Students Engineer a Sustainable Future with The Smallpeice Trust

49 students from across the UK attended a residential course at Newcastle University to learn more low carbon energy sources.

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, August 03, 2011 --( From 25th to 28th July, forty-nine students from across the UK attended a residential course to learn more about low carbon energy sources. Taking place at Newcastle University the 15 and 16 year old students spent time discovering about new energy sources such as renewable tidal, wave and wind, through a series of presentations and practical exercises.

The School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University hosted the course. The School is involved in conducting world class research in renewable energy sources, particularly focusing on marine sources. The facilities in the School are unique for conducting this research, in particular the combined wind, wave and tidal current test tank.

Using state-of-the-art research facilities including wave tanks, wind-wave-current tanks and circulating water tanks to conduct tests and experiments, students were able to study differences between the power sources. They learned about the engineering challenges involved in capturing, distributing and storing energy from the environment, and then competed in teams to design and make the most effective and innovative energy capturing devices. Throughout the course students also attended lectures and presentations delivered by engineers and scientists which explored the future of low-carbon energy.

As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, they developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentation. Students also had a tour of the university campus, giving them an insight into what it would be like to study there. Social activities included a film evening and a trip to the local bowling alley. On the final night, The Smallpeice Trust hosted a conference style dinner and disco, where students and supervisors had the opportunity to socialise and share their experiences of the week.

Spokesperson Claire Fisher from The Smallpeice Trust said: “Our quality of life is dependent on ever more sophisticated levels of technology and the energy that powers it. Students have been given an insight into the problems faced by engineers to find alternative sources to fossil fuels which are not only sustainable but that won’t harm the environment. It is clear from the feedback that the students now have a better understanding of this subject and are ready to take on these challenges.”

Dr Alan Murphy, Lecturer from the School of Marine Science & Technology adds, "It is fantastic to see the younger generation taking the issue of sustainable energy so seriously. We are delighted here in the School of Marine Science and Technology to be able to give the students the opportunity to engineer their own tidal turbines and test them in our facilities alongside the marine renewable energy devices of the industrial and research community."

The Low Carbon Energy course is run by the independent educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, as part of an ongoing programme of subsidised residential courses to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 17,677 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2012 will be launched in the Autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.

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About The Smallpeice Trust:

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 13 to 18.

The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.”

The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies.

In 2009/10, The Smallpeice Trust ran 30 residential courses for 1,700 school-aged students at universities across the country, with girls accounting for 38%. In addition, 15,977 students attended a Smallpeice in-school STEM masterclass.

A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies that help to support, promote and develop the courses. For more information about The Smallpeice Trust and the training they provide, please visit

The Smallpeice Trust:
Gemma Murphy
+44(0)1926 333214
or contact:
Claire Fisher
+44(0)1926 333203