DETI Inspire launch new Diversity Demonstrator

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Exciting work is underway within the EDM department at UWE Bristol, as we begin establishing the Diversity Demonstrator as part of our work for the Inspire branch of DETI Skills.

The Inspire branch of DETI aims to address the nationwide skills and employment gap in engineering by championing science for children in the West of England. In order to appeal to under-represented groups and so increase diversity in the profession, DETI Inspire will particularly focus on breaking stereotypes and challenging perceptions about STEM careers.

One of the ways we hope to achieve this is by shaping a Diversity Demonstrator – a network of diverse engineering role models to champion engineering public engagement and inspire the next generation of digital engineers.

Why are role models important?

“You can’t be what you can’t see”

Marian Wright Edelman

Children need to be able to see engineering as ‘for them’. They need access to positive role models who look like them, to help connect with it as a career and visualize themselves as an engineer.

This is particularly important for children from under-represented groups within the industry, including those from low socio-economic backgrounds, girls, black and minority ethnic individuals.

So if you are a current student, alumni, staff or industry professional and would like to be part of our network of diverse engineering role models, please register your interest with this short survey

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 & Simulation, Digital 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.

People vector created by pikisuperstar – www.freepik.com

UWE Bristol’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics (EDM) department continues to rise up through the university league tables

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Following the recent news that UWE Bristol has climbed to 21st place in the UK in the latest annual Guardian university league table, we wanted to celebrate the fantastic contributions made by the EDM department.

Latest survey results show the university ranked 8th in the UK for the subject area of Mathematics (rising from 21st in 2018) and 13th for Aerospace, Mechanical and Automotive engineering – a huge rise of 39 places since 2018.

UWE Bristol currently sits top of the league table for overall student satisfaction within the subject area of Mathematics, scoring an impressive 100% for the second year in a row. The latest National Student Survey results within this subject area also rank the university 3rd in the UK for both the quality of teaching (95%) and quality of feedback and assessment (89%).

A huge congratulations to the whole team!

With the next academic year about to begin, bringing with it new ways of working, teaching and learning, we are certainly excited to see what more can be achieved.

Celebrate a PhD – control of vortices on delta wing aircraft

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With all the fantastically fascinating research going on in Engineering, Design and Mathematics, PhD student successes are a regular occurrence. We want to celebrate with our students as they pass their vivas, so please get in contact with engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk to celebrate the PhDs in your group.

And here’s one from the Aerospace cluster – congratulations Doctor Jana-Sabrina Stucke!

Jana passed her PhD viva in July. Her doctoral research was focused on understanding the behaviour and control of vortices on a delta wing aircraft as a function of shape. She describes her project:

“For my PhD I investigated the effect of thickness and maximum thickness location on the vortex development of a 65° swept back delta wing configuration with sharp leading-edges. Here, I focused on the stability and performance at low speeds, encountered during take-off, landing and loitering, as they are most critical for future military Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles.

“I could show numerically and experimentally that upper surface shape of a wing with sharp leading-edges has a significant impact on the recovered leading-edge suction and thus performance and stability, a feature normally associated with round leading edged delta wings.”

Jana-Sabrina Stucke

The work will help aircraft and drone designers to produce more efficient vehicles with higher aerodynamic performance.

But it wasn’t easy – Jana explains that there were countless tough stages during the PhD where she wanted give up!

And now she’s looking to the future…

“Ideally, I would like to return to mainland Europe and work in robotics and AI as this is where my real passion lies. For now, I will stay in the UK though and maybe if the stars align you will see me on campus again as MSc student in Data Science.”

Jana-Sabrina Stucke

Best wishes with whatever the future holds Jana!

Get students engaged with research this autumn

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I’m a Scientist: Students chatting from class (Credit: I’m a Scientist)

Researchers and technicians are invited to take part in I’m a Scientist.

Find out more and sign up at: imascientist.org.uk/scientists

Connect students with science, their teachers and their classmates in this online STEM engagement activity. Taking part is an enjoyable and easy way to get involved in STEM engagement. You’ll develop your communication skills and gain a fresh perspective on your work, all while showing students that science roles can be for them.

I’m a Scientist: Scientist to camera (Credit: I’m a Scientist)

Fill in a profile page, answer questions, and use the text-based chat system with school students. Everything happens online; you take part from your desk or smartphone. There’s no need to prepare activities or leave your lab, office or house.

