Family Fun day at UWE’s Engineering!

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Tickets are going fast for UWE’s family fun day – taking place on Saturday 25th June in the brand new Engineering building on UWE’s Frenchay campus.

Get your free tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leaders-award-family-fun-day-tickets-344241203707

Running: 10am – 4:30pm

We’ll have lots of exciting activities for the whole family – all the best local science-y activities in one place – robots, Minecraft & an amazing FREE planetarium show!

UWE is bringing all this together to celebrate the amazing inventions children in the South-West designed for the Leaders Award competition – with shortlisted entries on display alongside the robots, music technology, crafty activities, eco-house activity and did I mention a FREE planetarium show?!

Local Engineers wowed by children’s inventions

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Yesterday, a range of Engineers from across the South West scurried out of the rain and into UWE’s outreach classroom to find out what local children had invented in this round of – “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

A nationwide competition, the engineers soon got dug into the entries (and the biscuits!) sharing the most inventive, interesting, and down-right crazy ones with the group.

“It’s fun!” said Paul Powell of Babcock International

Gill Richardson who works on rail projects at Porterbrook said, “There are some fascinating ideas…really inventive.”

For Darren Kewley, from the MOD, he returns year after year to these grading days to hear the stories.”I think my favourite part is seeing their personal stories come through – the real world problems they face and seeing them apply engineering to fix those problems.”

He gave an example that had particularly struck him. “One child explained how their Gran was in hospital and it broke their heart to see the problems she was facing. They explained in the letter that they hadn’t known what to do, but after hearing about this competition, realised that engineering could help.”

The kids taking part in this competition have got it – Engineering solves problems and can help make the world a better place!

And on that uplifting note, we look forward to find out the winners at the celebration day in June – thanks everyone for volunteering their time to make this competition great.

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.

Getting kids into engineering through creative problem solving

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Primary Engineer have partnered with UWE Bristol to ask pupils between the ages of 3 to 19 years one question,

If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

From solar powered blankets to a variable light braking system on cars – ideas submitted for the Leaders Award wow UWE engineers. And every year UWE engineers team together to make one of the winning designs. See below the variable light braking system presented to young people at the award ceremony in 2019.

The Red Line Braking System was installed on a remote control car to show just how well it works!

How it works & what does UWE do?

Primary Engineer sets plans in motion to inspire children in answering the challenge. They pair schools with local engineers as well as running weekly live interviews with some of the most inspirational people in engineering (like our fantastic team at UWE).

Then pupils are invited to find a problem, draw, annotate their solution and write an accompanying letter, persuading an engineer to choose their design and build it!

At grading days held on campus -UWE engineers get the opportunity to be stunned by the ideas children in the West of England come up.

A central team then selects two winners from each year group across the region and UWE hosts the public exhibition (save the date – 24th June 2022).

Finally – UWE engineers get invited to pick one of the winning designs to build into a reality.

Want to get involved?

Inspire – would you like to speak to children about how cool engineering is? Get in touch!

Be inspired – want to see some of these ideas in the flesh? You can help out at a grading day (in April) or/and come along to the Awards Ceremony in June. Get in touch to find out more about either event!

Build – would you be interested in making a child’s invention into reality? Let us know!

You can find out more about the Leaders Award: www.leadersaward.com

UWE student engineers bring children’s designs to life!

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“If you were an Engineer, what would you do?”

This is the question asked to over 49,000 children throughout the UK each year as part of the Primary Engineer Leaders Award.

The Leaders Award is an annual competition which encourages pupils from primary and secondary schools across the UK to look at the world around them and find engineered solutions to common problems. Each year the children’s designs are graded by engineering professionals and the winners for each region are announced and celebrated at regional events.

The Engineering Design and Mathematics Department (EDM) at UWE Bristol have supported the awards and hosted celebration events for schools in the South West for the past four years, but this year the celebrations had to move online.

To make sure everyone could still view and enjoy the children’s designs, Primary Engineer created online virtual galleries for each region.

You can view the gallery for the South West entries of 2020 here.

EDM further support the Awards each year, by bringing the children’s designs to life. UWE student engineers are tasked to build prototypes of the winning designs, which are then showcased at the following year’s celebration event. This year a team of student engineers have been busy bringing an electric blanket design to life!

The solar electric heated blanket was designed by Mary, a local Year 5 pupil who aimed to provide warmth for the homeless. The team of UWE Masters students tasked with building a functional prototype of the blanket include student electronic engineers Oliver Németh, Eimantas Medziunas and Kieran Easdale, and student mechanical engineer Ahmed Nor (aka The Prototeam!).

