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Lessons in Engineering Innovation


Prof Roger Woods with his new book, entitled 'Engineering Innovative Products: A Practical Experience'

A device to help you pour the perfect stout or an innovative technology to assist drivers in reversing a vehicle up to a trailer are just two examples of the inventions featured in an innovative new book about developing a product for commercialisation.  Entitled 'Engineering Innovative Products: A Practical Experience' the book provides a practical insight in to the steps involved in setting up a company from scratch, and is based on the experiences of engineering students and staff at Queen’s University Belfast. 

Prof Roger Woods, a member of the lecturing staff in the University, is the main author of the book which draws on the experiences of students in undertaking their 3rd year industrial projects as part of MEng degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Product Design and Development at the University. As a direct result of the courses, students have had a number of successes, with many winning awards and taking their ideas forward and setting up companies - a number of which are discussed in the book. The book also features insights from staff that have set up their own businesses, as well as industry experts.

Professor Woods commented: “As our students work in project teams to develop a product which aims to be commercially viable, they gain excellent real-life experience in setting up a company.  In the book, an insight is not only provided into these experiences, but also from those of staff who have set up their own companies.  I myself am a founder of a University spin-off company, Analytics Engines, which is a global leader in providing solutions to speed up analytics for Big Data.” Queen's University has a long history of innovation success and is one of the most successful universities in the UK for spin-outs, the portfolio of which has a combined turnover of £144m.

Professor Andy Hopper from the University of Cambridge, himself a leading entrepreneur, provided the forward and warmly recommends the book.  He commented:  “The book takes the reader through all the essential steps in creating a successful business’’ and believes that, as a result of publication of the book:  “The chances of successful innovation in engineering will be much improved.”

Steve Orr, Director of the Northern Ireland science Park Connect Programme which aims to link entrepreneurs with resources they need for success, commented: “The book provides vital insights into commercial development for engineering in a highly practical and applied manner” and added that: “It has allowed students to develop their commercial literacy and ambition in the University.”

‘Engineering Innovative Products: A Practical Experience' is of benefit to students and staff at universities involved in engineering innovation, as well as anyone considering setting up their own company.  Details can be found at Wiley at the following link http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118757734.html.

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Legacy Gift awarded in Dragon’s Den Style Competition


Professor Sean McLoone, Director of Research in the Energy, Power and Intelligent Control (EPIC) research cluster at Queen’s, is seen here congratulating the winner, Dr Wenping Cao. Also pictured are the judges (L to R) Dr Dermot Leonard, Head of Business Alliance within Research and Enterprise at Queen’s, Professor William Scanlon, Director of Research in the School’s Digital Communications research cluster, and Professor Brendan Fox, Emeritus Professor in the EPIC research cluster.

Dr Wenping Cao from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) has been awarded the Faudell Harvey Gould Legacy Gift in a Dragons’ Den competition for EEECS academics. The Legacy Gift of £10,000 was bestowed on Queen’s by the Estate of Faudell Harvey Gould to fund research into new sources of energy and power.

Academics in EEECS were invited to pitch a proposal for funding to a panel of three Dragons before an audience of staff and students at the Ashby Building on Friday 20 June. The panel of Dragons comprised Dr Dermot Leonard, who leads the Business Alliance team within the Research and Enterprise Directorate at QUB; Professor William Scanlon, Director of Research in the EEECS Digital Communications research cluster; and Professor Brendan Fox, Emeritus Professor in the Energy, Power and Intelligent Control (EPIC) research cluster.

Dr Cao’s pitch in favour of ‘Bridging the Gap in Power Electronics Research’ was deemed by the Dragons to be the outstanding proposal for Legacy Gift funding. Dr Cao argued that Queen’s should further its research into the enabling technology of power electronics, which is of critical importance in establishing a low-carbon economy in the United Kingdom. Dr Cao will use the Legacy Gift to develop three 10kW DC-DC converters using IGBT, SiC, and GaN power devices, respectively, targeting electric vehicles, photovoltaics, and DC microgrids.

Proposals by the other finalists, Dr Robert Best (‘Solar Energy Research’) and Dr David Laverty (‘The $100 Phasor Measurement Unit’), were strongly commended by the panel. Drs Cao, Best, and Laverty are all lecturers in the EPIC research cluster, which focuses on problems related to renewable energy integration into power networks, smart grid technologies, intelligent control systems and manufacturing informatics.

Further information on research carried out within the EPIC Research Cluster at Queen’s can be found here.

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Queen’s MSc prepares students to build wireless Internet of Things

Dr Emi Garcia-Palacios, MSc Wireless Communications Course Director
Dr Emi Garcia-Palacios, MSc Wireless Communications Course Director

Queen’s University Belfast has launched a unique new MSc in Wireless Communications that will prepare students to build the wireless Internet of Things.  The course combines traditional Wireless Communication with cutting edge technologies such as body sensors, wearable technology and smart grids.

The Masters will be informed by research carried out at QUB’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) based in the Northern Ireland Science Park. ECIT has developed significant expertise and world leading researchers in wireless communications including the areas of wireless, mobile and radio communications, high frequency electronics, digital signal processing, data mining, cryptography and computer security, all of which are particularly relevant to wireless communications.

The ECIT Institute has significant industry links, through its Industrial Advisory Board, to companies such as Xilinx, Infineon and Thales. These engagements have also informed the syllabus of this new course ensuring graduates are well placed to compete for roles in this industry globally.

The School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has invested heavily in the areas of wireless communications and high frequency electronics over the last year, appointing 7 new members of academic staff who bring vitality and enthusiasm to this new course. In line with rapidly evolving technological trends, this course will prepare students to develop innovative new solutions for, and take advantage of the opportunities presented by, 4/5G networks and the Internet of Things.

Dr. Emi Garcia-Palacios, MSc Wireless Communications course Director, said “This new MSc at Queen’s University Belfast which combines the latest wireless technologies with upcoming trends such as sensors, smart grids and security is a unique opportunity for local and international students joining the course. We anticipate a strong demand from industry for graduates.”

The new Masters, which will begin in September 2014 and is open for applications now, aims to train the next generation of engineers who will play a key part in the global wireless internet revolution.

For more information and to apply go to: MSc Wireless Communications

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