University of Nottingham engineer awarded £80k Fellowship for groundbreaking laser ultrasonics research

31 Oct 2013 15:00:17.067

Jethro Coulson, a PhD student at The University of Nottingham and Research Engineer at Renishaw plc, has been awarded an Industrial Fellowship by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. The award is one of only eight Industrial Fellowships awarded each year, providing young scientists and engineers with the means to develop an innovative commercial technology with the potential to secure a patent.

Jethro’s Industrial Fellowship aims to develop and commercialise a laser ultrasonic based materials characterisation technique called Spatially Resolved Acoustic Spectroscopy (SRAS). The project is aimed at fulfilling an increasing need in industry for determining the microstructure of high-performance components, such as gas turbine blades and high pressure power-plant parts to maximise their efficiency.

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Jethro studied Physics at the University of Warwick, graduating in 2011 with a First class Honours MPhys degree. Soon after graduation Jethro began an Engineering doctorate with the Applied Optics Group at The University of Nottingham and Renishaw plc.

Commenting on the Fellowship he said: “I was attracted to the Industrial Fellowship because it allows me to apply my physics background to a practical problem and gives me the funding and time to explore and develop ideas that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

“It is also a fantastic way of facilitating collaboration between academia and industry and my project is a perfect example of how tools that originated in a university can be made available and marketable within a commercial environment. This wouldn’t have been possible without the Fellowship.”

First established by Prince Albert to stage the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the eponymous Crystal Palace, the Royal Commission now awards a number of fellowships and grants to support industrial education. The Industrial Fellowships form a crucial part of this work, with the specific aim of encouraging profitable innovation in British industry.

Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said: “The Commission aims to encourage innovation across the whole breadth and depth of British industry in the 21st century. Jethro’s work is a perfect example of this diversity, which also fulfils the Fellowship’s aim to fund the development of profitable and patented technologies. We congratulate Jethro on his success so far and look forward to following his success in the future.”

The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK is the best place in the world to do science. To achieve this we must support the development of scientific ideas into commercially viable and profitable technologies. These in turn drive the economy and keep the UK ahead in the global race.

“The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 has been supporting this aim for a number of years. I would like to congratulate all the talented young scientists and engineers who have taken part in the Fellowships Award Ceremony. Their achievements, and ambitious plans for the future, show the diversity of talent and innovation that exists across the UK.”

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World’s Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

About the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 offers major awards to scientists and engineers for research, development and design. First established to stage the Great Exhibition in 1851, the Royal Commission's extraordinary history is founded on an inspired vision of the importance of education to economic success.

Awarded to eight science and engineering graduates annually, the Industrial Fellowships form a crucial part of the Commission’s work, with the specific aim of encouraging profitable innovation in British industry.

Each three-year Fellowship is worth over £80,000 and those awarded must work to develop a patented and profitable technology, while completing a PhD or EngD. 

Story credits

More information is available from Michael Munro, Student Communications Officer in the Communications Office at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 823 2353,

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Michael Munro - Student Communications Officer

Email:  Phone: +44 (0)115 82 32353  Location: University Park

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