The Royal Academy of Engineering is delighted to be a major sponsor of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, to be held from 9 to 13 June. Many of the events are geared towards this year’s theme of ‘Decadence’, a theme proposed by the Academy, which will include debates on how human activity impacts on the planet.

The Academy is co-producing and sponsoring three events at the festival:

Engineering the Paralympics – Wednesday 9 June

Running blades, powered ankle joints and cutting-edge wheelchair design are just some of the technologies that could allow disabled athletes to compete at the highest level and challenge perceptions of disability. Could such enhanced Paralympians ever compete with, or even beat the performance of able-bodied athletes? If so, how do we ensure a level playing field?

Sports engineer and Academy Fellow in Public Engagement in Engineering David James and the International Tennis Federation’s Mark Bullock debate the issues and discuss the benefits for the wider population.

Global water security – Thursday 10 June

Water security is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. More than one third of the world’s population now lives in water-stressed areas and, in the fight for this most precious resource, regional “water wars” could threaten global stability.

Engineer Roger Falconer FREng, geographer Richard Taylor and governance specialist Sue Cavill discuss how the planet’s plentiful but unevenly distributed supply of water can be fairly shared.

Electric dreams: the future of cars – Sunday 13 June

Cars are as much a symbol of status and identity as a means of getting from A to B. With the promise of real reductions in carbon emissions, urban air pollution and noise levels, the car’s future is almost certainly electric. Bright spark engineer Roger Kemp FREng and psychologist Harry Witchel join electric car enthusiast Robert Llewellyn to explore the future of battery power and dispel the myth of the dawdling milk float.

Three more Academy Fellows will be taking part in festival activities. On Thursday 10 June, John Armitt FREng, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, will speak in a debate about the sustainability of the London 2012 Games. On Saturday June 12, Chris Bishop FREng will deliver a spectacular interactive presentation for family audiences on intelligent machines. Lord Winston HonFREng will be appearing in several sessions including on how to treat depression and ‘Call my scientific bluff’.

The Academy is also supporting the festival through its Ingenious grants programme to develop a five-day engagement masterclass specifically for engineers, built on the learning gained from running the nationwide science communicators competition, FameLab. The participating engineers will have the opportunity to put their learning into practice by taking part in a number of festival events.

Notes for editors

  1. The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 9-13 June 2010

    ‘Unquestionably the leading Science Festival in the country’ - Professor Sir Robert Winston

    The Times Cheltenham Science Festival is a five-day celebration of science, engineering and the arts and is produced by Cheltenham Festivals. A rare opportunity for the public to come face-to-face with around 300 of the world’s leading scientists and thinkers, the festival annually sells in excess of 23,000 tickets whilst the free interactive Discover Zone attracts over 10,000 visitors. The five day festival promises a mix of serious debate, live experiments and surprising discoveries all based at Cheltenham Town Hall.
    Box office 0844 576 7979
  2. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  3. The Academy’s Ingenious public engagement grants programme provides support for creative public engagement with engineering projects and aims to:

    - inspire creative public engagement with engineering projects

    - stimulate engineers to share their stories, passion and expertise in innovative ways to wider audiences

    - develop engineers’ communication and engagement skills

    - create debate between engineers and people of all ages to raise awareness of the diversity, nature and impact of engineering.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0636; email:  Jane Sutton