Category / BU2025

The Evolving Landscape and Future Prospects of Mechanical Engineering Education in the UK

IMechE FL

Mechanical engineering education in the United Kingdom has undergone significant transformation in recent years to meet evolving societal needs and strategic priorities. As the educational landscape adapts, mechanical engineering programs have emerged as catalysts for innovation, sustainability, and societal advancement.

The UK has a rich heritage of engineering achievements, making engineering education an intrinsic part of the nation’s academic fabric. Traditionally, mechanical engineering has been at the forefront of this endeavour, contributing to the country’s industrial prowess. Today, this legacy continues, with mechanical engineering playing a pivotal role in shaping the future.

Mechanical engineering education in the UK is intimately connected to national priorities:

Energy Sustainability: The global concern for energy sustainability is reflected in the curriculum. Mechanical engineering programs focus on energy technology development, equipping students to address pressing issues in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable power generation.

Health-Related Technologies: Mechanical engineers are at the forefront of healthcare innovation. They contribute to the development of health-related technologies, such as medical devices and healthcare robotics, bridging the gap between engineering and medicine to improve patient care.

Longevity of Structures: Ensuring the longevity of critical structures and infrastructures is paramount. Mechanical engineers learn to design and maintain durable and resilient structures, contributing to economic stability and public safety.

Wider Sustainability Context: Mechanical engineering education has broadened to encompass sustainability principles. Graduates are well-versed in sustainable design, circular economy concepts, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes, addressing sustainability challenges effectively.

In a pioneering move, Professor Zulfiqar Khan worked closely with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on their accredited Further Learning Programme (FLP). He assumed the role of scheme coordinator and integrated Bournemouth University’s existing educational and enterprise provisions into the IMechE FLP. This collaboration achieved IMechE accreditation in July 2011 as a Further Learning Programme, marking a significant milestone for academic year 2012-13. This was a historic achievement as it marked the first IMechE accredited program in an English Higher Education Institution (HEI).

Recognising the need for lifelong learning and professional development in engineering, Professor Khan championed the creation of a flexible learning degree tailored for industry professionals. This innovative program allows working engineers to obtain academic qualifications while continuing their careers. It enables industry professionals to achieve academic qualifications required for professional recognition as incorporated or chartered engineers, further contributing to the engineering workforce’s expertise and professionalism.

Building on the success of the IMechE FLP accreditation, Professor Khan played a pivotal role in establishing a successful mechanical engineering course at Bournemouth University. This course, with its industry-relevant curriculum and strong ties to the IMechE, quickly gained recognition and attracted students enthusiastic about pursuing careers in mechanical engineering.

Central to the success of these programs is the fusion of research-informed education with a strong industry and professional interface. By aligning educational provisions with the latest research and industry needs, students benefit from a dynamic learning experience that is both academically rigorous and practical. This approach enhances their employability, as graduates are well-prepared to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Moreover, research-informed education underpinned by industry applications also yields significant societal impacts. Graduates are equipped to address environmental challenges through sustainable design practices, contribute to social well-being through healthcare innovations, and drive economic growth by applying their skills in industry sectors.

Professor Zulfiqar Khan’s impact extended beyond the classroom and curriculum. He used the successful accreditation of the IMechE FLP program as evidence to support the repositioning of Research Excellence Framework (REF) Unit of Assessment 15 to UoA 12. This strategic move was initiated well before the launch of the Lord Stern review of the REF in 2015. It sought to ensure that research in mechanical engineering received appropriate recognition and support within the REF framework.

The Lord Stern Review of the REF was officially launched in 2015, led by Lord Nicholas Stern. Its objective was to assess the role and operation of the REF and make recommendations for the future, including how research excellence and impact are evaluated, funded, and rewarded.

