A selection of adidas footballs and boots laid out on a table

Sports technology researchers support Lord Bhattacharyya Engineering Education Programme

Loughborough University researchers have demonstrated how sport has the potential to inspire a new generation of engineers as part of the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering outreach programme.

Senior lecturer Aimee Mears and PhD student Ieuan Phillips from the Sports Technology Institute were invited to the annual celebration of the Lord Bhattacharyya Engineering Education Programme at the National Automotive Innovation Centre in Coventry to show how engineering makes sport safer, more accessible and allows people to perform at their best.

Their presentation drew on the far-reaching impacts of the University’s 20-year partnership with adidas which was announced as joint winner of the 2023 Royal Academy of Engineering Bhattacharyya Award, recognising sustained, strategic industrial partnerships that benefit society and deserve national recognition.

Both the Academy’s Award and Engineering Education Programme are funded by the Department Science, Innovation and Technology as a tribute to the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya Kt CBE FREng FRS, a renowned engineer, academic, educator and government advisor who established WMG at the University of Warwick in 1980.

The Engineering Education Programme aims to widen participation in engineering by attracting young people in the West Midlands from low-income backgrounds and other groups currently underrepresented in engineering. Launched in 2020, the five-year programme is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering in close partnership with WMG. The Programme provides a comprehensive package of engineering-focused science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) support, including grants to schools and colleges, teacher networking and CPD opportunities, funded industrial secondments, as well as individual FE and HE student bursaries.

Professor Nick Jennings, Loughborough University Vice-Chancellor said: “I am delighted that Aimee and Ieuan were given the opportunity to present at the Academy’s flagship outreach programme. Widening access and participation is a key aim of the University strategy and our established partnership with adidas is the perfect vehicle for making STEM subjects accessible and relevant to a wider audience.

“The collaborative research has brought iconic products to market, underpins the sector-leading ClimacoolTM product range, has influenced all major tournament footballs since 2004, supports record-breaking performance and delivers far-reaching impacts beyond sport.

“The University and adidas were honoured to be announced joint winners of the 2023 Bhattacharyya Award and are using the generous prize fund to develop the talent pipeline and deliver outreach opportunities to support young people in low-income backgrounds and other groups currently underrepresented in engineering. We look forward to announcing these developments later this year.”