University Scrapheap Challenge – Lego-style

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Last week, many of our student engineers here at UWE Bristol, got involved in fun, team-working challenges. And foundation students weren’t going to be left out – they took on their own Lego-based scrapheap challenge on Friday 26th November.

Programme leader for the Foundation Year, James Whiting, masterminded the challenge. Borrowing an assortment of Lego from the Engineering outreach team to form the scrapheap from which the students selected components to build a balloon-powered Lego car.

See photos below of the foundation students engaging with the team building activity, but also, having lots of fun.

Let the races begin!

Driving/Flying simulations

As part of the catch up and engagement week, Automotive Engineering With Foundation Year students, took part in simulation games in the Digital Engineering Lab. See photos below.

Young people discuss how to reduce carbon emissions with West of England policymakers

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How can we take 40% of traffic off our roads, heat our homes without fossil fuels and reduce our waste by 2030?  These are some of the questions young people will be tackling at the Youth Engineering for Environmental Sustainability Summit (YEESS), 11 – 13 October 2021. 

Designed by the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Inspire educational team at UWE Bristol (supported by the West of England Combined Authority) in collaboration with the “I’m an Engineer” outreach team, YEESS gives young people a voice to mitigate the impact climate change has on their futures.

Sixth form students across the West of England will be challenged to critically evaluate the feasibility of carbon emission reduction strategies to achieve Net Zero 2030. Each day of the summit, the students will address a different aspect of sustainability and engage with local engineers and politicians through live online discussions.

The online discussions will include Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees on 11 October, and Councillor Toby Savage from South Gloucestershire Council and Councillor Sarah Warren from Bath & North East Somerset Council on 12 October.

On 13 October, West of England Mayor Dan Norris, will join in activities with schools in person at We The Curious and will be answering questions in a live online event.

Young people will directly ask the politicians questions, and the resulting discussions will be communicated to policymakers in the West of England, and showcased to international audiences at COP26.

Programme

YEESS delegates will be assessing three core targets (and the suggested solutions) mapped into the Bristol and West of England action plans:

  • How might we take 40% of traffic off our roads by 2030?
  • How might we heat our homes without fossil fuels by 2030?
  • How might we reduce our waste by 65% by 2030?

For each target, students will investigate the issue, imagine solutions framed by experts and then refine those ideas through online discussions before the daily Q&As with politicians.

The full programme of events can be found at https://yeess.imanengineer.org.uk/.

Legacy Materials from YEESS will also be available on the DETI Inspire resource hub for KS3, 4 and 5.

About DETI Inspire

DETI Inspire champions science for children in the West of England with a particular focus on breaking stereotypes and challenging perceptions about STEM careers in order to appeal to under-represented groups in engineering. Our vision is for every young person in the West of England to have access to inclusive, engaging and inspiring engineering experiences with real-life relatable role models. We make it our mission to support and inspire the next generation of digital engineers.

For more information, please visit https://www.digitaltrailblazers.net/about or contact engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk

About I’m an Engineer

I’m an Engineer is a student-led, online STEM engagement and enrichment project. Since 2012 it has connected 25,000 students with 370 engineers. Evaluation shows the online format is highly effective at reaching and engaging young people, especially those under-served by other STEM interventions.

Local Action Plans

This summit is based on Bristol City Council’s Climate Action plan. West of England Combined Authority’s Climate Action plan is currently being reviewed.

About COP26

The COP26 event is a global United Nations summit about climate change and how countries are planning to tackle it. COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and will be attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994.

The meeting taking place in Glasgow in November 2021 will be the 26th meeting, which is why it’s called COP26. You can read more about the aims of COP26 here: https://eciu.net/analysis/briefings/inter national-perspectives/what-is-cop26-who-will-attend-it-and-why-does-it-matter?s=08

Launch of West of England Digital Engineering Technology initiative

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UWE Bristol is proud to announce the official launch of the region’s new Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) initiative!

DETI is a research, innovation and skills initiative created to develop and accelerate digital engineering across multiple industry sectors, to ultimately benefit future generations of engineers and engineering products, and to help tackle global challenges.

UWE’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics department will play a central role in DETI, leading the Skills development branch of the centre. EDM will work with other DETI partners to:

  • Inspire the next generation of diverse engineers
  • Transform the further and higher education landscape
  • Innovate lifelong learning of specialised digital engineering skills

Dr Lisa Brodie, Head of UWE Bristol’s Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM), who led UWE’s bid, said: “This is a vitally important investment for our region and we are pleased to be leading on the skills and workforce development element of the centre’s work. It comes at a perfect time as we prepare to open our new engineering building where we will have state-of-the-art digital engineering facilities and an increased focus on digital engineering to train our graduates for emerging roles in the sector.”

For more details about this exciting new venture, please read the official press release launch of DETI and visit the new DETI website.

