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Celebrating British Science Week 2022

The WMG team had a busy, fun-packed British Science Week, taking part in six special STEM events reaching out to more than 2015 young scientists andPicture shows Yiduo Wang presenting a science experiment at the Slice of Science event engineers.

British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths; and is a chance to look into the future and celebrate the impact scientific ideas can make on society. In support, the Team took part in the University of Warwick’s ‘Slice of Science;’ attended the Royal Institution’s Powering our Sustainable Future event, where Rohin Titmarsh and Phil Jemmett shared their expertise on battery tech and robotics; and conducted experiments at a library science fair in Staffordshire.

Picture shows Phil Jemmett and Rohin Titmarsh at Royal Institution eventDr Phil Jemmett, Outreach Project Officer at WMG, said: “Presenters at the events noticed students building in confidence as they engaged with our staff, and we have received some really positive feedback from both organisers and parents.”

The team at Perton Library said the ‘experiments were great – excellent explanations for the children.’

A parent at the Ri event said it was an ‘excellent event. Having the booths from universities/companies after the event was a great bonus for my son. He had the chance to discuss not only about batteries but about different courses to study as he is still undecided as to which course to choose.’

Another parent added: ‘It gave my 17-year-old a frame of reference to where a career in STEM could lead.’

Phil explained: “For the UK to remain at the forefront of innovation, a strong and diverse workforce will be needed. We believe that events such as these can give youngsters the information and the inspiration, they need to pursue a STEM career.”

The Outreach team would like to say a huge thank you to Bethany Haynes; Rebecca Swan-McAdam; Mucahit Ozden; Veronika Majherova; Yiduo Wang;Picture shows Bethany Haynes at Slice of Science Zeina Rihawi; Jianhua Yang; Rohin Titmarsh; Tom Goodman; Rachael Kirwan; Eugene Prout; Nilavan Thipaharan; Bianca Agapito; and Claire Davis, for their help and support at the events.

Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programme, including the Lord Bhattacharyya Engineering Education Programme and the Resonate Festival, taking place in April, here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)

Fri 01 Apr 2022, 09:37 | Tags: STEM Public engagement Our People Outreach

WMG’s Professor Margaret Low awarded an MBE

Picture of Professor Margaret Low with her husband Robert Low at Windsor CastleWMG’s Professor Margaret Low was presented with an MBE, for her services to public engagement and widening participation, on Tuesday 15th March by HRH The Princess Royal at a special ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG, and Director of Education explains: “Margaret joined WMG back in 1988, and for many years she has made it her mission to inspire young people from all backgrounds in STEM subjects and into higher education. We are all so proud of her many achievements.”

Margot James, Executive Chair at WMG adds: “Margaret’s MBE is a true testament to her hard work and dedication in connecting the local community with academia and, promoting STEM in an engaging way. I send her my warmest congratulations.”

Professor Margaret Low said: “It’s lovely, if a little overwhelming and totally unexpected, to be recognised in this way. Everything I’ve achieved has been in collaboration with fantastic colleagues and friends at WMG and across the University. None of this would have been possible without their hard work and dedication.

“I’ve also had the good fortune to work with some brilliant students through Warwick Volunteers who’ve been instrumental in bringing outreach activities into schools.”

Working with Warwick Volunteers, Margaret collaborates with University of Warwick students to run Scratch workshops in local primary and secondary schools reaching more than 250 children each year through the Technology Volunteers project. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Margaret and her team also developed invaluable resources to help support home-schooling.

In 2016 Margaret was awarded an HEA National Teaching Fellowship. The Fellowships recognise and celebrate the absolute highest standards of learning and teaching across higher education.

More than a decade ago she pioneered the use of Scratch in the UK, a user-friendly programming tool, for outreach work in schools.

Read more about the WMG Public Engagement and Outreach Programme here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)

Tue 15 Mar 2022, 12:57 | Tags: Education Our People Outreach

Festive outreach gifts for young engineers

The WMG Outreach team has been making special Christmas deliveries to children across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

A total of 45 festive STEM parcels have been delivered to young engineers at primary schools, community groups, Coventry’s Hospital Education Service, Coventry Transport Museum andPicture of the Christmas-in-a-Box package IntoUniversity. 

