UKESF announces University of Edinburgh’s Rares-Mihai Popa as its 2012 Scholar of the Year

The UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF) declared the University of Edinburgh’s Rares-Mihai Popa its 2012 Scholar of the Year in November. Rares-Mihai is a third year student reading for a combined bachelor’s degree (BEng) in Electronics and Electrical Engineering with Management.

The foundation, which was formed to attract the brightest student talent to the £23bn-pa UK electronics industry, presented the award to the CSR funded UKESF Scholar at the annual NMI electronic systems industry awards, held last night in London.

Neil Dickins from the award’s sponsor, the IC Group, believes the industry provides an exciting and dynamic environment where young talent can flourish: “The UKESF is doing a superb job of getting this message out and attracting talented students to our industry; just look at this year’s candidates for the award, all five were top notch. They each made significant contributions during their work placements, were passionate about technology and made thoughtful, well-written submissions.

“What made Rares-Mihai stand out was his commercial awareness, together with his well-rounded interests, his education support activity and the value of his contributions within CSR. I’m sure he’ll do the industry proud in the future.”

CSR’s Nick Salter said: "During his summer placement Rares-Mihai made a significant contribution to the performance of our NFC [near field communication] chips. This emerging data transfer technology is one of the most important new standards and offers a significant market potential to us for use in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi audio devices in the consumer and automotive electronics industries.

“CSR values its partnership with the UKESF and the benefits we see. We’re able to meet the UK’s brightest new engineers much earlier in the recruitment process, and this year we took on six UKESF scholars who made valuable contributions to our business during their placements with us.”

The UKESF’s Wendy Daniell also cited Rares-Mihai’s dedicated work with the IET’s Scotland South East Young Professionals Committee to promote the profession to other students in schools and universities, which had contributed to his award.

On winning Rares-Mihai commented: "Having met many of the other scholars I knew the competition would be strong, so I’m delighted to have won this award. The opportunities that I’ve experienced through the scholarship scheme, and with CSR, are definitely helping me to develop the all round skills that are needed to succeed in this industry and I’m already encouraging other students to get involved with the UKESF and benefit in the same way."

NMI’s CEO, Derek Boyd said: “The scholars, and in particular Rares-Mihai, show the value of bringing the brightest minds into our industry and we urge those employers who rely on electronic engineering skills to get behind UKESF and continue to attract the best young people onto electronics courses and to support their skills development while at university.”

UKESF was founded in 2010 by collaboration of public bodies, private companies and UK universities to address the threat of a diminishing skills base in the UK electronics sector. Its principal aims are to increase and sustain the supply of industry ready graduate engineers and boost career take up in the industry, worth £23 billion per year to the UK economy.

Rares-Mihai Popa receives UKESF scholar award from Derek Boyd, CEO, NMI and Neil Dickins, IC Group
Rares-Mihai Popa receives UKESF scholar award from Derek Boyd, CEO, NMI and Neil Dickins, IC Group