mentored throughout his project by Dr Kay Rogage, Northumbria University Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Digital Living, and Research Fellow with the BIM Academy.

Added Karthik: “The Nuffield Research Placement programme is a great platform for young students to gain value-added work experience and grow their academic networks.

“I feel excited, proud and grateful that my efforts were recognised at the Big Bang event, and it has motivated me to do further research work.

“It was fantastic working under Dr Kay and her support and guidance really helped me throughout the project tenure, particularly her timely review and feedback on the project report.”

Dr Rogage said: “Karthik is an intelligent, enthusiastic and committed student and it was a pleasure to support him on this project. I was very proud to learn he’d been given the Big Bang North East Young Engineer Award.

“The Nuffield Research Placement Scheme is a great opportunity for students, and it’s also a great opportunity for academics to develop coaching, mentoring and management skills.”

Lee Patterson, Head of Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, said: “Karthik’s award success is recognition of his dedication to learning and to his great interest in ICT.

“He works hard at his studies and has the confidence in his ability to take on the challenge of a work placement at such a prestigious university.

“It is an indication of the quality of the programmes Queen Alexandra delivers that one of our students has been able to excel in this regional award.”

Karthik was also supported by Claire Willis, Director of Fusion STEM, Newcastle who is the NRP regional coordinator for the North East UK region.

The Nuffield Research Placement scheme is geared towards motivating students to pursue STEM courses and to ensure students are provided with opportunities to work alongside professional scientists. Nuffield Foundation ensures no one is excluded on a financial basis by covering students' travel costs and bursaries for those eligible.

Projects take place during summer holidays and all have broadly scientific or technically-oriented content. The research placement could comprise of a lab-based project, fieldwork or an office-based project, or focus on engineering, data or computer science.