Nyal Patel, University of Southampton

Here, in our series on the latest EW BrightSparks of 2023, we highlight Nyal Patel, a MEng Mechatronics student at the University of Southampton.

EW BrightSparks 2023: Nyal Patel - University of Southampton


Nyal has shone academically. After gaining four A* A-levels (Math, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry), he was awarded both an Arkwright Scholarship and a UKESF Scholarship.

Achieving high results throughout his studies for a MEng Mechatronics degree, he won the University of Southampton Zepler Prize for best academic performance in his programme.

But it was during the summer of his second year as an engineering student, Nyal told us, that he had the privilege of undertaking a 10-week internship at the ZF UK headquarters in Solihull. This experience proved to be both enlightening and instrumental in his academic and professional development, he shared.

Throughout his time at ZF UK he was involved in three distinct projects, each of which provided a valuable learning experience.

His primary focus, he told us, was on the design and development of a reusable physical model/architecture. They aimed to streamline the design process for new electromechanical brakes, fuel cell compressors, and microdrive systems, with the objective to reduce costs with a quick turnaround.

Another significant project involved the repurposing of old electric power steering systems into generators and universal object/location trackers. This initiative not only demonstrated the importance of sustainability in engineering, he outlined, but also showcased the innovative ways in which existing technology can be adapted for new purposes.

He also contributed to the design and testing of a device to demagnetize out-of-use motor magnets through the application of high currents to the motor coils via magnetic induction. This was all designed to minimise energy usage and to solve landfill problems involving harmful magnets.

Nyal highlighted that this project challenged him to think critically and creatively:

“This internship experience at ZF UK was pivotal in my growth as an engineering student. It has not only deepened my technical knowledge but also instilled in me the significance of sustainability and innovation in engineering practices. Furthermore, it has reinforced my commitment to a career in engineering and provided me with invaluable practical skills that I will carry with me throughout my academic and professional journey.”

Nyal has also worked alongside an accountancy firm, helping to implement automation processes for their systems and provide AI insight on how tasks can be done more efficiently and accurately. He also explored the possibilities of using AI for various clients’ technology, which brought up multiple tech issues which he solved alongside the accountancy firm.


In terms of STEM or community work, Nyal has organised and run a STEM workshop – for an all girls school in Surrey for 40 students aged 14-17 – alongside two other passionate engineers.

He explained that they showed the students what the life of an engineering student is like and showed them all the doors that can open by studying a degree in engineering, specifically EEE.

This was as well as running three interactive STEM activities to get the students practically involved with the field of engineering, hoping to spark future engineers.

Nyal has also mentored younger student in A-Level and GCSE years.

See also: Elektra Awards 2023 – The Winners


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