Posted Wednesday 17 November 2021
Two innovate engineering solutions dreamt up by school pupils and brought to life by Kingston University were awarded Primary Engineer MacRobert Medals at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
The Bicycle Sucker and the Extending Sink 6000 were among six designs recognised at the inaugural award ceremony, supported by the MacRobert Trust, WEIR Group and the RAF Charitable Trust.
The University has been taking part in the annual ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?' Leaders Award competition, run by Primary Engineer, for a number of years. The initiative sees school children set the challenge of designing solutions to engineering challenges, with selected entries then turned into working prototypes by students and technicians at universities across the country. The designs are often inspired by the young person's personal experiences and aspirations for the environment, health or other key topics.
The Bicycle Sucker, which was awarded a gold medal, was designed by Maisie Crook from Rowan Preparatory School, Surrey. The invention uses the pedal motion of a bicycle which is attached to tubes that go down a well and move water out of the well into the bucket. Maisie's initial inspiration for the design was to help the people of Kenya access water more easily.
The Extending Sink 6000, which was awarded a silver medal, was designed by Savannagh Dunne from Abacus Belsize Primary School, London. It was designed to adjust to the height of the person approaching it and to be more accessible for people with disabilities and in hospital settings.
Dr Malcolm Claus, senior lecturer in Astronautics and Space Technology in the University's Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, is among the technical staff who work with engineering students on the Primary Engineer prototypes. "It was really uplifting for all the staff and students involved in the competition to see our efforts recognised at the COP26 conference," he said. "Bringing school children into the University to see how their ideas have been brought to life is so inspiring for them, it really helps show how exciting – and important – a career in engineering can be. It's also great experience for our undergraduates. The final year students help manage the projects, so they get the chance to mentor other students to develop the designs and it gives them the experience of leading a team outside their comfort zone."
The national awards were presented by Dr Susan Scurlock CEO, founder of Primary Engineer, at the Glasgow summit. "Through the Primary Engineer MacRobert Medal we are now able to highlight the link between universities and schools, celebrating the creativity in young people and the ProtoTeams engineering their solutions," she said. "It just cannot fail to inspire everyone with the art of the ‘engineered' possible."