Busking, boating and broadcasting to engage public

18 April 2013
By Edd Gent
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Ingenious Busking will comprise a series of short street theatre shows themed around STEM topics (CREDIT: ISTC)

Ingenious Busking will comprise a series of short street theatre shows themed around STEM topics (CREDIT: ISTC)

Draft artwork from Dreams of a Low Carbon Future, which will feature engineers working with children and artists to produce a comic exploring the children’s visions of a sustainable future (CREDIT: James Mckay)

Draft artwork from Dreams of a Low Carbon Future, which will feature engineers working with children and artists to produce a comic exploring the children’s visions of a sustainable future (CREDIT: James Mckay)

The Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire showcases a variety of DIY engineering projects (CREDIT: Chris Scott)

The Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire showcases a variety of DIY engineering projects (CREDIT: Chris Scott)

The University of Birmingham's hydrogen hybrid canal boat built is driven by a permanent magnet motor (CREDIT: University of Birmingham)

The University of Birmingham's hydrogen hybrid canal boat built is driven by a permanent magnet motor (CREDIT: University of Birmingham)

Engineers will have the opportunity to become buskers, radio presenters and barge drivers in an effort to engage the public.

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s (RAEng) public engagement grant scheme, Ingenious, will fund 24 new projects to increase awareness of engineering’s role in society.

BBC Bang goes the Theory presenter Maggie Philbin and her team at TeenTech are one of the projects to receive an Ingenious grant for their popular TeenTech careers roadshows, which aim to inspire students to consider careers in engineering and science.

Maggie Philbin, TeenTech CEO, says: “We're delighted to receive this award which will enable us to work closely with engineers in companies and university departments, helping those who may not be used to working with teenagers to communicate their work.

“There are so many fascinating specialities and the best way to inspire and convince teenagers and their teachers is through engaging, hands-on activities. We'll be giving a very loud voice to engineers so they can show young people the careers which really have the ‘X factor’.”

Another project, called How British Engineering Changed the World, aims to highlight Britain’s contribution to the world of engineering by means of a converted Routemaster bus filled with examples of the country’s greatest inventions.

Engineers will guide visitors around the exhibition in specially designed tours, as well as hosting an accompanying Innovations Café series of informal talks and workshops.

Professor Sarah Spurgeon, chair of the Ingenious funding panel and Professor of Control Engineering and Head of School, University of Kent, said: "The Academy is passionate about engaging the public with engineering in all of its diverse forms and so we’re very excited to be supporting this new round of projects.

“We hope they will not only give the public an opportunity to connect with engineering but also give engineers the skills to talk about their work."

Two other projects funded by the scheme will get engineers out of their workplaces and onto the water.

The University of Southampton will train engineers to become buskers, demonstrating their work on ferry trips in the Solent region, while in the West Midlands engineers will navigate canals on a barge powered by hydrogen while discussing novel power sources with the public.

Engineers will also be given the chance to become radio broadcasters, thanks to an Ingenious project run by Fun Kids Radio, which will train and help young engineers to create engineering audio and video features for children.

Ingenious is funded by the Department of Business, Skills and Innovation. A full list of projects supported by the scheme this year is available here.

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