Future farming, electric dreams and F1 engineering: Academy announces new Ingenious public engagement projects

• New round of Ingenious programme to support 17 projects with grants of up to £30,000 for public engagement activities.
Projects aim to inspire future generations of engineers and work with diverse audiences across the UK

The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced 17 new Ingenious awards for public engagement projects designed to inspire the next generation of engineers. The programme started in 2007 and is funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to support grants of up to £30,000.

The newly funded projects will engage communities throughout the UK to help reach underrepresented audiences and change perceptions of engineering. The programme provides engineers with training and encouragement to share their stories and engineering expertise with the public.

This year’s projects focus on topics from sustainable agriculture and future sources of water to Formula 1 and the history of women’s involvement in engineering:

Future Farming – exploring engineering in agriculture will work with engineers at Edinburgh Science to design, develop and deliver interactive activities for students, young people and their families, which will explore engineering solutions to sustainable agriculture.

Formula 1 Engineering Lab for Children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) is a project led by Lightyear Foundation that will design and deliver an accessible and inclusive Formula 1 Engineering Lab in SEND schools, introducing the world of race car engineering to a new generation of potential drivers and engineers.

Many projects are aiming to introduce young people to engineering careers, including Emergency! Engineers Wanted!, which will inspire primary school pupils across Cardiff and the South Wales valleys to explore engineering careers by participating in an engineering lab.

The VR Engineering Experience will empower girls to explore the exciting realm of engineering through an immersive odyssey using cutting-edge virtual reality technology.

Watts In A Home – Electric Dreams 2024 will celebrate 100 years of women’s involvement in engineering using interactive activities and a theatre performance based on an old play called “Watts in a Home” to share the story of the Electrical Association of Women.

Ingenious Panel Chair Pete Lomas FREng said:
“Look around you, can you find something that has not had engineering involvement? That’s a question I often pose to schoolchildren and their parents. Probably there will be very little that hasn’t. From the built environment to the production of the food we eat, even the clothes we wear have all been engineered.”

“The Ingenious programme aims to support creative outreach, change perceptions of the profession and exemplify the diversity of opportunities that engineering has to offer as a career. It also provides engineers with the skills to effectively communicate their work and promote engineering to the wider population.

“I’m looking forward to following the activities of the imaginative outreach projects we have funded this year and seeing their impact on the participants.”

The full list of funded Ingenious projects 2024


Eerie Engineering
Inspired by the popular ‘Horrible Histories’ format, the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) in Reading aims to provide intrigue and interest for young people in the engineering of sustainable buildings.
Engineering examples from the long drop toilet and the stealth window tax, to the Indian Hawa Mahal – the ‘Palace of Winds’ – will be used as a ‘hook’ to develop a digital catalogue of interactive mixed media that will accompany detailed lesson plans for pupils in Years 6-8 (Key Stage 2 and 3) to support hybrid reality learning. The project will train and work with a diverse group of graduate engineers from female and/or ethnic minority backgrounds and support them to engage with young people in deprived wards across the UK.

Engineering Our Water Future
Engineering Our Water Future is a multi-media project delivered by Children’s Radio UK that will encourage and inspire children to explore water issues and how we can engineer clean and sustainable water in an age of climate disruption.
Through audio, animated programmes and live events, children and their families will be able to get hands-on experience in water engineering and meet engineers to find out what they do and what inspired them to become engineers.

Watts In A Home – Electric Dreams 2024
Watts in A Home – Electric Dreams 2024 celebrates 100 years of women’s involvement in engineering and power in the home, catalysed by the Electrical Association of Women which was formed in 1924.
Working with the Women’s Engineering Society Clusters in Bristol, Newcastle, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Belfast and Glasgow, this project will train a minimum of 24 engineers to use hands-on/interactive activities and a theatre performance based on an old play called “Watts in a Home” to share the story of the Electrical Association of Women and electricity from 1924 to 2024 (and beyond) to the public.

