EPSRC contributes to IET's 'Engineering Around Us' programme

Supplementary content information

EPSRC contributed to the making of the IET/ITN Productions' 'Engineering Around Us' programme which highlights the importance of work experience, as well as exploring the role of engineering in our everyday lives.

EPSRC's contribution focused on encouraging the next generation of engineers. The skills shortage in engineering is well known and EPSRC are helping to fill this gap by demonstrating the global impact of engineering to inspire the next generation of engineers. The challenges engineering needs to address are diverse and as such the research that EPSRC invests in is interdisciplinary and international in both its scope and contributions.

EPSRC-supported researchers Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, Director UK Research and Innovation Centre for Energy Epidemiology at UCL, Professor Tiziana Rossetto, Earthquake Engineering, UCL and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, Director of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery, Imperial College London told us more about how EPSRC funding supports their areas of research.

The programme is a news-style piece that showcases the increasingly diverse and multi-disciplinary nature of engineers and involves interviews, news-style reports and sponsored editorial profiles of some of the leading organisations in the sector.

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Presenter

Engineering research has a vital role to play in all elements of our lives.  From safeguarding buildings against earthquakes, to improving health care through technological innovations and conserving energy with smart meters.  The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) invests in skills and research that cross disciplinary and geographical borders and deliver a truly global impact.  Sue Saville went to find out more.

Sue Saville, Reporter (SS)

Areas prone to earthquakes and tsunamis are benefiting from studies partly funded by the EPSRC.  The work gives British building companies a competitive edge and is vital in London’s insurance sector.  At University College London, computer and physical modelling help predict outcomes from seismic events. 

This is the EPICentre or Earthquake and People Interaction Centre at University College London, where experiments like these wave formations help engineers understand the impact of natural forces on structures like coastal defences and oil rigs.  The work also informs global construction in areas liable to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Professor Tiziana Rossetto - Professor or Earthquake Engineering, UCL

A real earthquake is actually a live experiment and so it allows us to study what will happen in reality.  EPSRC plays a fundamental role in enabling us to deploy after earthquakes, so to be rapidly there on site and to see what has happened and to understand the engineering problems, but also it sustains the research that we do which is highly multidisciplinary and takes the engineering to another level. 

SS

Engineering at a highly magnified level is taking place at the Hamlin Centre for Robotic Surgery at Imperial College London.  The centre’s co-founder works here with one of the world’s leading surgeons.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, FREng – Director of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery, Imperial College London

Innovation involves many different aspects.  Clinical Innovation is delighted to work with Lord Darzi. We co-founded the Centre and he has put a lot of the clinical steer and vision into it. 

Engineers are renowned for developing sophisticated technology, clever technology and less so we focus on developing technology that is accessible.  So what we want to do is actually develop technologies such as robotics to make something that is suitable for the privileged few into something that is a mainstream technology.

SS

Another mainstream application of research by the EPSRC is into the epidemiology of energy, that is how we use energy in our homes, work and transport. 

Professor Tadj Oreszczyn – Director RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology at UCL Energy Institute

What we have done here is to pull together a very large group of people from a range of different backgrounds who are studying the problem of energy demand.  We not only have engineers who are very well versed in the technologies and the technical side, but also in the human side.  So people come here to focus on the problem of energy, but bringing in all the expertise from the different disciplines.

SS

It’s working with people from different professional backgrounds that excites this doctoral student.

Dr Faye Wade – PhD Graduate, UCL Energy Institute

There are all these different disciplines.  Some of my colleagues do really distinct things to me - I’m looking from a more social perspective and I have people that are doing really technical work and modelling.  Within the Centre and afforded by the funding from the EPSRC, is this ability to work with different people and have a really broad understanding of energy challenges.

SS

Very much part of the EPSRC Delivery Plan to increase UK commercial productivity and technological connections, in order to create a more resilient and healthy future on a global level.

Dr Kedar Pandya – Associate Director, Business Engagement EPSRC

EPSRC research is obviously predominately trying to improve the competitiveness of the UK, but it happens in an international and a global context.  So as research happens around the world we can learn from that, bring that knowledge back into the UK and contextual it for our own needs.

SS

Engineers trained here in the UK are collaborating across disciplines to provide solutions to global challenges.