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The University of Southampton

Engineering students showcase designs that could change the world

Published: 15 June 2015

Innovative projects from the University of Southampton’s Engineering students have been unveiled at their first Design Show at the Boldrewood Innovation Campus. Ranging from autonomous robots to small scale locomotives and lifesized structures within the city, they illustrate the breadth of talent among hundreds of undergraduates studying the discipline.

Notes for editors


“At Southampton, we apply sound science to the solving of practical problems,” explains Dean of Engineering and the Environment, Professor William Powrie, who opened the Show. “Our students learn the principles of engineering during their studies and demonstrate their understanding through designing, building and testing exciting products that will make a difference to people’s lives.”

Judges from major companies who all employ Southampton engineering graduates (Lloyds Register, Rolls-Royce, Arup, BAE Systems, Shell and Siemens) heard and considered five shortlisted undergraduate presentations and gave the first annual Design Excellence Award to a group of final year Masters of Engineering (MEng) students* for their Group Design Project.

They designed, built and flew a fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), in a challenge devised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Among their innovations, team members came up with a new suspension system using memory foam and used 3D printing to integrate essential avionic ontrols within the tail. “We looked carefully at the IMechE specifications and came up with new ways to maximise performance within the rules, looking beyond the obvious engineering solutions to design an aircraft for the future,” says student James Thomas.

"It was incredibly difficult to decide on the winner," says judge Lisa Matthews from Arup. "We were pleased to see many of the students worked with industry partners to produce effective engineering solutions and we are sure all will go on to successful careers in the UK and throughout the world."

The Design Show is organised by Director of Design Education, Alastair McDonald, who joined the University in 2012 from a London architectural practice. He has spearheaded a focus on design throughout the Engineering curriculum, fostering innovative teaching and hands-on design activities for all students from first years to Masters level. “Engineering at its best combines creativity with science and technology. Design is integral to our courses and we push our students to be ambitious and achieve excellence. Our students leave us with the knowledge, skills and attitude to positively contribute within the field of engineering,” he says.

*Michael Ladhams, Richard Whitehouse, Guy Morgan, Andrew Theobald and James Thomas



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