Each parcel contained printed templates of Christmas-themed decorations on a flat sheet of card, along with instructions and a link to a video tutorial.

Phil Jemmett, WMG Outreach Project Officer, explained: “The activity teaches young people how 3D objects can be made from flat materials. This is often how real-world items are made and stocked in shops because it takes up so much less space. We’re all used to the idea of ‘flat-pack’ now – it's time to show young people why it’s so common. 

 To cement the learning for our young audience, there is a final challenge! This is a creative activity where students design and make their own 3D item from paper or materials. The children then bring all their creations together around a central stand to make a festive display.

Sophie Meeson, Brown Owl at Berkswell Brownies Brown Owl said: “Berkswell Brownies were thrilled to use the Christmas-in-a- box resource. The children enjoyed seeing their hard work become a 3D final product, and it was a great way of combining reading comprehension skills with fine motor skills and problem solving to ensure they had made the necessary cuts and folds for their final piece to fit together. Being able to tie it into our Christmas craft evening was a bonus for the leaders too, fitting the theme perfectly. Our thanks go to the outreach team at WMG.” 

Professor Margaret Low, WMG’s Director of Outreach and Widening Participation added: “These boxes are only possible thanks to the support of our staff designing the items in the boxes, packing and delivering boxes to their local schools, as well as the support of WMG and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The contributions of our entire team, during a busy festive period, show our commitment as a department to inspiring the next generation of engineers.”

All of the resources are also available online for free here: www.warwick.ac.uk/wmgoutreach/resources/flatpack 

Mon 13 Dec 2021, 10:46 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Public engagement Outreach

Coventry schools to build future cities from recycled household items

Children at Courthouse Green primary school listening to the online workshop

· TeenTech is a national charity working with school children to help them consider a future in digital, science technology and engineering.

· Their TeenTech City of Tomorrow initiative is working with nine Coventry schools with the help of WMG, University of Warwick

· Experts from WMG will deliver advice to children on sustainable materials, and inspire them as they design and build their city of the future out of recyclable household items

· A few Cities will then be exhibited at The Coventry Transport Museum

TeenTech City of Tomorrow will see Coventry school children make a city of recyclable household items, with help from researchers at WMG, University of Warwick who will teach them all about sustainability. A select few ideas – buildings and technology- will then be exhibited at the Coventry Transport Museum.

TeenTech is a national charity engaging children and teenagers in Digital, Science, Engineering and Technology and their latest initiative has launched today, the 11th November, in Coventry, which will see nine schools in Coventry build a futuristic sustainable city out of recyclable household items.

As it’s ‘Cities, Regions and Built Environment’ day at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, researchers from WMG at the University of Warwick are helping children understand sustainability and its importance, by delivering an online session about sustainable materials and why it’s important we use them more for a greener future, thanks to funding from the University’s Innovative Manufacturing and Future Materials GRP.

The children will then have two weeks to build their cities from recyclable household items. Three researchers from WMG, University of Warwick will run workshops, educating the children in using natural products for sustainable solutions and how to dispose of products.

On the 25th November the researchers from will then provide feedback, before selecting a few of the buildings and ideas to be exhibited at the Coventry Transport Museum from the end of the month.

Dr Stuart Coles from WMG, University of Warwick comments:

Malik, Jody and Christian from Mrs Barretts class.

“Having spent my career researching how to reduce, reuse and recycle materials I am honoured to be a part of the TeenTech City of Tomorrow initiative, and look forward to seeing how creative the children can be in making a futuristic and environmentally friendly city.

“It is our children that will suffer from the damage we have caused and are causing to the planet, therefore it is imperative that we educate them from young age about sustainability and how they can create a cleaner and greener future for themselves and future generations, whilst we work out how we can change our ways to further prevent the climate crisis.”

Maggie Philbin, CEO of TeenTech comments:

“We want young people in Coventry to understand they can shape the future with their ideas. Young people think boldly, differently and inclusively and this is the thinking we need for a sustainable future. Tomorrow is very much a two-way event – experts will be sharing their knowledge, but we know that it will be the children who surprise everyone with their creativity, honesty and who will be the ones to challenge outdated thinking.

