The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced the 23 projects that will be awarded as part of the Ingenious programme, a funding scheme for projects that aim at inspiring the next generation of engineers.
Established in 2007, the Ingenious award is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to promote the creation of projects for public engagement.
RAEng said the Ingenious scheme has funded over 250 projects to date, providing opportunities for 7,000 engineers to take part in public engagement activities, and has reached over 3.2 million members of the public.
The selected projects will receive grants of up to £30,000 and will aim at engaging communities across the UK on a variety of topics, including climate change, sport, cultural heritage, and increasing diversity and inclusion in engineering.
Many of this year’s projects focus on heritage sites, sustainability and climate change, or coincide with upcoming events, such as ‘A Feat of Engineering’, a project that aims at introducing children to sports shoe engineering, ahead of the Commonwealth Games and FIFA World Cup, or ‘The End of the World Immersive Adventure’, a narrative-based escape room in Lewisham celebrating its London Borough of Culture 2022 status.
Many projects aim to informally educate children about engineering and the new challenges that people in the field face today.
‘The Daughters of Invention: Markspace, for example, is a partnership between the Play House, and the University of Birmingham’s School of Engineering, that aims at teaching children about engineering through theatre, and transposing skills taught in one field, such as public engagements skills, into another.
Other projects are more industry-specific, such as ‘Flying Futures’, a project developed by the University of Sheffield that has been designed to engage schools and the public ahead of the launch of a Green Technology Hub in South Yorkshire.
This project explores the future of the environmentally sustainable aerospace industry, engaging with local communities across South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and the Humber, through an interactive workshop roadshow that will support relationship-building between local schools, the public, the University of Sheffield, STEM education providers, local aerospace research and development organisations and engineers.
Also very industry-specific is the project developed by Sustrans, called ‘Minecraft Street Builders’, which aims at encouraging highway engineers to engage with the communities they design for, and to raise awareness among young people about highway engineering.
As part of the project, 20 highway engineers from three London boroughs, will be trained in designing collaboratively for diversity and using Minecraft for engagement. The engineers will then deliver interactive workshops for 180 students from three secondary schools, who will consider the needs of different users and design their dream local streets using Minecraft.
“The ‘E’ in STEM is often silent, and currently many engineering stories from across the UK are not being told,” said Ingenious panel chair professor Lucy Rogers.
“The Ingenious programme provides engineers with opportunities to further develop their communication skills, enabling them to illustrate their work and inspire the public in new, creative ways.”
“Engineering can mean different things to different people,” she went on. “These Ingenious projects can broaden perceptions of engineering to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to engage with the profession and access future-shaping careers.”
You can find out more about all the Ingenious projects here.