An engineering revolution is underway. Driven by dedicated individuals who are building extraordinary machines that will change our lives.
Dr Steve Wright, Senior Research Fellow for the Engineering Design and Mathematics department at UWE Bristol, was approached earlier in the year by BiggerBangTv for his comments on the future electric aircraft projects being featured in its documentary series Engineering the Future, now being streamed on HBO in the US and Curiosity Stream worldwide.
In the second episode of the series, Aviation, Steve, an Avionics and Aircraft Systems specialist, was featured speaking in The Foundry, UWE’s enterprise lab on Frenchay campus, where his drone and aerospace activities are based.
The episode introduces some of the most exciting and innovative electric and autonomous aircraft projects around the world and shares the inspiring stories of the engineering teams behind them.
Dr Wright also featured in a recent BBC news article about the challenges of engineering ‘greener’ aircraft.
Aerospace Bristol, which is run by a charity, is a museum in its infancy, having only been open a few years. With the loss of vital visitor and event income during the pandemic, the future of the museum and preservation of Bristol’s aviation heritage for future generations is in real jeopardy.
Which is why the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have been finding new ways to help Aerospace Bristol return to flight this Winter.
Teams from across the university have collaborated in a joint effort to support the museum in their plans for a safe reopening once regional lockdown measures are eased. Through the provision of 3D printed masks and visors for museum staff and volunteers, and the supply of hand gel for visitors, it is hoped that once Bristol moves out of Tier 3 restrictions, the museum will once again welcome families back to the birthplace of supersonic travel!
Despite being closed to the public, the museum has continued to provide free and fun educational experiences for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. At Home With Aerospace Bristol is a range of online educational activities & resources designed for use at home or in the classroom, and the Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM) department at UWE Bristol have developed some new flight themed activities to get children’s imaginations soaring this Winter.
Aerospace Bristol tells the story of our region’s rich aviation heritage, celebrating the world class achievements of the aerospace industry in Bristol and the people who made it possible. UWE Bristol are committed in supporting the museum throughout these difficult times, to ensure they can continue to inspire the engineers of tomorrow.
Dr Lisa Brodie, Head of the Department of Engineering Mathematics and Design, and member of the Board of Trustees of Aerospace Bristol
Further support has been provided by the EDM department in the form of career inspiration videos – a series of interviews with staff, students and alumni from UWE Bristol, sharing stories of their experiences and insights into studying engineering at the University. The department have also developed an Aeroplane BoxEd for the education team at the museum, providing an engaging and interactive tool for use in future education sessions.
It has been incredibly beneficial for Aerospace Bristol to work with students, researchers and teaching staff from UWE Bristol. We’d like to say a huge thank you to UWE Bristol for all of their support throughout this challenging time.
The partnership perfectly blends the story of our aerospace history with the inspirational stories and input of the next generation of engineers. Though the museum unfortunately remains closed, we have created ‘At Home With Aerospace Bristol’ and shared an amazing range of resources for everyone to enjoy.
Amy Seadon, Learning and Community Engagement Manager at Aerospace Bristol
348 of our first year student engineers have completed Project Week with great success!
Project Week plays a central role in UWE Bristol’s Engineering Practise module, part of our Integrated Learning Framework, which nurtures creativity, innovation and collaboration through training on ‘live’ projects and problems.
Motivated by UWE’s 2020 strategy to educate for sustainable development, for the past three years the Engineering, Design and Mathematics Department has partnered with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to deliver project based learning activities that develop a sense of global responsibility in students. This year the week-long challenge was to find engineering solutions to issues identified by the local people of Lobitos and Piedritas, Peru.
To help guide our students through the challenges of Project Week, staff and students utilised the new Innovation and Design Thinking Toolkit designed by Bristol-based software company Newicon. The kit features a set of engaging workshops, exercises and tools designed to help our students explore and define real human-centred problems and move through the design cycle at pace.