The original design by Mary, Yr5

The challenge was to produce a blanket that would meet the needs of the end user – one that was suitable for outdoor use, durable, portable, low cost, easy to maintain, hygienic and able to provide heat for an appropriate length of time.

An interesting challenge with the technology currently available, and one that the Prototeam worked hard to solve together, using electronic simulations, schematic diagrams and 3D models. From this a prototype was built for testing and analysis, the results of which revealed the design was a success!

The prototype used for testing and analysis

Projects such as this have huge potential to inspire the next generation of innovators into a future in engineering. Encouraging children to tackle real-world problems that affect their everyday life helps widen the appeal of engineering to children from a variety of backgrounds, and will hopefully lead to a more diverse workforce in the future.

If you are a current student, alumni or professional and would like to know more about the Leaders Award or other engineering outreach opportunities currently available, please get in touch with the team at engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk

If you are a school or young person interested in taking part in the Leaders Award this year, you can find more info and register for free here.

UWE Bristol teams up with Primary Engineer to inspire schools and pupils in the West of England.

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UWE Bristol have partnered with Primary Engineer supporting their ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?® competition for South West England for the fourth consecutive year. The University’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics Department (EDM) are also supporting the ‘Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics‘ project this year, as part of their new programme of work for the Digital Engineering Technology Innovation (DETI) initiative for the West of England region.

We are thrilled to have UWE Bristol continue as a University partner for ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?’ and to also fund the ‘Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics project’ through DETI. Winning designs from ‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ will continue to be developed and built by UWE Bristol engineering students into a full-scale functioning prototypes, giving the school pupils who entered the competition insight into the process behind designing and manufacturing a product as well as seeing their design brought to life.

Chris Rochester, UK Director at Primary Engineer

Primary Engineer Programmes

The Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics project begins with a one-day CPD course for primary teachers which enables them to deliver the engineering projects with Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils. Teachers are provided with sets of tools, consumables and online resources as part of the fully funded project and will be partnered with engineering professionals from UWE and local businesses to provide a real-world context to the learning.

If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?® asks pupils from early years, primary schools and secondary schools to identify a problem in the world and design a solution to it. Inspired by interviewing engineering professionals from a range of roles, pupils are encouraged to ‘find the engineer they could be’ by designing the future of engineering. Alongside their annotated drawings, pupils write an accompanying letter to persuade the judges to select their design to be one of a number of designs to be built by UWE Bristol.

The DETI Inspire Programme

EDM are leading the Skills Development branch of DETI, establishing an engineering engagement hub for the West of England, based out of their new state-of-the-art School of Engineering building, and delivering three Skills programmes: Inspire, Transform and Innovate. Encouraging diversity and inclusivity, DETI Inspire engages children in primary and secondary education across the West of England, with a focus on disadvantaged areas. Using curriculum-linked engineering outreach and careers support, the programme connects children with real-life, diverse engineering role models via the Diversity Demonstrator, to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

We are really pleased to partner with Primary Engineer to support our DETI Inspire educational programme. Supporting teachers to engage with STEM activities is so important, as they are critical influences in young children’s lives. There are so many exciting careers available in engineering, and it all starts with children learning that they have the power to make a difference in the world

Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, DETI Inspire Lead

About Primary Engineer

Primary Engineer is an educational not-for-profit organisation that provides a suite of programmes to encourage children from 3 to 19 years to consider STEM and data careers. Primary Engineer inspires children, pupils, parents and teachers through continued professional development, whole class project work, competitions, and engagement with industry professionals to ensure the learning has a context to the wider world.

Primary Engineer promote engineering and data careers and address the diversity and gender imbalance in engineering and data with early years, primary and secondary pupils. Primary Engineer has won accolades over the years including successive Red Rose Award’s for ‘Skills and Training Provider of the year’, Burnley Councils’ Chief Executive’s’ Award for bringing ‘Education and Industry together’ and featured in the Scottish Government’s Manufacturing Future for Scotland and the Engineering Skills Investment Plan. For further information visit www.primaryengineer.com.


Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) is a strategic programme of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), delivered by the National Composites Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & SimulationDigital Catapult, the University of the West of England, the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath. Industry partners include Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, and CFMS, with in kind contributions from UWE, Digital Catapult and Siemens. DETI is funded by £5m from WECA, with co-investment from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.

Sign up to be amazed by kid’s inventions

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Thousands of children across the South West are busy thinking up inventions to answer the question posed by the Leaders Awards free competition:

“If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

The Leaders Award arranges live Q&A sessions with lots of different types of engineers, all to inspire children aged 3 – 19. Then the children decide what problem they want to address, design a solution and enter the competition with a drawing and description.

