UWE Bristol School of Engineering wins two Royal Institute of British Architects Regional Awards

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The School of Engineering building on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus was recently awarded both the RIBA South West Award 2022 and the RIBA South West Project Architect of the Year Award 2022 for Hira Silverthorne-Teirney.

The brief called for interaction between departments and spaces which promoted collaboration between students, staff and visitors in order to more closely reflect how modern engineering, research and problem-solving are tackled in industry.

Planning and design work on the new building was carried out in tandem with a renewal of the university’s engineering curriculum, drawn up in collaboration with industry to ensure engineering graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed, and promoting diversity within the School’s engineering intake.

These latest RIBA awards follow previous success for the state-of-the-art building, including being named Project of the Year at the British Construction Industry Awards in 2021, where judges praised the building’s intelligent and sustainable design.

The layout reflects the pedagogical and philosophical drivers, including broadening access to engineering and promoting inclusivity.

You can read the full article with RIBA here.

Staff, students and guests at the official opening event in Nov 2021

UWE Engineering inspires local children to redesign our world

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The Engineering Outreach team at UWE Bristol are sending engaging role models, alongside a fully immersive planetarium show, into schools to inspire local children to think creatively – like an engineer – and design a sustainable future for our planet.

The “We Make Our Future” show was developed in collaboration with the science entertainment wizards from Explorer Dome, the Bristol-based mobile planetarium company, and funded initially by the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) initiative. Today new support for the educational show has been announced by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s public engagement grant scheme – Ingenious.

This funding will allow Explorer Dome to take the show to 4000 more children in the West of England. As well as enabling the team to incorporate videos from local engineers, to showcase the breadth of people in engineering and inspire the diverse and socially conscious engineers of tomorrow. 

“There are so many inspiring engineers and careers in the West of England and we’ve been celebrating this diversity with our Engineering Curiosity card set as part of our DETI Inspire work,” said UWE Bristol’s project lead, Associate Professor Laura Fogg-Rogers.

“We’re now really excited to bring their stories to the big screen – inside a huge inflatable dome with surround sound to inspire the engineers of the future!”

We Make Our Future

The 360° digital projections in the mobile planetariums take children on a journey – exploring the history of human ingenuity, from the Stone Age to the Space Age, then pivoting to focus on humanity’s current big challenge – tackling climate change.

Reducing our carbon emissions means redesigning nearly everything we use in the modern world – a vast job that requires lots of imagination and a whole myriad of skills and techniques. And whilst the West of England is a hotbed for engineering, there is a shortfall of skills in the workforce.

This initiative looks to address the skills shortfall of the future by encouraging young people to see themselves as engineers. Role models are key to children envisioning themselves in future careers, which is why including diverse engineers is crucial.

“We were honoured to showcase our dome experience at COP26, and it was clear that seeing real-life engineers tackling these big problems was inspirational to audiences,” said Explorer Dome Director and Senior Presenter, Joshua Yates. “That’s why we want to hear from diverse engineers making a difference and support them to tell their stories to young people across the West”.  

In the next few months, the team at UWE Bristol and Explorer Dome will be recruiting local engineers and training them to engage young people, then selecting five engineers to make inspiring films in their workplaces. Training will enhance the engineers’ ability to communicate sustainability solutions in a positive way – something which is hugely important to change attitudes and behaviours towards climate action.

Films of sustainability engineers at their workplaces will showcase how the engineering design process can address the Climate and Ecological Emergency. All adding to the show’s ability to light up the imaginations of the next generation as it travels throughout the region.

If you’re a local engineer with a sustainability focus – please do get in touch to get involved with our training – louisa.cockbill@uwe.ac.uk

Additional information

The show was first presented to the public at the COP26 Planetarium in November 2021 and has now visited several schools in the region. The Ingenious bid enhances the legacy of the show, by enabling Explorer Dome to physically visit 10 schools, along with 10 Zoom shows, reaching around 4000 children aged 8 –13 years from across the West of England in total. All with no charge to the schools or children’s families.