I am delighted to hear that the UWE’s revolutionary redesigned curriculum that nurtures creativity, innovation and collaboration has successfully utilised Newicon’s Innovation Toolkit to promote and practise Design Thinking.
When we created the Kit it was aimed at tech startups and organisations creating innovative new digital products and services, so it is testament to the versatility of the methodologies that the kit has now been successfully adapted for the Engineering without Borders project.
To see some 348 students benefiting from our approach is fantastic and we look forward to working with UWE, as a partner, to further develop the innovation kit so more students can benefit over the coming years.
Mark Probert, Digital Strategy Director, Newicon
And here is what our student engineers had to say about using the Kit:
This was fantastic! well laid out and presented and easy to work through!
Useful, it gave us some good guidelines to follow
Had useful tips, especially for creating a design criteria
…the UWE design innovation kit was really easy to understand and work through
UWE 1st Year Student Engineers
The Innovation and Design Thinking Toolkit has been a huge success here at UWE, and we look forward to using it for future projects. We were also thrilled to hear that the team at Newicon were recently shortlisted for a community SPARKies Award for their work on the Kit!
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.
In an effort to build back better from COVID-19 and support innovative new enterprises, the government has announced funding to support projects harnessing the latest technology to support the fight against COVID-19 and other global challenges like climate change.
Dock-to-Dock focuses on the combined aspects of route development, vehicle performance (air & sea) and the associated infrastructure (‘Smart-Multiports’) required for point-to-point delivery of goods and freight between coastal cities using eVTOL aircraft (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) and eAZE ships (electric Autonomous Zero Emission).
The project will launch on December 1st 2020, and will initially look at the delivery of goods by air, between Avonmouth Docks in Bristol and Cardiff Docks in Wales, using electric aircraft which take-off and land vertically, and therefore don’t require runways.
The objective of Dock-to-Dock is to repurpose port infrastructures to be an essential component of future Smart Cities in their drive towards zero emissions and energy efficient, integrated and sustainable transportation solutions. It will demonstrate a commercially competitive alternative to ground transportation between the two cities, offloading the already saturated ground transportation network between ports such as Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol and Bridgewater.
A team of four UWE researchers will deliver on the use case definition and evaluation, route characterisation and eVTOL assessment activities for the Dock-to-Dock project. State-of-the-art modelling and simulation knowledge and methods, nurtured within the Engineering Modelling and Simulation Group and the Centre for Transport and Society, will be employed to ensure the success of the study and future implementation of the concept. Both research groups are proud to be part of the UKRI Future Flight Challenge and be able to contribute towards more sustainable future of aviation.”
Dr. Vilius Portapas, Dock-to-Dock Project Lead, UWE Bristol
With further development, Dock-to-Dock and its Smart-Multiport infrastructure could be a major supplier of Green Hydrogen to Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea airports, a service eagerly awaited by commercial aircraft designers such as Airbus and Rolls Royce who are racing to develop Hydrogen-powered sub-regional aircraft.
Presently there are only 11 commercial Hydrogen Refuelling Stations in the UK, and none west of Swindon. Many more are urgently needed if the UK is to meet its zero emissions targets through the production and use of Hydrogen in heating, industry, power generation and transport. The Dock-to-Dock project and development of Smart-Multiport infrastructure will bring much needed access to Hydrogen Refuelling Stations in the South West of England and Wales.
If you would like more information about the Dock-to-Dock project please email the project lead, Dr Vilius Portapas at Vilius.Portapas@uwe.ac.uk
It’s Project Week here at UWE Bristol and 348 first-year student engineers are taking part in an Engineering for People Design Challenge, tackling real-life issues in Peru.
Both on a global and local scale, we are facing challenges that require urgent action. Engineering plays a key role in everyday life and our response to address current and future challenges. By participating in the Engineering for People Design Challengedeveloped by Engineers Without Borders, our students are investing their skills and talent to benefit the planet and its people.