Thousands of children in the South West will enter the Leaders Award this year, and we need practising engineers to grade the myriad of inventive entries.

South West grading days are being held at UWE Frenchay Campus, in the Business School (3X109) on 5th and 6th of May. They are fun, inspiring days so please sign up to pop along for as little or as long as you like.

Once registered, further details about the day will be sent nearer the time.

Making children’s inventions a reality

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UWE Bristol partners with the Leaders Award, an annual children’s engineering competition, to help run the competitions’ masterclass, grading days and celebration events in the South West. Last year Engineering students made a prototype of one of the winning inventions – a car braking systems where the red braking lights vary in intensity according to the pressure applied to the brake. This year, a new team of engineers are making children’s ideas into reality…

Second year mechanical engineering student – Georgina Packham – is heading up the ‘EWB UWE’ team to try and make a ‘Rain Catcher’.

The Rain Catcher was designed by Year 1 student from Headley Park Primary School, Tristan Sta Ines – pictured here.

The design’s purpose is to catch the rain which then turns into clean water. This benefits those who are thirsty helping to keep them healthy.

“We chose the Rain Catcher as we are not aware of any existing products that function in all the same ways that this design does, and we were also instantly drawn to the bright colours of the design. Tristan’s design will not only have little to no negative impact on the environment, but could also benefit those who don’t have easy access to clean water.”

Georgina explained why EWB UWE chose Tristan’s design.

The rest of the team is comprised of first year Engineering, Design and Mathematics students, Chase McLaughlin, Simbarashe Sibanda and Sonny Ngo.

Good luck team EWB UWE!

Primary Engineer launches the 2019 Leaders Award competition to inspire students interested in engineering

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The official launch event for the 2019 edition of the “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” Leaders Award competition from Primary Engineer has taken place to Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.

By asking the question, “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”, the competition encourages school students across the UK to design inventions that solve real problems. UWE Bristol supports the Leaders Award in the Southwest, including hosting grading days at which all entries are graded by engineering professionals. Winning designs from around the country are built by university and industry-led teams, including one from UWE.

You can watch the original Facebook Live broadcast of Primary Engineer director Chris Rochester opening the event, alongside Dr. Susan Scurlock MBE (founder of Primary Engineer) and representatives from the three national sponsors, Gatwick Airport, National Rail and Facebook.

Can you spot our winning build design from this year, Philippa Griffiths’ Red Line Braking System built by our UWE student engineers?

Primary Engineer launches the 2019 Leaders Award competition to inspire students interested in engineering

We are very excited to bring you the official launch event for the 2019 edition of the “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” competition from Primary Engineer. This competition encourages 50,000 students aged 3 to 19 from across the UK to submit ideas for inventions that solve real problems in their communities; all entries are graded by engineering professionals and the winning designs are built by university and industry-led teams. The initiative aims to address the shortage of engineering professionals in the workforce: the UK Government says that over 200,000 new engineers are required per year to meet the demands of modern society. Delivering the opening remarks is Dr. Susan Scurlock MBE, founder of Primary Engineer, accompanied by representatives from the three national sponsors:Stewart Wingate (CEO of Gatwick Airport), Andy Doherty (CTO of Network Rail), and Rachel Burton (HR director of EMEA engineering, Facebook).

Posted by Facebook London on Tuesday, 13 August 2019

There’s also more about the launch event here from Primary Engineer.

Winning Leaders Award prototype unveiled at exhibition at UWE Bristol

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Last year, Hugh Sexey CE Middle School student Philippa Griffiths designed the Red Line Braking System for the Leaders Award competition, in response to the question “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

The Leaders Award sets this challenge to encourage children to identify a problem that engineering could solve, and devise a solution. Philippa’s invention was picked as a winning design for the South West, and then selected to be turned into a working prototype by a team of UWE Bristol engineers. Philippa’s design displays variable red lights on the back of a vehicle to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed.

Our team of female student engineers from the university’s Women in Science and Engineering Society, including some taking part in our Royal Academy of Engineering funded project Women Like Me, turned Philippa’s idea into reality, visiting her school during the process and providing updates as they went.

Our team are:

The prototype was unveiled at the South West Leaders Award exhibition at UWE Bristol on Friday 14th June 2019 by Philippa, Katy and Miriam. The prototype, along with this year’s shortlisted entries, was also on display on Saturday 15th June at the University’s Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC). Hundreds of visitors of all ages were able to try it out, as well as taking part in exciting STEM activities provided by the MOD, Aerospace Bristol, and UWE. The displays included having a go with drones, Lego Mindstorm, and a virtual reality tour of the new Engineering Building.

Congratulations to Philippa and the team for designing and creating a fantastic new engineering solution!

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