ISTE Newsletter June 2019
This is the last newsletter before we meet in Tokyo! Looking forward to seeing you there!
Two new members are introducing themselves:
Adam Cooper and Sarah-Louise Quinnel.
Susan Lattanzio, who was already in Modena, is introducing the research group TREND.
The organisation of TE2019 is well underway. Registration and hotel information can be found at the conference website. The location of the gala dinner is known. See picture at the bottom of the newsletter as well as the conference website.
Two new members of ISTE would like to introduce themselves to the network: Drs Adam Cooper (Lecturer in Policy Research and Practice) and Sarah Quinnell (Senior Teaching Fellow and Director of Undergraduate Programmes) at UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy. Adam is a social scientist who was a civil servant in the UK’s energy ministry until 2013 when he joined UCL and is now the Director of Education. Adam’s research is on interdisciplinarity – in particular between social and engineering sciences for creating better knowledge to inform policy.Together with Sarah they are leading the development of Master’s and undergraduate programmes to build out transdisciplinary expertise within the broad domain of engineering and sciences. Adam is currently working on a paper for the International Public Policy Association focused on ‘engineering advice’ and Sarah’s work is looking at effective education approaches for teaching transdisciplinarity at undergraduate level. They will both be attending the TE2019 in Tokyo and look forward to meeting with as many members as possible to connect to current education programmes and build research collaborations.
(Transdisciplinary Engineering Design) Research Group TREND is a world leading research group, based at the University of Bath, which aims to enable effective transdisciplinary (TD) working within engineering where it is appropriate. Funded under a £1.8m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), it brings together academics and researchers from the Universities of Bath, Bristol and the West of England, together with four industry partners: Airbus Group Ltd, Moog Controls Ltd, Renishaw PLC and Cubik Innovation.
The UK enjoys world leadership in established manufacturing industries such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, electronic design and photonic technologies. The motivation of the funding body (EPSRC) is to deliver the cutting-edge research and development of highly-skilled people needed to support UK manufacturing innovation and underpin continued and sustainable growth. To achieve this real world impact the TREND project is focussed on promoting a richer, more productive dialogue between world-leading manufacturing research and industry partners.
To date our research has focussed on developing the foundational understanding of transdisciplinarity within engineering. A review of the academic literature showed there to be a plurality of definitions and lack of consensus over the use of the term TD. To understand the extent of this challenge we developed a framework for assessing disciplinarity, and used this to analyse engineering research papers claiming to be TD. The results found that less than a quarter of the papers using the term TD actually were. Rather than TD, the vast majority were interdisciplinary.
Although this review demonstrates the state of TD within research, it gives us no indication of the current situation within industry. To understand the state of TD within industry we are in the process of conducting an extensive investigation of engineering businesses both within the UK and abroad.
The overarching aim of the TREND group is to enable effective TD working in engineering where it is appropriate. Once the foundational understanding stage is complete we will undertake case studies with our industrial partners to identify the approaches required to enable effective TD working. Our outputs are likely to include the creation of a TD Index, a toolbox of existing TD enabling tools and the creation of new tools.