The University of Southampton

Outstanding success for ECS students in UKESF Scholarship Programme

Published: 
17 April 2015
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ECS Electronics students have achieved outstanding results in this year’s competition for scholarships offered by the United Kingdom Electronic Skills Foundation (UKESF), gaining 18 places on the Scholarship Programme and consolidating the department’s reputation for consistent success at the top of the UKESF ‘league table’.

The UKESF Scholarship Programme has been running for five years. It was established by the National Microelectronics Institute (NMI) to help attract, prepare and retain talent for the UK electronics industry, and to ensure and enhance its global leadership position. Partners include some of the UK’s leading companies as well as partner universities noted for their excellence in electronics research and education.

The ECS students receiving Scholarships this year will gain a financial award of £1655 for each year of their studies, as well as the opportunity to undertake paid summer placements with some of the UK’s leading companies. ECS students will this year be joining: ARM, SCR, Plextek Consulting, Imagination Technologies, Swindon Silicon Systems, Selex ES, AWE, STFC, Nvidia, Atmel Technologies, Dialog Semiconductor, Fujitsu, and Cirrus Logic. Students also gain industrial mentoring and professional development training at UKESF Summer Workshops.

“This is another fantastic result for Southampton, with 18 ECS students being awarded new scholarships,” said Dr Geoff Merrett, Associate Professor in ECS. “It is a testament to the quality and enthusiasm of our students, and to the high regard that industry has for them.” The ECS achievement this year extends not only to the award of the largest number of scholarships (over 25 per cent of the total awarded), but to the success rate in terms of the ratio of applications to awards, which is higher than any other university department in the programme. Since the Scholarships were inaugurated, ECS has also gained more awards (51) than any other department.

Many ECS students have benefited from the Scholarship programme over recent years, as well as from the summer placements and summer school. “The UKESF programme has really helped my development as an engineer,” said Josh Oldfield, who is in the third year of his MEng degree in Electronic Engineering and has undertaken placements with ARM. “It has given me a chance to develop and test my skills in the engineering workplace, as well as developing my interpersonal skills, and helping the next generation of students embark on their engineering careers.”

In 2014 Josh was nominated for the title of UKESF Scholar of the Year, one of two finalists for this annual title awarded by the NMI. Over the course of the Programme ECS has had two winners for the title Scholar of the Year (Adam Malpass in 2011 and Ashley Robinson in 2013), as well as three runners-up: Josh Oldfield, Sam Hipkin and Tom Dell).

“We fully support the aims of the UK Electronics Skills Foundation and value highly the opportunities created for students,” says Professor Neil White, Head of Electronics and Computer Science. “As a department with close links to the UK electronics industry, we thoroughly support the aspirations of UKESF in highlighting the outstanding career opportunities that are open to electronic engineering graduates. We work closely with the leading companies in the UK and worldwide, and are extremely proud of the contribution that our graduates continue to make to the development of electronics.

“This year we are also extremely pleased that one-third of our 18 Scholarships have been awarded to female students, underlining the considerable efforts the department is making through our outreach programme and our Athena Swan initiative to improve diversity in our subject at university and in industry more widely.”

------- UKESF is a collaboration between industry, universities and the public sector, which promotes the electronics industry and its value to society and the economy, and aims to secure a sustainable supply of quality and industry-prepared graduates. It offers a sector-specific programme for employers in the electronics sector to engage with young people at school and university through to graduate employment.

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