Professor Zulfiqar Khan’s contributions to mechanical engineering education in the UK extend beyond the classroom. His vision, dedication, and collaboration with industry and professional bodies have not only led to the establishment of successful academic programmes but have also influenced the strategic positioning of research in mechanical engineering within the REF framework. As mechanical engineering continues to evolve, such contributions are pivotal in shaping its future impact and significance, fostering a dynamic and impactful fusion of education, research, and industry interface.

Acknowledgment. This article is researched, produced and written in collaboration with GAI.

IMIV MRI Research Project Scheme 2023 – 2nd call closing 1st Oct

Earlier this year, we were delighted to award 80 hours’ scanning time to a study examining the impact of cold water immersion on depression, under the IMIV MRI Research Scheme 2023.

The second call for applications for the Scheme is currently still open, but closes on 1st October.

Under the scheme, imaging research projects can apply for up to 100 hours of scanning time on the IMIV’s state-of-the-art 3T Siemens Lumina MRI scanner.

  • The focus of the scheme is on multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional projects, and priority will be given to projects with a clinical partnership.
  • All research projects must have a Bournemouth University researcher as lead or co-lead applicant.
  • Projects must be able to demonstrate how they will lead to peer-reviewed academic outputs and external funding applications for further MR imaging studies.

Please note: the award does not cover any additional expenses related to scanning, or other aspects of the project.

For further information and an application form, please email imiv@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Revolutionising Industries: The Significance, Impacts, and Reliability of Nanocoatings

Application

Introduction:

Nanocomposite coatings, a ground-breaking development in materials science, have emerged as a transformative force across various industries. These coatings, with their unique properties and applications, hold immense promise for enhancing performance, reducing maintenance costs, and addressing critical global challenges. In this comprehensive review, we delve into the key significance of nanocoatings in a range of industries, their substantial impacts, and their reliability [1–4]. Furthermore, we explore how Professor Zulfiqar Khan is collaborating with generative AI and predict the potential benefits of this partnership for industry and contributions to new knowledge. This narrative aims to influence UK science and technology policy, attract funding, and foster new partnerships to drive innovation and competitiveness.

Application
  1. The Multifaceted Significance of Nanocoatings:

Nanocoatings in Cavitation and Beyond:

Nanocomposite coatings have brought transformative advantages to industries grappling with issues such as cavitation, corrosion, tribology, and fluid dynamics. They provide enhanced protection and resilience in the face of harsh operational conditions, including extreme temperatures, high pressures, corrosive environments, and minimal lubrication. The significance of nanocoatings lies in their ability to extend the lifespan and reliability of vital components and systems across multiple sectors.

Nanocoatings Addressing Global Challenges:

Industries today are confronted with pressing global challenges, such as energy efficiency, sustainability, and system durability. Nanocoatings offer innovative solutions to these challenges by optimising surfaces and interfaces through surface modifications and coatings. They play a pivotal role in enhancing energy efficiency, ensuring the reliability of systems, and promoting sustainability. These benefits are invaluable in the context of UK science and technology policy, which emphasises the transition to greener technologies and sustainable practices.

  1. The Impact of Nanocoatings:

Academic and Industrial Benefits:

The development and application of nanocoatings have not only enriched academic research but have also provided tangible industrial advantages. Researchers worldwide are actively engaged in studying several types of nanocomposites to create durable and energy-efficient coatings. This collaboration between academia and industry fosters innovation, encourages knowledge exchange, and accelerates the adoption of innovative technologies. It aligns with the UK’s vision of becoming a leader in innovation and technology development.

Experimental Advancements:

Professor Khan’s work exemplifies the impact of nanocoatings on the industry. His experiments with alumina, silicon carbide, zirconia, and graphene nanocomposite coatings have displayed their robustness under different conditions, including exposure to seawater. Such empirical evidence guides industry practitioners in selecting the right coatings for their specific applications, reducing maintenance costs, and ensuring system reliability.