“The format was so much fun to be involved in. The mix of science and career questions, along with those of a rather more off-beat nature, kept it dynamic and enjoyable.” – David, genetics researcher

The online activity is available from September.

Find out more and sign up at: imascientist.org.uk/stayathome/scientist-signup/

Any questions, contact: support@imascientist.org.uk

UWE researchers have previously been involved in I’m a Scientist and the specialised I’m an Engineer section, and raved about the experience:

Brilliant – it was a kind of science soap box! I got to pontificate on life on Mars, the end of the world and human extinction, global warming, nuclear power, dreams, light years, my favourite animal, my favourite car, string theory, the Higgs Boson and dark matter,” said Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at UWE Bristol.

By far the biggest category of questions was about doing science: why and how you do science, what’s the best thing about being a scientist, what you think you have achieved, or will achieve and so on (and quite a few on what you will do with the prize money if you win). These are great questions because they allow you to explode some myths about science: for instance that you have to be super smart to do science, or that one scientist can change the world on their own.

Engineering and a fear of failure

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A fear of failure can put people off iterative trial-and-error disciplines, such as engineering. In the past year, a team of locals have sought to better understand this fear in children, by undertaking research (with evaluation designed by UWE Bristol academics) within Bristol primary schools.

Bristol performer – Kid Carpet – led the “Epic Fail” project, with local engineers and representatives from Bristol young person mental health social movement – Off the Record, run workshops at Victoria Park, May Park and Begbrook primary schools.

Each school residency lasted two weeks and included workshops for Year Five classes in Bridge Building, Fantastic Inventions, Wellbeing, Un-uselessness and Song Writing. As well as some creative ways to capture children’s thoughts about failure.

Bridge building workshops were led by engineer Rachel Kirkwood – a member of UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me engineer mentoring programme. Rachel is featured in the video below, produced to celebrate the Epic Fail project in lieu of the live performances cancelled because of COVID-19.

And be encouraged by one child’s song to “Not give up” in the following short video.

UWE leads on inspiring future digital engineers

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The West of England is a hub for innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries, but as with the rest of the UK, there is a huge skills and employment gap for future engineers. That’s why the new Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) initiative – launched on 15th July – is investing in the future of digital engineering for our region.

UWE Bristol is partnering with DETI to develop regional skills and inspire the region’s next generation of engineers. DETI Inspire will champion 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.

The skills challenge

Lack of exposure Many children, and particularly those from low socio-economic backgrounds, will have very little exposure to science and may not know adults who work or have worked in STEM careers. This lack of so called “science capital” can have a significant impact on children’s aspirations regarding STEM careers. This is particularly important for young girls, as attitudes towards STEM are largely formed before age 11.

Lack of diversity Another major concern for the engineering workforce is the lack of diversity – with only 12% of women engineers and 7% from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.

Changing perceptions Research indicates that presenting engineering as a creative, collaborative profession, working towards socially conscious communal goals will have wider-spread appeal. Therefore DETI is particularly keen to contribute to the West of England’s sustainability and net zero goals.

DETI Inspire

UWE Bristol is establishing an Engineering Engagement Hub to coordinate engineering engagement for schools and families in the West of England, and will work together with DETI industry partners and school engagement providers to:

  • map past engagement activities in the region in order to build a network amongst partners and stakeholders and strategically plan future engagement to multiply/expand impact
  • develop curriculum linked engagement activities to tour schools and run out of the Prototype and Play centre for public engagement at UWE Bristol’s Engineering Building. These engagement activities will include:
    • a touring activity kit that challenges children to use digital engineering tools to tackle sustainability challenges
    • public open events for families and schools
    • 6-week STEM club challenges
    • run teacher CPD events to support and upskill
  • shape a “Diversity Demonstrator” – a network of diverse engineering role models to champion engineering public engagement. Including development of engagement training for this group of student and industry engineers

Building on UWE’s wealth of experience in public engagement

As a core provider of public engagement in the region and champion of equality, diversity and inclusion, UWE Bristol’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics (EDM) department is perfectly positioned to lead DETI Inspire.

EDM engages in local public facing technology fairs and national engineering competitions as well as spearheading various public engagement opportunities initiatives. For instance, members of the Bristol Bioenergy centre developed a microbial fuel cell activity that they use to teach children about electricity.

