Project Activities

School/University Partnerships

"Interactive, innovative and engaging" was how teachers described their experiences in working with pupils as part of the EPSRC project 'Engineering the Future'. Bat Monitoring, Mars Rovers, Radios and Renewable Energy are some of the exciting inserts that have been developed for use within Curriculum for Excellence by teachers and university researchers working together.

The Engineering the Future currciulum inserts developed in the first two years include:


  • Woodfarm High School, Giffnock, engineering a thermistor device to monitor the differences in temperature of a heated potato as it cools and exploring the relationship between temperature and resistance. The pupils also learn about light-dependent resistors and their engineering applications.
  • Balfron High School, Balfron, using bat monitors to listen to sounds inaudible to humans, learning about ultrasound and its uses and inventing new engineering applications.
  • Lanark Grammar School, Lanark, taking part in an Engineering Challenge to engineer a bridge from paper, sellotape and straws, with the winning class teams going on to design and build a fairground attraction from K'nex.
  • Dumfries Academy, Dumfries, developing an engineering based unit of work related to Wind Turbines. The challenge is to find a design configuration to produce as much power as possible and the work is set in the context of renewable energy sources.
  • Dollar Academy, Dollar, building devices in technology that can tell when plants need water and connecting them to wireless communication devices that send a signal to a mobile phone.
  • St Aloysius' College, Glasgow, taking part in a Mars Rover challenge combining astronomy and electronic engineering.


  • Williamwood High School, Clarkston, designing and building electronic security systems using Alpha Boards.
  • Holy Cross High School, Hamilton, using ultrasound to measure distance and learning about other engineering applications such as sonar, weld testing and car reversing indicators.
  • St Joseph's College, Dumfries, building radios from everyday materials such as toilet roll tubes, crystal earphones, diodes and terminal blocks.
  • St Aloysius' College, Glasgow, learning about engineering applications related to radioactivity and nuclear physics.
  • Belmont Academy, Ayr, investigating how signals are sent from a light emitting diode to a photodiode and learning about the need for electronics in modern engineering.
  • Williamwood High School, Clarkston, using their electronics knowledge to identify which 'Black Box' containing various electrical components in different orders is the most suitable for a desired outcome.
  • Dollar Academy, Dollar, taking the new compressed Physics, Economics and Technological Studies course specifically designed for pupils who are interested in an engineering career.
  • Balfron High School, Balfron, designing, building and testing a crumple zone for a lab trolley.


  • Holy Cross High School, Hamilton, learning about engineering applications through practical activities, for example using the Wheatstone bridge equipment to measure strain on a model bridge.
  • Lanark Grammar School, Lanark, undertaking Advanced Higher Investigations into the Speed of Light and Investigating the Mobility of Charge Carriers.

Industry Partnerships

Engineering the Future has consistently recognized the importance of partnerships across a wide range of communities, pupils, parents, schools, universities, policy makers, government and most importantly with industry. Key to the development of the project has been the partnerships developed with a range of companies who have supported the work of the project by contributing expertise and resources.

  • An international example was the support offered to Engineering the Future by Agilent, a US company with a manufacturing operation in Scotland. Not only did Agilent fund the provision of high quality digital oscilloscopes to every school in the project, they offered the project team advice on their engagement and communication strategy and through the US Agilent Foundation, provided a substantial grant to enable the project team to work with TPLD, a Scottish based company specializing in games design, to develop a games based simulation package allowing young people to explore real life engineering challenges in a fun and stimulating environment.
  • Professor Gordon Hayward, the Principal Investigator for Engineering the Future is also the Chairman of ALBA Ultrasound, a Scottish based company specializing in the manufacture of high level ultrasonic transducer and array devices. The work being developed internationally by ALBA Ultrasound formed the basis of engineering examples in sonar and ultrasound developed for young people in schools. This made it possible to link the experiences of young people in schools with real life leading engineering in Scotland – a major motivating factor in encouraging young people to realize how exciting engineering is in Scotland today. Graduate engineers employed by Alba Ultrasound gave interviews on what it was like to be a design engineer working in the environment of a small and growing high technology company.

Industrialists also responded to questionnaires, contributed to seminars, provided illustrations for school based materials, offered advice and support and asked challenging questions. The support of industry has been a key element in helping young people to see the relevance, excitement, challenge and potential of Engineering in Scotland as part of an international community.


At the start of the project the pupils in the schools involved in the project were asked if they had considered engineering as a choice. A large number of them responded that they didn't know what engineering was and stated that they wou ld like to know more about engineering. After meeting with careers and guidance staff in the schools, the project produced two leaflets that pull together exisiting resources and explain engineering. The leaflet 'Engineering' is aimed at younger pupils before they make th eir subject choices and the leaflet 'Electronic and Electrical Engineering' is aimed at older pupils who are considering career choices.

For further information on the projects view the Engineering the Future Projects document

To try the inserts in your classroom go to the Project Resources page