The Design Challenge
This year’s challenge focusses on two neighbouring communities on the northern coast of Peru – Lobitos and Piedritas. Students will explore and tackle issues shared by local people living in these areas, focusing on one or more of the 8 challenge areas identified: Built Environment, Water, Waste, Food, Sanitation, Energy, Transport and Digital. Students are encouraged to use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for the design challenge to help them explore and understand these issues from both a local and global perspective.
What’s unique about our approach to teaching design and project management is that we give our students a real-life context to work on. They get to develop design ideas that address environmental and social issues faced by communities across the globe.
Engineers Without Borders has been instrumental in helping us integrate sustainability into our engineering curriculum. It’s always exciting to see students give their all during Project Week to come up with great designs. More importantly, they complete their projects feeling inspired to do well in their studies and to use their engineering skills to make a positive impact around them.
Maryam M. Lamere, Project Week Coordinator
Why Project Week?
This week-long challenge plays a central role in UWE Bristol’s Engineering Practise module, part of our Integrated Learning Framework focussed around project-based learning. Students are guided through the challenges using the new Innovation and Design Toolkit designed by Bristol-based software company Newicon. The toolkit helps students explore and define real human-centred problems and rapidly move through iterative solutions and visual prototypes to select the best solution.
The Engineers Without Borders Design Challenge represents everything that is good and positive about Engineering and how Design and Engineering can be used to improve our environment and the life of the people that live in it.
Technology has clearly caused much damage to our world and it is great that Engineering at UWE is now focussing on directing efforts towards using Technology to improve our world and its environment. The Engineers Without Borders Design Challenge is an important first step in reminding Student Engineers of their important role in society.
Dedicating a whole week of their first year studies to focus on this should remind them how important it is.
Dr David Richardson, co-module leader for Engineering Practice
Project week looks a little different this year (as with most things it has moved online during the current pandemic) but module leads Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, Dr David Richardson and organiser of project week, Maryam Lamere, have put together a full programme of engaging online workshops, exercises and presentations to keep students engaged and focused throughout the challenge.
To kick things off this week students will hear from Dr Lisa Brodie, Head of the Department of Engineering, Design and Mathematics. Throughout the week they will also have access to videos of inspirational speakers from around the globe, including Felipe Gomez del Campo (CEO FGC Plasma Solutions), Brittany Harris (CEO, Co-Founder Qualis Flow), UWE Robotics alumni Silas Adekunle (CEO, Co-Founder ReachRobotics Ltd, Awari, R.I) and current UWE final-year student engineer Henry James (Winner of STEM Telegraph Innovation Award).
As part of the design challenge, students at UWE will have the opportunity to compete against universities around the globe for their chance to be awarded Engineering for People Design Challenge Winner! We’ll be following their progress throughout the week so stay tuned for more exciting news about UWE Project Week 2020.
It’s been an interesting year to welcome our 348 first year student engineers to both a new curriculum and a new Engineering School here at UWE Bristol! They have had a lot to contend with, but we have been so impressed to see their design thinking coming along. I think that’s a lot to do with the ease of using the Innovation and Design Thinking kit, taking away the fear of failure and seeing engineering as a creative process aiming to make a difference in the world. We can’t wait to see the designs they come up with this week!
Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, co-module leader for Engineering Practice
Women Like Me pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to undertake mentoring and engineering education outreach in the West of England region. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.
Why is this important?
Only 12% of engineers in the UK are women. In order to support female engineers, more girls need to connect with engineering as a career, with positive female role models, and more women need to be supported to make a difference in the workplace.
Women Like Me is addressing this by pairing mid-career women engineers with junior women engineers to provide career and public engagement mentoring. Junior engineers will deliver engineering engagement activities in local schools and at local public events, providing positive role models for young girls. Through this approach, the project will lead to impact both in the workplace today, and for the future of the engineering profession.