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. DETI is funded by £5m from WECA, with co-investment from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.

Student wins STEM innovation award

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UWE’s very own fourth year Mechanical Engineering student, Henry James, won this year’s Telegraph STEM Awards.

The Telegraph STEM Awards offer undergraduates the chance to prove their talent to some of the biggest names in industry. Now in its seventh year, the students were asked to tackle problems from the personal to the global.

Henry’s innovation – “Grid Grow” – developed a way to make modular homes sustainable using renewable technologies.

“My concept, GridGrow, looks to improve modular housing developments by aligning them with the need to reduce our carbon footprint,” he explains. “This is done by using renewable technologies that can be integrated into a modular development with ease.

“Integrating energy production with modular housing hasn’t been done before, but looking at modular housing in this way makes it more attractive to developers, while also addressing global warming and the UK’s housing needs.”

Henry was quoted in the Telegraph’s official announcement on 24th April.

COVID-19 forced judging online, and from being announced as one of four category winners in the semi-final, Henry was then announced the winner in the final round.

Find out more about Henry’s idea and the other finalists here.

UWE partner with Newicon to innovate Engineering teaching

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The news that UWE Engineering are embedding a design-thinking Innovation Kit into their 2020/21 engineering programmes, featured on the cover of Education Technology on Monday 4th May.

The unique training tool was developed by Bristol-based software company Newicon, and uses a more agile, cyclic approach to engineering innovation, in-line with leading industry design thinking.

The Innovation Kit focuses on exploring and defining real human-centred problems, rapidly moving through iterative solutions and visual prototypes to select the best solution, before getting into the details. This approach is thought to better align user needs with business objectives, whilst considering the practical implementation.

The kit will be at the centre of the new engineering module, Engineering Practice as part of an Integrated Learning Framework focussed around project-based learning. Module leaders Laura Fogg-Rogers and David Richardson are working with Newicon to tailor the kit to meet student needs, as well as training staff in how best to deliver the set of engaging workshops, exercises and tools.

“UWE Bristol are investing in a £multimillion purpose-built School of Engineering opening in Autumn 2020. Alongside this we have a revolutionary redesigned curriculum that nurtures creativity, innovation and collaboration through training on ‘live’ projects and problems.

Newicon’s approach to design thinking and innovation is the ideal partner for our new curriculum. They will equip our student engineers with practical tools and knowledge in order to succeed in their chosen engineering career.”

Lisa Brodie, Head of the School of Engineering at UWE Bristol.

There’ll be more exciting news concerning the new engineering curriculum being developed by Lisa and her team in the coming months – so stay tuned!

Aerospace students visit Airbus Factory in Bremen

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Programme leader, Jerzy Bakunowicz, reports on the recent trip to Germany

On January 20th, a group of 29 Aerospace and Aerospace with Pilot Studies students along with five members of staff, visited the Airbus factory in Bremen, Germany.

Bremen is the second-largest Airbus site in Germany and is responsible for the design, manufacture, integration and testing of high-lift systems for the wings of all Airbus programmes. Its origins date back to the famous Focke-Wulf design and manufacturing site.

However, on this trip the focus was on the centre of competence for space transportation, manned space flight and space robotics.

The standard factory guided trip allowed seeing historical and more current projects, such as the Automated Transfer Vehicle, the Ariane 5 space launcher and the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. As well as spending a couple of minutes on-board the International Space Station (ISS) and inside mission room.

It was a rare opportunity for the students to enhance their knowledge in space technology, a core part of the Aerospace course.

And of course, after the fruitful engineering part of the day, one could admire the beauty of the renowned German Hanseatic city.

EDM set to lead skills development in new £10 million digital engineering centre

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UWE Bristol will play a central role in a new £10 million digital engineering centre for the region.

The Centre for Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) is a research, innovation and skills initiative created to develop and accelerate digital engineering across multiple industry sectors, to ultimately benefit future generations of engineers and engineering products, and to help tackle global challenges.

A collaboration of industry and academic partners, DETI is led by the National Composites Centre (NCC) and supported by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA). WECA awarded £5m to the centre – match £5m investment from West of England businesses who are at the forefront of industry.

EDM’s role

Dr Lisa Brodie, Head of UWE Bristol’s Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM), who led UWE’s bid, said: “This is a vitally important investment for our region and we are pleased to be leading on the skills and workforce development element of the centre’s work. It comes at a perfect time as we prepare to open our new engineering building where we will have state-of-the-art digital engineering facilities and an increased focus on digital engineering to train our graduates for emerging roles in the sector.”

EDM will create an integrated education and workforce development capability programme, and talent pipeline, all to inspire, introduce, convert and specialise. And it will promote an inclusive diverse workforce, crucial for creativity and innovation.

