The Academy brought engineering to life at the 2017 Cheltenham Science Festival through two sponsored events: Mysteries of the Mind – The Machine Mind with Beth Singler and Murray Shanahan and Magical Elements and Mark Miodownik FREng; and a brand new interactive MakerShack, funded through the Ingenious public engagement grant scheme. The Festival took place from 6-11 June and attracted thousands of visitors.

The Machine Mind was an evening panel discussion that explored how intelligence can be engineered, what is known about robot thought processes and how similar they might be to our own. Questions from the audience ranged from ‘what’s the most future-proof career?’ to ‘what’s next for AI?’. Professor Murray Shanahan, Professor of Cognitive Robotics and Imperial College London and Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind predicted that artificial intelligence will begin to develop common sense and increasing levels of language understanding.

Mark Miodownik demonstrated the amazing properties of the ingredients that make 21st-century technology work in Magical Elements, an interactive family-friendly event on Sunday morning. From milk bottles to mobile phones and super strong magnets to tough tungsten carbide, materials were put to the test and the audience was asked to consider what can be done to ensure these materials do not run out.

The Ingenious-funded MakerShack was a brand-new interactive space that brought engineers from both industry and academia, scientists and makers together to inspire the public to explore the material world and the joy of making. It proved incredibly popular throughout the festival with interactive workshops and drop-in activities incorporating engineering, materials, art and technology - inspiring young and old alike.

Notes for editors

Ingenious is an awards scheme, run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering. The scheme is supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Ingenious programme aims to:

  • Inspire creative public engagement with engineering
  • Stimulate engineers to share their stories, passion and expertise in innovative ways with 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

Ingenious has funded over 189 projects to date, providing opportunities for over 5,000 engineers to take part in public engagement activities, to gain skills in communication and to help bring engineering to the very centre of society. Ingenious projects have reached over 2.5 million members of the public.

Ingenious: public engagement awards


For more information, please contact:

Marianne Jamieson
T: 020 7766 0683