Published on 03/11/2023
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Aston University 3D printing engineer wins Female Innovator of 2023 award
  • Renia Gkountiou won the title of Female Innovator for 2023
  • She was nominated for her role in helping SMEs use and develop 3D printing
  • She is based at the Advanced Prototyping Facility which increases businesses’ awareness of 3D printing opportunities.

An Aston University engineer has been recognised at the 2023 Innovation Awards.

Renia Gkountiou who is as an engineer and technician within the University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility project won the title of Female Innovator for 2023.

She was nominated by professionals in her field for her role helping small to medium size businesses use and develop additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing.

Renia has been working at the Advanced Prototyping Facility (APF) project for just over two years. It was set up by Aston University to increase businesses’ awareness of the opportunities available through additive manufacture, also known as 3D Printing. 

The project has helped 75 companies improve efficiency and effectiveness of their existing designs and to develop new prototypes and products.

Renia said: “Winning the award of Female Innovator of the Year at the Innovation Awards 2023 is not just a personal achievement but a testament to the dedication and hard work of the most incredible team in APF over the last two years.

“Innovation has always been at the heart of my career journey. We have leveraged 3D printing across a variety of projects in different sectors, spanning art, engineering and healthcare, all of which have yielded tangible benefits for society. 

“These projects have involved the creation of novel product designs, prototypes and the development of materials in close collaboration with other departments at Aston University. The resulting designs and components not only exhibit improved efficiency but also cost-effectiveness, and an eco-friendly approach when contrasted with traditional manufacturing methods.”

Also nominated for other awards were the team’s project director Professor David Webb and additive manufacturing engineer and designer William Utting.

Last year Aston University became the second UK university to have an engineering department awarded Athena Swan Gold which recognises a commitment to advancing the careers of women and promoting gender equality.

Professor Stephen Garrett, executive dean of the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: "We are immensely proud of the accomplishments achieved by Renia, William and David in their respective nominated categories. 

“These honours not only epitomise individual excellence but also represent the culture of innovation and collaboration that we are actively fostering within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. 

“As we eagerly anticipate the formal launch of Design Factory Birmingham, the role of the APF team in amplifying this culture is set to be invaluable."

The judges assessed the nominations and then put forward a shortlist which went to a public vote.   

The five finalists in each category were interviewed by an independent judging panel from a range of organisations including NatWest, EY, and Make UK.

The awards were held on 27 October at the Eastside Rooms in central Birmingham.


Notes to editors

About Aston University
For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.
Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.
Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.
Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.
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