Read reflections on RAEng This Is Engineering Engagement event

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A recent event at our Women Like Me funder, the Royal Academy of Engineering, explored “the benefits and challenges of a more joined-up approach to inspiring the next generation of engineers”. 

Reflections on the event, and what an effective STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) engagement strategy actually looks like, are now available from The Engineer.

Header image: Royal Academy of Engineering on Twitter.

FREE event: Women Like Me – Boosting mentoring for women in STEM in the West of England

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As our Royal Academy of Engineering funded project, Women Like Me, draws to a close for this year, we are hosting a celebration event at UWE Bristol:

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

12-2 pm

1R26, R block, North Entrance, UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus


Sign up on Eventbrite

Women Like Me – Boosting mentoring for women in STEM in the West of England

The West of England is home to an impressive list of STEM industries, and all are working to improve participation for women in STEM. As well as recruiting more women into STEM, we also need to think about retaining our talented workforce. Mentoring Schemes can help to do just that, with research showing that mentoring from other experienced women is a key factor in creating a welcoming workplace culture.

This event brings together our leading players in women’s mentoring across the West of England, to explore how we can support each other and learn from best practice. Organised by UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me project for engineering mentoring, the network also connects with Women in Science and Engineering Bristol, the Women’s Engineering Society centenary and Curiosity Connections Bristol.

The event includes lunch and a keynote talk on women’s mentoring, followed by a workshop to develop further connections between mentoring schemes.

Please sign up to come and join us!

Calling mothers in academia at UWE Bristol

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Are you a female academic professional with children, working at UWE Bristol? Second year Business and Human Resource Management students (supervised by Dr Vanda Papafilippou, chair of our Women Like Me partner the WISE Bristol Hub) are conducting research into the impact of motherhood on career progression as part of their assessment coursework for the Research Methods for Human Resource Management module.

Please see below for details of the project and how you can get involved:

The impacts of motherhood on the career progression of female academics in a post 1992 institution

The aim of the project is to gain an understanding of the impact of motherhood on the career progression of female academics. Your participation entails attending a one to one semi-structured interview with one of our research team. The interview questions will focus on: (i) your career history (background information); (ii) the impact of motherhood on your career progression (iii) The challenges that you have faced with regards to networking, high workloads, work-life balance and organisational culture. It is anticipated that the interview will last for approximately one hour and it will be conducted during working hours within the University of the West of England. If you are happy to take part in the interview, please could you email, within 2 weeks, so that we can arrange a convenient time and date to meet.  

With your permission, we would like to record the interview using a Dictaphone. Field notes will also be taken during the meeting. After the meeting the recordings and notes will be used to transcribe the data. Pseudonyms will be used anonymise data, all names, institutions and anything that can reveal your identity will be carefully removed and replaced with generic terms such as participant 1, University 1. All data will be stored on UWE password protected computers, files will also be password protected and only members of the research team will have access to it. A confidentiality header page will be used to inform tutors and markers of the confidential nature of the information. Recordings will  be deleted as soon as they have been transcribed and files will be deleted once the research has been marked and marks have been confirmed.  It is your right to withdraw from the study without having to state a reason, by e-mailing We do, however, ask that you notify us by 12th April 2019 as any information collected will be used towards a marked assessment. This will allow for your data to be removed prior to the assessment.

The project has been reviewed and has received ethics approval by our personal tutor Vanda Papafilippou at the University of the West of England. Your involvement in this project will be voluntary. If you have any questions, please email ourselves: or Dr Vanda Papafilippou (research supervisor: Email:; Telephone: 0117 32 87984) We look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes,

Lucy Downes, Grace Humpry, Victoria Campion, Jade Kelley, Sanna-Karoliina Rahko

2nd Year undergraduates- Business and Human Resource Management 

Measuring emissions on the no. 72

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A partnership between First Bus in Bristol, the Centre for Transport and Society and the Engineering Modelling and Simulation group has seen UWE Bristol assessing the impact on local air quality of running hybrid buses in Bristol.