LaunchBox – A box to think outside of
Geared towards female and non-binary people aged 13-17 years old, Launchbox aims to ignite curiosity at a crucial educational crossroads. Engineers in this collaboration will craft Launchboxes that reflect their backgrounds, experiences and passions. Many people are unaware of the interdisciplinarity of robotics. Moreover, gender biases steer girls away from engineering fields from as early as primary school.
Led by the University of Bristol with the help of RS Grass Roots, this project aims to change this perception and therefore inspire a more diverse and inclusive community of roboticists. It will reach over 300 young people who will unpack the tools and materials in their Launchboxes to build a robotic system with real-world relevance. These interactive activities will inspire a more diverse and inclusive community of roboticists.


Welsh Engineering Stories: Past, Present and Future
Welsh Engineering Stories aims to bring together heritage professionals, engineers, and school students to tell the story of how engineering has shaped the culture, place and people of South Wales in the past, present and future.
Swansea University will work in collaboration with 15 engineers in South Wales, who will be trained in storytelling, to write the stories of their engineering careers. They’ll then visit Year 9 classes in local schools to share their stories and help the pupils create their own stories of their imagined future as engineers, and how they could shape their local area. The project will culminate in an exhibition of these stories at the Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

Emergency! Engineers Wanted!
It is not news that there is a national shortage of engineers. Techniquest aims to enthuse and inspire primary pupils about a career in engineering.
Working with local companies and 40 engineers, the project will reach up to 1,200 primary school pupils aged 7-11 across Cardiff and the South Wales valleys. Classes will visit Techniquest to participate in an engineering Lab workshop or to see a highly engaging themed show to find out about engineering careers, particularly in space, semiconductors and the environment. Each class will also be allocated an engineer pen pal for the duration of the academic year. The project will then form an ongoing part of Techniquest’s Education Programme in future.


Future Farming – exploring engineering in agriculture
Edinburgh Science will work in collaboration with engineers to design, develop and deliver interactive activities for students, young people and their families, which will explore engineering solutions to sustainable agriculture.
Future Farming will be delivered at Careers Hive in November 2024 in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Careers Hive is a free interactive careers event designed to inspire up to 3,000 students, aged 11-15, about the opportunities that studying science and engineering can open up.

Enchanted Engineering: Engaging with engineering through creative storytelling
The Enchanted Engineering project, led by Aberdeen Science Centre in partnership with Robert Gordon University, aims to empower young people to solspecve real-world engineering challenges, introduced to them by professional engineers through creative storytelling.
The experienced team will lead a two-day Public Engagement Skills Academy for 20 engineers, where they will be supported to develop five engineering activities aimed at children aged 7-14. Prompts for the challenges will draw on well-known fairytales but the challenges themselves will relate to real-life engineering inspired by the work and career paths of the engineers.

South East

1066 Future Engineer – engineering after school clubs
1066 Future Engineers is a project run by East Sussex County Council that will create relationships between the local community and neighbouring industrial estate, housing a growing hub of engineers, inspiring those living locally to consider jobs in these industries.
By piloting after-school clubs in engineering with primary pupils, the aim is to give children hands-on experience and build long-term relationships to mitigate sector skills gaps locally by ‘home growing’ future engineers.
The after-school clubs will be diverse and inclusive with planned activities including ‘real world’ projects – building or creating something that works.

The VR Engineering Experience
Prepare to bring the world of engineering alive like never before! “The VR Engineering Experience” is an immersive adventure that empowers girls to explore the exciting realm of engineering using cutting-edge virtual reality technology.
Led by Spacefund, this project aims to reach 300 girls in Kent through a virtual reality engineering work experience. The futuristic mobile workshop will inspire and engage with 30 Girlguiding Units, supported by a diverse team of 15 volunteer engineers.