III. Reliability of Nanocoatings:

Advanced Modelling and Predictive Tools:

One key aspect of nanocoatings’ reliability lies in the advanced modelling and predictive tools developed by researchers like Professor Khan. His cathodic blistering model (Khan-Nazir I) [5] and coating failure model (Khan-Nazir II) [6] offer a deeper understanding of coating behaviour under stress, wear, and corrosion. These models enable precise predictions of coating performance, which is crucial for industries seeking dependable solutions.

Lubrication Modelling:

Furthermore, lubrication modelling, which incorporates wear-corrosion and mechano-wear equations, investigates the influence of microstructural properties like porosity and surface stresses on the coefficient of friction (CoF). This is vital in ensuring the reliability of systems operating under various conditions, as reduced friction leads to increased durability.

  1. Collaboration with Generative AI:

Harnessing AI for Materials Discovery:

Professor Zulfiqar Khan’s collaboration with generative AI represents an exciting frontier in materials science. Generative AI can accelerate materials discovery by simulating and predicting the behaviour of nanocomposite coatings with unmatched speed and accuracy. By leveraging AI, researchers can design coatings tailored to specific industry needs, further enhancing their reliability and performance.

  1. Predicted Benefits and Contributions:

Industry Advancements:

The partnership between Professor Khan and generative AI holds the promise of revolutionising industries. Predictive modelling and AI-driven materials discovery will enable the creation of coatings that are not only more reliable but also more cost-effective to produce. This will stimulate innovation, reduce downtime, and boost competitiveness across sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy, and manufacturing.

Contribution to New Knowledge:

The collaboration will undoubtedly contribute to new knowledge in materials science, computational modelling, and AI-driven materials discovery. This research can inform policy decisions and attract funding for initiatives aimed at harnessing AI for materials development. As the UK government seeks to position the nation as a global innovation hub, investments in cutting-edge research of this nature will be pivotal.

  1. Influencing UK Science & Technology Policy:

Nurturing Technological Leadership:

To influence UK science and technology policy, it is imperative to underscore the role of nanocoatings and AI-driven materials discovery in nurturing technological leadership. Emphasising the potential economic and environmental benefits of these innovations can encourage policymakers to prioritise investments in research and development.

Supporting Sustainable Practices:

Aligning nanocoatings with the UK’s sustainability goals is crucial. Highlighting how these coatings enhance the sustainability and reliability of systems can resonate with policymakers keen on promoting sustainable practices and technologies.

VII. Forging Partnerships:

It is essential to articulate the transformative impact of nanocoatings and AI collaborations on industry and the potential for significant contributions to knowledge. Presenting a clear roadmap for how investments will yield tangible results can attract the attention of funding bodies interested in fostering innovation.

Industry-Academia Synergy:

Lastly, forging partnerships between academia and industry is fundamental. Collaborations that integrate academic research with industry needs can ensure that innovations like nanocoatings find practical applications and drive economic growth.

In conclusion, nanocomposite coatings represent a pivotal advancement with far-reaching significance and impacts across industries. Professor Zulfiqar Khan’s collaboration with generative AI holds immense promise for further enhancing their reliability and performance. This partnership aligns with UK science and technology policy objectives, attracting funding and fostering collaborations that will drive innovation and competitiveness, positioning the UK as a global leader in materials science and technology.

Acknowledgement: This article is written in collaboration with GAI.

References

[1]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed; Bakolas, V.; Braun,W.; Bajwa, R. Experimental analysis and modelling for reciprocating wear behaviour of nanocomposite coatings. Wear 2018, 416, 89–102. [CrossRef]

[2]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed, A.; Siddaiah, A.; Menezes, P.L. Synergistic wear-corrosion analysis and modelling of nano composite coatings. Tribol. Int. 2018, 121, 30–44. [CrossRef]

[3]       Abdeen, D.H.; El Hachach, M.; Koc, M.; Atieh, M.A. A Review on the Corrosion Behaviour of Nanocoatings on Metallic Substrates. Materials 2019, 12, 210. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

