In 2014 RRUKA joined forces with the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) to create a competition which looks recognise the work of young rail professionals and researchers across the UK.

The competition is open to both young rail professionals and early career researchers, with nominations also accepted from those who may wish to nominate their colleagues. Find out more below about the Award, our supporters, previous winners and how to submit entries.

About this Award

What can we do to address the engineering skills shortage in rail? It’s a big question on the minds of many across the industry at present.

This pressing challenge has triggered a wide range of activities, and prompted a number of organisations to come together to pool their efforts and resources and apply some fresh thinking to the way in which new talents are attracted to careers in engineering.  From greater promotion of graduate and apprenticeships schemes to key reviews, and targeted social media campaigns, it’s clear to see the concerted efforts being made by all. Alongside this however, there is also a drive to nurture and retain existing talent and highlight the achievements being made by those already engaged in / starting out in their engineering careers.

In view of this Rail Research UK Association and the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE Railway Division) joined forces in 2014 to launch an annual competition which aims to find the UK’s best young railway researcher.

Formerly known as the IMechE Best Young Researcher Prize, the RRUKA Best Young Researcher Award is an annual award for young rail professionals and early career researchers. It recognises work they have carried out which has the capability to make a ‘significant difference’ to the rail industry.

What’s in it for me?

Why should you enter?

  • Raise your profile within the UK rail research community
  • Boost your CV with this prestigious award
  • It is an exciting avenue to raise awareness of your research
  • Compete for chance to present your work to senior academics and industry figures

Why should you nominate colleagues?

  • Raise the profile of your institution / organisation
  • Instil confidence in your young people
  • Promote rail as a rewarding and inspirational career choice
  • Demonstrate the value of the work of young people in rail, and how this contributes to solving rail industry challenges

Competition Prizes

The recipient of the Best Young Researcher Award will receive a prize of£1000 and a commemorative trophy. The winner will also be invited to present their research in a specially dedicated slot at the RRUKA Annual Conference (3 November 2016).

This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the work of young individuals early career researchers in the industry so we encourage you to apply or nominate colleagues who are eligible to receive the award.

Find out more about who can apply and how to submit entries here.

Guidelines and Entry Requirements


This competition is open to early career researchers and young rail professionals working on research of relevance to rail.

The individual must be a member of (or progressing towards membership of), a professional engineering institution or one of the following professional institutions: CIEHF, CILT, SaRS, PWI.

Applicants must work for or within an institution / company based primarily in the UK.

Entry requirements

Selection criteria for this award will assess:

  • Quality of work
  • Novelty of work
  • Impact on the rail industry (potential or realised)

Entrants will need to provide information about the technical principles of the work, show why it has the potential to make a difference and include a supporting letter from their Professor or Senior Manager.

View the full competition guidelines for more information