“Their buildings may be constructed from cardboard boxes but their ideas will be sophisticated and ones which should be seriously considered. They really are the architects, the engineers and the designers of the future. Let’s listen to them.”

Mrs Kaur, Class Teacher at Courthouse Green primary school comments:

"TeenTech is a great project to engage and enthuse the children and encourages them to consider how to be responsible about improving their environment. It has given the children the opportunity to think big about their world. their future and their role within it.

"The children are learning life skills, teamwork and are thinking outside the box to design and create cities that could effect change. The project is amazing! If I could give up a whole week to work on this, I would...it's real-life skills in the classroom."

Two children from year 5 at Courthouse Green Primary school have said:

"I love the project because it will help the future. It has made me think about climate change and how it is affecting our cities. In Coventry I see lots of litter and it gives our city a bad reputation. My team, Team Queen Tech are designing a treehouse from recycled materials that filters wastewater to use again." - Bhavika age 9

"We have designed a hotel for homeless people which is made from sustainable materials like bamboo." Sanjot Age 9


Inspiring young engineers with STEM masterclasses

Image of Ri Masterclasses opening slide

The WMG Outreach Team has successfully completed another series of Royal Institution Engineering Masterclasses.

This series was a little different to those in years gone by with the Masterclasses forced online by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Professor Margaret Low, WMG’s Director of Outreach and Widening Participation said: “WMG has supported the Ri with masterclasses, since 2013, with workshops and activities that put our cutting-edge engineering research into context for young people. Our masterclasses have been run in person each year since 2013 so we were determined not to miss a year for 2021, finding a way to deliver the activities online instead.

“These experiences allow students to see how their school learning applies to complicated and world-changing technologies. Through our outreach programmes we hope to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM, widen participation in Higher Education and make the STEM workforce more diverse.”

The project was run virtually, by WMG staff and students, for two local schools; Nicholas Chamberlaine in Bedworth, and Northleigh House in Warwick, with a special focus on intelligent vehicles.

The WMG team used Kitronik project boxes to introduce the ideas of intelligent vehicles, calibrating components, coding, algorithms, and toImage of Kitronik box explore how design technology is used to balance the pros and cons of any creation.

The children were tasked with making, testing and then improving a car that a computer can control.

The teacher said: “The students were really engaged and got so much out of it. Considering it was video link and the first event they've been able to do like that in ages.”

Rachel Dorris, Masterclass Programme Manager at the Royal Institution added: “The Royal Institution (Ri) has been collaborating with Warwick University for many years to bring hands-on workshops to school students, and we are very pleased to be working with Northleigh and Nicholas Chamberlaine schools this year. Ri Masterclasses offer students an engaging, collaborative taste of STEM subjects involving mathematics, engineering and technology. We aim for Masterclasses to increase interest and confidence in STEM subjects, creating a sense of engagement to last throughout students’ school careers and beyond.”

Find out more about the WMG 2021 Ri Engineering Masterclasses here: Ri Engineering Masterclasses 2021 (warwick.ac.uk)

Wed 27 Oct 2021, 15:01 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Partnerships Public engagement Outreach

Warwick student projects showcased at Our Future Moves

Students from across WMG and the School of Engineering have been showcasing their work at the Our Future Moves exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum.

The exhibition is filled with contraptions, inventions, innovations and demonstrations showing the mechanisms and machinations of all things that move. The students have contributed several pieces to the exhibition that showcase their skills and imagination when it comes to futuristic transport.

Satellites

There are satellites from WUSat, the student team who are building nanosatellites to explore space and improve communications on earth. The students areImage one Warwick student projects at Our Future Moves working on satellites that can orient themselves in space accurately enough to monitor wildlife populations on earth. Find out more here: OFM5: City Ecology // Our Environment — Culture Space Coventry

 

Racing carsImage Warwick racing student project

There are racing car components from Warwick Racing, the team that build a functioning electric race vehicle to compete in the Formula Student competition each year.

