9 November 2022

Professor Joan Cordiner attends Parliament on National Engineering Day

Professor Joan Cordiner, Head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, attended a parliamentary breakfast reception and panel discussion to mark National Engineering Day alongside Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu from EEE.

Professor Cordiner and Professor Zhu stand by the Thames with the London Eye behind them
Professor Cordiner and Professor Zhu attended the parliamentary breakfast in early November

Note: This piece is adapted with permission from the following post on the website for the New Partnership in Offshore wind.

National Engineering Day was last week celebrated in London by a parliamentary breakfast reception and panel discussion on the role of engineering in addressing the challenges of securing a sustainable energy future.

This was attended by Professor Joan Cordiner, Head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering - which organised the reception.

National Engineering Day aims to make the UK’s engineers and engineering more visible in order to broaden public perceptions of the relevance of engineering and encourage more young people to join the profession. Engineers play a vital role in addressing one of the biggest challenges facing the UK right now – the energy crisis – as well as the longer-term challenge of achieving a net zero economy.

With demand already outstripping supply, and set to increase in the future, the discussions looked to examine how the profession can win the race to recruit greater numbers, and a more diverse range of engineers to improve outcomes for both people and planet.

On the topic of attending the day at the Houses of Parliament, Professor Cordiner said:

“It was a privilege to represent the University of Sheffield and The Policy Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering at this parliamentary discussion meeting on National Engineering Day. It was great to see some of our politicians and Lords engaged and listening to the huge impact engineering has on the UK and the need to support schools in developing future engineers.

“What was really exciting was to share and see the understanding by the Commons and Lords members of just how important engineers are in solving the huge strategic challenges the UK and the world face in these unprecedented times.”

Cordiner was joined at the event by Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu, Professor in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Research Chair at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

When asked about the value of National Engineering Day in today's world, and its importance to the University, Professor Zhu commented:

“It is important to mark the relevance of National Engineering Day with events such as this one. Engineering is currently vital to a sustainable energy future in the UK. However, less and less UK young people are engaged with engineering. To encourage more young people to join the profession, we need to engage with schools and broaden not only the public but also the politician’s perceptions of the relevance of engineering, as well as to create more industries and job markets. 

"We are very proud that Sheffield is a leading university in engineering, and that we have undertaken fundamental and applied research on enabling technologies which are vital to future developments in electrical power engineering, and have successfully promoted pull through of our R&D to commercial exploitation for applications encompassing different market sectors via industrial co-operations.”

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