[4]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed, A.; Bakolas, V.; Braun,W.; Bajwa, R.; Rafique, S. Analyzing and Modelling the Corrosion Behavior of Ni/Al2O3, Ni/SiC, Ni/ZrO2 and Ni/Graphene Nanocomposite Coatings. Materials 2017, 10, 1225. [CrossRef]

[5]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed, A.; Stokes, K. A model for cathodic blister growth in coating degradation using mesomechanics approach. Mater. Corros. 2016, 67, 495–503. [CrossRef]

[6]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A. A review of theoretical analysis techniques for cracking and corrosive degradation of film-substrate systems. Eng. Fail. Anal. 2017, 72, 80–113. [CrossRef]

UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress

UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress

UK's Carbon Emissions Progress

UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress [stock image]

Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future: Evaluating the UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress and Energy Portfolio

Introduction:

Professor Zulfiqar Khan has been working in Energy Capture, Conversion and Storage for more than a decade which has led to significant outcomes for UK industry in terms of technological innovations to meet UK net zero targets and UNSDGs by agreed deadline.

In addition, energy efficiency in interacting systems and complex machines have been at the heart of Professor Khan’s research at BU. Machines and interacting systems use lubrication and therefore sustainability context is key to be taken forward into design considerations. Both the above themes have provided a platform for interdisciplinary research in collaboration with major UK and International Industry and HEIs partners.

Professor Khan has been collaborating with Generative AI in terms of clean energy and future goals to reduce our dependency on non-renewable energy technologies. Although, unlike his longstanding industry collaboration, his GAI partnership is in its initial stages, Professor Khan believes that there are opportunities to drive clean energy research forward to realise UK targets and UNSDGs in collaboration with GAI.

The United Kingdom has embarked on a transformative journey towards sustainable energy solutions, marked by its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article presents a comprehensive overview of the UK’s current state of progress in carbon emissions reduction, its contributions to the UNSDGs, and the intricate details of its energy portfolio. The following brief article is written in collaboration with Generative AI.

Progress in Carbon Emissions Reduction:

Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets:

The UK’s resolute commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2050.

Noteworthy reduction of carbon emissions by 51% since 1990 levels by the year 2019.

Renewable Energy Sources:

A remarkable 48% of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2020. Continuous expansion of wind and solar energy capacity.

Energy Efficiency:

Implementing energy-efficient measures in both industrial sectors and households.

Contributions to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7):

The UK’s renewable energy sector has generated over 100 TWh of electricity, making a significant contribution to SDG 7.

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG 9):

Substantial investments exceeding £2.5 billion have been directed towards innovative energy capture and storage technologies, fostering economic growth while minimizing environmental impact.

Climate Action (SDG 13):

The UK’s remarkable carbon emissions reduction of 51% surpasses the SDG 13 target to combat climate change.

Challenges and Areas for Improvement:

Transportation Sector:

Electrification and the promotion of alternative fuels remain pivotal for addressing emissions in the transportation sector.

Energy Storage:

Enhancing energy storage solutions is imperative to address the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources effectively.

Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) Technologies:

The development and integration of CCUS technologies for heavy industries are crucial for reducing carbon emissions further and aligning with climate goals.

The UK’s Energy Portfolio (2020):

Energy

Type/Technology

Energy Output

(TWh)

Energy Consumption

(TWh)

Natural Gas 338.6 465.3
Oil 143.8 231.5
Coal 2.3 9.1
Nuclear 55.9 61.8
Renewables

(Total)

132.3 283.1
Imports 7.4 N/A (included in total)

Market Share (2020):

Natural Gas: 38.5%

Oil: 16.4%

Coal: 0.3%

Nuclear: 7.9%Renewables (Total): 18.7%Imports: 3.6%

Interpretation:

Non-renewable sources still dominate the UK’s energy portfolio, comprising approximately 63% of energy output in 2020.

Natural gas is the largest contributor to both energy output and consumption.

