Engineering researchers describe their experiences of the Academy's research programmes. The new video was launched at the Academy's 2017 Research Forum.

A robot developed to inspect city infrastructure, monitoring water quality in sand dams and the design of new prosthetics were among many new technologies on display at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s annual Research Forum in London today. The annual Forum brings together Academy-funded researchers from across the UK to present their latest work.

Research projects featured at the Forum included:

  • Dr Raul Fuentes, Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, is developing autonomous solutions to inspect and maintain infrastructure in a way that allows more meaningful, repeatable and accurate inspections and repairs. He and his team have designed a small robot to inspect bridge bearings, as part of a self-repairing cities project that aims to make Leeds the first city in the world to be maintained by robots.
  • Supported by the Frontiers of Engineering for Development Seed Fund, Dr Alison Parker, a Lecturer at Cranfield University, Cranfield University, is studying water management and sanitation in low income countries. As a hydrogeologist, she focuses on shallow groundwater, and in particular, sand dams, which are a rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge technology. She is currently conducting extensive research on controlling the microbiological water quality of sand dams in Kenya.
  • Dr Alex Dickinson, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, is working on the next generation of prosthetic limbs, which will need to offer lower limb amputees greater function, comfort and mobility, and also improve rehabilitation after surgery. He is developing more accurate, dynamic models to support the design, verification and provision of better performing prostheses. This will benefit healthcare providers and improve the quality of life of lower limb amputees.

Guests get to grips with the interactive exhibits at the 2017 Research Forum
Opening the Forum, Alex Chisholm, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, underlined the importance of interdisciplinary engineering research to the government’s Industrial Strategy and the fact that engineering contributes around £280 billion a year to the UK economy. He highlighted the critical role that characteristically solutions-focused engineers will play in addressing future challenges.

Academy President Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS said: “The UK is a centre of world-class engineering research, attracting the brightest minds from all around the world and providing tools and products of real value to society. This Academy promotes that excellence by supporting outstanding researchers, and investing to bring them together with industry.

“Our support then enables those outstanding researchers to build broader funding portfolios for their research programmes. For instance, for every £1 that the Academy invested in our Research Chairs last year, other funders and businesses invested £18.”

Notes for editors

  1. Royal Academy of Engineering Research Programmes promote excellence in UK engineering research and innovation by supporting outstanding researchers in universities and bringing them together with industry. The Academy runs a series of fellowships that support aspiring and current world-leading individuals who are delivering high-quality engineering research.
    Find out more: Academy research programmes
  2. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

    We have four strategic challenges:
    - Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
    - Address the engineering skills crisis
    - Position engineering at the heart of society
    - Lead the profession

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering
T: 020 7766 0636;
E: Jane Sutton