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If you missed our last newsletter, here’s our latest round-up of the Academy and engineering community’s work in response to COVID-19.

Upcoming event: Innovation in a Crisis

Join us on Tuesday 19 May at 2pm for our next live Q&A where our chair, Professor Mark Miodownik MBE FREng, will lead the panel discussion and invite questions on the UCL-Ventura breathing aid (CPAP). He will be joined by the managing director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains Andy Cowell FREng, and Professor Rebecca Shipley, Professor of Healthcare Engineering, Director of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Vice Dean (Healthcare) at University College London.

Register now to join the discussion and hear how engineers collaborated to produce a new breathing aid which is already in operation in hospitals.

Future events

VentilatorChallengeUK Q&A - We'll continue our Innovation in a Crisis series with a live Q&A on VentilatorChallengeUK on Friday 29 May at 3.15pm.

VentilatorChallengeUK is a consortium of UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, which has come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK. Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from government for in excess of 15,000 units.

Events for entrepreneurs: support in uncertain times

The Enterprise Hub has developed an online event series, Building Future Resilience, to provide support to engineering and technology entrepreneurs from across the UK. The series will cover three core areas: business resilience, funding, and people and culture.

The first event focusing on financial, business and people strategies in a time of crisis and beyond was led by the Executive Chairman of Arcinova, Ian Shott CBE FREng, and the CFO of Arcinova, Paul Ryan. The next event, Leadership and Remote Working, will take place on 20 May. If you have any questions, please contact Ana Avaliani

New Pandemic Service Awards to be launched

In recognition of the critical contribution of engineers and engineering to the management of COVID-19 the Academy will be launching a new set of Pandemic Service Awards, open to teams and individuals at all career stages who have shown exceptional engineering practice or innovation in response to the crisis. Further details will be announced on the Academy website and social media channels later this week, so do look out for details.

Ongoing advice to government

We received more than 60 responses to the first wave of our supply chain survey, and have already shared these with government stakeholders. This evidence will be used as a base to inform a short-term investigation into energy, electronics, food, aerospace and chemical sectors and to understand implications for longer term resilience.

We are continuing to gather evidence to inform government on assessing the impact on innovative start-ups and large R&D intensive businesses, and on low and no contact technologies to enable return to work.

Supporting the COVID-19 response in Africa

The Academy's Sustainable Development team is working to mobilise our African-based programme alumni and leverage the Academy's Fellowship and networks to help provide capacity and resources to respond to COVID-19 in Africa.

Project CARE has been established to support African engineering entrepreneurs to make and supply PPE to be used in hospitals and clinics in sub-Saharan Africa. We are currently working with 50 alumni on this project in 11 different countries across Africa.

International experts discuss digital contact tracing

The Academy held the third in a series of video meetings on 11 May, this one focusing on the engineering challenges of digital contact tracing, with global experts invited via the international community of engineering academies.

Representatives from Estonia, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand and the UK gave updates on the different approaches countries are taking to app development and data gathering. The following discussion explored challenges and solutions, including how to balance efficacy and privacy, how to engage the public to use apps, and how to achieve international interoperability.

The series of online meetings is helping to share knowledge and foster collaboration between national experts across a wide range of countries.

Take part in the international knowledge exchange. 

Calls for evidence

  • Issues for frontline medics. As part of the Academy's work to support the public health response to COVID-19, we would still like to hear from frontline medics and policymakers who are encountering critical issues, so that we can convene expert teams of engineers to help solve these problems. We will share insights and solutions with governments through our national and international networks. To submit challenges you think we could help with, please follow this link or share it with your networks.
  • How engineers are responding around the world. We are undertaking a survey of the role of engineers around the world in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of our Engineering X Pandemic Preparedness programme, with an aim to collate and share insights into life-saving lessons, methods and technologies.

Funding opportunities

  • Engineering X Pandemic Preparedness programme. Through our international Engineering X programme we are offering grants of £20k for highly innovative, engineering-centred research and/or innovation proposals that have potential to tackle the most pressing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • DFID's Frontier Tech Hub. The Academy has partnered with DFID’s Frontier Tech Hub to crowdsource innovative approaches to local production and solutions to the challenges of COVID-19 across Africa as well as in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar and India. The Hub is providing access to networks, expertise and grant funding of up to £50,000 for both local production and local solutions.

In the news

  • Made Smarter UK and Enginuity have launched a new digital upskilling platform designed to deliver digital engineering skills in one place to Britain’s engineers and manufacturers. Visit the platform.
  • CIBSE have developed a set of guidelines to help businesses prepare their buildings as we emerge from lockdown. Read the guidelines here.