Article - Issue 25, December 2005

The launch of Shape the Future; The Rolls-Royce Science Prize; The Best Programme’s Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) and Headstart courses

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Shape the Future Logo

Shape the Future was launched on the 28 November by BP Chief Executive and Vice President of The Royal Academy of Engineering, Lord Browne of Madingley. The campaign will promote science, engineering and technology (SET) to young people with a long term view to their pursuit of SET as a potential career option. It aims to start young people on a journey, discovering the value and impact of SET by helping them make connections between the issues they face and the solutions SET can provide.

The ERA Foundation photo competition

Motherboard © H. Altinisik

Motherboard © H. Altinisik

The ERA Foundation photo competition was announced at the launch of Shape the Future. The ERA Foundation, launched in 2001, provides research support for aspects of new technology with particular relevance to the rapidly evolving telecommunications and associated IT industry.

As part of Shape the Future, the photo competition is a celebration of SET through photography, which challenges young people (aged between 9 and 18) to capture an image portraying the importance of these subjects in our lives.

The aim is to be inclusive, therefore images can be obtained using any photographic technique and, although digital photos are preferred, any media can be submitted. Photographs should be attention grabbing, large or small, and accompanied by a short description of no more than 100 words about what the image demonstrates and why it is of interest.

The competition is organised with the support of the Young Engineers club network. There will be club and regional prize winners and the national finalists will be invited to the Young Engineers Annual Celebration of Engineering event. The total prize fund is worth £25,000.

Rolls-Royce Science Prize

September saw the launch of the second year of the Rolls-Royce Science Prize, its flagship education programme in the UK and the Republic of Ireland designed to recognise and reward excellence in science teaching. The prize invites practising teachers to submit inspiring and sustainable scienceteaching ideas that address a specific need or problem in their school or college.

The Science Prize programme was developed alongside practising teachers and science education advisors. It has received support from many of the country’s leading education and sciencerelated professional organisations. At its launch in July 2004, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown,welcomed the initiative as complementing the Government’s ten-year framework for investment in science and innovation. The Chancellor said the Science Prize recognises the vitally important role that teachers play in sparking children's interest and enthusiasm for science.

Nine finalists will receive £5,000 each and be given six months to begin implementing their idea. After six months an overall winning school or college will be selected, and awarded £15,000 to invest in science education. The runner-up team will receive £10,000.

Registration through the website for new proposals is now open and the deadline for 2005 academic year entries is 24 February 2006.

For more information on the Rolls-Royce Science Prize visit:

Further developments

The Museum of Curves © H. Altinisik

The Museum of Curves © H. Altinisik

The Royal Academy of Engineering is in discussion with the Institution of Civil Engineers to see how its vision of promoting engineering through scriptwriting can be incorporated into Shape the Future. The ICE competition, driven by ICE President Gordon Masterton, is being launched to identify the most sympathetic and high profile representation of an engineer as a fictional character in a media form.

Nuffield Curriculum Centre will be developing a Shape the Future resource, tasking Year 6 primary school children to present their ideas on alternative uses for the motor car. The ‘challenge’ title ‘Humans vs Horsepower’ will be ready for use by school teachers in the New Year.

The Academy has joined forces with Bosch to develop a writing competition, in association with a media partner. The competition will provide an opportunity for young people to write about an aspect of engineering and technology of interest to them. Further details will be available at the launch of the competition, which is anticipated in the New Year.

Shape the Future launch partners are BP, Kodak, Bosch, Tyco Electronics, Airbus and the ERA Foundation. Bosch has further information at and the ICE at

Further information about the ERA Foundation photo competition and Shape the Future can be found at

A Headstart in widening participation

Finding out about mechanical engineering at Imperial College, London © David Ozholl

Finding out about mechanical engineering at Imperial College, London © David Ozholl

As part of The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Best Programme, Headstart engages hundreds of students each year in a preview of the world of science, engineering and technology. Headstart provides an opportunity for students in Year 12/S5 to spend a week at university prior to making their UCAS application.

The aim of the programme is to provide accessible courses for all those considering careers in technology-based industries.

Broad and exciting courses explore various branches of engineering, offering hands-on experience of practical problems, plus insight into the experience of studying for a technologybased degree and exploration of the career routes available.

Grapevine modules invite recent graduates to discuss their university and career decisions. Express links students with employers and provides information on funding options at university. Focus courses concentrate on one particular discipline each week, while Insight courses and the Dragonfly modules for girls help develop key skills such as mentoring and team-building. Spectrum shows students from ethnic minorities how teams benefit from cultural diversity.

In 2005, 1,370 students aged between 14 and 17 (46% female, 20% ethnic minorities) attended 28 Headstart courses throughout the UK. After attending Headstart, the large majority of participants said they felt significantly more focused regarding their chosen subject, and better informed about where to study and how to apply for their preferred course.

For more information visit:

Success breeds success in Wales

Welsh students involved in the Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW), part of the Academy’s Best Programme, were invited to demonstrate their considerable engineering talent in November, at the International Design and Technology Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham.

Earlier in the year teams of students set to work solving engineering challenges set by local companies. Recently they have exhibited their work at a wide range of prestigious events in Wales, gaining substantial praise from national leaders. Jane Davidson,Welsh Assembly Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Encouraging that spark of engineering flair at a young age is vitally important in promoting engineering at higher education level. That is why the Welsh Assembly Government is involved in activities like EESW.”

Almost 1,000 sixth form students, teachers and engineers work together each year, generating enthusiasm and practical experience for a career in engineering. At the North Wales Awards Day, Carwyn Jones, Welsh Assembly Minister for the Environment, concluded with some comments about those involved in EESW: “Earlier I met the young people, and discussed the outcomes of their efforts.

I am massively impressed, not only by their inventiveness, but also by their positive and professional attitude. Engineers make a vital contribution to economic prosperity, the environment and quality of life. In a rapidly changing global market a resource of engineers, who can demonstrate the flair we have seen today, can provide important advantages to Wales and the world.”

If you are part of a company or school and would like to become involved, please contact Gill James, EESW,Waterton Technology Centre, Bridgend CF31 3WT. Tel: 01656 669381

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