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University wins national award for the UK’s best engineering event

Published: 27 March 2009

The University of Southampton has beaten off stiff competition to win the inaugural ETB award for the UK’s ‘Best Engineering Event’ to take place during National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) 2009.

The Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) and the British Science Association established the prestigious award, with a £1,000 prize, to encourage imaginative and inspiring entries to NSEW, and the University of Southampton this year came up trumps with its Science and Engineering Day for all the family.

A fun-filled day of hands on activities, workshops and demonstrations, the event featured seven themed activity zones including Space, Technology, Life, Transport, Construction, Light, and Chemistry. Amongst other things, children and parents were given the opportunity to:

- Pilot the Airbus A380 super jet in the flight simulator
- Try their hand at sailing with our yacht wind tunnel
- Watch the launch of a rocket-powered model of the BLOODHOUND supersonic car
- Experiment with lights and lasers
- Make slime and ‘silly’ putty, or bubbles that bounce in mid-air
- Have a go at constructing their own bridge and see what weight it can take
- Discover how the human body changes throughout your lifetime - inside and out
- Take part in a science-based murder mystery called ‘Blood on the Kitchen Floor’ to find clues to solve the mystery of 'who did it' by using some of the latest forensic technologies such as lie detectors, laser puzzles, fingerprinting, and robots.

Competition entries were judged according to the following criteria: their effective communication of engineering principles; their innovative and engaging presentation of science and engineering; and their effective self evaluation. Other finalists in the ‘Best Engineering Event’ category included Knottingly Sports Centre and Grange Technology College for their Design a Hovercraft Day, and Go4Set East Midlands Celebration and Assessment Day, which encouraged students to work with local companies on environmental engineering projects.

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Technology Board, said: “The ETB is delighted to award the University of Southampton the National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) prize for Best Engineering Event. We congratulate them for entertaining and informing children, students and parents alike in the wonders of engineering and in doing so, for helping lay the foundations for the future economic recovery. The ETB established these event awards in order to recognise and reward the creativity and innovation that goes into each and every NSEW event.”

Professor Jeremy Kilburn, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the Engineering and Technology Board’s award for Best Engineering Event 2009. With all the amazing activities to choose from, for us to have been selected as the Best Engineering Event is a fantastic achievement and a real testament to all of the effort that is put into celebrating National Science and Engineering Week at the University of Southampton.

“Our Science and Engineering Day has grown from its origins in the early 1990s to encompass activities from across the spectrum of science, engineering and medicine. This year we had over 2,500 visitors on our Highfield campus for a day of demonstrations, lectures and interactive activities. Over 200 people are involved in organising the day and I would certainly like to thank all of them for all the hard work they put in to making it such a success. We certainly hope that all the young people who visited us were inspired and will choose to continue to study science and engineering subjects in the future.”

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