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Engineering X gives £1m in grants to boost quality of engineering education in 14 countries

Engineering X gives £1 million worth of grants to projects across 14 countries to boost quality of engineering education and training

Engineering X – an international collaboration founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation – has awarded grants of up to £50,000 each to 21 projects in 14 different countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America to support the delivery of skills and education programmes. The projects will help develop domestic engineering capability and ensure that critical infrastructure can be built, operated and maintained safely without an over-reliance on multinational organisations and temporary, expatriate labour.

Previous research by Engineering X published in the Global Engineering Capability Review found that for many countries there is no problem with the number of engineers they produce. However, the quality and relevance of the training of their engineers is inadequate to meet national requirements, and the engineering skills needed and training required can vary greatly between countries.

As the pace of technological change accelerates, no nation can afford to ease up on their efforts to conduct engineering in a safe and innovative way. The projects funded today are collaborative partnerships that will use potentially disruptive ideas to support domestic infrastructure and help local engineers to develop the skills and capacity to adopt emerging and life-improving technologies at scale.

Some of the projects will help to increase the uptake of engineering among school children by promoting the provision of high-quality STEM teaching. Others aim to enhance quality, challenge-oriented education in engineering institutions such as vocational/technical colleges, apprenticeship providers, and engineering universities, including furthering the impact of Africa’s first post-graduate fire safety engineering degree.

Also among those receiving grants are projects to upskill the existing engineering and technician workforce to improve safety practices and enhance their ability to use emerging technologies. These include a plan in Uganda to build entrepreneurship, leadership and management skills of women engineers and technicians through housing innovation.

A scheme to teach cybersecurity engineering in Ghana typifies projects that support policy and partnerships to develop capacity to take advantage of opportunities to tackle existing or emerging engineering and safety challenges at scale.

A full list of all the projects can be found here.

During the application process, some applicants asked—and were granted–permission to change their projects in response to the emerging COVID-19 crisis. For example, a project in Kenya to train electrical technicians on one particular off-grid solar access project proposed instead that training should switch to the installation and maintenance of solar systems for use in healthcare facilities. The project also aims that 50% of trainees should be female.

Professor Peter Goodhew CBE FREng, Chair of the Engineering X Engineering skills where they are most needed Board, said: “Many countries struggle to develop a supply of engineering talent that matches their growing and diverse needs. Prior to the current pandemic, only in some quarters was it recognised that a radically new approach to engineering education and training was required in many countries if they were ever to close their existing skills gap. Now there is a much wider acknowledgement that appropriate domestic engineering skills are vital if countries are to survive future pandemics and similar systemic shocks.

“This grants process was well under way when COVID-19 struck. We had already chosen an impressive range of projects but the ingenuity and adaptability of applicants to pivot their ideas to deliver projects in the changed circumstances makes me even more optimistic that countries have the right individuals with the ideas and talent to effect change and to ensure that their engineers enter the workforce with the right mix of skills. The aim of Engineering X is to help them and others like them to do this.”

Notes for editors

  1. Engineering X is a new international collaboration, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, that brings together some of the world’s leading problem-solvers to address the great challenges of our age. Our global network of expert engineers, academics and business leaders is working to share best practice, explore new technologies, educate and train the next generation of engineers, build capacity, improve safety and deliver impact.

Engineering skills where they are most needed is a programme within Engineering X with the mission to implement capacity-building initiatives in countries that have identified engineering skills gaps and an over-reliance on multinational organisations and temporary, non-domestic workforces which limits their capability to operate and maintain critical infrastructure safely and prevents the adoption at scale of emerging and life-improving technologies.

  1. Global Engineering Capability Review [A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit ISBN 978-1-909327-48-1, Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, February 2020] Using the Engineering Index 2019, this measures the abilities of 99 countries to conduct key engineering activities in a safe and innovative way. It focuses on six measures of engineering capability around the world: the strength and sophistication of the country’s engineering industry, the availability and diversity of its engineering labour force, its knowledge base, built and digital infrastructure and safety standards. PDFs of the report, methodology and dataset can be found here.
    Engineering X welcomes feedbackon the Review and expressions of interest to join the programme’s community of practice.
  2. Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with its Fellows and partners, the Academy is working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age by growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships and influence policy and engaging the public.
  3. Lloyd’s Register Foundation is an independent global charity with a unique structure and an important mission: engineering a safer world. We reduce risk and enhance the safety of the critical infrastructure that modern society relies upon in areas such as energy, transport, and food. Our vision is to be known worldwide as a leading supporter of engineering-related research, training and education that makes a real difference in improving the safety of the critical infrastructure on which modern society relies. In support of this, we promote scientific excellence and act as a catalyst working with others to achieve maximum impact. We meet our aims by awarding grants, by direct activity, and through the societal benefit activities of our trading group, which shares our mission. Through our grant making we aim to connect science, safety and society by supporting research of the highest quality and promoting skills and education.

For more information please contact: Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0745; email: [email protected]

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