Theory of Change paper published

You might have noticed common threads appearing through our work over the last few years. Behind the scenes, we’ve been working towards the development of an overall theory of change to guide our projects and delivery. Increasingly – as you’ll know if you work with us directly – we’ve been talking about it too. You might even have seen diagrams, which we’ve waved around or shown on too-small-to-read slides.

Finally – at last! — our Theory of Change has been published, as a proper peer-reviewed paper. Hurray!

You can access the paper from this page – it’s free to download, via the link in the upper-right corner of that page.

Shortlisted – UK Career Development Awards

Friends of NUSTEM will know that we have been supporting primary teachers with careers in the classroom for many years. It can sometimes feel challenging for teachers to know what careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) might link to the topics that they are teaching.

To help out, NUSTEM developed our Primary Careers Tool. We gathered a database of over 100 jobs in STEM, and then sorted them by National Curriculum Topic. Using the Primary Careers Tool, it takes only a few minutes to add a career into a science lesson and get the children talking about the skills needed for different jobs.

We’re very pleased to announce that the Primary Careers Tool has been shortlisted in the category “Career-Related Learning in Primary Schools” at the UK Career Development Awards, from the Career Development Institute.

The award ceremony is on 11th March, and we’re really excited to meet the other shortlisted organisations and chat about primary schools and careers.

(update 31st Jan: an earlier version of this post noted that the same project was also shortlisted in the category “Use of Technology in Career Development”. This turns out to have been an error on the part of the award organisers, and we have corrected the post accordingly.)

Airbus GEDC Diversity Award – Shortlisted

It’s not just us who bang on about diversity in the engineering workplace — some of the really big players in the sector do too. Organisations like: Airbus. They might be best-known for their aeroplanes, but they’re also doing some really interesting work around diversity and particularly gender representation in their workforce.

To reflect their committment, a few years ago they established a global Diversity Award scheme, in collaboration with the Global Engineering Dean’s Council. The Council brings together heads of engineering faculties and departments from universities around the world, to collaborate, coordinate, and share best practice.

The shortlist for the 2019 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award has recently been announced, featuring some remarkable projects and programmes from universities around the world. The list includes… NUSTEM! Wheee, that’s us!

We’ll find out soon if we’ve made the list of three finalists, which would see us heading to Toulouse to present the project directly to the Jury. But for now, we’re delighted to be in such esteemed company.

Kate back in Antarctica

Last year, we followed Dr. Kate Winter’s trip to the Princess Elisabeth Research Station in Antarctica. A year later she’s back, and already a week behind schedule as wind and snow made it too risky to land her plane at the remote station, for a few days.

In the photo above she’s chatting to the base commander, Belgian explorer Alain Hubert, but for the most part she’s back into the science immediately, while the weather holds. In the photo below, she’s installing RaspberryShake seismometers with her field guide Henri. They’re installing the instruments on the blue ice near the station, hoping to record the timing of ice cracks which happen naturally through the Antarctic Summer.

You might notice something else in the photo, too. Like, say, the giant halo of light around the sun. This is an Antarctic Halo, which Kate describes as (understatement alert!) ‘really cool.’ There are several different atmospheric and light phenomena you might see in Antarctica; this sort of halo is one of the ‘simpler’ ones. It’s sort-of like a rainbow in that it’s formed as light refracts through particles in the air. But if you think about any time you’ve seen a rainbow, you might have noticed that the sun is always behind you. In this case, the sun is clearly in the centre of the halo, and you’re looking at a bright, full circle. This – Kate thinks, and we’d concur though we’d all be happy to be corrected – is a 22° Halo, resulting from the high, wispy clouds you can also see in the photo.

It’s not a particularly rare phenomenon. Indeed, in the right conditions you could see one in Newcastle. But it does make for an awesome photo, and in googling around about the effect we stumbled across this photo too, which is amazing. Or the photo at the top of this article from Smithsonian Magazine, which is the sort of thing you might see in a video game when the rendering engine has broken.

We’ll bring more stories from Kate over the next few weeks. Find out more about her research and life on the ice on her web pages here at NUSTEM.

Tales of Engineering – making magnificent things with children and their families …

After a few months of developing our website and getting our engineers to think about their research bookmarks (yes we have awesome bookmarks) we finally started taking our engineers into schools. One of the first visit we did was last wee, to a couple of schools in Darlington.

In the image below you can see Paula (right) and her most magnificent thing as imagined and built by children in a reception class.

Also last week, we took the Tales of Engineering project to this year’s Association For Science Education (ASE) Annual Conference at Reading University. This is one of the largest Science Education Conference of its kind and we were delighted to have engaged with teachers and practitioners, showcasing how storytelling can be used to talk positively about engineering with children in EYFS.

In the meantime we are keeping ourselves busy booking more schools and cultural venues visits, so keep checking our events calendar to see if we are going to be near you!