The Royal Academy of Engineering is celebrating the ingenuity and inventiveness of UK engineering designers with a programme of events from futuristic living to Formula One racing, as part of the London Design Festival.

The programme, which includes an exhibition, lectures and a competition, will focus on a voyage of discovery from the creative inspiration behind engineering design to the commercial exploitation of engineered products and processes.

Students from Northumbria University’s newly established P3i Studio will become Designers in Residence at the Academy, where visitors can view Future ways of living, which runs from 10am to 5pm on 19-21 September.

On 19 September at 6pm the design of Formula One racing cars will be examined in a lecture by Tony Purnell, Visiting Professor in Engineering Design, University of Cambridge and former Technical Adviser, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

High technology and leading design contribute to Formula One’s successful brand, but the regulator, the FIA, dictates the pace of innovation. Tony will explore if regulations encourage or restrict design innovation and how the right regulations can allow for more design diversity in the sport, without damaging its competitiveness.

The following evening, 20 September, Dr Julian Allwood, Leader, Low Carbon Materials Processing Group, University of Cambridge, will set out an agenda for making a big difference to global carbon emissions, by using fewer new materials. Most industrial emissions relate to producing materials and as demand continues to grow, emissions are likely to double by 2050 unless there is dramatic change.

His Design for optimal life lecture will divulge the evidence of a five year project involving 20 industrial partners and eight researchers.

Completing the programme, the finalists from the seven regional heats of the Innovation Hothouse competition will pitch to business angels and compete for the £5,000 prize, from 10am - 5pm on 21 September.

Innovative projects ranging from a sailing safety solution to a machine that creates a new kind of recycled plastic have been selected to compete in the national initiative, a Dragon's Den-style competition for engineering students, designed to showcase the best final year university student design projects.

Read more about the finalists' inventions

Notes for editors

  1. The Academy’s programme of events for the London Design Festival is designed for school pupils, teachers, designers artists and Londoners. For tickets or more information, please contact Ian Bowbrick, Head of Professional Formation at the Academy.
  2. The Innovation Hothouse is a partnership between The Royal Academy of Engineering, Institution of Engineering Designers, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and Institution of Mechanical Engineers, aimed at fostering the commercialisation of student design projects. For more information please visit:
  3. P3i is a D:STEM environment that is launching a pioneering research studio and laboratory in London. It is the ‘future ways of living’ platform within Northumbria University that explores societal signals to inform emerging lifestyles, products, services and experiences through interdisciplinary D:STEM (Design, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
  4. 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.

For more information please contact

Ian Bowbrick at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0604