Young Londoners learn how engineers save lives in Masterclasses with the Royal Institution and UCL

Staff and students from the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences are inviting young people to explore, question and learn about the latest developments in engineering as well as the ethical considerations for engineers.



30 teenagers from across London will experience the range of modern engineering in a series of Engineering Masterclasses from the Royal Institution and UCL. The Year 9 students will spend the sessions on different tasks such as building turbines suitable for the developing world, considering the ethical implications of drones, and forming a laptop ‘orchestra’.

The project has been developed by staff from across UCL Engineering in partnership with the Royal Institution, home of the Christmas Lectures and a key resource for teachers and parents worldwide. Sessions span two themes. ‘Engineers save lives’ will see students experience the impact engineering has on human wellbeing. A second ‘Computer Science’ thread accompanies the new inclusion of coding in the National Curriculum, developed in association with UCL Computer Scientists.

Hot topics such as wearables and privacy in computer communications have been contributed by researchers from across the Faculty to create this ambitious curriculum. As well as hands on activities, students will have access to the resources of UCL including the 3D printers of the UCL Makespace and the UCL Engduino hardware to create robots and sensor networks. Students will be encouraged to consider ethical aspects of their projects and how they could fit into different societies.

Staff and students from the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences are inviting young people to explore, question and learn about the latest developments in engineering as well as the ethical considerations for engineers.

“Through these series young people will discover the humanitarian and creative nature of engineering and its significance to society.” said Dr. Elpida Makrygianni, Engineering Education Developer and Co-ordinator and organizer of the series.

Professor John Shawe-Taylor, head of UCL Computer Science, commented:

“UCL Computer Science is a global research leader in experimental Computer Science. We use our expertise in the latest advances in technology and engineering to train the next generation of Computer Scientists. We are proud to be involved in a range of outreach activities for school and college students of all ages, and play an active role in promoting Computer Science as part of the National Curriculum in schools. Our aim is to inspire young minds, demonstrate how real-life Computer Science applications can change lives and to encourage interest in studying at UCL.”

Anthony Finkelstein, Dean of UCL Engineering said:

“We are passionate about engineering and the difference it makes in the world and we are really happy sharing this passion and learning with school students from across London. We know that access to energy, healthcare, infrastructure are all engineering challenges and that it is the talent and enthusiasm of the next generation of engineers who will make lives better through bringing together creativity and rigorous analysis in the practice of engineering.”

Rachel Dorris, Engineering Masterclass Coordinator at the Royal Institution:

“As Engineering Masterclass Coordinator at the Royal Institution, I work with many universities to stage Engineering Masterclasses. It’s been a real pleasure to develop a partnership with the UCL engineering department to launch the new UCL Engineering Masterclasses this spring. The programme they have developed for the group of Year 9 students who will be turning up bright and eager for six consecutive Saturday mornings looks really exciting - a unique opportunity for them to explore the world of engineering!'

Ben Dornan, Causeway Associate in Computer Science at the Royal Institution:

“One of the most exciting parts of working on the Computer Science Masterclasses is the opportunity to collaborate with amazing speakers and world leading institutions. The Computer Science Masterclasses at UCL represent this perfectly, with the students having a unique opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to be involved with cutting edge research and how the knowledge can be applied to solved real life problems.”

The Royal Institution's Computer Science Masterclass programme is supported by Causeway Technologies.