Diversity in the engineering workforce is very low, therefore this project will target underrepresented populations many of which can be found in areas and schools within the top 25% most deprived neighbourhoods of the West of England.

UWE Engineering

You can find out more about UWE Engineering and the activities of the Outreach team on the UWE Engineering our Future website.

Explorer Dome

Explorer Dome is an internationally known, vibrant, popular science outreach organisation.
Based in Bristol, Birmingham and London, we travel across the UK presenting live science shows for schools, festivals and special events. Hands-on demonstrations and stunning visuals combined with knowledgeable, enthusiastic and professional presenters: Explorer Dome is presenter-led, lively, interactive and fun!

Royal Academy of Engineering – Ingenious: public engagement awards

Ingenious is an awards scheme for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering while providing engineers with skills and opportunities in public engagement.

They prioritise projects that reach diverse and underrepresented audiences including communities in the most deprived neighbourhoods in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and that engage with engineers and people of different genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds.


DETI is funded by the West of England Combined Authority; it is transforming engineering for the digital era and inspiring the next generation of engineers. It is helping identify the technologies that will drive innovation in developing sustainable products, systems, businesses, infrastructure and transport that underpin a net zero environment. It is creating a new, diverse engineering community and systems to investigate, develop & demonstrate the advanced digital technologies and skills needed for the sustainable products of the future.

Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) is a strategic programme of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), delivered by the National Composites Centre (NCC) in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS), Digital Catapult, the University of the West of England (UWE), the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath. WECA funding of £5m is match funded by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.

UWE staff & students win prizes at ethnic minority engineering conference

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The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers – AFBE live – held their first annual conference in April, sending happy UWE staff and students home with some sparkling trophies.

Halimah’s trophy

The conference was held at IET savoy place, London, and UWE Research Fellow, Halimah Abdullahi, was runner up in the Next Big Idea Competition – Covid and Diversity & Inclusion category – for her presentation on UWE investigations on how to make engineering inclusive for everyone. This work was part of the Digital Engineering Technology Innovation (DETI) Skills project.

Halimah described the conference as “mind blowing” and “the best event I have attended”. 

There was also success for UWE students Namlan Oulai Siaba and Moataz Hassan, who came 3rd and 4th place respectively in the Tech Innovation category.

The conference was also attended by UWE’s Associate Professor in Assistive Robotics, Virginia Ruiz Garate, who represented UWE at the speed networking event. And Lecturer in Systems Engineering, Amina Hamoud sat on the judging panel for the Next Big Idea Competition.

More about the conference

The conference theme was “The Future of Engineering: Sustainability, Innovation and Diversity”, and 537 people turned up to listen from a host of great speakers, and participate in the many networking opportunities and competitions.

The keynote speakers were Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO of UK Research, and Innovation (UKRI) and Chris Knibb, Head of Corporate Communications, IET. With Chi Onwurah urging everyone to consider getting involved with policy as a way of using engineering expertise and thinking to benefit the society.

Co-founders of AFBE-UK, Dr Nike Folayan and Dr Ollie Folayan, delivered speeches on the background and growth of AFBE. Other speakers included Mark Martin MBE, co-founder of UK BlackTech; Janice Mair, director of people, culture and diversity at EnQuest; Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, public speaker and political commentator; former NBA star John Amaechi OBE, CEO of APS Intelligence and best-selling New York Times author; Shereen Daniels, managing director of anti-racism and racial equity advisory firm, HR rewired; and Ortis Deley, host of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show.


UWE Bristol professor wins prestigious engineering award

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UWE Bristol’s Head of Engineering Design and Mathematics has been recognised for her work to increase diversity in engineering.

Professor Lisa Brodie collected an Enginuity Skills Awards at a ceremony in London, seeing off competition from two shortlisted entrants in the Diversity in Engineering category.

The award recognises organisations, individuals or a team that has delivered a specific scheme, project, or initiative, that significantly contributes to shifting the dial of equality, diversity, and inclusion within the engineering and manufacturing industries.

