About the awards
The Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award was launched in 2009 by Autocar in partnership with Courland Automotive and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and was set up to find and nurture bright new talent for the automotive industry. Eight years on it has touched thousands of people and is regarded as the leading competition of its type.
The Next Generation Award challenges young talent to come up with a problem-solving idea or innovation that will improve the UK automotive business.
A team of industry judges assesses entrants ideas based on innovation, technical and commercial viability, and how easily the innovations can be implemented. The winner receives a £9000 prize plus a six-month work experience placement shared between the award sponsors.
This year the award has been opened up to more people. Anyone aged between 17 and 25 can enter, as long as they reside in the UK or study at a UK school, college or university. All entrants must be eligible to work in the UK and be available for work experience.
This yeat the award programme is backed by Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and this year we welcome Horiba Mira on board.
Entries are put through a two-round judging process that’s carried out by senior industry professionals. The six finalists will then be given a mentoring session with a partner judge before being invited to a final presentation day in November.
Next Generation Award finalists and winners go on to achieve great things and many have used the awards as a launchpad towards the commercialisation of their ideas. In addition, many of our finalists have found industry positions – 2011 runner-up Katie Jones is Colour and Materials designer at Jaguar Land Rover, 2012 winner Roberto Antonio Pace is a Design Engineer at McLaren Automotive and 2014 finalist Adam Hyett is a now a Senior Engineer at Aston Martin.
University student Joshua de Wit was named as the winner of the eighth annual Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award. Joshua, who is currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sussex, scooped the award thanks to his original idea focusing on stacked graphene batteries, a design with the objective of improving sustainability in electric vehicles. The design concept helps to drastically reduce the weight, charge/discharge times and packaging needs of conventional battery systems in electric vehicles. The battery construction allows it to be built into the floor and moulded into the bodywork of the vehicle, reducing weight and saving space.
Joshua will now undertake six months of work experience, as well as enjoying a £9000 cash prize. Finalists in this year's competition were also invited to the prize-giving ceremony, held as part of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' annual dinner in central London. The finalists included Northumbria University student Joel Hayes, who proposed an integrated communications campaign to help overcome driver-apprehension around autonomous driving, and Manuel Corsetti from the University of Glasgow, whose idea was a system of generators which convert lost heat energy back into electricity in hybrid cars.
To see how 2015 winner Morven Fraser got on after her win, and to watch our 2016 finalists in action, you can watch our video here