Who can take part?
Mid-career and early career female engineers working in the West of England region can get involved in the project. Senior women engineers are those who have been working in engineering for at least five years. Junior women engineers are those with less experience than this, and can include apprentices, trainees, undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
What will it involve?
We will offer networking opportunities to all participants at the start (autumn 2020) and end (summer 2021) of the project. Depending on COVID restrictions, these may take place virtually. Senior engineers will receive support in mentoring and should meet with their junior engineer mentee at least twice during the project. This can take any form that best suits each pair. Junior engineers will receive mentoring support from senior engineers and training in public engagement. They will then undertake at least three engineering outreach activities with local schools and public events, which again, may be virtual. Coordination of activity is provided and supported by UWE.
How do I sign up?
To take part in the project this year, participants should complete the DETI Diversity Demonstrator survey and select Women Like Me from the list of areas of interest (along with any other areas you are interested in!) byFriday 4th December. The project coordinators will then be in touch having allocated the mentor/mentee pairs.
Following a seven-month period of hibernation while the pandemic caused global uncertainty, the Bloodhound Land Speed Record project is back in business, with a prime-time documentary detailing their successful 628mph (1010km/h) High Speed Testing campaign scheduled to air on Channel 4 at 18:00 on Saturday, 14th November.
Building The World’s Fastest Car, follows the team’s fortunes as they deployed to the Kalahari Desert in South Africa for six weeks in autumn 2019. The programme charts the highs and lows as the team attempts to run the car on the desert racetrack, building speeds, and learning about the destructive impact of supersonic airflow, ahead of a concerted attempt to break the World Land Speed Record.
UWE Bristol became involved with The BLOODHOUND Project very early on when Dr John Lanham, Head of the Department of Design & Engineering at the time, assisted John Piper, The BLOODHOUND Project’s Chief Engineer, to establish a base at UWE for the early design work, access to UWE resources, and the production of a full scale model of the car.
Staff from the Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM) department at UWE also established a Higher Education programme, BLOODHOUND@University, an online resource allowing young engineers to get involved with the development of the BLOODHOUND supersonic car. The web based project shared a range of data with undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities across the UK encouraging them to get involved with this unique real-life project and work to solve the problems raised by the BLOODHOUND engineering team. The education programme also engaged with local primary and secondary schools, giving students the opportunity to experience engineering design first hand.
The BLOODHOUND Project is an iconic adventure that pushes technology to its limit and provides a fantastic opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. During its 10-year development phase, huge numbers have been excited by the Bloodhound story and motivated to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and pursue STEM careers. You can hear more about the impact of the project from UWE students in the following video.
You can find more information on the BLOODHOUND LSR Project and its related education activities here.
As we approach the end of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, Lottie shares her tour of the new UWE Bristol School of Engineering Building.
With a new academic year underway, we’re all very excited about the opening of the new engineering building on Frenchay campus! The first group of staff from the Faculty of Environment and Technology were welcomed into the new building on Monday 12th October. Everyone was very excited to unpack their crates and set up their new workstations – and Lottie certainly proved very helpful with all the heavy lifting!
The new building houses specialist laboratories, workshops and digital engineering facilities, able to support 1700 students and 100 academic and technical staff, many of whom have been enjoying the new facilities over the past couple of weeks during the start of teaching block 1. The building contributes to the University’s vision of promoting multi-disciplinary, collaborative learning and has been designed hand-in-hand with the vibrant new practice-based curriculum, bringing engineering to life through real world problems and live industrial briefs, and building on entrepreneurial skills to ensure all graduates are business-aware as well as technically qualified.
Lottie was particularly keen to visit the new Prototype and Play centre, a dedicated area for delivering engineering outreach activities and public engagement events. Staff from the DETI Inspire team have been busy filling the room with lots of exciting gadgets and gizmos, and are really looking forward to welcoming school and community groups into the space, once lockdown measures are eased.
