A young engineer who has been researching how electronic devices can help people with spinal cord injuries has graduated with a PhD in Electrical Engineering, thanks to financial support from two fellow engineering graduates.

Ben Metcalfe is the first person in his family to go to university and gained both his undergraduate degree and his PhD at Bath with the support of two scholarships. He is now embarking on a career as a researcher at Bath.

His Phd research applied electronics to medicine, designing innovative devices which interact directly with the nervous system, to help people with spinal cord injuries recover movement, sensation and bladder control.

Ben’s PhD was funded by Dr Brian Nicholson, who graduated from Bath in 1995 with a BEng Electrical & Electronic Engineering and then went on to complete a PhD in the same subject, which he finished in 1998. Brian is generously supporting PhD studentships in engineering for the next 10 years.

Before his PhD, Ben achieved a first class undergraduate degree. But he wouldn’t have been able to study at Bath in the first place without a generous scholarship donated by another alumnus, Roger Whorrod OBE.

Roger is one of the University’s earliest graduates, achieving a BSc in Electrical Engineering in 1965, and an MSc in 1970. Back in 2005, Roger and his wife Sue set up a scholarship scheme for students. They have supported 14 engineering undergraduates, along with five Research Fellows in the University’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, and one Research Officer in Disability and Sports Health (DaSH) in the University’s Department for Health.

Ben said:

I’ve been at the University for eight years and I’ve loved it so much. I’ve had a fantastic time and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I am so grateful to Brian, Sue and Roger, as they have changed my life in a way that I never thought imaginable. One day I hope to invest in the students of the future in the same way that they have invested in me.

Brian said: “Ben has been a fantastic student, both academically and in his contributions to University life. It is exceptionally rewarding to be able to assist students like Ben to achieve their full potential.”

Roger added: “It has been a pleasure for us to see how these very able and hard-working young people, like Ben, develop and mature throughout their time at Bath.”

As it enters its 50th year the University’s Look Further fundraising campaign aims to raise £66 million to support the next generation of bright students and outstanding researchers.