Dr Peter Kay and Dr Ben Drew, lecturers on UWE’s Automotive Engineering programme, have been out early to measure emissions in real time on the number 72 bus route from Bristol to UWE.

New funding from EPSRC for FARSCOPE Centre for Doctoral Training

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funding has been secured for 5 more intakes of PhD students in the FARSCOPE Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).

Based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, this new funding continues a successful established partnership between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol in robotics and autonomous systems research. Details about the CDT and the PhD places we have available for September can be found here.

Apply now for Royal Academy of Engineering Symposium: Inclusivity and Wellbeing in the First 2000 Days of Life

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The Royal Academy of Engineering (funders of our Curiosity ConnectionsWomen Like Me project) are to host their third Frontiers of Development symposium, Monday 11th – Wednesday 13th March 2019 at the Wellcome Genome Campus, outside of Cambridge, UK.

Ensuring good health and well-being, providing quality education and advocating for gender eqality are a few of the Sustainable Development Goals that will be explored, as the symposium looks at factors affecting (approximately) the first five years of life. Participants will look at actions to help future generations to survive and thrive, in a transformed environment, drawing on the UN Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) as a framework.

The sub-themes for the symposium will be:

  • Survive: Reducing child mortality – learning from the past and lessons for the future
  • Thrive: Reaching full developmental potential
  • Transform: Realising an environment for sustainable, prosperous childhood development

The event is being held with support from Wellcome. For further details and to apply to attend by the deadline of 11th February 2019, please see the Royal Academy of Engineering upcoming symposia page.

Robotics and automation support for West of England SMEs

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Businesses and entrepreneurs across the West of England will be able to trial, adopt and develop robotics and smart automation solutions, thanks to a new £1 million initiative from UWE Bristol.

The SABRE Programme, which is based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and receiving up to £534,693 in funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from any sector to explore benefits of these technologies and identify the most appropriate robotic equipment for their organisation. Support will be available through attending free workshops, or by applying to receive free or subsidised technical support.

“We are very excited about the opportunities this new initiative presents”

Professor Chris Melhuish, Director of BRL

More in-depth support, such as facilitating collaborations with talented engineers and helping them to develop, prototype, test and validate concepts, will be available for SMEs researching and innovating new products or services. This can be accessed through SABRE’s Technical Development Projects (TDPs).

For more information, please see this UWE Bristol news article . Potential applicants can register an interest online at, or contact the dedicated SABRE team on 0117 3283296 or at

Female engineers engaged in women’s networks invited to participate in new research

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Dr Vanda Papafilippou, lecturer in Human Resource Management at UWE Bristol, is undertaking new research into engagement of female engineers with women’s networks and how this relates to their career identities. Please see below for details and get in touch with Vanda on if you’d like to take part, or for further information.

If you are a female engineer and relatively active in women’s networks (e.g. your company’s women’s network, WISE, WES, Bristol Geek Dinners, etc.), you are being invited to participate in a research project conducted by Dr Vanda Papafilippou (Lecturer in HRM at UWE Bristol.)

The study, aims at exploring how female engineers develop, enter, maintain and engage with women’s networks and the extent to which these networks contribute to their career identities. The findings of the study will enable engineering companies to (re)design their women-only networks in order to make sure that they empower and retain women engineers.

If you agree to participate, you will be invited for a one-to-one interview with Vanda (wherever works better for you). The interview will last approximately one hour and can be conducted any day and time between February and April 2019. The interview questions will be around: (i) your career history (background information); (ii) the range and nature of women-only networks you are currently participating in and (iii) if, and if yes how, your participation in women-only networks has impacted on the way you see yourself as an engineer (i.e. your career identity).

If you are interested in participating or if you require further information, contact directly Vanda (

“You can do better than giving me these dreary designs”

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Prof. Praminda Caleb-Solly, Professor of Assistive Robotics and Intelligent Health Technologies at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UWE Bristol and Head of Electronics and Computer Systems at Designability, shares with us her poem about integrating arts with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (so that STEM becomes STEAM) in this guest post.