This new public engagement centre is key to the work being carried out by the EDM department as lead for Skills and Workforce Development for the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) initiative. It will allow the DETI Inspire team to develop and deliver curriculum linked engagement activities, host public open events for families and schools, run teacher CPD events to support and upskill, and provide engagement training for their Diversity Demonstrator network.
The team have big plans for the year ahead so watch this space for news of local celebration events and regional competitions from The Primary Engineer Leaders Awards, First Lego League, Great Science Share for Schools and many more!
That’s all from Lottie for now, but she’ll be back with more stories as her engineering tour continues throughout the year. Next stop, the National Composites Centre.
WES Lottie Tour is an annual campaign that takes ‘Lottie’ to many different locations accompanying lots of different engineering friends who show Lottie the work they do in engineering and related careers. Lottie’s experiences are shared across social media using #WESLottieTour and aims to inspire and encourage more young girls to consider a career in engineering and STEM subjects.
The Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM) department at UWE Bristol have been taking part in Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, an annual campaign that highlights to young people that engineering is a creative, problem solving, exciting career that improves the world around us.
Throughout the week engineering institutions, employers and schools come together to show young people the vital importance of engineering careers and to provide information about how to become an engineer in the future. This year EDM have been contributing to the campaign through their social media channels, organising a Digital Engineering Careers Fair for young people and, rather excitingly, signing up to the Tomorrow’s Engineers Code.
Launched in October 2020, the Tomorrow’s Engineers Code is a commitment to work toward common goals to increase the diversity and number of young people entering engineering careers. To achieve these goals, Signatories make four pledges about their approach to funding, designing, delivering, and learning from engineering-inspiration activities (including STEM programmes dedicated to inspiring young people into engineering).
Improve the quality, inclusivity, targeting and reach of activities designed to inspire young people
Deliver a joined-up approach to drive change at scale
The EDM department is extremely well placed to deliver on these pledges, with several well established programmes that aim to increase diversity within engineering already running, including mentoring programmes such as Women Like Me and BAME Girls into Engineering. EDM also supports primary (Curiosity Connections) and secondary (Future Quest) engagement providers, and the department’s new DETI Inspire team are currently developing a new targeted approach to develop and deliver engineering outreach to under-represented groups.
As a core provider of public engagement in the region and champion of equality, diversity and inclusion, the EDM department is confident in its ability to fulfil these pledges. We are very pleased to be joining the Code Community, and look forward to working together to inspire a diverse engineering workforce for the future.
Lisa Brodie, Head of Department: Engineering Design and Mathematics
DETI Inspire will map past engagement activities in the region, identifying any gaps in current outreach provision, enabling the prioritisation of outreach to those that do not currently interact with engineering-inspiration activities.
With expert advice and guidance from collaborations with organisations such as AFBE-UK and WISE, the team are developing curriculum linked engagement activities, designed to help target and understand potential participants from under-represented groups. Activities will be available for use both digitally during the current pandemic, and when physical activity can resume, they will tour schools and run out of the new Prototype and Play centre at UWE Bristol’s Engineering Building.
In order to showcase relatable role models from all backgrounds in these activities, the team are building a Diversity Demonstratornetwork – a community of diverse engineering role models, from groups currently under-represented in engineering, who will deliver engineering public engagement throughout the region.
The team are currently working with STEM Ambassadors West of England, Future Quest and the WECA Careers Hub to develop a monitoring and evaluation toolkit, to assess the impact of their activities, and will share these insights with their partners, stakeholders and the Code Community.
Co-created by and for the engineering community, The Code is ‘owned’ by its community of Signatories and Supporters.An Advisory Board and informal Thinking Group support EngineeringUK, which has been chosen to manage and deliver The Code and its community. EngineeringUK will facilitate the governance of The Code and is committed to a formal biennial review of The Code and how Signatories are meeting the pledges.