Submarines

The third student project on display is the Warwick Sub Team’s human-powered submarine. The students are tasked with designed and building the submarine to compete against other universities. The competition is usually held every-other-year at the US Naval Base in Cardarock, Maryland in the US, but due to the Covid19 pandemic it was held virtually this year. The students have won many accolades throughout the years. This year the team received Honourable Mentions’ in the ‘Manoeuvring and Control Subsystem Design Challenge’ and the ‘Thrust Production Subsystem Design Challenge’ categories.

 

Image of Warwick SubSharing her experiences of the Warwick Sub team, Verena Oetzmann, Team Leader in 2016-2017, says: “In addition to all the challenges that we women in engineering face, being the female leader of an otherwise all male team was a demanding but very rewarding role. The lessons I have learnt throughout my time, coupled with the many skills procured along the way, have been invaluable as preparation for working life after university.

“Despite being the most difficult venture that I have undertaken at university, it is certainly among the most enjoyable, rewarding and memorable experiences I have ever had.”

Professor Ian Tuersley, Project Director for Warwick Sub, adds: “It is clear that our students who are fortunate enough to be involved in the International Submarine Race (ISR) competitions enjoy the experience immensely and value the additional benefits that these unique opportunities provide them.

“However, from the point of view of an educator, in addition to the excellent experience there is tangible empirical evidence that the requirements of the competitions – including the necessary enforcement of real-world deadlines and constraints focuses their work and personal development on areas that more traditional University learning is not easily able to deliver. Skills such as team-working, project management, problem solving, budgetary awareness and leadership are essential if success is to be achieved in the competitions – and these are exactly the skills and behaviours that are most highly valued by potential employers.”

The students involved in all these projects learn how to apply their knowledge and gain experience of a real project, run in an industrial style. They make fantastic role models for young people, including Jack Moore (a former Sub Team member) whose profile is also part of the exhibition.

Our Future Moves runs until 31st October at the Coventry Transport Museum, or explore the online exhibition here: https://transport-museum.com/events/1491/our_future_moves

Fri 08 Oct 2021, 11:47 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Partnerships Public engagement Outreach

Student success at international marine engineering competition

Image of Warwick Sub Student Team AwardsCongratulations to the Warwick Human Powered Submarine Team who received two awards and an overall commendation at the International Submarine Races (ISR16).

The competition is usually held every-other-year at the US Naval Base in Cardarock, Maryland in the US, but due to the Covid19 pandemic it was held virtually this year.

The Team was made up of seven final year engineering students, from the University of Warwick, including Gavin Ho; Phil Leiser; Jack Moore; James Grant; Alex Oortman; Karishma Patel and Vivek Suresh-Babu. The students had access to the engineering research and facilities within WMG’s engineering hall, and were supervised by WMG’s Professor Ian Tuersley and Senior Teaching Fellow Nigel Denton.

The Team competed against students from Universities across the globe and were delighted to receive ‘Honourable Mentions’ in the ‘Manoeuvring and Control Subsystem Design Challenge’ and the ‘Thrust Production Subsystem Design Challenge’ categories.

Professor Ian Tuersley said: “This is another great result from the Godiva Submarine student team. Once again they have brought back awards from the ISR, in competition against considerably more experienced international institutions. This consolidates the Warwick team as the UK champions in this hotly contended, high-profile event.”

Charlie Behrle, President of the competition organisers, the ‘Foundation for Underwater Research and Education’ (FURE) said: “With over 250 contestants representing 12 teams from three different countries participating, it was a busy and challenging event. Your team’s participation and performance were outstanding. We very much appreciate the effort your team put forth to participate in this event. Well done to Team Godiva!”

The Godiva Submarine is currently displayed, along with other University of Warwick student projects, at the Coventry Transport Museum as part of the ‘Our Future Moves’ exhibition.

Our Future Moves runs until 31st October 2021 - find out more here: Our Future Moves - Coventry Transport Museum (transport-museum.com)


Bringing battery research to life at Our Future Moves

WMG is proud to play a part in the Our Future Moves exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum.

The interactive exhibition tells the stories of the objects on display by envisioning how future cities may look and explores how pioneering developments in transport and technology could affect the environment and the way we live.

It features a range of exhibits that highlight the region’s pioneering work in transport innovation – from autonomous vehicles to one-person submarines.

Image of Coventry VLR at Our Future Moves exhibitionAs well as showcasing the Coventry Very Light Rail Project, engineers from WMG’s Automation Systems Group have also created a display using a UR5 collaborative robot, or cobot, to show and explain how automation plays an important part in battery assembly and manufacturing.

The cobot, which is the centrepiece of the display, was the brainchild of WMG Project Engineer Rohin Titmarsh. AfterImage of cobot display at Our Future Moves exhibition working on AMPLIFII , a research project which delivered novel and leading designs for high power and high energy modules, along with the manufacturing methods to deliver them to medium volume production, Rohin started to investigate ways to bring the project to life for a younger audience. The team collaborated with Schunk, suppliers of gripping systems for industrial robots, who have generously loaned a gripper to the team for use in this exhibition, highlighting WMG’s strength in industry and breath of partners we work with.

Rohin explains: “This project is a shining example of the fantastic ability we have between our research and technical teams, to help bring projects to life. I am very appreciative of the support of Engineering Technician, Bethany Haynes, and thankful to Phil Jemmett and Margaret Low in the Outreach Team for the opportunity and assistance to develop this extension of the ‘Battery Builder’ activity.

“It is always important to explain why automation is crucial in producing the number of batteries we need for the future. The ‘Battery Builder’ activity does that for school students by introducing robots in manufacturing, why we use them and some basics about programming them. The gamification of this activity means we’re communicating the key points about our research in a fun and engaging way. Being able to have a real cobot running in the museum is a fabulous example of modern day engineering and in turn a great way to inspire the next generation of young engineers

“We look forward to working with Schunk and other partners in the future on more exciting and innovative uses for cobots.”

Our Future Moves runs until 31st October 2021 - find out more here: Our Future Moves - Coventry Transport Museum (transport-museum.com)

Mon 09 Aug 2021, 14:35 | Tags: HVM Catapult Public engagement Research Outreach

WMG’s Professor Margaret Low awarded MBE

Image of Professor Margaret LowMany congratulations to WMG’s Professor Margaret Low as she receives an MBE for her services to public engagement and widening participation.

Margaret joined WMG back in 1988, and for many years she has made it her mission to inspire young people from all backgrounds in STEM subjects and into higher education.

She has dedicated her time to develop innovative outreach activities for young people - connecting the local community with academia and promoting STEM in an engaging way.

Professor Margaret Low said: “It’s lovely, if a little overwhelming and totally unexpected, to be recognised in this way. Everything I’ve achieved has been in collaboration with fantastic colleagues and friends at WMG and across the University. None of this would have been possible without their hard work and dedication.

“I’ve also had the good fortune to work with some brilliant students through Warwick Volunteers who’ve been instrumental in bringing outreach activities into schools.”

About Professor Low

Working with Warwick Volunteers, she collaborates with University of Warwick students to run Scratch workshops in local primary and secondary schools reaching more than 250 children each year through the Technology Volunteers project.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Margaret and her team also developed invaluable resources to help support home-schooling.

In 2016 Margaret was awarded an HEA National Teaching Fellowship. The Fellowships recognise and celebrate the absolute highest standards of learning and teaching across higher education.

More than a decade ago she pioneered the use of Scratch in the UK, a user-friendly programming tool, for outreach work in schools.

Mon 14 Jun 2021, 14:29 | Tags: Athena Swan Our People Awards Outreach

Join WMG for a Stitch In Time this half term

Join the WMG Outreach Team on Tuesday 1st June for a free science based workshop, inspired by Coventry’s textiles history, at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Stitch In Time is a collaborative project between WMG and local primary schools for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

Picture of embroidered patternTaking inspiration from Coventry’s textiles history, children will create patterns using TurtleStitch, and these designs will then be stitched onto fabric by a digital embroidery machine.

The educational workshop will introduce the children to fun science activities while building their maths and computing skills.

Director of Outreach and Widening Participation for WMG, Professor Margaret Low, explains: This project aims to give children an insight into how technology can be used creatively to design and make physical objects.”

The event is aimed at 9+ year olds . Book your child’s free place here: Stitch In Time - The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

Mon 24 May 2021, 09:56 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Outreach

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