2018 Postgraduate Prizes


Post graduate prize winners 2018,

L-R: Lukas Mosser (John S Archer Award Winner), Prof Martin Blunt, Oscar Calderon Agudo (Janet Watson Prize Winner), Dr Alex Folefac

On 10 October 2018 we announced the winners of the Department’s postgraduate prizes at an evening reception.

Staff and students gathered to recognise the research achievements of PhD students through the Janet Watson Memorial Prizes and the John S Archer Award.

John S Archer Award

The John S Archer Award is for research excellence in petroleum geoscience and engineering and is awarded to a PhD student in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering who has demonstrated excellence.The first award was made in October of 2009. This year, five candidates were nominated for the John S Archer Award. The John S Archer Fund was established by a group of his former PhD students in honour of Prof Archer, former Professor of Petroleum Engineering and Dean of the Royal School of Mines.

Lukas Mosser and Alex Folefac with Lukas' certificate

The winner of the 2018 John S Archer Award is Lukas Mosser. Lukas’s PhD project was to work on the geostatistical modelling of porous media at the micron-scale. Lukas proposed to test an alternative approach based on an emerging Deep Learning technology known as Generative Adversarial Network (GANs) – the first time GANs had been applied to geoscience topics .Lukas’ work, in less than two years, has brought game-changing applications to geological modelling.

Dr Alex Folefac, one of the group of ten who set up the John Archer Fund, presented the award, saying of Prof John Archer, that “it wasn’t just about research, teaching was very much at the core of his legacy here”.

Dr Folefac went on to say how impressed he was at how the science has moved on in the field of petroleum engineering since his time here as a researcher.

Janet Watson Prize

The annual Janet Watson Memorial Prize rewards a PhD student for research excellence and good citizenship in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering. Professor Janet Watson was a British geologist and alumna of Imperial College London.

Among the nominations for the Janet Watson Memorial Prizes was a range of excellent research that highlights the diversity of research areas in the Department, including mineral chemistry, seismology, numerical modelling and geomechanics. The candidates’ research has applications in industry, on Earth and on Mars, and even in medicine, and their impressive contributions to the department include supporting students in the undergraduate programme, coordinating events and participating in committees.

Oscar Calderon Agudo with certificate for Janet Watson PrizeThe winner of the 2018 Janet Watson Prize for research is Oscar Calderon Agudo, who started his  PhD in geophysical full-waveform inversion, then switched his attention to medical imaging, adapting geophysical techniques to invert in-vivo ultrasound data, resolving tumours in the breast more readily than is possible using conventional methods. 

The winner of the Janet Watson Prize for citizenship is Stephen Watkins, who is completing an interdisciplinary source-to-sink PhD project and whose research has fundamental implications for how the stratigraphic record develops. Stephen’s contribution to the department includes using his exceptional field and people skills to lead student groups on a number of undergraduate field trips, and arrange the successful Basins Research Group seminar series and has

The Janet Watson prize winners were presented with a certificate and will each receive £1,000.

People at reception for postgraduate prizesCongratulations to our winners, to all candidates and thanks to their nominators for drawing attention to the students’ excellent work

With many thanks to the support from our alumni for the John S Archer Fund.

Staff and students at postgraduate prize reception


Victoria Murphy

Victoria Murphy
Institute of Global Health Innovation