Professor Brodie has overseen the development of the new School of Engineering building to ensure it has been designed with neurodiverse students in mind. The facility was co-designed in conjunction with a new engineering curriculum, to create a supportive environment for students from under-represented backgrounds. The building is equipped with individual study spaces designed to support students with sensory issues, such as people with autism who can benefit from features including white noise bubble tubes and adjustable, muted lighting.

In addition, Professor Brodie leads the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Skills programme, which aims to improve diversity in recruitment into STEM industries (particularly engineering) while also enhancing retention of skilled engineers in the industry.

The Inspire programme has had particular success, reaching over 7,000 children in the South West so far. Some 42 per cent of the schools participating in face-to-face activities have been from the most deprived 20% of the country. The children have been exposed to innovative engineering workshops that connect them with real-life, diverse engineering role models to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

Professor Brodie said: “It’s just phenomenal to get this award. I’m really excited and proud. We’ve been working hard at the university to really make a change in engineering, particularly around autism and engineers and diversity. We need different minds. If we don’t have a diversity of minds, then we’re not going to get all the solutions we need.”

Tod Burton, Deputy Dean for the Faculty of Environment and Technology, said: “We are all very proud of Professor Brodie and the work her team have tirelessly carried out developing an inclusive Engineering community here at UWE. This prestigious award from Enginuity justly recognises her efforts and the influence Lisa is having across the sector – a true reflection of UWE values.”

This blog was first published by the UWE Bristol comms team, for more of the latest news visit https://www.uwe.ac.uk/news

Head of Engineering shortlisted for diversity award

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As Head of Engineering, Lisa Brodie has spent the last few years redesigning the curriculum and imagining a space (realised in the new Engineering building) where engineering is accessible for everyone. So it should come as no surprise that she has been shortlisted for the Enginuity Diversity in Engineering Award.

Congratulations Lisa!

The award recognises organisations, individuals or a team that has delivered a specific scheme, project, or initiative, that significantly contributes to shifting the dial of equality, diversity, and inclusion within our sector.

This nomination isn’t the first time Lisa’s tireless efforts for diversity in engineering have been recognised. Watch the BBC Points West Video below to find out more about how the building is designed with neurodiverse students in mind, and read what Lisa has to say about the impact a more diverse workforce can have on engineering –

If we want to solve the challenges we face as a society, we need to attract different types of people into the engineering discipline. We need to embrace different ways of thinking and doing, and celebrate differences. Our mission is to change the perception of the roles that engineers fulfil and raise aspirations in underrepresented groups. 

If we carry on seeing the same intake entering the profession, we will continue to come up with the same old solutions. Engineers will need to think differently and be far more creative and innovative over the next decade, particularly with some of the challenges we face in areas such as the climate crisis. We aim to be the difference.

Professor Lisa Brodie, Head of the Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol

Inspiring the next generation of diverse engineers 

But it’s not just about empowering current UWE student engineers, Lisa is also looking to the future of engineering. In late 2019, Lisa fought for, and now leads, the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Skills programme, which aims to to improve diversity in recruitment into STEM industries (particularly engineering) whilst also enhancing retention of skilled engineers in the industry. The Skills programme has a three pronged approach:

  • Inspiring children into STEM
  • Transforming courses and work experience to upskill apprentices
  • Innovating new short courses to reskill the workforce in digital technologies

The Inspire programme has had particular success, reaching over 7000 children in the South West so far, with 42% of all schools engaged with face-to-face, coming from from areas within the most deprived 20% of the country. Those children have been exposed to innovative engineering workshops that connect them with real-life, diverse engineering role models to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

And lots of those workshops have taken place in the purpose-built classroom at UWE Bristol’s School of Engineering. All made possible by Lisa’s trailblazing ideas.

Engineering for Everyone!

Want to hear more about how Lisa has ensured the new building is designed with diversity in mind? Read on!

The brand-new purpose built engineering facility has been co-designed in conjunction with Lisa’s new engineering curriculum, to create a supportive environment for students from under-represented backgrounds. Keeping this focus in mind throughout both the curriculum and the design of the building’s physical structure make it a truly unique space.

As part of Lisa’s drive to embrace and celebrate neuro-diversity, the building is equipped with individual study spaces designed to support students with sensory issues, such as people with autism who can benefit from features including white noise bubble tubes and adjustable, muted lighting. The building is designed to teach in a very different way. 

