Imperial College London

Imperial PhD student named in community of Europe’s best young innovators


Swapnil Jagtap

PhD student Swapnil Jagtap

Swapnil Jagtap has been named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Europe for his research on reducing the carbon impact of aviation.

Swapnil Jagtap, PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Europe in the field of Manufacturing and Industry.  

Innovators chosen to be part of this list are said to be creating the products, methods and materials of tomorrow. Swapnil, whose research is focused on reducing the carbon impact of aviation, is now part of a community of 300 young visionaries refining ten industries across 32 European countries.  

Aviation’s climate impact 

The demand for air travel is predicted to increase in the future and this growth will also increase the climate impact of the aviation industry. Aircraft emissions are also responsible for around 16,000 premature deaths a year due to impaired air quality, according to research from MIT.  

A commercial plane in flight

Swapnil’s PhD research focuses primarily on ultra-energy-efficient aircraft technologies and alternative fuels such as synthetic fuels and liquid hydrogen produced from feedstocks and pathways with low carbon footprints. The goal of his research is to mitigate climate impacts and minimise the human and environmental health impacts of aviation. The decarbonisation of aviation, especially for intercontinental travel of around 300 passengers, requires innovation in aircraft design and energy vectors. Swapnil is working to explore and evaluate the best suited and most viable technologies from a range of alternatives.  

Global citizen 

Upon finding out he had been named as one of Forbes’ top young innovators, Swapnil said: “At that very moment, I literally had a flashback of the past 12 years beginning from the day I got into engineering studies. I have had my own fair share of setbacks and failures, but I have never really let those stymie my ambitions, passion, confidence and instincts.”  

Speaking about being part of the Imperial community, he added: “I like the world-class and competitive environment at Imperial, which keeps me motivated. The environment fosters scientific temper and reasoning, which enables problem understanding and problem solving at both micro and macro scale. Additionally, my PhD advisers encourage me to be more ambitious towards my research and foster my all-round development. 

“My peers, like me, have a very diverse background. Engaging in a dialogue with a diverse community like this keeps on refining me as a global citizen.” 

Swapnil is funded by the President’s PhD Scholarship, which provides research students with great potential the opportunity to work within their chosen research field with the support of an excellent supervisor. He is also a doctoral student trainee on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and based at the College’s Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment.  

Safer autonomous vehicles 

Imperial-founded startup Humanising Autonomy were also named in the list, in the category Science and Healthcare. The startup, founded by Innovation Design Engineering graduates Leslie Nooteboom, Maya Pindeus and Raunaq Bose, is building human-centred tools that define how autonomous systems interact with people through better understanding of human behaviour. Their pedestrian intent prediction platform makes autonomous vehicles safer and more efficient in urban environments.  

The Humanising Autonomy team


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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