An outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students
The Department of Engineering is one of the very best in the UK with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. In the REF2014 exercise, 90% of the Engineering outputs were graded 3* or 4*, and Durham was ranked 4th in the UK for impact in the General Engineering unit of assessment.
Our prestigious MEng degree programme boasts entry standards amongst the highest in the UK. Durham’s 2017 Times Graduate Prospects score was over 93%, placing the University 4th in the UK for engineering graduate employability. Overall, Durham University was ranked 5th in the UK for General Engineering in the Complete University Guide 2018.
The Engineering Department has embarked on a growth strategy with a plan to increase the number of academic staff posts by approximately 25% over the next 5 years. The Department offers highly-regarded MEng and BEng undergraduate degree programmes in Engineering. Graduates from these programmes are sought after by employers and many students progress on to study for higher degrees following their undergraduate studies.
The Department currently has 4 full-time taught MSc programmes. The majority of the planned growth in student numbers over the coming years will be through refreshing and expanding our portfolio of taught MSc programmes. New degrees are being developed and the Department will have a strategic focus on attracting significant additional numbers of international students to these programmes.
Some limited expansion of our undergraduate student numbers is also planned. Our research activities are grouped around 3 Research Challenges in Future Energy Systems, Sustainable Infrastructure and Next Generation Materials & Microsystems. The Department has established world-class research expertise in these areas and the expansion plan will deliver opportunities for growth in all 3 of them moving forwards.
Ørsted Energy has funded a Chair in Renewable Energy in the Engineering Department since 2011.
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The Department’s research activities are clustered into 3 Research Challenges. These are:
1. Future Energy Systems
A multidisciplinary enterprise to address and formulate innovative solutions to current and future energy related challenges and opportunities from both a UK and global perspective. Activity ranges from the functional surface and component level, through sub-systems, and onwards to the analysis of global energy networks. The Department’s underpinning research expertise to achieve this is broad ranging, encompassing fluid mechanics and aerodynamics (computational and experimental), power systems, thermodynamics, smart grids, etc. There is a strong focus on industrial collaboration and societal impact, drawing upon an extensive external network of academic and government organisations. There is close interaction with the University Research Institutes including the Durham Energy Institute in particular.
This research aims to tackle the challenge of ensuring sustainability and resilience of the Infrastructure that underpins our society and economy. Research is being undertaken relating to transportation (rail and road), energy and communications networks as well as addressing water and waste systems and supporting the emergency services. This Challenge draws upon the Department’s research strengths in communications, computational mechanics and geotechnical engineering. There is collaboration with industry and government agencies within the UK and with international partners, particularly from Africa and Europe, and interaction with other University Departments, Earth Sciences and Geography in particular, and the Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience.
3. Next Generation Materials and Microsystems
The research activity in this Challenge involves using micro- and nanoscale engineering to develop materials and microsystems devices with novel functionality. The aim of the research is to understand and exploit the electronic, physical, chemical and biological properties at the small scale. This enables technologies to control, harvest and generate electromagnetic radiation; to sense and shape the physical environment; to develop alternative computational paradigms; and for biomanipulation and tissue engineering. There is close collaboration with researchers in Durham’s Physics, Chemistry and Biological Sciences Departments, the Durham Energy Institute and the Biological Sciences Institute, as well as a large network of external industry and academic partners.
The Engineering Department is a partner in many current major multi-partner consortium projects involving a large number of external academic and industrial organisations. For example, current projects funded by the UK Research Council that are relevant to the Future Energy Systems Research Challenge include: The National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (www.ncl.ac.uk/cesi/), the Future Conventional Power Research Consortium (durham.ac.uk/dei/projects/futurepower), and the EPSRC Supergen Wind Hub (www.supergen-wind.org.uk).
The EPSRC has also just announced funding for ‘A New Partnership in Offshore Wind’. This 5-year £7.6M collaboration which kicks-off later this year involves Siemens Gamesa, DONG Energy and the Universities of Durham, Hull and Sheffield (www.offshorewind.biz/2017/07/13/offshore-wind-research-business-partnership-secures-uk-grant-funds).
The Department has access to a number of established major research facilities that are relevant to the posts being advertised. Our Smart Grid Laboratory contains a Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) for conducting large-scale real-time power system simulations either on a standalone basis or with physical systems in the loop (power hardware in the loop).
The Department has a 2m wind tunnel that is routinely used to perform state of the art aerodynamics research on road vehicles (up to 40% scale), race cars, rail vehicles, aircraft (full and half models), wind turbines etc. There is a 120 m2 class 100 clean room used for fabricating devices for renewable energy (e.g. organic photovoltaics). Access to excellent high performance computing facilities is also available including the University’s Hamilton Linux based cluster.