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Department of Physics

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Durham Physics chosen to lead national activity on Group Industrial Projects

(2 March 2012)

Team project students at work

For over 20 years, final year B.Sc. students in the Physics Department at Durham University have done Team Projects.  Team Projects involve a group of up to six students working on a Physics-related problem set by local industry.  The problems on which the teams will work are 'real' in the sense that there is no 'correct' solution and no script - they might involve building a piece of equipment, testing a product, designing control systems, etc.   Projects have been run in conjunction with PII Pipeline Solutions, Procter & Gamble, Durham County Cricket Club and Cottam Brush. Durham students have learnt more than they ever wanted to about freezing ice cream, what goes on inside a dishwasher, how gas pipes are inspected and 1001 other applications of physics in industry.

In a move to improve graduate employability, the Institute of Physics (IOP), as part of the National Higher Education STEM Programme, is now nurturing similar activities at other physics departments in the UK.  Thanks to our unique and long experience with the Team Projects, the Physics Department at Durham has been chosen to be the lead institution for this work. The IOP HE STEM Programme, Undergraduate Industrial Group Projects, has now been operating for just over a year and is seeing 10 university physics departments adopt the Durham model. The programme is set to expand next year, with a further three physics departments becoming involved.


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