The transition to renewable energy sources, particularly wind and biomass, is vital for reducing the UK’s carbon footprint.

Conclusion:

The United Kingdom’s commendable progress in carbon emissions reduction, aligned with UN SDGs, signifies a dedicated commitment to a sustainable future. While substantial headway has been made, addressing challenges in transportation, energy storage, and the integration of CCUS technologies is paramount. The UK continues to lead the path towards a low-carbon future by aligning policies with UN SDGs and promoting sustainable energy solutions.

IMIV MRI Research Project Scheme 2023 – Call Re-opens

The Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation (IMIV) has re-opened its call for applications for the IMIV MRI Research Project Scheme 2023.

Under the scheme, imaging research projects can apply for up to 100 hours of scanning time on the IMIV’s state-of-the-art 3T Siemens Lumina MRI scanner.

  • The focus of the scheme is on multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional projects, and priority will be given to projects with a clinical partnership.
  • All research projects must have a Bournemouth University researcher as lead or co-lead applicant.
  • Projects must be able to demonstrate how they will lead to peer-reviewed academic outputs and external funding applications for further MR imaging studies.

Please note: the award does not cover any additional expenses related to scanning, or other aspects of the project.

Deadline for applications: 1st October 2023. 

For further information and an application form, please email imiv@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Ageing and Dementia Research Forum – 29th June – Digital Health Coaching DIALOR

Details of the next ADRC ageing and dementia research forum are listed below. The forum is an opportunity for staff and PhD students to get together to chat about research and share experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Specific topics are discussed but there is also time for open discussion to mull over aspects of research such as project ideas and planning, ethical considerations and patient and public involvement.

Date, time, and campus Research areas
29th June 2023

15.00-15.45

BG601, Bournemouth Gateway

Lansdowne Campus

‘Digital health coaching for older people with frailty in Wessex (DIALOR) ’Rachel Christie

If you would like to discuss your research ideas at a future meeting, please email Michelle mheward@bournemouth.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing you there.

Ageing and Dementia Research Centre

BU and University of Cambridge Collaboration on Traffic Prediction

Bournemouth University (BU) has collaborated with the University of Cambridge on network wide road traffic prediction. The work, led by Dr. Wei Koong Chai in BU, address the problem of traffic prediction on large-scale road networks and propose a novel deep learning model, Virtual Dynamic Graph Convolution Neural Network and Transformer with Gate and Attention mechanisms (VDGCNeT), to comprehensively extract complex, dynamic and hidden spatial dependencies of road networks for achieving high prediction accuracy. The work advocates the use of a virtual dynamic road graph that captures the dynamic and hidden spatial dependencies of road segments in real road networks instead of purely relying on the physical road connectivity.

The team designed a novel framework based on Graph Convolution Neural Network (GCN) and Transformer to analyse dynamic and hidden spatial–temporal features. The gate mechanism is utilised for concatenating learned spatial and temporal features from Spatial and Temporal Transformers, respectively, while the Attention-based Similarity is used to update dynamic road graph.

Two real-world traffic datasets from large-scale road networks with different properties are used for training and testing the model. VDGCNeT is pitted against nine other well-known models in the literature. The results demonstrate that the proposed VDGCNeT is capable of achieving highly accurate predictions – on average 96.77% and 91.68% accuracy on PEMS-BAY and METR-LA datasets respectively. Overall, our VDGCNeT performs the best when compared against other existing models.

Reference:

G. Zheng, W. K. Chai, J. Zhang and V. Katos, “VDGCNeT: A novel network-wide Virtual Dynamic Graph Convolution Neural network and Transformer-based traffic prediction model,” Knowledge-based Systems, 110676, June 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.knosys.2023.110676.

Talk by Prof. Kira Nobre, this Thursday the 25th at 13.00h (Inspire Lecture Theatre, Fusion)

We would like to please draw your attention to a seminar organized by the Department of Psychology this Thursday 25th from 13.00 to 14.00 at the Inspire Lecture Theatre (Fusion Building).

