Each year, the Academy makes five awards of £3,000 to UK engineers in full-time higher education, research or industrial employment, who have demonstrated excellence in the early stage of their career.
Mihir was recognised for developing a device that improves ventilator outcomes by keeping patients’ muscles active from day one of ventilation, as well as his cutting-edge research to help people with chronic respiratory diseases. As a Research Assistant in the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering‘s BUBBL team, and also working with Professor Ashok Handa in research and with Professor Kokila Lakhoo in OUGSG, he is investigating the efficacy of Oxygen Nanobubbles as a potential treatment for patients with chronic respiratory diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis.
When COVID-19 hit, he was working in a team assessing medical needs in a regional hospital in Senegal. They realised that loss of muscle strength resulting from being ventilated meant some patients spent twice as long on ventilators as would otherwise be necessary, contributing to muscle atrophy. Along with a consultant anaesthetist from the NHS he developed the StimSpirit device, which uses non-invasive electrical muscle stimulation to keep respiratory muscles engaged while a patient is being ventilated.
He says: 'Winning this award feels amazing. It’s an honour to be recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering, as it shows that the leading engineers of today see the value in young engineers forging interdisciplinary careers from an early stage, and of bridging industry and research in order to drive innovation. This is not a path that is usually taken and this award validates the risks and challenges of this journey.'
Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi CBE FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Committee, says: 'I congratulate all our Young Engineers of the Year. They may be at the beginning of their careers, but they are already pushing the boundaries of engineering knowledge, pioneering innovations that benefit society to help solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges, and inspiring the next generation.'
Further information about the awards can be found on the Royal Academy of Engineering’s website.