One of my recent projects was an Innovate UK Long Term Care Revolution funded project called Connecting Assistive Solutions to Aspirations. The aim was to develop personalised packages of innovative products and services to help people maintain enjoyable, independent lives in later life.

The work included a review of currently available assistive technology and understanding older people’s aspirations. The findings and insights from the research helped to surface some startling issues relating to a mismatch between people’s aspirations and the type and aesthetics of the technology available. We also explored the changes and cuts in health and social care services and the impact these are having on people’s lives.

The problems are so complex that the breakthroughs needed require us to re-imagine and restructure how we think about the design of technology and its use.

When I received an invitation from the Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol to present at one of their community events, it was accompanied by the KWMC manifesto which included a call for action: Move from STEM to STEAM:

restore the arts as a core part of the National Curriculum by expanding the priority STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) to include both the Arts and a focus on high-tech crafting and making”

Knowle West Media Centre

I thought this was brilliant – exactly what we need – it inspired me to write something creative for their event, drawing on the findings and experiences of our research participants. On hearing Lisa Brodie promote STEAM at our EDM away day, I thought I would share the poem as I am strongly in support of her initiative.

[A Plea for more Artistry in the Design of Assistive Technology]
                                                                         by Praminda Caleb-Solly

3 shades of grey and if you are lucky aluminium with a touch of teal
It’s definitely not going to go with my snazzy hat, one with the velvety feel
What I see, assistive technology, bland icy steel
Economical and effective, should not mean lack of appeal

Light up my life – fill it with style, understand my contextual vibes
It will need more than integrals and executable files
More than inverse kinematics and the coefficient of heat
Find out what makes me squeal, feel my heart beat

Delight me, make me joyful
I know you are trying to make it easier, it’s not that I’m not grateful
But using this frightful grey mobility aid
Is making me feel downgraded and frayed

You can do better than giving me these dreary designs
You need to start with understanding what fits in my life
Not trying to force fit a solution that you feel will be right
Think about form, make it fun, make it bright

Fill my life with hope and desire,
Not the dread of reaching the end of my fire

3 shades of grey and if you are lucky aluminium with a touch of teal
It’s definitely not going to go with my Indonesian batik
Don’t think that you can get away with a covering of frills
I am not after a cheap set of tacky thrills

A revolution won’t happen just by thinking or wishing it,
What’s needed is a rainbow of skills to commit to it
A multifaceted team reflecting the wonders of life
Artists and craftspeople, sculptors and people people, to get it right

The challenges are immense – easy to clean and cost effective to buy
and we don’t want to go wiping out the butterfly
Sustainable manufacturing and ergonomics
Assembly times and economics

All the more reason to incorporate
Art history, sociology and fashion skills to colour coordinate
Bring in an equitable purchase plan
It’s not just about making money for the man

Light up my life – fill it with style, understand my contextual vibes
It will need more than integrals and executable files

3 shades of grey, aluminium and some teal, it might be straightforward
for just in time manufacturing and clinching the deal
But it’s causing my world to have an excitement outage
With your focus on STEM, my world’s experiencing an artistry shortage

Respond with sensitivity to my style,
Make it scream, make me smile
Fill my life with hope and desire,
Not the dread of reaching the end of my fire

UWE Bristol develops new technology for rail engineers

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UWE Bristol is involved in the development of new technology which will predict when part of a train track, signalling equipment or other devices at a station are likely to fail.

The system is currently in development and will also allow engineers to use Augmented Reality (AR) via a smartphone or a Head Mounted Display (HMD) to locate failing components or structure faults and read on-screen instructions in real-time to help them with repairs.

The project is led by engineering technology start-up Enable My Team (EMT), collaborating the UWE Bristol and smart engineering solutions company Costain.

A network of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors will initially be installed in 2019 in test site London Bridge Station. They will gather data on tracks and station facilities, such as ventilation systems, barriers or lighting before sending it to a software called i-RAMP (IoT-enabled Platform for Rail Assets Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance).

To read more, please see this recently published UWE Bristol news item.