Right here, in our collection on the newest EW BrightSparks of 2022, we spotlight Amy Suddards, a PhD scholar in radio astronomy applied sciences on the College of Manchester.


Her nominator informed us about Amy’s dedication to electronics, in addition to her dedication to outreach, sustainable electronics, and the ideas of Equality, Range, and Inclusion.

By way of her educational work, Amy has come to microwave engineering from an astrophysics undergraduate background. She selected, through the Coronavirus pandemic, to pursue a research-based MPhil postgraduate diploma as a part of the Superior Radio Instrumentation Group on the College of Manchester. She was aiming to construct, from-scratch, a data and skillset focussing on microwave electronics for radio astronomy purposes.

She has just lately accomplished her MPhil mission titled “Optimising the Efficiency of Wideband Low Noise Amplifiers for Radio Astronomy Purposes”. This concerned the event of excessive frequency waveguide-to-microstrip transition designs to be used alongside state-of-the-art Indium Phosphide MMIC primarily based low nosie amplifier (LNA) chips, as nicely a novel Gallium Arsenide Okay-band (26 – 36 GHz) LNA design utilizing a business course of appropriate for top quantity purposes whereas sustaining appropriately low noise efficiency.

The EW BrightSparks judges discovered that starting an MPhil diploma in a completely new topic throughout a pandemic was under no circumstances straightforward, with all conferences taking place remotely and lab entry closely restricted by College pointers.

Amy, nonetheless, has been decided to immerse herself in her analysis, rapidly greedy high-frequency electronics design and testing strategies. She has used a spread of design and simulation software program for her technical modelling work, together with Ansoft HFSS, ADS, and Python for programming.

In addition to creating authentic designs for optimum LNA efficiency, she has additionally developed detailed fashions for each previous and new designs to be in contrast with measurement.

Notably, Amy was just lately invited to current her design and mannequin enchancment work to the millimetre wave group at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Harwell attributable to collaborative involvement in manufacturing the mission designs.

In addition to design work, Amy has been a key member of the group working within the lab to check and characterise LNAs and ancillary elements. For instance, she has been working independently with each cryogenic and room temperature testing programs to ship correct measurements according to mission deadlines. She has additionally contributed to the event of a basic automated testing code through a graphical consumer interface which is because of be made open entry within the close to future.

In addition to technical work each in simulations and within the lab, Amy additionally has an curiosity in enhancing sustainable practices within the group, her nominator informed us.

“This 12 months she has begun independently investigating our provide chains, lab procedures, and waste administration technique. This has included exploring different foundry and provider selections, specializing in decreasing provide chain miles by means of contemplating native foundries and the advantages and downsides of this. She can also be analysing the sustainable practices of sure foundries to find out an inventory of standards essential to be deemed ‘sustainable’.”

“Amy is within the environmental implications of utilising state-of-the-art semiconductor supplies. Particularly, she is going to concentrate on the sustainability variations between InP and GaAs, particularly novel GaAs mHEMTs.”

Lastly, she can also be working to place collectively an progressive technique for coping with waste amplifying chips that don’t meet stringent radio astronomy specs.

This can embody repurposing some chips for outreach and group engagement, and probably the event of fundamental radio receivers to be supplied to colleges. She has been working intently with the College Sustainability Crew to develop a full report on the group’s sustainability selections and an motion plan for the longer term.

Her nominator concluded, admirably:

“In abstract Amy is a gifted, collegiate younger engineer who just isn’t solely inspiring herself but additionally conjures up the following era of gifted, various engineers for the innovative initiatives of the longer term.”


All through her STEM profession, we discovered, Amy has devoted a considerable amount of time and enthusiasm to outreach, group engagement, and EDI (Equality, Range and Inclusion).

For instance, Amy has been awarded the inaugural EDI scholarship from the College of Manchester as full funding for her PhD following her dedication to furthering these ideas inside STEM and from assembly a spread of specified standards.

Notably, Amy has pioneered the “EquiTea” initiative inside the college division. It is a month-to-month discussion board that meets to debate equality, variety, and inclusion matters centred round science and expertise. It entails reaching out to inner and exterior audio system to current on the group, operating and managing a committee of individuals, and mediating and chairing discussions inside the group.

Amy initiated conversations concerning EquiTea on the finish of 2020 and it’s now a working group with many attendees. In addition to the discussion board itself, she is at the moment constructing a publicly-available web site with assets referring to EDI matters in STEM, partaking with EDI coverage inside the college, and plans to host future occasions and talks open to most of the people.

Throughout her undergraduate diploma, she additionally organised numerous university-wide conferences to focus on girls and LGBT+ scientists all through historical past and inside the college.

Moreover, Amy coordinated and contributed to annual science gala’s, festivals, and open days for the Fife area people, together with a number of outreach visits to native faculties. And through her postgraduate research on the College of Manchester, she has been elected the Jodrell Financial institution Centre for Astrophysics postgraduate outreach officer, which entails engaged on the BlueDot pageant and creating science content material for the College’s social media pages.

Observe that she can also be an energetic contributor to the JodCast, a month-to-month podcast discussing astronomy and instrumentation matters appropriate for a basic public viewers.

Amy can also be invested in mentoring – each peer mentoring and mentoring youthful college students. Final summer season over the last months of her MPhil diploma, for instance, she hosted and mentored a sixth type scholar as a part of the Nuffield Analysis Placement scheme.

Lastly, she had a job inside a charity that raises consciousness for the HPV vaccine. Amy ran the charity’s social media channels to advertise engagement with worldwide vaccine points, wrote long-form weblog items explaining and simplifying the science behind vaccination, and conducting interviews with vaccine scientists and medical coverage makers to work into journal items.

She is pictured above receiving her award from Isabella Mascarenhas (VP, Grass Roots & Shining Stars, RS Group), one of many EW BrightSparks judges, and Richard Watts (emap MD, writer of Electronics Weekly). Congratulations to Amy!

BrightSparks 2022 overview

EW BrightSparks Supporters

We’re very grateful to the businesses and organisations that assist assist the EW BrightSparks programme, and make it potential. Particular because of: TE Connectivity and the UK Electronics Expertise Basis.

TE Connectivity

TE Connectivity is a worldwide industrial expertise chief making a safer, sustainable, productive, and linked future. Our broad vary of connectivity and sensor options, confirmed within the harshest environments, allow developments in transportation, industrial purposes, medical expertise, power, information communications, and the house. With greater than 85,000 workers, together with over 8,000 engineers, working alongside clients in roughly 140 international locations, TE ensures that EVERY CONNECTION COUNTS. We’re delighted to be concerned within the Brilliant Sparks initiative which permits TE Connectivity to be taught from and encourage the following era of engineers. Study extra at www.te.com and on LinkedIn, Fb, WeChat and Twitter.

UK Electronics Expertise Basis

The UKESF’s mission is to encourage extra younger individuals to review Electronics and to pursue careers within the sector. Within the UK, the Electronics sector is huge, priceless and rising; nonetheless, the demand for succesful, employable graduates is at the moment outstripping provide. We’re an academic charity, launched in 2010, with each private and non-private seed-corn funding. We function collaboratively with main corporations, main universities and different organisations to sort out the abilities scarcity within the Electronics sector.