Dr Sue Halliwell Wins the IOM3 2022 Leslie Holliday Prize

Composites UK is thrilled to announce that its Operations Manager, Dr. Sue Halliwell, has won the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) 2022 Leslie Holliday Prize.

The Leslie Holliday Prize is presented in recognition of significant or technological contribution relating to any type of composite material and is judged by the Institute’s Composites Group (formerly the British Composites Society). The prize has been awarded since 1984, with past winners including Prof. Ivana Partridge, Prof. Andrew Long and Composites UK’s Vice Chair, Dr. Faye Smith OBE.

Sue was nominated for the award by her team at Composites UK who wanted to celebrate her exceptional contribution to the composites industry, striving to further the use of fibre-reinforced polymer composites (FRPs) across multiple sectors.

After graduating in Chemistry from Reading University in 1987, Sue joined the Plastics section at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) where her main research interest lay in the durability of plastics for use in buildings. Studying part time for an MSc in Polymer Technology at Loughborough University in 1990, she then undertook her PhD, successfully completing it in 1996. At the same time, Sue became involved in durability issues relating to the use of FRP materials for buildings.

In 2000, Sue founded the Network Group for Composites in Construction (NGCC), established with the objective of encouraging and promoting the safe and effective use of FRPs in construction. When Sue left BRE in 2004 to join NetComposites Ltd as Knowledge Transfer Manager – a project management role at National and European level – NGCC moved with her, growing to a membership of over 80 companies. NGCC later became the Composites UK Construction Sub-Group.

Whilst at NetComposites, having been an adviser to the Composites UK board and then a Board Director herself, Sue became the Association’s Secretary in May 2010 when the organisation had 70 members. Towards the end of 2012 the Association had grown to 100 members, and at a size where the Board of Directors felt it needed to move to its own offices with employed staff in order to grow. Sue became the first employee – Operations Manager – from January 2013.

Since then, Sue has been responsible for the day-to-day running of Composites UK. Most notably her achievements include; securing the dissemination contract for the Composites Innovation Cluster (AMSCI funded project); supporting the Composites Leadership Forum as secretary; the building of a thorough health and safety audit tool where companies can self-audit their HSE practices; stopping a standard (EN 124) that unfairly limited composite manhole covers from being accepted by the EU; and the co-ordination of a Bridge Design Guide – a resource for bridge engineers to refer to and increase the uptake of FRPs in bridge applications. Sue also represents the UK at the board meetings for the European Industry Composites Association (EuCIA). Composites UK currently has 363 members.

Claire Whysall, Marketing and Communications Manager at Composites UK said: “I’ve worked alongside Sue for the past 16 years and there’s no one I have more respect for. Not only has she been a fantastic mentor professionally but I have become a better person for knowing her. She will be very modest in accepting this award but the truth is without her knowledge and leadership the UK composites industry and Composites UK would not be where it is today.”

Sue concludes: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this prize, if not slightly overwhelmed given those that have won it before me. I am passionate about supporting the safe and effective use of FRP materials across all sectors and truly believe they have a critical role to play in the future delivery of NetZero targets. I am also so proud of the Composites UK team and its support of the sector in order for this to become a reality.”

Sue will accept the award at the IOM3 Special & Publication Award Lunch Reception on Thursday 8 December at the Institute’s London office.