Engineering graduate wins Prince Philip Prize

HRH Prince Philip with Merlin Kafka

A Product Design Engineering student from Strathclyde was awarded with the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow’s Prince Philip Prize in its 50th anniversary year.

Merlin Kafka, 24 from Münster, Germany was presented with the prize by HRH Prince Philip after being judged to be the best university engineering student in Glasgow in 2017.

The Prince Philip Prize is a prestigious award presented annually by the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow to one university student and one college student studying in the west of Scotland.

Modern engineering

The Incorporation was originally associated with crafts involving metalwork when it was founded in the 16th century and nowadays embraces every aspect of modern engineering.

Prize nominees are judged in multiple stages, starting with an initial proposal and interview for the Hammermen award, followed by the submission of written treatise and an interview with a panel of two of the Hammermen’s Master court members for the Prince Philip Prize.

Nominees are then assessed based on their individual potential, motivation and future ambitions as well as what they aim to contribute to society.

Merlin won particular praise for his final year project in which he designed a refillable shampoo bottle that could be topped up with liquid contained within food-grade water-soluble packaging. The bottle can be kept indefinitely leading to zero waste.

Merlin said: “Receiving the Prince Philip prize for my Bachelor’s project and my ambitions in sustainable design engineering is an accolade that I without a doubt will be looking back on for many years to come.

“It was also an honour to accept the award from His Royal Highness in one of his last public engagements.

“During the prize ceremony, I also had the chance to briefly share my idea with His Royal Highness himself, a remarkable opportunity that I would not have foreseen when I began working on the project in August last year.

“I am grateful to the Incorporation of Hammermen for selecting me as the overall winner of the University divisions as well as the Department of Design, Manufacturing & Engineering Management at Strathclyde for putting me forward as the University winner of the Hammermen award, which enabled me to participate in this prize in the first place. “

Merlin is now undertaking a project management placement with Edinburgh-based chocolate manufacturer Coco Chocolate where he is assisting in managing the company’s upcoming manufacturing expansion.

He said: “In October I will begin a Master’s at the University of Cambridge in Industrial Systems, Manufacture & Management to gain a better understanding of industrial systems at large and to deploy circular strategies on a bigger scale.”