School of Engineering aims to expand University’s reputation for world-leading research and teaching

Professor Judith Petts CBE, Professor Kevin Jones and Professor Deborah Greaves at the launch of the University's new School of Engineering

The University of Plymouth has launched a dedicated School of Engineering, with the aim of expanding its expertise in the field and offering new opportunities to students, academics and industry.

The new School will aim to build on the University’s existing reputation for world-leading research across marine renewable energy, coastal engineering, autonomous marine systems, structures and materials, while developing new commercial partnerships and research collaborations.

It also plans to enhance the academic programme, which currently sees around 1,000 students working across subjects including Civil and Coastal Engineering; Mechanical, Marine and Materials Engineering; and Navigation and Maritime Science.

And it will seek to expand use of existing research facilities on the Plymouth campus, such as the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport (COAST) Laboratory and the Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre, while exploring opportunities to develop new centres of excellence.

Professor Deborah Greaves, Head of the School of Engineering, said:

“As a University, we have a long track record of producing outstanding engineering graduates and carrying out high quality research. And over recent years, we have applied that to new fields such as marine renewable energy and autonomous control systems. The new school will enable us to build on what we do already, growing in a way that meets the national demand for engineers while identifying new ways in which those skills can be applied.”

Previously, the University’s programmes in engineering were operated through the School of Marine Science and Engineering, and that marine element will remain a key focus of both teaching and research in the future.

But it is now planned to expand its reach across not only the sciences, but also elements of the arts, architecture, medicine and dentistry.

New undergraduate and postgraduate courses are being explored, in which modules will be underpinned by research, and industry engagement will be a key focus from a student and academic perspective.

The new School is further evidence of the University’s long-standing commitment to finding ways to inspire the next generation of engineers.

In recent years, that has also included the launch of the Tamar Engineering Project, providing funding and mentoring for high achievers who might not consider higher education as a route to a career.

Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean of Science and Engineering at the University, said:

“With the opening of the new School of Engineering, the University is taking an important step in supporting the growth of STEM in the region. We are committing to new and innovative approaches to engineering education and research, building on the excellent strengths and facilities that we already possess. It is exciting to be a key part of an ever-growing engineering community in Plymouth and the South West, helping to fill what is recognised as a critical national shortage of highly qualified engineers.”

Professor Deborah Greaves believes engineering can help overcome many of our most pressing global challenges

Britain has always been a hotbed of engineering ingenuity. But as a nation, we now face a challenge. Amid a number of complex issues, and government pledges about increasing productivity while enhancing research excellence, the Royal Academy of Engineering has projected an annual shortfall of 20,000 graduates for the coming years. Thus, the launch of our own School of Engineering comes at a very opportune time and could put Plymouth centre stage – both regionally and nationally – when it comes to inspiring the outstanding engineers of the future.

Read more of Professor Greaves' thoughts