In addition to this EDM supports primary (Curiosity Connections) and secondary (Future Quest) engagement providers, as well as mentoring programmes such as, Women Like Me and BAME Girls into Engineering, to increase diversity in engineering

DETI Inspire will build and expand from all these existing UWE Bristol programmes. To find out more about DETI go to the official website – deti.uk

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.

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.

More inspiration into engineering!

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UWE engineering students, alumni and staff have recorded home-videos to inspire children into engineering. This is the second post sharing some of these videos – you can catch up on two Aerospace Engineering students enthusiasm for engineering in the first post.

Here we’re sharing the insight and enthusiasm of two amazing female engineers:

  • UWE alumni – Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee
  • UWE lecturer and PhD researcher – Maryam Lamere

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee

Krystina gives a little insight into her job at BAE Systems, alongside sharing some top tips, how she’s overcome challenges and why she’s excited for the future of engineering.

Maryam Lamere

Maryam loves engineering and speaks a little about her research into pee-powered electricity. Most of all, she emphasises that a good engineer never gives up!

Are you a UWE engineering student, alumni or staff and have a story you’d like to share? Please get in touch with me at louisa.cockbill@uwe.ac.uk to get your own home-video featured and shared to inspire the next generation of engineers!

Inspired into Engineering!

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UWE engineering students, alumni and staff have recorded home-videos to inspire children into engineering. We’ll be sharing some of these videos in the next couple of weeks, and first up are two Aerospace Engineering students – Hannah and Timothy – who share their enthusiasm for the profession as well as what first sparked their interest in engineering.

Hannah Gray

Hannah just graduated (2020) with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from UWE Bristol and explains for a young audience what engineering is and how she got into it. She gives insight into how creativity lends itself to designing solutions to problems – the essence of engineering! Listen to find out why Hannah thinks anyone can be an engineer and how she thinks engineers can help tackle the climate crisis.

Timothy Hampl

Inspired by space flight as a child, Tim shares how he considered becoming a pilot but decided that being an engineer gave him scope to do something even cooler – contribute to the evolution of flight technology! He explains how he’s using computers to design and test out aircraft components and advises kids to pursue what they love. 

Are you a UWE engineering student, alumni or staff and have a story you’d like to share? Please get in touch with me at louisa.cockbill@uwe.ac.uk to get your own home-video featured and shared to inspire the next generation of engineers!

Sign up to mentor girls into STEM – online!

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Cajigo is a mobile learning platform that empowers girls and women to reach their full potential through focused mentoring and support. And they’re on the lookout for new mentors!

Read on to find out more about the platform and how you could get involved…

Addressing the Gender Imbalance

In STEM industries female representation remains under 20% worldwide, and with many schools lacking girls taking STEM subjects at A level, this gender imbalance shows no sign of changing soon. With predictions that the next decade will see 80% of jobs requiring STEM skills, new solutions are badly needed to encourage women into STEM.

Cajigo School’s Programme works with education and businesses to signpost STEM industry careers to girls early on. This can have a huge positive effect on girls – inspiring, motivating and empowering them with the belief that they can reach their highest potential in these fields.

Cajigo aims to demystify STEM and digital careers to capture young minds, connecting careers to passions to get young girls excited about working within STEM and digital fields.

“Cajigo is a practical way, not only to increase diversity but also to make it a strategic imperative within the business”

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President techUK, Chair of Digital Leaders

Online Mentoring

During the current lockdown, many girls would benefit from developing STEM skills whilst at home. And with evidence suggesting those from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented groups are likely to be left behind during this time, Cajigo is running as an online solution to keep these populations engaged and motivated in STEM.

The Cajigo Schools programme mentors and supports girls (aged 13 years and upwards) on option choices and their career development using a blended learning approach. This involves a 3-hour workshop, in addition to online learning through Cajigo (an App), and guidance and support from role models and industry mentors.

And that’s where you could come in!

Mentoring gives students access to visible and relatable female role models who help to inspire, motivate and signpost careers.

Cajigo also offers support to women in the workplace, career changers, returners and University students.

If you are keen to offer support in mentoring the next generation of female engineers and digital technologists, please contact Rav Bumbra, who’ll talk you through the process – team@cajigo.com

Cajigo is the social learning and development arm of Structur3dpeople, a company that helps organisations attract and retain diverse talent and focuses on supporting more women into STEM, digital and leadership careers.