Lisa has worked with colleagues to embed professional skills, and the professional engineer, at the heart of the curriculum.  The very first things taught to student engineers are creativity, innovation, empathy and design, with a focus on the role of the engineer in society. 

We are on a mission to change the demographic in engineering!

Professor Lisa Brodie, Head of the Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol

Be inspired by children’s innovations

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On Wednesday 6th April – pop along to the Prototype and Play lab in UWE’s School of Engineering for an hour (or as long as you want) to take a look at some of the intriguing inventions school children have been coming up with.

Children all over the country are currently furiously scribbling designs – all intended to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. They are entering those ideas into the Leaders Award – and thousands of those entries will turn up at UWE Bristol (the Leaders Awards partner in the South West) for grading by our lovely local engineers.

Grading isn’t an onerous process – quite the opposite – you’ll simply be flicking through some drawings and putting the most interesting/credible ideas through to be shortlisted. Whilst being plied with tea and coffee plus biscuits (and maybe cake?!) of course.

Every year grading participants really enjoy the experience and leave feeling inspired and intrigued by ideas such as, solar powered blankets or a variable light braking system on cars.

When: Wednesday 6th April – drop in sessions – come along whenever suits you

Location: 4Z002 (the Prototype & Play lab) in UWE Bristol’s School of Engineering (Frenchay Campus)

Contact: louisa.cockbill@uwe.ac.uk for more information and sign up here – we like to know how many people to expect (for biscuit buying purposes)

You can see the Leaders Award process below – all starting with the challenge “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” Step 6 – grading is where you would be helping out.

UWE Bristol awarded prestigious British Construction Industry Award for School of Engineering building

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UWE Bristol has won Social Infrastructure Project of the Year at the 2021 British Construction Industry Awards.

The well-deserving winners of the 2021 British Construction Industry Awards were crowned in front of the industry on Wednesday 13 October at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London.

Celebrating its 34th year, the British Construction Industry Awards brought together more than 600 of the most influential clients and peers in the built environment sector for a glittering evening of celebration, recognition and networking.

Following a rigorous judging process with a prestigious and independent panel of judges, UWE Bristol won in recognition of it’s innovative new School of Engineering building, which earlier this year achieved an “Excellent” rating for its green credentials from the international scheme BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).

After receiving the Social Infrastructure of the year award, #TeamUWE then went on to win the Project of the Year Award, making our new engineering building a multi-award winning space! Huge congratulations to the entire project team:

  • Tod Burton – Deputy Dean, FET
  • Lisa Brodie – Head of Department: Engineering Design & Mathematics
  • Marianne Reed – Senior Programme Manager
  • Chris English – Head of Technical Services, FET
  • Elena Marco – Head of Department: Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Stephen Denning – Estates Project Manager, Estates and Facilities
  • Doug MacLeod – ITS Strategic Business Partner
  • Richard Dewey and Paul McCluskey – BAM Contractors
  • Andrew Lintern and Darren Edson – Capita
  • Jim Crouch – MACE
  • Adam Spall and Hira Teirney  – AHR Architects
  • Stuart Hitchcock, Eunan Scanlon & Simon Nation – Hydrock Consultants

What did the judges say?

The judges were impressed at how well this project delivered against a range of challenges, firstly the intelligent design impressed – where every space within is a potential learning space, and design choices are made to not only encourage collaboration, but also to ready students for their future careers in engineering by replicating the types of environments they will go on to work in. 

Secondly the judges were impressed with how the project was delivered – strong use of digital tools and a real focus on driving down carbon use in construction and driving up the long term sustainability of the structure. The judging panel also noted how the scheme was used to engage and inspire young people into a future in engineering, through engagement with schools, apprenticeships, work experience and long term roles created. 

The standard of entry this year was very high indeed, but the judges awarded the prize to this scheme for all-round excellent performance.  Congratulations, UWE!

Claire Smith, editor of New Civil Engineer said:

Everyone on the shortlist should be immensely proud of their achievements – the judges had a really challenging time deciding on the winners.