LOOK DRAW BUILD @ Reading Station
The LOOK DRAW BUILD @ Reading Station project, delivered by Reading Civic Society in Partnership with Stantec, Ridge and Partners and Great Western Railways, is a creative learning programme and competition based on the transport hub of Reading Station. Some 500 primary school children will learn about the history of railways and compete to design their own new station.
During May, 15 morning workshops will be delivered across 11 primary schools in Reading, including a GWR guided visit to the station. Responding to a set design brief, children will work in teams of three to build their station and the best three models will be exhibited at Reading’s annual Waterfest in June.

East Midlands

Think Human – putting people at the centre of engineering
Think Human is an exciting collaboration led by Loughborough University, which encourages everyone to put themselves and others at the heart of the engineering process. The project will support a diverse group of Ergonomics and Human Factors professionals to develop their skills in public engagement and creative communication methods.
Participating engineers will co-create a series of online and in-person ‘Get a Grip’ workshops to explore the realities, challenges and opportunities of ergonomics in industry and inclusive design with Key Stage 3/4 school groups. These workshops contribute to a wider Think Human exhibition at the Museum of Making in Derby, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF).


Formula 1 Engineering Lab for Children with SEND
Lightyear Foundation have teamed up with F1 in Schools to design and deliver an accessible and inclusive Formula 1 Engineering Lab in SEND schools, introducing the world of race car engineering to a new generation of potential drivers and engineers. The children involved face multiple disadvantages in education, careers and life skills and are all too often excluded from STEM.
Each lab consists of four one-hour sessions with a Lightyear Lab Lead, supporting 6–8 students to design, test and race their own model race car designs using F1 in Schools’ wind tunnel and test track. These labs will be supported by real-life engineers, sharing photos and videos of their work, helping the children with their model race car design and construction and the use of the specialist equipment.

Mapping Energy – survey of potential NZC sources of energy
Brought together by the London Diocesan Fund, a group of young engineers will work with Year 12 students from eight secondary schools to assess the possibilities of using excess heat from the London Underground system to warm churches and schools across the City of London.
Exploring the potential extraction of heat from the water in some of London’s hidden (lost) underground rivers, the students will work with an artist to create an annotated map of their area.

Sustainable Southwark: building a sustainable community with underrepresented future engineers
“Sustainable Southwark” is a year-long programme that will connect engineers with 350 ambitious students aged 14-17 across five Southwark schools and the wider community, for a competition to develop engineering-based solutions to mitigate local sustainability issues.
Through fun activities delivered by Motivez, an award-winning youth-led organisation, the students will increase their awareness of how engineers can tackle issues like air pollution in relatable sectors such as transportation and fashion. They will pitch their green solutions, using engineering insights and a digital toolkit, to councillors and partners to mitigate community pollution.

The Hidden Engineering Behind Public Spaces, Art, and Play
The Hidden Engineering Behind Public Spaces, Art, and Play will bring together engineers from some of London’s largest regeneration areas to design and deliver walking tours and activities for local secondary school pupils in their areas.
Active travel charity, Sustrans, will work with 33 engineers from a mix of private sector firms, development corporations and local authorities across London and provide them with training and support to design and deliver engaging site-specific activities for a local school group. The project will engage up to 180 young people, from backgrounds underrepresented in engineering, with the aim of shining a light on the role of engineers in spaces not generally thought of as “engineered”, including parks, public art, and public realm.

Notes for Editors

  1. Ingenious is an awards scheme, run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering. The scheme is supported by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.
    The Ingenious programme aims to:

    inspire creative public engagement with engineering projects

    motivate engineers to share their stories, passion and expertise with wider audiences and develop their communication and engagement skills

    raise awareness of the diversity, nature and impact of engineering among people of all ages and backgrounds

    provide opportunities for engineers to engage with members of the public from groups currently underrepresented in engineering.
    Ingenious has funded more than 330 projects to date, providing opportunities for over 10,000 engineers to take part in public engagement activities, to gain skills in communication and to help bring engineering to the very centre of society. Ingenious projects have reached nearly 4 million members of the public.
  2. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.
    In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.
    Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
    For more information please contact: Ahmed Ibrahim at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. +44 207 766 0672; email: ahmed.ibrahim@raeng.org.uk

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