Brunel University London is using battling robots in a bid to tackle the gender divide in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
40 Women in Engineering postgraduates will be teaching schoolchildren to create and programme robots to do battle with their classmates’ inventions, due to a £29,625 Ingenious grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The aptly named Robo-Code is designed to get pupils into engineering thinking and computer programming, whilst encouraging all genders to be engaged in science.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Brunel University London, Professor Geoff Rodgers, said: “Thanks to the backing of the Royal Academy of Engineering, our fantastic female engineering students will be able to share their passion and expertise for science and programming with a new generation of potential scientists.
“As women in engineering, they are forging new ground and we hope this will challenge pupil perceptions that science is boring, irrelevant or not for them.”
The initiative is part of a wider scheme by Brunel which attempts to fight teenagers drifting away from the subject as well as the gender divide, including the construction of an outreach lab that is designed to get young people enthused about jobs that come from STEM.
The grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering will also provide the high-quality equipment and tools required for building the robots.
Professor Sarah Spurgeon, chair of the Ingenious funding panel, said: “The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious projects are finding new and innovative ways to get the public – whether student, family, or adult-audiences – engaged with engineering. Our projects don’t just showcase the diversity of engineering, they also give the public a meaningful opportunity to interact with engineers, ask questions and share their views.”