Monthly news bulletin 10/2015

In this newsletter we’ve got examples covering the wide spectrum of the type of work the Foundation funds from scientific research through to skills and education, and public outreach. There’s also news on the new automated grants management system we’re installing, which will streamline everything and enable, amongst other things, on-line submission of grants and reporting. 

Prof. Richard CleggI’m pleased to say that the number of subscribers to this newsletter has almost double since I last reported it to you, and now stands at almost 2,000. It’s a bit of a milestone for us as we only send it to those that request it. 

Since the last review we’ve also published the Foundation’s Annual Review for 2015. Copies can be downloaded from our website here. Alternatively contact the Foundation and we can send you a hardcopy if you prefer. 

For the first time we’ve also included notification of forthcoming events and noteworthy dates in the Foundation’s calendar.  If you have any suggestions to include in the calendar of future newsletters then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards
Richard

The launch of the Alan Turing Institute

The evening of Wednesday 11 November was the official launch of the Alan Turing Institute. The UK Minister for Science Jo Johnson, Baroness Martha Lane Fox and the Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Mark Walport all gave speeches highlighting the importance of data science to the economy and society. Professor Andrew Blake, the newly appointed Director of the ATI, welcomed Lloyd’s Register Foundation as the ATI’s first strategic partner. The Foundation will support a five-year programme, managed by the ATI, to support data-centric engineering. The Programme Board will meet for the first time on December 17 where the Foundation will be represented by Nial McCollam LR's CTO and Ruth Boumphrey, the Foundation’s Head of Research Grants.

The Alan Turing Institute is looking for an exceptional programme manager to help set up and manage the ATI/Lloyds Register Foundation programme on data centric engineering.  See here, closing date for applications is 30 November.

First research call from Foresight review in structural integrity and systems performance

Following on from the publication of our Foresight review in structural integrity and systems performance, the first research calls related to the foresight review recommendations will be launched by the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) on Wednesday 18 November 2015. The call will identify research topics that demonstrate research excellence in the research challenges stated in the call. Details about the call and how to apply will be available on the NSIRC website with links to this call posted on our website.

Proposals that are submitted will be peer reviewed by industry experts. Those projects that demonstrate research excellence will enter into discussions with NSIRC aimed at studentships beginning in the academic year 2016/2017. There will be no geographic restriction on PhD awarding universities that may apply to this proposal.

In 2016/2017 it is anticipated that approximately 10 Foundation-funded PhD studentships will be starting at NSIRC which may be single one-off topics that address the stated challenge or may form part of a programme of PhDs which together address a challenge. Universities may apply independently or as consortiums of universities working towards a specific goal.

Students will be required to spend the majority of their time at NSIRC in Cambridgeshire, UK, with a supervisory team consisting of the academic supervisor from the awarding university, an industrial supervisor from TWI Ltd and an industrial mentor arranged via the Foundation who will focus the research towards impact for the benefit of society.

Designing for the expected and the unexpected:  Launch of the Foresight review of resilience engineering

On 20 October, the Foundation launched its latest Foresight review in resilience engineering. See here. It explores how resilience engineering could enhance the safety of life and property through the improved resilience of engineered structures, systems, organisations and communities around the world. Building on the findings of this review the Foundation will issues and international call for expressions of interest to establish a programme to build the resilience of critical infrastructure sectors. Please watch for further details in the next newsletter and on our website.

New database for the Foundation

We are implementing a grants management system to help us to improve administration of our growing number of grants. The system will allow applicants to apply online and existing grant holders to report progress online. Each existing grant holder will have a unique log-in, which you will receive when we are ready to go live. We expect this to be during December, although there is still quite a bit of work to do on testing before we reach that point. Anyone wanting to submit a new outline proposal or full application will need to register to create a log-in. You will be able to save and review applications before submitting them and will be able to see any submitted. We will be able to remind grant holders when progress reports are due, hopefully avoiding delays in subsequent scheduled payments. We hope that you will welcome these improvements and enjoy the additional support that the system will provide.

Going beyond digitisation: Innovation in the heritage sector

On 29th and 30th October, Lloyd's Register Foundation’s Heritage and Education Centre held its first conference on digitisation. The two day event brought together 90 heritage professionals to discuss what happens beyond digitisation of heritage collections. Many institutions are digitising their collection to improve public access, creating a searchable, digital copy from a physical object.  However, often museums and archives stop there before their educational aims have actually been addressed; as was continually emphasised during the conference "Just because collections are online it does not make them interesting or usable."

The conference was a fantastic way for delegates with similar projects, including Lloyd's Register Foundation, to network and discover potential partners and advisors. The first day saw expert speakers from five different institutions and backgrounds, from as far afield as Canada. The feeling was truly international and inspiring. The second day focused on newer professionals and included a series of workshops to facilitate creative thought around digitisation. Delegates were encouraged to think big and think crazy, as these ideas may often be scaled down to something more manageable. The event was intentionally forward thinking, particularly given the likely fall in costs of some these ideas in the future, as well as the development of more powerful technology.

The Heritage and Education Centre team learned tremendously from the conference and the themes and issues that have emerged will be considered with regards to Project Undaunted; the endeavour to restore, conserve and digitise the Heritage and Education Centre’s collection to enable educational activities.

The event was a resounding success with delegates thoroughly enjoying the conference. For more information on his event and the presentation slides please see here.

Girls into Engineering Smallpeice residential course

The Smallpeice Trust have reported to us on their grant for their Girls into Engineering residential course 2015, which helped us meet our objective of widening access to under-represented groups. With match funding from the ERA Foundation, 98 13/14 year olds spent four days at the University of Bristol with 19 industrial role models from Babcock International Group, Lloyd’s Register Group Limited, National Nuclear Laboratory and SELEX ES. Fifty students taking part were from maintained schools, 20 of them benefiting from free places.

Guest speaker at the course dinner was Hannah Pearlman MEng Hons CEng MIMechE, Finalist for the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2014.

A few of the very positive comments from participants included “I like the fact that we are given responsibility and are treated like adults not young children. This means that we think for ourselves and don’t rely on adults to give us answers so there is more room for learning and development in many areas. The projects are designed to be as similar to the real world as possible.”

“The testing part of the projects taught me the most as it showed me what weaknesses there were, so that we could think about how we can improve.“

Afterwards, 68% of students intimated that the course had persuaded them to work in a similar field of engineering to their project work.

Upcoming events

RNLI – Annual guest lecture on 2 December to be delivered by Prof Richard Clegg (MD of Lloyd’s Register Foundation) entitled First to be 2nd: The application of emerging technologies to saving lives at sea.

The first open research call of the International Consortium of Nanotechnology (ICON) will be launched on 1 December. You can follow the latest on this call on our social media.