Author Archives: James Hannah

Girls into Engineering

The Ove Arup Foundation is delighted to support the Smallpeice Trust project Girls into Engineering – Humanitarian Engineering.

This project is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) educational programme designed to encourage more female students in school years 10-11 to consider a STEM-related higher education, apprenticeship and career.

Participating girls will be shown the diversity within engineering its multi-disciplinary nature, and will encourage greater confidence and motivation to pursue educational goals and careers in STEM.

The project’s designers hope to challenge enduring perceptions and stereotypes regarding engineers and engineering and help to increase the percentage of females moving into related industries.

The Ove Arup Foundation’s grant will support secondary school STEM Enrichment Days (each for up to 60 children) and places for girls to attend a Humanitarian Engineering summer residential four-day course at the University of Warwick.

Further information about the Smallpeice Trust can be found here and about the project here.


The Ove Arup Foundation has announced support for the TEDxWarwick project, based at the University of Warwick. Modelled around the TED ethos of “ideas worth spreading”, the project aims to present inspiring speakers to share their experiences in technology, business and sciences and beyond.

Events at the 2019 TEDxWarwick are driven by two main themes:

By Design: Focuses on how the structural reconfiguration of big ideas can affect our lives on every scale. The TEDxWarwick salon aims to provide a platform for a special calibre of thinkers, designers and entrepreneurs.

Architects of Tomorrow: The foundation stones of the future are being laid. The innovations of tomorrow’s culture, business, and society; its scientific breakthroughs and its political revolutions, are being built today, by forward thinking individuals all around the world.

For more information, visit the TEDxWarwick site here.

Play to revisit achievements of engineer Sarah Guppy

The Ove Arup Foundation has announced support for a new play about an inspirational female engineer from the 19th century.

The new play, written by Sheila Hannon and performed in November by the Show of Strength theatre company is about an extraordinary female engineer who lived in Bristol and patented a bridge in 1811 and an ‘exercise bed’ in 1831.

Sarah Guppy (1770-1852) seems to have been the first woman to patent a bridge, and was possibly the first to formally design one. Yet Hannon contends her achievements have been ignored, marginalised, patronised and dismissed as the lowly efforts of a mother-of-six who happened not to design the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The Show of Strength theatre company believe this the time to set the record straight and has chosen 2018 – Year of Engineering and the centenary of Women’s Suffrage – is the year to do it.

The Show of Strength Theatre Company’s Twitter account is here, and ticket details can be found here.

The Anglo Danish Society 2018

The Ove Arup Foundation has made its annual award for 2018 to a student who will be carrying out post-graduate studies at the Royal Danish Academy for Fine Arts (KADK) in Copenhagen. This year, the award goes to Archie Cantwell, and his work on ‘The changing role of the architect as strategic designer’.

An outline of his proposed course of study reads as follows:

“Whilst the city used to be the exclusive field of the architect, it is now shared between a diverse range of urban practitioners: from corporate agendas keen to take a stake in the exploding urban market, to a smorgasbord of ‘urban thinkers’.

“Within this crowded field, the responsibility of architecture to express public values is becoming increasingly diluted. The profession of architecture is at an impasse. Either it becomes pivotal in steering cities, or it fades into obsolescence.

“Historically, the architect and craftsman have been tightly correlated professions. Today however, it seems deeply uncomfortable to suggest that architecture, fixated on virtues associated with craft, would be entirely adequate in responding to the profound socio-political shifts of recent years.”

Fire Safety Engineering Prize 2018

The 2018 Ove Arup Foundation Prize in Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh has been presented to Cameron Creamer.

Creamer graduated with a MEng degree in Structural Engineering with Fire Safety Engineering.

The award was made during the 2018 University of Edinburgh Summer Graduation Reception on 4 July 2018.

Extended support for SELA

The Ove Arup Foundation has agreed to extend its grant to the Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy (SELA) for a second year to help meet the costs of the student projects and associated activities.

