UWE Bristol student engineers improving compost heap thermal insulation

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As part of the Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol’s new module, Engineering in the Community, students on one project are working to design new thermal insulation materials to help compost heaps work better.

This Group Project Challenge aims to set some real-world challenges for the engineering students on our Postgraduate Diploma course. The students are now working in groups to come up with design solutions to a community problem to make a difference in the local area. The improvements to composts bins are being carried out for Incredible Edible at Speedwell allotments.

The module provides a broad comprehension of the competencies and social responsibilities required for ‘engineering citizenship’ in order to be a professional engineer. It introduces the wider social considerations needed to enact Corporate Social Responsibility in the modern engineering industry.

Each group has been given an engineering challenge for which they have to develop a socially acceptable solution for their assigned community group. They are learning about a variety of engagement strategies utilised by professional organisations and Chartered Engineers, as well as the variety of audiences with which these skills can be practised and explored.

Engineers also need to recognise and value the need for them to work effectively with both modern technologies and people in their social or organisational contexts – a hybrid challenge employing engineering ideas in practice.

We have 15 engineers out in the community (12 engineers from Airbus, two from Babcock and one from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)). They are working with four community groups across five projects; as well this project improving composting for Incredible Edible community gardens there are also teams working on:

  • Improving access to Bedminster shops (as presented by Olivia from the Bubble Play Café, and Alice from Trylla in the photos above)
  • Improving community space for the North Bristol Community Project
  • Improving heating options for van dwellers – in association with Residents Against Dirty Energy, presented by Stuart Phelps
  • Improving air quality in mechanical garages  – in association with Residents Against Dirty Energy

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