UCL teams honoured at the 2023 Engineering Talent Awards
14 September 2023
Two UCL Engineering projects were among the winners at the 2023 Engineering Talent Awards, which celebrate diversity, innovation, and outstanding contributions to the engineering and technology sectors.
The event, held in London on 8 September, recognised and honoured remarkable individuals and organisations that have made significant strides in promoting diversity and inclusion.
Inclusion Programme of the Year
The UCL x BADU ‘Bridging The Gap’ programme, a collaboration between the UCL Centre for Engineering Education and BADU Community, won Inclusion Program of the Year. The programme provides mentoring and tutoring for Black and global majority young people aged 14-19 in East London with the support and resources needed to thrive in their professional journeys.
The programme follows a holistic wrap-around approach, offering tutoring on STEM subjects, mentoring, mental health support, a safe space to learn and be vulnerable, healthy meals, books and digital kits.
The four-year partnership has gone from strength to strength, with knowledge-sharing interventions between UCL staff, students, and the BADU community members, making UCL’s research and educational resources accessible to East London communities while strengthening the local talent pipeline and supporting local culture.
In 2022, all participating pupils achieved A*/A in STEM subjects; boys aged 15-16 achieved 100% A*-B grades across all their GCSEs, accumulating 13 A*s. All pupils chose UCL as one of their university options, and 89% of alums currently study at top Russell Group universities.
Dr Elpida Makrygianni MBE, Head of Education Engagement at UCL Engineering, said: “Winning Inclusion Programme of the Year at the ETA Awards is an important recognition of ‘Bridging The Gap’ and its innovative approach in creating a holistic wrap-around support system for widening access and participation in STEM education. We are thrilled to share this award with our East London family at BADU Community CIC, local communities, mental and physical health experts, teachers, schools, local business, and organisations. We will continue to work together to implement strategies and establish practices that enable Global Ethnic Majority (GEM) young people to be seen, supported, and empowered to learn, achieve, and thrive throughout their personal and professional journeys.”
Nana Badu, Founder BADU Community CIC, said: “Bridging The Gap supports Black and Global Majority young people faced with structural and financial barriers within the educational system. We work with our community and schools to identify those who require extra support or need the basic resources to ensure they can thrive. With the full support of UCL Engineering, as a collective, we have been able to achieve remarkable results and impact with 100% of participating pupils achieving A*/A in maths and science subjects.”
The award is supported by the ECITB.
Innovation of the Year
The UCL Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub won Innovation of the Year for the development of a new, refreshable tactile technology Tacilia.
The team aimed to allow children who are blind or have partial sight to be better able to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) education.
This project, led by Dr Tigmanshu ‘Tigi’ Bhatnagar, investigated the problems those pupils faced in the classroom and identified the need for a reconfigurable tactile interface that would help the children read books, explore shapes, design and learn to make senses of (usually) visual information such as graphs and charts.
Tacilia has been developed at UCL with collaborations across the Global Disability Innovation Hub, Institute of Making and UCL’s Interaction Centre (UCLIC), with in-the-wild studies conducted in India with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD).
Professor Cathy Holloway, UCL GDI Hub co-founder and Academic Director, said: “Although there were many partners and collaborators involved in Tacilia, the development of a low-cost tactile device for blind and partially sighted people to engage in STEM education was very much the brain-child of Dr Tigmanshu ‘Tigi’ Bhatnagar. As a former PhD student with UCL, we are especially delighted to see his hard work celebrated by his engineering peers, and recognised as innovative, assistive technology with the potential to benefit many people throughout the world.”
The award is supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute and recognises the groundbreaking work of the GDI Hub.
- Engineering Talent Awards
- UCL Engineering Society
- UCL GDI Hub
- UCL Centre for Engineering Education
- UCL Computer Science
- Meet our UCL Engineering Student Tutors: Dr Elpida Makrygianni MBE, initiative coordinator
Dr Matt Midgley
E: m.midgley [at] ucl.ac.uk