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Donald Julius Groen Prize

Awarded for outstanding papers or for outstanding achievements in the sphere of activity of the awarding Division or Group.


  • Open to Members and non-members worldwide
  • Nominations can be made for an individual or a group of authors.

Award value

  • £250.

Application process

Closing date: 25 March 2022.

Further information

Toggle Trust Fund conditions, award funding and number of awards

Award winners

2022 Prize winner: Dr Matteo Vagnoli (Safety and Reliability)

Dr Matteo Vagnoli

Dr Matteo Vagnoli has been awarded the IMechE SRG Donald Julius Groen Prize for the paper “A Bayesian Belief Network method for bridge deterioration detection”, published in the Proc IMechE, Part O: J Risk and Reliability 2021; 235(3): 338-355.

Dr Matteo Vagnoli obtained a BSc in Energy Engineering and an MSc in Nuclear Engineering from the Polytechnic of Milan (Italy). He then joined the University of Nottingham (UK) and graduated with a PhD in Risk and Reliability Engineering, with a thesis “Railway Bridge Monitoring and Fault Diagnostics”. After the PhD, Matteo joined Bombardier Transportation as data scientist at first, and then moved into the lead of a global data science team responsible for end-to-end prognostics, from embedding prognostics data requirements into the design of railway assets, to real-time analytics of such assets to predict asset failures. Currently, Matteo is a Senior Analytics Manager at Swiss Re Group, originating and managing advanced analytics solutions to enhance client efficiency and increase their profitability via strategic analytics solutions and actionable risk insights.

This paper proposes a novel approach of applying a Bayesian Belief Network method for detecting signs of bridge deterioration. The method can take account of sensor data as well as information from visual inspections, the latter of the two are frequently used in bridge asset management. The approach is demonstrated on a steel truss bridge example which is modelled using an FEM model; and using bridge acceleration in-field data of a post-tensioned concrete bridge for different states of degradation. The proposed approach can be used in detecting early signs of deterioration in bridge elements when there is some evidence about bridge behaviour due to traffic. Such information can help to plan bridge asset management and operation.  

Vagnoli, M., Remenyte-Prescott, R., Andrews, J.D. A Bayesian Belief Network method for bridge deterioration detection, Proc IMechE, Part O: J Risk and Reliability 2021; 235(3): 338-355,

Congratulations to Dr Matteo Vagnoli on winning the IMechE SRG Donald Julius Groen Prize.

2021 Winner: Dr Tom Flint (Structural Technology and Materials Group)

Dr Tom Flint Donald Julius Groen prize winner

Awarded for his paper "Magneto-hydrodynamics of multi-phase fows in heterogeneous systems with large property gradients"

Dr Tom Flint is a Research Fellow in the Department of Materials at The University of Manchester. After graduating from the University of Manchester in 2011 with a first class degree in Physics, Tom completed his doctorate under the supervision of Dr John Francis developing novel heat source descriptions, for high energy density manufacturing applications, and also analytical solution techniques to solve complex thermal problems efficiently. Following his doctorate, he began working for Professor Mike Smith trying to better understand the complex flow, and micro-structural, physics that governs how high energy density processes affect multi-component substrates through state transitions. Dr Flint now works as the DSTL Research Fellow in Alloys for Extreme Environments at The University of Manchester.

Tom’s work is focussed on understanding how high energy density manufacturing processes, such as power beam and electrical arc welding, alter the metallic substrate material. He is interested in how the substrate material melts, how the fluid dynamics in the melt-pool determine critical topological features, how the vapourisation of the alloy substrate influences the flow and chemistry, and how the thermal load causes micro-structural alterations including grain boundary migration. His work can be broadly divided into continuum mechanics modelling, which covers fluid dynamics and solid mechanics modelling work, and phase-field modelling, used to investigate how the poly-crystalline substrate evolves and predict the final morphology of the crystals within the alloy. Recently Tom extended his fluid dynamics work to include descriptions of how the magnetic flux density evolves in electrical arc processes; this allows us to accurately capture the heating of the substrate through Joule heating, instead of relying on specifying the shape of the heat source. In this way we remove any fitting operations required to simulate these processes and all the required information is then applied as boundary conditions in the domain.

The Structural Technology and Materials Group Board congratulates Dr Tom Flint for winning the IMechE Structural Technology and Materials Group 2021 Donald Julius Groen Prize

2020 Prize winner: Roger Goodall (Mechatronics, Informatics and Control)

Roger Goodall Donald Julius Groen prize winner Awarded for outstanding lifetime contributions to mechatronics and control engineering.

Roger Goodall is an Emeritus Professor at Loughborough University and an Affiliate to the Institute for Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield. He graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1968 and worked for two years in manufacturing industry, before joining British Rail's Research Division in Derby in 1970 where he spent 12 years in industrial research. In the 1970s he developed the control system for British Rail’s low-speed magnetically levitated vehicle and was also responsible for the world’s first full-size active suspension for a railway vehicle. He took up an academic position at Loughborough University in 1982, and he became Professor of Control Systems Engineering in 1994. He has championed the subject of mechatronics for many years, with a specialism related to mechatronic suspension systems for rail vehicles.

He has had extensive involvement with many external institutions, including as Chair of the IMechE’s Railway Division in 2009-2010. A strong contribution has been with the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) for which he was the inaugural Chair of the Technical Committee on Mechatronic Systems from 2000-2005 and IFAC Vice-President from 2008-2014. He received the IFAC’s Outstanding Service Award in 2014, was elected as an IFAC Advisor the same year and in 2017 as an IFAC Fellow.

In addition to his IFAC involvement Roger has served in a variety of external scientific and technical roles including the Board of Trustees for the International Association for Vehicle System Dynamics (IAVSD) and Chairman of the UK Automatic Control Council (UKACC, the IFAC NMO).

He has received many awards, including the IMechE’s prestigious James Watt International Gold Medal and IFAC’s Mechatronic Systems Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been a Fellow of the IMechE for a number of years, and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007.

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