The last year has been extremely challenging but despite the difficulties, this year’s entries show that the industry has responded and taken delivery of value, carbon reduction and improved societal outcomes to a new standard. This year’s winners have taken that standard to the highest level and we have some exemplary projects and initiatives that really shine a light on the brilliance of the British construction industry.

The full list of winners can be found at: bcia.newcivilengineer.com/2021-winners

Formula Student – Our Best Year Yet!

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Formula student is the world’s largest Engineering design competition, organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, with the challenge of designing, manufacturing and racing a single seat race car.

Through multiple events, cars are judged on their acceleration, handling and efficiency, while engineers are assessed for their design, costing and business presentation skills.

Current UWE student engineers and alumni from 2020 took part in the UK event which was held at the Silverstone race circuit in Northampton between the 21st and 25th of July.

Although hampered by a few technical issues, a successful event was had by the team. Including a 1st place in skid pad, runner-up in both the 1km sprint, and cost & manufacture events, and 5th in the business plan presentation. Resulting in a final placing of 6th overall and a fantastic time being had by all.

Congratulations #teamUWE we’re extremely proud of your achievements this year!

IET Prize awarded to UWE student engineer!

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UWE student engineer Oliver Németh has been recognised for his hard work by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). 

The IET Prize is awarded annually to outstanding students who are completing a course of study which has been accredited by the IET. Prize winners are nominated by their university based on having shown distinction in their course leading to the award of a first degree. 

As part of his win Oliver will receive a certificate and two years free student membership of the IET. 

I am honoured to receive the IET Prize from the University of the West of England for my outstanding performance during my MEng degree. I am extremely grateful for the recognition I have received for my work. I would like to thank my lecturers, project supervisor, and the laboratory technicians at the university who have provided me with the necessary support, knowledge, and guidance throughout my degree.

Oliver Németh, Electronic Engineering Graduate, UWE Bristol

Our IET Prizes are a fantastic way for talented engineering students to be recognised for their outstanding ability in the early stages of their engineering journey. IET Membership provides early career professionals with the opportunity to connect with a global community, grow their networks and develop their technical knowledge.

The IET is passionate about promoting engineering excellence and our awards and prizes showcase some of the very best engineering talent. All of the winners should be incredibly proud of their achievements. I wish them all the best for a very fulfilling and successful career – they are all difference makers of the future.

Professor Danielle George MBE, President of the IET

To find out more information about the range of prizes and awards available to young and aspiring engineers through the IET, please visit: www.theiet.org/awards

Success at The Engineers for People Design Competition Grand Final!

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Our Product Design and Development Engineering Degree Apprentices from Renishaw Engineering, representing Gloucestershire College and UWE Bristol, made it through to the top six teams before being named Runners Up in this year’s competition.

Run in partnership with Engineers Without Borders, the Engineering for People Design Challenge encourages university students to broaden their awareness of the social, environmental and economic implications of their engineering solutions, through a project-based learning pedagogy. This challenge also forms part of UWE Bristol’s Engineering Practise module Project Week.

This year 1339 teams (around 8000 students) from UK and Ireland universities participated in the competition with 102 teams submitting their designs to be judged by 234 professional reviewers from 32 countries. The top 35 teams were invited to a finals event on July 1st, where they pitched their idea to a panel of 22 expert judges. Our brilliant team of apprentices then made it through to the Grand Finals along with five other teams before being awarded the Runners Up Prize.

A huge congratulations to Marcus, Charlie, Eleanor, Oliver and Ezra! We’re all immensely proud of your fantastic achievement.

The team’s design, an Implementation of Biodigesters and Oxidation Ponds, provides a cost-effective and low maintenance solution which seeks to improve the sanitary conditions and economic prospects of Lobitos and Piedritias, in Peru. This new system would remove and treat wastewater, whilst also providing clean drinking water, solid and liquid fertiliser, and building materials. You can learn more about their design idea here.

The Product Design and Development team presenting their Biodigester project

For more information about The Engineers for People Design Competition or UWE’s Project Week, please contact engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk

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