Owen ‘Glyn’ Griffiths, a member of our Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been given the National Science Week award for the Best Engineering Event for a learning activity he developed called ‘Lifting Aspiration’ in affiliation with the organisation ‘My Future, My Choice’.

Aimed at 11-16 year old students, the event combines the scientific principles associated with hydraulic and other mechanical systems along with the exploration of aspects of local Bath and Bristol engineering heritage and continuing engineering excellence in the 21st Century.

Glyn said: “Through this project I have carried out a number of school visits and have also run wider public events on weekends. I have worked with my colleagues to develop a kit-form learning activity which we’ve used to tour the country, establishing sponsors and industrial partner links while taking part in public science events and festivals.”

Glyn has been assisted in developing ‘Lifting Aspiration’ by his colleagues Hugh Thomas and Polly Barnes. The three bring together teaching expertise, learning support and hands-on practical engineering knowledge, allowing them to develop a rounded learning resource for schools.

Glyn added: “I initially got involved after volunteering and running technical aspects for an event here in Bath last year. I enjoy it and became passionate in helping to develop the resource and encourage more teenagers to consider a career in engineering.”

Glyn, Polly and Hugh’s events to date in Bristol and Bath have been so successful that the team was nominated by attendees for British Science Association award. They took their event to the MShed Bristol Heritage museum in March, where the team impressed judges and were awarded the prize for ‘Best Engineering Event’.

The team has also just found out that they’ve been successfully awarded a bid from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which they plan to use to deliver inspiring and hands-on engaging activities for the year to come across the Bath and Bristol region.

Glyn said: “I am currently in the final year of my PhD, which is challenging and takes up a lot of time. I am very grateful to colleagues within the department (especially technician Mr Paul Dix) who have supported the event through use of department manufacturing equipment which is vital to the workshop element. I’m also really grateful to all of the student volunteers from the University who have helped at the events and made sure they were all a huge success.”

The next ‘Lifting Aspiration’ event is on 19 May. If you’re an academic or a student in a relevant discipline, or currently work in engineering or science in the local region and can offer support, Glyn would be very glad to hear from you.


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