The University of Manchester

Dalton Nuclear Institute win top Academy award for its work in nuclear decommissioning

The Dalton Nuclear Institute at The University of Manchester has won the 2023 Bhattacharyya Award in recognition of its “stellar” academia-industry collaboration with the nuclear decommissioning sector.

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Bhattacharyya Award is open to UK universities and colleges that have demonstrated a sustained, strategic industrial partnership that has benefitted society and is deserving of national recognition. 

The Dalton Nuclear Institute, which has been shortlisted for the award twice before, was recognised for its work to provide expertise for quicker, safer nuclear decommissioning.

The UK has been a nuclear nation for 75 years and has accumulated one of the largest, most complex nuclear legacies on Earth. Since 2002, government has focused on cleaning up this legacy, and since 2005, has been working with the Dalton Nuclear Institute coordinating the UK’s most comprehensive nuclear academic community at The University of Manchester to deliver skilled people, impactful research and support for government policy development.

The team was presented with their award, including a £25,000 prize, which will be used for schools outreach, at a ceremony in Birmingham on Tuesday, 24 October.

Professor Francis Livens, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute from 2015 to 2023 said: “It’s a great privilege to receive the Bhattacharyya Award, recognising our collaboration with the nuclear decommissioning sector. We are extremely proud of this collaboration – we have built these relationships over more than two decades, and they have involved several hundred researchers across multiple disciplines. Thank you to the Royal Academy of Engineering, to our partners in industry and to all those whose work contributed to delivering safer, cleaner and cheaper decommissioning of our nuclear legacy.”

The University was one of two winners of the award. Loughborough University and its industrial partner adidas came joint winners for its work in developing sports equipment and clothing for improved performance, safety.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, former President of the Academy and Chair of this year’s judging panel, said: “Engineering is essential to every aspect of our lives, as demonstrated by our two winning collaborations. Both of these fascinating partnerships, developed over many years, demonstrate sustained innovation and impact in the vastly different areas of sports equipment design and nuclear decommissioning.

“From cricket helmets and sportswear to advising on deep disposal of nuclear waste, these engineering teams show the value of successful collaboration between academia and industry. The judges decided unanimously that they were both equally worthy winners.”

The Bhattacharyya Award is funded by the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and was set up in tribute to the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya KT CBE FREng FRS, Regius Professor of Manufacturing at the University of Warwick and founder of WMG.

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