Mr Bill Nicholl and Mr Ian Hosking, Public Engagement with Research Award winners 2016

Mr Bill Nicholl and Mr Ian Hosking, Public Engagement with Research Award winners 2016


Bill and I first started working together back in 2009. The aim then was to bring together leading engineering research with the research Bill had been doing on creativity in education. This works spawned a research project called Designing our Tomorrow known as DOT for short. And we developed resources for teaching science, technology, engineering and maths. Crucially for us however is our approach engages with the public. DOT aims to equip high school students with lifelong skills to spot and solve problems. In other words the thinking tools that can be applied whatever the underlying technology might be, now and in the future. And we do this but basing the learning experience around an authentic challenge. To be authentic the challenge has to be meaningful to the students and unsolved. For example we’ve just launched one around the treatment of infant asthma in conjunction with the NHS. Not only will this be a great learning experience but there’s a genuine opportunity for student ideas to improve patients lives. In developing an authentic challenge we’ve had to engage with a variety of public stakeholders. For the asthma challenge we have worked with healthcare professions we have also engaged with teachers a variety of technical experts but most importantly high school students when developing our classroom resources. As you can see public engagement is at the core of how we work ultimately empowering students to solve real-world problems and get an authentic taste for engineering.

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