Imperial College London

Mech Eng academics win President's Awards and Medals for Excellence


The Tribology group

The Tribology group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering

The Tribology group and Dr Frederic Cegla are amongst this year's winners of President's Awards and Medals for Excellence in Research.

The President's Awards for Excellence recognise staff members who have made outstanding contributions in Education, Research or Societal Engagement. Those awardees judged to have made particularly exceptional contributions are selected to receive the President’s Medal. 

Dr Frederic Cegla, from our department’s Non-Destructive Evaluation group, won the Award for Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as the Medal in this category. The award recognises unique activities breaking new frontiers, the effective and appropriate exploitation of research, and realised or prospective economic or social impact.  

Dr Cegla commented: “ I did not expect this and it completely caught me by surprise. It is fantastic to get recognised for having created and commercialised technology that is useful for industry and society, for me this is the essence of what engineering is about. This would not have been possible without an excellent team of people surrounding me and I am very grateful for their contributions. The most exciting thing is that this recognition gives me more opportunities and encouragement to pursue some more adventurous ideas.”

Dr Frederic Cegla

Dr Frederic Cegla

The Tribology group won the President’s Award and Medal for Excellence in External Collaboration and Partnerships. This award celebrates the development of lasting external collaborations, and the impact of their research inside and outside Imperial. 

Professor Hugh Spikes and Professor Daniele Dini say the group “is very pleased and excited” to receive the award, which “recognises the remarkable breadth of the Group’s collaborations with both industry and other academic groups over many years, as well as the excellence and powerful impact of its research.  It will undoubtedly help consolidating our world-leading position in the field and foster new collaborations.

Tribology is concerned with the interaction of surfaces in relative motion and the behaviour and evolution of the contacting interfaces.  It is of intense practical importance to the modern world since reduction of friction and wear of machines underpins the quest to reduce global energy consumption, while long-lasting replacement human joints improve the quality of life of the ageing population.  The discipline is also key to enabling new discoveries and materials’ solutions and is intrinsically multidisciplinary, with links and projects that extend across engineering, physics, chemistry, material science, computing, medicine and biology.

Our role is to explore the molecular-scale origins of the key phenomena that occur in rubbing contacts; lubrication mechanisms, friction, surface damage and failure, and to use this knowledge to improve the design and performance of macroscale devices such as gears, bearings, prosthesis, skin creams – indeed almost everything that moves.   To do this and to ensure that our findings are usefully applied, requires close and long-standing collaboration with other groups and with industry throughout the world and this Award recognises our success in this endeavour.”

The award ceremony will take place in advance of the President’s Garden Party on 20 June; the medals will be handed at the graduation ceremonies in May 2018.


Nadia Barbu

Nadia Barbu
Department of Mechanical Engineering