The winning team

Henry Royce Institute Sandpit Competition win for Green Hydrogen doctoral researcher

Loughborough University doctoral researcher Esther Mgbemeje was part of the winning team in the Henry Royce Institute PhD Student Research Sandpit 2023.

The Competition provides PhD students with the opportunity to experience the research sandpit format regularly used by research councils and funders to “stimulate new lines of thinking for tackling complex research challenges”.

Esther worked alongside five other PhD students from a variety of UK universities – Sumedh Kampli (University of Cambridge), Enrico Manfredi-Haylock (Imperial College London), Rasoul Karami (Strathclyde University), Yuchen Liu (Queen Mary University) and Ateeq Ur Rahman (University of Edinburgh).

Their team – SLICE Q Technologies UK – addressed two challenges set by Johnson Matthey, a global leader in sustainable technologies. First, they explored ways to scale up the advanced manufacturing process of fuel cells, and then addressed the recycling of the catalyst membrane structure.

Following the event, she said: “It was a privilege to be selected to participate in the Competition – and I’m proud to be part of the winning team.

“I’d encourage everyone to take part in this kind of event. They’re a great way to meet and work with likeminded researchers from across the UK and provide excellent experience of working in a cross-disciplinary research team to tackle a real and pressing challenge.”

A Green Hydrogen doctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering, Esther is passionate about public engagement and is leading the coordination of Loughborough’s Pint of Science event (13-15 May 2024), an annual international science festival that sees science researchers across multiple disciplines making their way from the lab to public venues to share their research stories.