IRSE - Institution of Railway Signal Engineers > Qualifications & Careers > Prizes & Awards
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  1. Licensing
  2. Membership & Registration
  3. Qualifications & Careers
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News

Prizes & Awards

The IRSE has a number of prizes and awards which celebrate excellence, inspire colleagues and promote the Institution within train control and communication systems engineering.

IRSE Merit Award

This award recognises meritorious service to the Institution by one of its volunteers or a or staff member.  Nominations for Merit Awards are welcomed from the IRSE membership and section committees.

In 2021 Merit Awards were awarded to Mick Ward FIRSE and Hedley Calderbank FIRSE. 

Founding member and Secretary of the South East section, Mick Ward received recognition for his lead role in adopting and rolling out the Exam Online platform, his support and commitment to the delivery of the IRSE professional examinations online for the first time in 2020 and his part in the development of the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals.
Hedley Calderbank’s Merit Award recognised his many years of support for the presidential lectures, international conventions and his recent services to the South East section, together with the development of the new modules A-D and taking of the IRSE professional examinations online. 

Thorrowgood Scholarship Award

Under the terms of the bequest of WJ Thorrowgood (Past President), the scholarship is awarded to a young member who has excelled in the Institution's Exam. It assists the development of a young engineer employed in the signalling and telecommunications field of engineering with £1500 towards an industry-based study tour.

2022 winner: No candidate met the criteria this year.

IRSE-Signet Award

This award is made jointly by the IRSE and Signet Solutions Ltd to the candidate achieving the highest marks in any single module of the Institution's exam. It was introduced to mark the 20th anniversary of the formation of Signet Solutions Ltd to recognise professional development by providing funding to attend an IRSE international event.

2022 winner: Istvan Darazsi

István is a Railway Signal Engineer. He graduated as MSc Transportation Engineer in Budapest University of Technology, specialising in Railway Automation.

After working for five years in various domestic signalling and ETCS projects in Hungary as a Project Engineer for Thales, he moved to Ireland in 2019 to work for Iarnród Éireann on the TPS Project to deliver a new train protection system nationwide. Since the project has changed its course towards ETCS Level 1, he has been leading the development of the customer requirement specifications and the concept design for the generic application in Ireland.

He applied for an affiliate membership of IRSE when he arrived in Ireland, and after receiving the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals, he is now progressing towards the Advanced Diploma in Railway Control Engineering.


Dell Award

This award is made annually under a bequest of the late Robert Dell OBE (Past President) to a member of the Institution employed by London Underground Ltd for achievement of a high standard of skill in the science and application of railway signalling. The recipient is presented with a cheque and award plaque.

2022 winner: Mike Harvie

Mike is Head of Signal Engineering at London Underground in the UK. In September 2018, Mike celebrated forty years working in and around the rail industry, with a specialism in metros and light rail. Mike’s long career started in 1978 when he joined London Underground as a signalling apprentice and went onto gain a degree. 

Mike was one of the first to embark on Safety Assuring computer-based signalling systems in the 1980s and focussed on what is today the Communication Based Train Control systems we have on the DLR and parts of the Tube. 

His experience of assurance meant that he was an excellent fit in the newly established Engineering Assurance team which also provided resource to London Transport International – an engineering consultancy arm of London Transport which provided engineering expertise around the world. Back at home, he led the acceptance of what was then the most modern CBTC system on DLR and has safely and reliably transported millions of customers for over nearly 30 years, with Mike as “Senior Safety Executive”, during which time oversaw the opening of the Lewisham and Beckton extensions.

Mike left DLR to work within the Office of Rail Regulation and then Department for Transport where he was involved in the development of ETCS before re-joining London Underground to focus on Line Upgrades during the period of the Public Private Partnership, and was instrumental in the acceptance of modern train control systems onto the Tube. At the end of the PPP Mike was appointed Head of Assurance for Tube Lines, though the company by then had been bought by TfL.

By 2012, Mike had been appointed London Underground’s Professional Head of Signals, taking on the Technical Authority with a team of leading Signalling & Control Systems Engineers, supporting the day to day operation of the railway as well as providing support to projects. He also was the point of contact with ORR on all signalling related issues and developed an effective relationship built upon mutual respect.

In 2018, Mikes’ role was broadened as part of a pan-TfL Engineering organisation and as Professional Head of Road & Rail Traffic Systems, covering surface as well as rail signalling systems, and today he leads a team of over 200 engineers delivering and assurance the engineering solutions to keep London moving.