Imperial College London

ESE Postgraduate Prizes


L - R: David Pedreros Bastidas, Prof Ann Muggeridge, Alex Lipp, Prof Tina van de Flierdt, Abdulla Alhosani, Prof Martin Blunt

L - R: David Pedreros Bastidas, Prof Ann Muggeridge, Alex Lipp, Prof Tina van de Flierdt, Abdulla Alhosani, Prof Martin Blunt

On 15 March 2022 we announced the winners of the Department’s 2021 postgraduate prizes at an evening reception.

Staff, students, alumni and friends joined an event to celebrate the achievements of PhD students through the Janet Watson Memorial Prizes and the John S Archer Award. Attendees around the world were able to watch the ceremonies taking place at our South Kensington campus, thanks to the speeches being live-streamed. Professor Tina van de Flierdt, Head of Department, welcomed attendees and introduced the prizes.

The John S Archer Award 

The John S Archer Award recognises the research excellence of a PhD student in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering (ESE). The prize includes £5,000, generously given through the John S Archer Fund. The fund was established by a group of Professor Archer’s former PhD students to honour his generosity during his time as Professor of Petroleum Engineering and Dean of the Royal School of Mines. 

Abdulla Alhosani receives the John S Archer Award, with Prof Martin BluntThe winner of the 2021 John S Archer Award, and joining a group of worthy winners since the award was first given in October 2009, is Abdulla Alhosani.  

Abdulla’s research has advanced imaging techniques to study how oil, water and carbon dioxide (CO2) fill small pore spaces between rocks underground. Only three groups in the world have the expertise to perform two-phase (oil-water) flow experiments with pore-scale imaging – and Abdulla is the first and only person to extend this to three phases with complex phase behaviour.

His work has shown how to store carbon dioxide securely in oil reservoirs as part of climate change mitigation efforts. This is potentially very significant, as ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company), his sponsor in the United Arab Emirates, and other companies worldwide address climate concerns through CO2 injection. The applications of his research can also be extended to the design of fuel cells and hydrogen storage. Read one of Abdulla’s published papers in Scientific Reports. 

The Janet Watson Prizes 

The annual Janet Watson Memorial Prizes, made in honour of British geologist and Imperial College London alumnus Professor Janet Watson, reward PhD students for a) research excellence and b) good citizenship in ESE. 

The nominations for the 2021 Janet Watson Memorial Prizes truly highlighted the diversity of research taking place in the Department, from computational physics to climate, isotope chemistry, minerals processing and planetary science. 

The 2021 Janet Watson Prize for research 

Alex LippThe winner of the 2021 Janet Watson Prize for research is Alexander Lipp, whose research concerns the geochemistry of Earth's continents and how this varies in space and time. Alex develops novel numerical methods to analyse the composition of sediments, using them to understand the onset of plate tectonics, the evolution of chemical weathering, and how to develop environmental baselines efficiently. Alex spoke about his work when he won the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining’s “MinSouth” Young Person's Lecture Competition in 2021. Read one of Alex’s papers, published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

A river with stony edges is surround by trees on a sunny day with blue sky

Beyond his studies Alex is passionate about teaching, and recently completed a successful four-month secondment to the government’s Open Innovation Team in the Department for Education. 

The 2021 Janet Watson Prize for citizenship 

David Pedreros Bastidas with certificateThe winner of the 2021 Janet Watson Prize for citizenship is David Pedreros Bastidas.  

David supports the ESE Values – part of being a good citizen of the Department – and contributes to ESE initiatives, outreach and Graduate Society (Grad Soc) for PhD students, helping to share the wonder of what we do in ESE. 
Throughout his PhD studies, David has volunteered for outreach programmes to raise awareness of Earth Science and Engineering among school students. David has developed outreach sessions and delivered them to school students both in person and online. His involvement has enabled ESE to deliver more sessions on Seismology for school students. Further, through outreach, David has shared information about his PhD project on sedimentology, basins evolution and facies definition of deep marine deposits and scour currents in offshore Australia. 

David has also been a "Values Champion" in ESE, a volunteer role that requires a strong commitment to Departmental culture. David attended training, facilitated break-out sessions, and encouraged conversations among attendees about our values:  

Supportive, Excellence, Integrity, Innovative, Inclusive, Inspiring 

As chair and co-chair for Grad Soc, David extends his support and enthusiasm to other PhD students, and is helping to build a diverse, inclusive community in ESE. 

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

Congratulations to our winners and to all candidates, and thanks to their nominators for drawing attention to the students’ excellent work.

  • Winners stand together with certificates
  • People stand and clap
  • Abdulla Alhosani receives certificate from Martin Blunt
  • Research group stands with Abdulla Alhosani
  • David Pedreros Bastidas receives his certificate
  • David Pedreros Bastidas talks with colleagues
  • Alex Lipp shakes hands with Prof Ann Muggeridge
  • PhD students
  • A round of applause for the winners, with Prof Tina van de Flierdt
  • PhD students
  • ESE staff and students pose for photo

Thanks to ESE undergraduate Natalie Tao who took photos on the day


Victoria Murphy

Victoria Murphy
Institute of Global Health Innovation