Lottie Tour with Anke

Lottie Tour with Anke from the Lottie Tour during Tomorrow's Engineers Week by Anke Heuberger, November 2018

Lottie’s week at IMPACT* with Dr Anke Heuberger - IMPACT Operations Manager, College of Engineering, Swansea University

Lottie has joined me at an exciting time as we are currently in the construction phase of our new research facility, IMPACT – specialising in materials, processing and numerical technologies.  IMPACT is a Centre of Excellence supporting the global engineering industry with collaborative, fundamental research based at Swansea University Bay Campus.

On Monday and Tuesday, Lottie and I visited the Kier construction site to see the progress so far.  The building is due for completion in spring 2019 so we were able to see some of the final stages in place.  The building is divided into three distinct areas through a linked atrium; a research office building, a laboratory and a workshop building.  Lottie learned that the floor of the large workshop is designed to hold 50kN/m2 – this equates to filling the space with British Army Challenger 2 tanks, and then parking another one on top of each tank!

Up on the roof Lottie admired the view out to sea and counted 85 Photovoltaic (solar) panels! She learned that together these equate to 50.7kW of power for a total area of 316m2.

Lottie and I then met with Zoe Morgan, Assistant Quantity Surveyor at Kier, who showed us the floor plans and further sustainability design features incorporated into the build.  She learned that the new building will feature a ‘living wall’ with a matrix of hardy and robust evergreens; and nest boxes for swifts, sparrows and bats.

On Wednesday, Lottie helped write a presentation about IMPACT and learned a little about my role and what I do**.  She learned how the research operation will seek collaborations with world leading companies from the engineering industry to enhance research capacity – making IMPACT a unique colocation facility for academia-industry partnerships.

We ended our week, on Thursday and Friday, with a tour of some of the state-of-the-art equipment at IMPACT.  Lottie took a closer look at the AF100 subsonic wind tunnel and 3D printing machines plus a brief visit to watch the robotic hand in action. 

*The IMPACT (Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies) operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University.

**My background: I am an Agricultural Engineer by background and have been involved in managing European multi-partner projects for 17 years at Swansea University.  In 2006 I joined the College of Engineering as Project Manager for a number of smaller projects and became Operations Manager for larger scale operations in 2015. 

My current role: In a nutshell, I make sure that the IMPACT operation is delivered on time and on budget. I am responsible for managing and overseeing the budget, making sure that we meet our deliverables as agreed with the funder and comply with University and funder regulations. I lead a small team that is in charge of the day to day running of the operation in terms of procurement, marketing, ordering goods, recruiting staff, collecting evidence for expenditure and outputs and complying with applicable legislation.  I am also involved closely in preparing business plans and budgets for other external funding applications. 

Key skills: Excellent written and oral communication, organisational and time management skills are vital for my role as I have to work closely with a range of internal and external stakeholders.