Film competition, nuclear plans and a UAV in a pear tree

News editor

There doesn’t appear to be much happening this week, what with the Christmas holiday season almost upon us.

But oh my word, what a wonderful time it is. Staff across the land are preparing to log off and head to a hostelry to bond over booze and nibbles before lurching home to a comfy bed and dry mouth in the morning.

Here’s hoping much fun will be had in Britain’s chrome and wood covered bars and that the ‘music’ played therein – at decibel levels similar to those of a nuclear bomb being detonated – doesn’t stop meaningful discourse.

A quick glance from the windows at Engineer Towers last Friday afternoon revealed a merry visage of office workers drunkenly dodging angry looking shoppers who looked more ready to kill than give and receive gifts.

Happy times indeed, but let’s not allow digression to divert us from a handful of events and items of news that are worthy of a second look.

For example film makers are being invited by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) to enter a short film competition.

Run in conjunction with the Global Grand Challenges Summit, the competition asks entrants to make film that highlights the importance of engineering.

RAEng tell us, ‘The summit is a major initiative by the national academies of engineering in the UK, the US and China, designed to bring together leading international innovators and young people to explore new approaches to solving some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.’

The film competition asks 18 to 27 year-olds in the UK to produce a film of up to two minutes long and RAEng add that it should highlight ‘the importance of engineering and how engineers can tackle global grand challenges in areas that will be discussed at the summit, including: sustainability, enriching life, growth, resilience.’

These themes were echoed at a panel-event organised by Atkins last week, which looked at the future of engineering skills in the UK, presenting two arguments designed to best attract youngsters into the profession.

Representatives from Atkins, Imperial College, Futureal and ATOS made up the debating panels, with one team presenting the argument that “solving the greatest engineering challenges of the day” is most likely to inspire children to choose STEM subjects at school. The other argued that the opportunity “to build and leave your mark on history” is the strongest driver to encourage young people into engineering.

Seventy per cent of those in attendance agreed that the former argument was more potent. Given the vigour and confidence of youth the world over, Briefing predicts it won’t be long before next generation of engineers address food and water shortages, climate change, natural disasters, urbanisation and energy supply.

Persuasiveness of another kind now and news that IET has opened a competition for budding orators, with a prize of £1,000 awaiting the winner.

Their Present Around the World competition is open to students, apprentices and young professionals in engineering or technology aged between 18-26 years who are passionate about engineering or technology and can convey that to an audience.

IET say the competition ‘provides participants a great opportunity to showcase their presentation skills through a 10-minute presentation, followed by question and answer session.’

The deadline for entries is December 31, 2012 and candidates shortlisted for the preliminary round will be contacted two weeks after the deadline. More details can be found here.

Still with notable diary events and the 2012 Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Lecture and Dinner, which this year sees BAE Systems’ Nigel Whitehead FREng discuss Taranis, a stealthy, unmanned aircraft designed to be capable of long-range, precision strikes.

BAE say the technology demonstrator will ‘add to the understanding of strategic Unmanned Combat Aircraft Systems (UCAS), through the demonstration of relevant technologies and their integration into a representative UAV.’

Whitehead, BAE Systems’ group MD, Programmes and Support, is scheduled to discuss the programme and address lessons learned since the concept’s inception, which is being developed in collaboration with the MoD, GE Aviation, Qinetiq, and Rolls-Royce.

Taranis is no stranger to the pages The Engineer, given that it is one of the UK’s most ambitious engineering challenges and more can be found from our In-Depth section here.

The week’s events are rounded off with Friday’s planning Inspectorate deadline to submit its recommendations regarding the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset to energy secretary Ed Davey, who will then have three months to make the decision on whether to grant or refuse consent.

Friday also sees the closure of the BIS and DECC consultation on a compensation scheme for energy intensive industries. More on that subject from our news pages can be found here.