SELA is a leadership development programme for undergraduate students that attempts to address the UK engineering skills gap by supplementing the technical knowledge of Sheffield engineering graduates with the skills, confidence and aptitude to demonstrate leadership and make a positive difference to their working environment.

The outcomes for students involved with the project are intended to involve improvements in the following areas:
• leadership 
• communications and public engagement
• access to high quality work experience and research opportunities
• awareness of enterprise and entrepreneurialism
• networking 
• employability

Pupils call the shots in Artsdepot design project

The Ove Arup Foundation has announced support for an Artsdepot project, based in Barnet, North London.

Building on a successful pilot engaging an architecture practice in a school’s project, Artsdepot will deliver an architecture and design project throughout Autumn 2018, aimed at inspiring disadvantaged children and young people, as well as enriching the school environment.

Through this project they will place the architecture practice NEON in five Barnet schools and invite pupils to consider the built environment and the design process that supports the creation of our public spaces and environments. Participating schools will be selected based on deprivation profiles coupled with their commitment to creative learning at a time of retracting support for creative and technical subjects in schools.

Each school will have a budget of £1,000 to spend on capital improvements, and NEON architects will help the pupils consider the built environment and come up with ideas for projects which will make practical and aesthetic improvements. The pupils will go through a design process where they will make decisions over developing and delivering the best ideas.

An exhibition documenting the process will run in Artsdepot’s Apthorp Gallery in December 2018.

Research fund agreed for ‘Digital Cities for Change’ programme

Dr Jennifer Schooling will be leading the programme

The Ove Arup Foundation has signed an agreement with the University of Cambridge for a four-year research programme leading to educational modules in Digital Cities for Change at graduate and executive level.

The research will address the disciplinary gulf between city managers, engineers and urban designers. The purpose of the research is to work towards a programme that trains built-environment professionals in a broader range of disciplines and tools, bridging infrastructure and city management solutions in order to develop the opportunities presented by the digital economy.

The research programme will address the gaps and identify the digital tools required to deliver a smart city which benefits the citizens it serves. The outcome will be a series of educational modules required to equip a new generation of built-environment professionals.

This programme will be delivered by a team of experts from the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) at the University of Cambridge. Led by Dr Jennifer Schooling (CSIC, Department of Engineering), the programme will bring together academics from the disciplines of civil engineering, land economy, architecture, geography, manufacturing engineering and computer science to develop capacity and capability within UK industry to design, deliver and sustain smart cities and infrastructure solutions. The research will not be confined to the UK, but will also develop international case studies.

Young Person’s Forum focuses on next 25 years

Future engineers will need to be better prepared for leadership roles, with a more thorough understanding of the impacts of their work on society. That, at least, is the conclusion drawn by a Young Person’s Forum hosted in May 2017 by The Ove Arup Foundation.

Participants in the forum felt that those engineers already equipped with technical expertise would benefit from stronger social sciences training to support them in leadership positions. In an era where big technology companies have influential, unelected leaders of their own, a focus on the social impact of design in the built environment is vital.

The purpose of the Foundation’s interactive workshop was to think about the trends and issues shaping cities over the next 25 years, and direct funding toward new challenges in the built environment. A small group of young people from Arup as well as representatives from RIBA, RCA and CIBSE considered a number of trends and prioritised six – leadership; digital society; artificial intelligence; sustainable behaviours; land use patterns; and water management – and discussed their impact on the role of a built environment professional.

They went on to discuss the risks, challenges and opportunities for the sector, as well as identifying new skills, knowledge, methods and educational tools that are likely to be useful.

Besides leadership skills, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was deemed likely to have a big impact on skills in the future. It certainly needs to be part of a built environment professional’s tool set and language. Climate change, too, should be addressed through improved foresight and holistic thinking in the planning process, with an emphasis on connecting citizens to the built environment, and avoiding the risk of over-engineering.

Other topics discussed included the effects that an increasingly digitally-driven society might have on consumption patterns and the shape of the city itself, and the age-old issue of how to protect long-term engineering visions in the face of short-term planning and political motivation.