 The guest speaker is Dr Kia Nobre (Oxford University), invited by Dr Ben Parris.

Kia Nobre is a distinguished figure in cognitive neuroscience, renowned for her groundbreaking research contributions. She leads the Brain & Cognition Lab at the University of Oxford. Current research in her group investigates how the brain prioritises and selects information from sensory input and from memories, to build our psychological experience and guide human behaviour. In addition, they examine how these mechanisms develop over the lifespan and how they are disrupted in psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

Her research combines behavioural methods with brain imaging and brain stimulation. During her prolific career, Prof. Nobre contributed to discovering brain areas specialised for word recognition and face processing, describing the functional neuroanatomy of the brain network for controlling spatial attention and characterizing the relationship between attention and memory.

Kia Nobre is one of the most recognised cognitive neuroscientists worldwide, you are all warmly invited to attend her talk.

Kind regards,

Ellen and Emili on behalf of all of us

Knowledge Exchange BU Workshop Supporting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Dorset

On May 19, BU researchers in the Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research | Bournemouth University, Alina Dolea, Tabitha Baker and Dawid Pekalski, are organizing an interactive knowledge exchange workshop with local stakeholders to facilitate sharing of experiences and best practices in supporting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Dorset.

Academics researching issues of displacement and forced migration across BU will be joined by representatives from Dorset Council, BCP Council, Citizen advice, Public Health Dorset, International Care Network, British Red Cross, Migrant Help UK, Dorset Race Equality Council, as well as other local groups and stakeholders.

One objective of the workshop is to understand the dimensions of displacement and migration in the BCP and Dorset area, mapping the programs run, but also the issues faced by the councils and the different organisations in their work with refugees, asylum seekers and other migrant communities. Another objective is to understand, also from the beneficiaries’ perspective, their needs, gaps and current issues they are facing. Together we aim to get to know more about each other’s work, discuss and reflect on the national and local policies, programs, networks of support and integration that are in place.

Our overall goal for the day is to identify areas of collaborations so that we as academics and researchers can help and actively contribute to the current infrastructure of support and integration. The collaboration can range from volunteering and exploring placement opportunities for our students, co-creating projects, and organizing joint events, to delivering applied workshops and trainings, as well as providing research insights to inform policy making.

More details about the workshop are available here: Supporting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Dorset Tickets, Fri 19 May 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

Neural Networks 2022 Best Paper Award

2022 Best Paper Award

Dr Hari Mohan Pandey is a recipient of the 2022 Best Paper Award (visit: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/neural-networks/awards/announcement-of-the-neural-networks-2022-best-paper-award):

“Cross-modality paired-images generation and augmentation for RGB-infrared person re-identification”

This paper is published in Neural Networks, volume 128, pp. 294-304, August 2020. The paper can be accessed at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neunet.2020.05.008

The Neural Networks Best Paper Award recognizes a single outstanding paper published in Neural Networks annually.

IMIV MRI Research Project Scheme 2023

The Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation (IMIV) is pleased to announce the launch of the IMIV MRI Research Project Scheme 2023.

Under the scheme, two innovative MRI research projects will each be awarded up to 100 hours of scanning time on the IMIV’s state-of-the-art 3T Siemens Lumina MRI scanner.  Applications for the scheme are now open.

  • The focus of the scheme is on multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional projects, and priority will be given to projects with a clinical partnership.
  • All research projects must have a Bournemouth University researcher as lead or co-lead applicant.
  • Projects must be able to demonstrate how they will lead to peer-reviewed academic outputs and external funding applications for further MR imaging studies.
  • Up to 100 hours of scanning time will be awarded to up to 2 research projects. The award will not cover any additional expenses related to scanning, or other aspects of the project.
  • Projects will be expected to start in the 2023-24 academic year.

Applications close on Friday 7th July 2023. 

For further information and an application form, please email imiv@bournemouth.ac.uk