Engineers taught to tell tales

Engineers will soon be learning to tell stories - in a project funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious award.

“By giving the story tellers both the skills and editorial control over production," said the project leader Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustics Engineering at the University of Salford, “the participants gain insights into a different approach to communication, different from that traditionally used in engineering.”

The Academy has announced 14 awards worth £355,000 to projects all over the UK to raise engineers’ skills in communicating with those outside their profession. The successful proposals range from innovative interactive musical events at the Science Museum to seminars for engineers working in nanotechnology to engage with the ethical issues involved in their work, and to discuss these with public audiences.

Professor Phil Withers, who is a Fellow of the Academy, and his colleagues at the University of Manchester have won £30,000 to provide coaching for new PhD engineers to take their award-winning interactive exhibit 'So you think you can design a jet engine?' into schools around the country. Their demo allows people to take a virtual 3D journey through a jet engine featured at last month’s Farnborough Air Show.

Engineers at the University of Bradford will soon be learning to engage the public in a novel way, inviting young people and adults to “turn their fat to fuel” by recycling cooking oil into biodiesel at a small-scale plant to be set up at the University of Bradford.

The aim of the Ingenious funding programme is to increase society’s access to contemporary engineering, by encouraging today’s engineers to take part in public dialogue on engineering and its impact on society.

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