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Esteemed Leicester engineer named as finalist in prestigious UK industry awards

An esteemed engineer from Space Park Leicester is in the running to be declared Today’s Engineering Visionary by a leading organisation promoting skills and engineering excellence in the UK.

Piyal Samara-Ratna, Principal Engineer for the Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology and Earth Observation Research (METEOR) centre at Space Park Leicester, has been named as a finalist in the Enginuity Skills Awards, widely recognised as the most prestigious awards in the UK engineering and manufacturing sector, celebrating the best and brightest talent in the industry.

Piyal is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with a professional master’s degree in mechanical engineering (Meng) from University College London and over 17 years’ experience working in the space sector. He is a senior mechanical engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope Mid-Infrared instrument, with a leading role within the instrument systems team, leading instrument assembly and integration activities at NASA.

Piyal Samara-Ratna, Principal Engineer for the Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology and Earth Observation Research (METEOR) centre at Space Park Leicester

He has also worked on numerous projects spanning deep space exploration, planetary exploration, space nuclear power and Earth observation. He is interested in technology transfer and has achieved particular success with medical device development.

Commenting on the announcement he said: “I am deeply honoured to be named as a finalist for the Today’s Engineering Visionary category at the Enginuity Skills Awards 2023. This recognition not only validates my passion for engineering but also inspires me to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in this field.

“I am grateful to be part of a community of talented engineers who are making a positive impact on the world, and I look forward to continuing to innovate and create solutions that improve people’s lives.”

His current role is focused on accelerating spacecraft development through the application of space 4.0 technologies including digital twins, concurrent design, artificial intelligence and advanced modelling.

The Today’s Engineering Visionary Award is a new category focussing on individuals whose work represents an engineering triumph deserving of recognition.

Throughout his career, Piyal has been a passionate advocate for the development of engineering talent and has worked tirelessly to promote the industry to young people. He has previously been appointed The British Science Association Scientific Section President for physics and astronomy.

He continued: “The UK engineering industry is a vital part of our economy, and I am proud to have played a part in its success. I am also deeply committed to ensuring that the industry continues to thrive, and that we inspire and develop the next generation of engineers.”

The winners of the Enginuity Skills Awards 2023 will be announced at a gala ceremony on Thursday, June 29 at the Park Plaza London Riverbank. The ceremony will bring together some of the most influential figures in the industry.

For more information about the Enginuity Skills Awards 2023, visit: