Max Rainey 1200 x 900



The Max Rainey Prize was founded in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2013.  The Prize is awarded each year to a Stage 3 or Stage 4 student on the undergraduate Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering or Product Design Engineering pathways.  The winner must achieve the highest mark in their individual research project on a topic related to the design and manufacture of polymer products or the development of polymer materials.

The idea for the medal was suggested by John Rainey, son of the founder of the Denroy Group, Max Rainey, OBE.  Very few portrait medals are currently awarded as academic prizes although it was traditional in the 19th and early 20th centuries to name awards after a pioneer in the subject area.    A medal of this type has not been instigated for more than 50 years in Northern Ireland and the production of the Max Rainey medal was quite a feat of craftsmanship in itself.  Working just from photographs, the artist and medallist Danuta Solowiej created a portrait that is not only life-like but also shows the character of this devoted family man and pioneering industrialist.  Max Rainey’s company has consistently produced innovative solutions over seventy five years in fields as disparate as textile manufacture, aeronautics, sporting goods and personal care.

Danuta Solowiej, sculptor and coin designer, was born in Bialystok, Poland, in 1962 and has lived in London since 1988.  She trained in sculpture, specialising in medallic art, at the prestigious Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. Danuta designed the commemorative crown coin for the Queen’s 80th birthday, the President’s medal for the British Art Medal Society and the ‘Great Britons’ portrait series of commemorative medals for the Royal Mint. For more on her work see

Pictured above (l-r) are Dr Geoff Cunningham, Director of Education, (School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering), Chris O’Hara, Graduate Engineer (Mech. Eng.), John F Rainey MBE and Brenda Robinson, Denroy Group Ltd.  The Max Rainey Prize medal is also shown (Inset).  Chris was the first recipient of the prize for his project entitled:  Building and Validation of an Entry Level Three Dimensional Printing System for Bioengineering Applications.

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