Sidney Black Memorial Engineering Award


Throughout his life, Sidney Black was driven by his passion for engineering. This £500 annual award is given in his name to inspire new female engineers to achieve their full potential, to allow their career dreams to take them wherever they desire.

The Sidney Black Memorial Engineering Award is offered to a graduating female engineering student who has demonstrated a combination of academic achievement, personal attributes or a contribution to society/student life.


Open to female, graduating students at UHI, who have passed their BEng on any of our engineering programmes.

It’s easy to nominate yourself (or someone you know) for this award:

  1. Just let us know in one or two paragraphs (no more than 500 words) why you think you should win this award. This can be anything from academic achievement, struggling financially, ambitious career aims, requirement for start-up funding, etc.
  2. Send your nomination by email to
  3. Nominations will be judged after the closing date and the winner will be contacted shortly after.
  4. Closing date: 31 August 2024 (to confirm applicant has passed their BEng).

Winners of the Sidney Black Memorial Engineering Award

Sidney Black (1927 – 2018)

Sidney Black, black and whiteSidney Black

The son of Polish and Russian immigrants, Sidney left a heavily bombed Liverpool to train, at HMS Collingwood, as one of the first ever Petty Officer Radio Mechanics.  He served in this capacity on HMS Norfolk, the Royal Navy’s flagship in the Indian Ocean, before returning to a career as Test Engineer, for Pye’s new black and white television studio equipment.  This was followed by a role as Vision Engineer with the nascent ABC Television studios, and then as Electronics Engineer for Marconi, maintaining the Canadian Arctic Military Listening stations. From 1960 to 1980, Sidney worked for the Department of Overseas Development as a Radio Installation Engineer, installing radio stations across Africa, before returning to the UK where he worked as an Electronics Technician until the age of 91.




Erica Lo Presti standing in front of a small plane, with mountains behind

2023 winner, Erica Lo Presti:

"I am deeply honoured to be chosen as the awardee of the Sidney Black Memorial Engineering Award. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude, especially to Lois Gray, who is not only donating a monetary prize to a graduating female engineering student but is also giving us the opportunity to be recognised for our hard work and dedication.

This propels me forward to my last year at UHI and honours me with the responsibility of completing my degree in the best way possible. I am now even more determined to advance in the aerospace sector, to have the possibility of being a valuable part of a team of engineers that can help develop new technologies, in order to safeguard our environment and planet, and I am sure, thanks to my previous experience, that UHI and my lecturers will accompany me until graduation, providing me with the knowledge needed to successfully enter the industry."