Training courses related to advanced digital engineering will be developed to increase skills and retrain those in the current workforce.

Schools will also be engaged with, particularly in less affluent parts of the West of England, with the aim to reach 1,000 children and inspire them to pursue a career in digital engineering.

DETI is not a new building but will use existing facilities and assets at various partners facilities, including UWE Bristol’s new engineering building.

Links to the local industrial strategy

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “DETI will be a nationally important centre, based in the West of England. It will help secure the future of the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries and is a key part of our Local Industrial Strategy ambition to strengthen cross-sectoral innovation and support our region’s ambition for clean and inclusive growth.”

The centre will work with leading companies and support industry to reduce carbon emissions by producing better products – products that are lighter, more fuel efficient and have less waste – through undertaking research and innovation in the virtual world.

Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Toby The Tobester Savage said: “Over the past decade or so the Filton Enterprise Area, UWE Bristol, MoD and the Bristol and Bath Science Park have formed a powerful network of world-leading innovation in aerospace, engineering and defence. We are therefore delighted to see South Gloucestershire hosting the DETI project which we believe will be of national and international significance to the future of clean energy and low carbon transport.

“This geography is increasingly recognised as the South Gloucestershire ‘TEC ARC’ and we look forward to working closely with multiple stakeholders to ensure that the project grows this critical sector of our economy, but also engages widely across the region through schools and colleges to give new experiences and opportunities in the development of STEM skills.”

Organisations investing in DETI alongside WECA and the NCC include UWE Bristol, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN, Baker Hughes and CFMS. DETI will also receive contributions in kind from Siemens and Toshiba. The project has already engaged with over 100 companies across the region, including disrupters TechSPARK and Smartia, and companies covering sectors such as renewable energy, marine, aerospace and electronics.

See the full press release posted on the UWE News pages.

Students visit VW factory

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Rohitha Weerasinghe reports on a recent student trip.

54 students and 5 staff members went to Bratislava to visit the VW production facility, the second largest in Europe last week. Students had the opportunity to see how a few car models are being mass produced, so enhancing their engineering experience beyond the class room.

And while they were there, students and staff took the most of their opportunity to visit the historic Bratislava city and embrace Slovak culture.

Developing industrial insight amongst diverse engineering students’

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Udonna Okeke, leader of EDM’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Programme, together with the Student Experience Team, partnered with the Royal Academy of Engineering in the 2019 Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme (GEEP). The programme focuses on bringing together the most successful and talented engineers from across the engineering sectors for a shared purpose; to advance and promote excellence in engineering, and to increase the transition of diverse engineering graduates from diverse backgrounds into engineering employment.

Through this partnership, five EDM students were sent to a Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London event. SEO London prepare talented students from ethnic minority or low socioeconomic backgrounds for career success, and on 19th to 20th of November 2019 EDM students attended the SEO GEEP programme of events.

The programme mentored, nurtured and supported the students in developing industry insights, inclusivity and diversity, CV writing, interview and presentation skills.

Below is some of the feedback from the students that attended:

“I found it useful to gain the knowledge on how to create a CV, how to prepare myself for an interview of every kind and how to stay in touch with future and past employers.”

“I would say that I met a lot of diverse people, we worked great as a group for that 2-day event and the network we built would be very useful in the future.”

“The time spent talking to different companies helped me make it clear for myself how I want to further develop myself. It brightened my horizons and I wish I had the opportunity to be part of this event earlier in my studies.”

“This is one of the reasons I would definitely recommend sending more students to such events. I have already told my friends all about it and few of them are interested in the event happening on 4th-5th of December in Manchester”.

“Thanks to Udonna and EDM for giving me the opportunity to be part of the engineering future.”

“I would 100% recommend that students attend in the future! It was exceptionally helpful for everyone and the general thoughts from all students was that it was extremely helpful.”

Free engineering consultancy for local community organisations

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The Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE, Bristol are seeking to partner with local community organisations with project ideas relevant to engineering Postgraduate Diploma students. We welcome project proposals from community, voluntary and social enterprise sectors, and small businesses.

The project is an opportunity for organisations to receive free engineering consultancy from a small team of students (3-6 people), who will be learning skills in team-working, client liaison and applications of engineering as part of the Engineering in the Community module. The scheme is open for applications until December 2019 with projects completed from February to August 2020.

Projects could be researching and scoping opportunities or issues on behalf of your organisation, planning or providing designs and proposals, or in some cases students may be able to produce an item or intervention for the organisation. Examples of projects might include: auditing and developing concepts for a new engineering project in your area, such as sustainable outdoor space and clean heating solutions; researching community problems and engineering solutions; or adapted infrastructure to meet the needs of a community garden. You can find examples of completed projects from 2019 on the blog.

For further information and to apply, please download the Organisation Brief below and return the form within to engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk.