Professor Margaret Low and Dr Phil Jemmett both led sessions at the holiday workshops designed to bring all areas of science - including mathematics, computing and engineering - to life for 9 to 14 year olds.
Professor Margaret Low’s session was a fun and creative introduction to programming using TurtleStitch. TurtleStitch is free, easy to use, and generates patterns that can be stitched by embroidery machines, enabling the creation of physical things from code.
At Dr Phil Jemmett’s session he asked, ‘Where is engineering?’ Dr Jemmett explained how every product, tool, device and service relies on engineers designing, refining and creating solutions to problems. Students used programmable electronics and sensors, and had the opportunity to make a product for the future.
Dr Phil Jemmett, Widening Participation Co-ordinator at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “The Royal Institution has centuries of tradition in educating people about science in a fun and engaging way. We are so proud to have supported the holiday workshop programme for another year, and continue to work with one of the most famous scientific bodies in the world. What better place to showcase the engineering and innovation that WMG is part of in building the future? We aimed to show people how simple it can be to start to create their own projects, whether making a smart city for the future, or controlling an embroidery machine in Margaret’s workshop. And it really showed in the engagement of the students in the activities – the things they were able to build in one day were mind-blowing.”
Professor Margaret Low, Director of Outreach and Widening Participation at WMG, University of Warwick, showed her commitment to making science accessible: “Science, engineering, mathematics, and computer science are not traditionally seen as being fun subjects to dip into. With these workshops we were able to provide an inspiring introduction for young people, and perhaps set them on a path to becoming scientists or engineers in the future. Working in partnership between a university and a public body like the Ri is a good example of how we can create opportunities for young people to discover what they want to do, and be empowered to achieve it.”
Peter Gallivan, Family Programme Manager, at the Royal Institution, explains: “Holiday Workshops at the Royal Institution are one of the main ways we work with young people, welcoming around 2,000 young people across the summer to get hands-on exploring STEM subjects. The sessions run by Margaret and Phil are some of my favourites, as they showcase how creativity and imagination are important skills used by scientists and engineers. It was a delight to see their sessions packed full of excited young scientists happily working together to solve a variety of engineering challenges. How else would you want to spend your summer holidays?!”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programmes here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/outreach/
Widening participation work experience week connects under-represented aspiring engineers with industry giants
The University of Warwick's commitment to widening participation and fostering inclusivity took centre stage during a week-long programme aimed at inspiring 30 students from local schools to pursue careers in engineering. The initiative was organised by WMG at the University of Warwick and the University's Widening Participation Team which wanted to support under-represented students that might lack confidence or support when they consider a future in engineering.
Throughout the programme, participants gained valuable insights into various engineering pathways and learnt more about research and careers at WMG alongside partners like Tata Motors. WMG research and teaching staff mentored the students, providing them with a taste of what studying engineering involves through an engineering project.
Laboratory and workshop tours, facilitated by WMG apprentices and Tata Motors, gave participants firsthand exposure to the dynamic environment of an engineering workplace. The event culminated in a showcase where the students presented their projects, highlighting both their engineering skills and the knowledge they gained during the week.
The project was also supported by student ambassadors from across the University; Drishti, David, Ana, Brij, Sheerah, Diya, Michelle, Gabe and Chinmay, giving the young visitors to our campus an experience of what studying in Higher Education is like. The Widening Participation team also gave a session providing information, advice and guidance on how they might enter university study. Throughout the week, young people therefore had experiences and interactions all the way from undergraduate level through the University hierarchy to the Dean of WMG.
One participating student said: "Visiting the National Automotive Innovation Centre with Tata Motors has opened my eyes to what engineering is really like, and I would like to learn more about degree apprenticeships with the University of Warwick.”
Another said: "I would describe this programme to a friend as an unmissable and eventful opportunity which I would heavily recommend as it has boosted my skills and given me a greater insight into careers, apprenticeships and university as a whole which has inspired me to want to go to university.”
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG said: “There is a clear pathway from this point to being professional engineers. There may be many routes – whether through an apprenticeship or through a taught degree programme – but the skills and experience needed for all those routes are the same: perseverance, determination, initiative, and curiosity. Having a product on display at this showcase also demonstrates plainly those qualities in the people who have made them.”
Dr Phil Jemmett, Widening Participation Coordinator at WMG said: "This work experience model has been in our minds since 2019 and this is the first time we've been able to run it at full scale. Students have been working with our engineers on group projects all week and have gone on a journey through engineering and rapidly prototyping equipment.
“Each challenge links to WMG research and to challenges in the real world that could help make our planet's future more sustainable. With the skills we have seen in these students this week I have no doubt that our STEM industry is in safe hands in the future. They have been amazing."
The University of Warwick's initiative reflects its dedication to providing equal opportunities in engineering education. By empowering less privileged local students and challenging misconceptions about the field, they are nurturing a diverse talent pool that will shape the future of engineering.
Find out more about WMG's Outreach programme here
Notes to editors
For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact:
Bron Mills, Bron.firstname.lastname@example.org, +447824 540 720
Members from WMG at the University of Warwick’s SME team worked together with the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN Group), on Tuesday (11th July), to offer a group of students the opportunity to learn real life engineering and design skills.
Eighty pupils from 16 local schools swapped their daily lessons to take part in the challenge. They were tasked, supported by engineers from the MAN Group's eight member companies, with building a miniature aircraft and then testing the designs.
The event took place on the University of Warwick campus and was attended by WMG’s Executive Chair, Margot James, as well as representatives from the BBC and Sky News.
Dr Mark Swift, Director of SME Engagement at WMG, University of Warwick: "WMG is working tirelessly to address the skills gap, that our SME manufacturing partners continue to face, through education programmes; innovation projects; internships and knowledge transfer partnerships.
“It’s important that the manufacturing industry engages with future engineers, to encourage, inspire and lead us into a prosperous future together. This is exactly what the Design and Make Challenge aims to do.
“This event in particular, really brings home the creativity and innovation involved in the manufacturing sector, and it was a privilege to be part of it.”
You can watch footage of the event here: http://www.capturepr.co.uk/design_and_make_challenge_110723.html
Students at the WMG Academy for Young Engineers are preparing for lift-off after being named UK national champions in the European Space Agency’s CanSat competition. Having launched themselves to the top spot in the UK, WMG Academy’s Team Phoenix 2 will soon blast off to the European finals.
Inspired by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander mission, the young space explorers from Team Phoenix 2 have designed and manufactured a suborbital satellite capable of measuring and collecting temperature and air pressure data whilst looking for signs of life on a planet by sampling surface dust – all contained within the size and shape of a soft-drinks can. Launched to a height of 1,000 feet, the satellite descends, launching an integrated parachute before transmitting data back to the team at the command centre.
As part of the competition, the students, all aged between 14 and 17 years old and studying a combination of maths, science and engineering, have produced designs and prototypes, submitted testing data and launch reports, and presented to a team of experts, setting themselves apart from over 250 other entries and 12 finalists to take the title of UK national champions.
Commenting on the team’s success, WMG Academy Chief Executive, Stewart Tait, said: “Our students are clearly high-flyers with ambitions that are out of this world. We could not be more proud of Oliver, Joshua, Callum, Amneet, Timurs and George who have worked so hard to design an innovative and successful can-sized satellite.
“This year’s CanSat project was launched by Bob Hodge who has been an integral part of WMG Academy since we opened in 2014. Unfortunately, after a long illness, Bob sadly passed away just a few weeks ago and there is no better way to pay tribute to the time and energy Bob invested in the lives of our young engineers than continuing his legacy of inspiring the next generation through projects like CanSat.
"We are looking forward to taking Team Phoenix2 to the European finals to showcase the incredible engineering talent of WMG Academy students on the international stage.”
Notes to Editors:
- For media enquiries, please contact WMG Academy, Coventry, via email@example.com
- WMG Academy for Young Engineers is part of the WMG Academy Trust, consisting of two University Technical Colleges (UTC) in Coventry and Solihull. The Trust was founded by the late Professor Lord Bhattacharyya and works closely with WMG at the University of Warwick.
- WMG Academy offers an innovative curriculum of STEM subjects, working with local and national employers to deliver a ‘business-like, business-led’ pathway of study to prepare students for life beyond the classroom.
- Opening in 2014, WMG Academy Coventry was first-rated Good by Ofsted in 2017 and again in 2022. WMG Academy Solihull opened in 2016 and is also rated Good by Ofsted.
- WMG Academy has seen local, national and international success before in engineering projects including F1 in Schools, Greenpower, the Royal Navy UTC Challenge and the 2021 and 2022 CanSat competitions.
- The European CanSat Competition is an ESA Education project that promotes STEM skills amongst young European students through project-based learning. A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a soft drink can. The team’s challenge is to fit all the major subsystems of a satellite inside this minimal volume, launched by a small rocket up to an altitude of 1 km.
Social Media and External Links
- WMG Academy Website – www.wmgacademy.org.uk
- CanSat Website – https://www.esa.int/Education/CanSat
- CanSat Stem Learning - https://www.stem.org.uk/all-news/lift-off-for-winners-of-the-uk-cansat-competition-2023
- WMG Academy Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WMGAcademyCov
- Team Phoenix Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100088983507094
- Team Phoenix Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/phoenix2cansat/Link opens in a new window
- Team Phoenix Twitter – https://twitter.com/Phoenix2cansat
- TikTok – https://www.tiktok.com/@phoenix2cansatLink opens in a new window
- Team Phoenix YouTube – www.youtube.com/@Phoenixcansat
The event, organised by the WMG Outreach Team and chaired by WMG’s Executive Chair Margot James, took place on Friday (10th February).
The expert panel, including Dr Claire Dancer; Antonia Betzou; Dr Elspeth Keating; Farah Villa Lopez; Magdalena Cieslak and Rupika Gulati, hosted a lively discussion with the girls about the highs and lows as a ‘woman in science.’
Each of the scientists shared their own personal journey and explained what had inspired them to pursue a career in science.
Margot James, WMG’s Executive Chair, said: “It's no secret that women have historically struggled because of the gender gap in STEM. We’re extremely passionate about this, and through our Outreach programme we are committed to build links with local schools and the community to provide role models that can help create a more equitable future.
“It was an absolute pleasure to meet such an inspiring group of girls, and I know our female scientists have helped to motivate them in their future career choices.”
A year 10 student from Eden Girls School added: “ I really enjoyed the science engineering workshop because it allowed me to understand what options are available to me after secondary school.
“Having women speak about their accomplishments and experiences really inspired me into thinking more about science, and trying my hardest to be able to achieve great things like they have. I learned so much and enjoyed everything.”
The Warwick Submarine team, which consists of seven 4th year engineering students at the University of Warwick, has successfully completed the European International Submarine Races (eISR-22) in Gosport.
The student team raced their human powered submarine, against other science and marine engineering students from across the world. The submarine, named Godiva picked up two awards – the ‘Winner Day 5’ and a new award for best ‘Communication.’
The team was able to complete the whole slalom course at the Ocean Basin, and record a very respectable time of three minutes and 56 seconds. This is the first time that Godiva has achieved this since its very first entry at ISR in the USA in 2014. This impressive progress led to Godiva receiving the ‘Winner Day 5’ recognition.
The ‘Communication’ prize was judged by a group of school children who attended the races and met with the competitors. The children felt that the Warwick Sub team were the best at explaining the complexities of the project and notably without ‘talking-down’ to them.
The Warwick Submarine Academic Supervisor at WMG, University of Warwick, Professor Ian Tuersley, said: “The students were a real credit to the University, and their performance as practical engineers was very impressive”.
“The competition invariably involves a great deal of on-the-spot problem solving. Every single member of our team contributed handsomely to this effort by identifying the issues, generating innovative solutions, and then implementing them with only the barest of workshop resources to hand.”
In preparation for the competition, the students had access to cutting-edge engineering research and facilities at WMG at the University of Warwick, as well as funding from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and help from sponsors.
Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, at WMG, University of Warwick, explained: “Well done to this year’s team on their achievements at e-ISR-22. We are now beginning the planning process for next year’s competition, and are looking forward to supporting a new group of students as they look to design and manufacture a new hull from composite materials. With the help of our team, they will gain indispensable hands-on practical engineering skills, at our world leading facilities.”
After arriving back from eISR-22 there was more good news for the team, as they were announced as winners of the inaugural Warwick Award for Public and Community Engagement (WAPCE), by the Warwick Institute for Engagement (WIE).
Professor Tuersley added: “It’s another fantastic achievement and provides further evidence of the team’s commitment to outreach and engagement activities.”
Find out more about the University’s student projects here.
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.
Dr 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; 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)
The WMG Outreach team has been making special Christmas deliveries to children across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.
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
WMG Senior Research Fellow, Dr Mona Faraji-Niri, has been announced as a winner of a prestigious 2021 TechWoman100 award.
Dr Faraji-Niri started her career at Iran University of Science and Technology, and then continued as a lecturer at Pooyesh Institute of Higher Education, before joining WMG in 2018.
Dr Faraji-Niri is currently based in WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre specialising in battery modelling, battery management algorithms, electric vehicle powertrain modelling and control, and machine learning algorithms.
Dr Faraji-Niri explains: “It is an honour to be included in such a fantastic list! We need women at all levels to reshape the tech world. There’s no longer a mindset of ‘I can’t because I am a woman,’ all is possible by recognising and embracing your uniqueness, and having the passion and love for what you do.”
The TechWomen100 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and to also recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way for future generations of tech talent. Highlighting the achievements of these women is part of the WeAreTechWomen’s campaign to shine a spotlight on 1,000 future female leaders in technology by 2025.
See the full list of 2021 TechWoman winners here: TechWomen100 Awards | Winners 2020 (wearetechwomen.com)
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 WMG team used Kitronik project boxes to introduce the ideas of intelligent vehicles, calibrating components, coding, algorithms, and to 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)