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Best Young UK Researcher Award 2017

Best Young UK Researcher Award 2017

is presented to Alex Knight-Percival of Unipart Rail


Pictured Above: Dr Stuart Hillmansen (Academic Co-Chair of RRUKA) presenting Alex Knight-Percival (Design Engineer - Unipart Rail) with the prestigious award of Best Young Rail Researcher 2017.

Unipart Rail employee Alex Knight-Percival has been awarded the Best Young UK Researcher Award from the Rail Research UK Association (RRUKA) in conjunction with the railway division of IMechE.   These awards celebrate the achievements of an individual and highlight the valuable contribution their work is making to both their organisation and the rail industry as a whole.

Unipart Rail recognises the importance of undertaking research on the railway that enables us to develop the ground-breaking products of tomorrow.  We have a long history of developing innovative products such as our advanced LED wayside signalling range and we take great pride in the quality of the research projects that we support.

The work undertaken by Alex has already had a positive impact for Unipart Rail and the wider rail industry.  It has enabled us to supply advanced diagnostic technology directly to our customers, giving them an immediate solution to their electromagnetic measurement challenges. 

Alex has been very keen to take his work further, and the additional analysis he performed on his data has presented an exciting opportunity to develop a system to automatically monitor the condition of track circuits.  The condition assessment method he is proposing could deliver vast potential savings for the railway by reducing unplanned maintenance interventions and minimising disruption due to track circuit failures, which we estimate account for ca 560,000 delay minutes per year over the entire rail network.

This prestigious award recognises and celebrates the hard work and dedication that Alex has applied to his research and highlights the valuable contribution that his findings have delivered to the UK rail industry.
Alex commented:
"RRUKA is an organisation which shares my strong belief in the value of research, and so I felt particularly proud and humbled on learning that my work had been recognised through the Best Young Researcher Award.
This award will raise both my profile, and that of the engineering department at Unipart Rail. The team works tirelessly to solve challenging problems every day, and inspired me to develop my research further. Their specialist skills and knowledge were crucial in designing the equipment, obtaining the data, and understanding the results I obtained.
I hope that the prestige associated with this award helps me to further progress my career. Initially I am keen to complete my current work, and so bring its benefits to the travelling public. In the future I want to take my research aims further and pursue new rail projects, both within our organisation, and with collaborators from across industry and academia."
Neil Tinworth Director Research and Innovation - Unipart Rail Commented:
"Alex joined the Unipart Rail team as part of a successful KTP with the Manchester Metropolitan University and is one of the key members of our Innovation team for creating the next generation of products.  The award is great recognition for Alex and the hard work he has put into the research project and adds to the Unipart Rail drive for digital in future rail."

About this author
Nicola Holt

Infrastructure Marketing Manager

I have been a part of the Unipart Rail marketing team for over 15 years in the role as Marketing Manager. I focus mostly on supporting the Signalling side of the business with Unipart Dorman, in the UK and North America and also our more recent acquisition - Park Signalling. The Unipart Dorman Traffic sector is also a key area in which I support in addition to the Unipart Rail Manufacturing business.

01 December 2017 Gavin McCarthy says:

Well done Alex, it is not a surprise to me that Alex has been recognised in this way.

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