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CoSEM CDT students inspire the public at FUTURES 2020 festival

7 December 2020

CoSEM CDT students host a virtual exhibition at the FUTURES 2020 ‘Curiosity Carousel’ researchers’ fair

Seven PhD students from the second-year cohort of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Composites Science, Engineering and Manufacturing (CoSEM CDT) hosted a composites themed virtual ‘table’ at the Curiosity Carousel, virtual researchers’ fair.

During the event, which took place on the evening of Friday 27 November, the public were able to roam around researchers’ tables and stop and listen to presentations or demonstrations on a range of research themes.

The CoSEM CDT students talked to the public about composite materials, why they are useful and their many applications in everyday life. To make their talk come alive the students utilised a range of tangible props, such as a WrapToR truss beam, as well as inspiring presentation slides showing images of honeycomb structures, modelling simulations and on-going research endeavours.

On the night participating students rotated in ten-minute slots to give tailored presentations depending on which theme they belonged to, either materials, structures, or manufacturing - this stimulated in-depth discussion with participants as students demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of their respective theme. With audience members representing a wide age group, from toddlers to the elderly, the students were careful to read the room on each rotation to ensure all audience members were intellectually stimulated.

FUTURES 2020 Festival of Discovery is one of just two UK based projects that are part of European Researchers’ Night 2020. European Researchers’ Night, funded under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, included 51 projects across 30 European countries this year, all with the aim to bring researchers closer to the general public. FUTURES 2020 brought researchers from leading south west universities (Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa, Exeter and Plymouth) together to showcase their work through a range of digital activities, science shows, games, quizzes, competitions and exhibitions.

Joe Surmon, the cohort’s public engagement representative, said: “It was great to see the cohort come together and show the public what we are about, there was a tremendous contribution from everyone involved.”

Alex Moss said: “We each took turns in control of the booth, presenting a wide range of the research we're involved in. We fielded questions about self-healing of materials, exciting new structures for space and the use of robotics in composite manufacturing.”

Chris Grace said: “The online format of the night made for a new and interesting experience in sharing the work of the department. It was great fun speaking to people about the future of composite materials and I really appreciate the opportunity to help out.”

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Further information

The CoSEM CDT (established in 2019) has evolved from the highly successful and established ACCIS CDT (2014-2022) to address exciting doctoral training opportunities for multidisciplinary composite materials engineering and manufacture.

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