Kenyan engineer and software developer receives Uni’s top award
Nemwel Ariaga (right) receiving his award from the University's Chancellor, HRH The Duke of York

Engineer and software developer Nemwel Ariaga (right) receiving his award from the University's Chancellor, HRH The Duke of York


WHILE growing up, Nemwel Ariaga was inspired by science fiction.  Now, as an award-winning student at the University of Huddersfield, he is making a contribution to science fact.  His work will help computer-controlled machines, including machine tools, vehicles and aircrafts, respond more accurately and safely to commands.

After scoring exceptionally high marks and a Distinction in his MSc degree, Kenyan-born Nemwel earned a 2018 Chancellor’s Prize, awarded to a small number of the top-performing students of the year.  He received his certificate at a ceremony presided over by HRH The Duke of York, who is the University’s Chancellor.

Nemwel has already embarked on the next phase of his studies.  He has been selected for a doctoral project that is funded by the EPSRC Future Metrology Hub based at the University.  

Supervised by Professor Andrew Longstaff, he will investigate new methods of adaptive control strategies which enable machines to have self-switching controllers that respond to variations in their operation conditions.

For example, said Nemwel, the parameters affecting a plane are altered when it goes higher or faster.  This can mean that a control system based on one set of parameters will fail to give the desired performance.  Now, he will work on a system that will assist an on-board computer to adapt to changes.

After a first degree in Kenya, Nemwel worked as an industrial control engineer and software developer at two companies, but sought opportunities for further study.  He looked overseas and the University of Huddersfield had what he wanted – an MSc in Control Systems and Instrumentation.  He was quick to take the offer of a place and appreciated the personalised support he received in which smoothened the admission process.

“I immediately liked the University’s facilities, and the teaching staff are amazing,” he said.  “Huddersfield is also a wonderful town and a great place for international students, since you are not bombarded with a culture shock!” he added.

Exceptional success at his MSc opened up the chance to move on to PhD research, which is now under way.  The Chancellor’s Prize ceremony was a pleasant surprise when he realised that he was one of just 11 elite students who had qualified.

“It was truly an honour to receive an award from HRH The Duke of York,” said Nemwel.  “I have nothing but praise for the University of Huddersfield and am sincerely grateful to its management for the investment in facilities and to the teaching staff for their delivery of the content.”