Skip to main content


A Professor of Engineering at Cardiff University has been appointed to a prestigious position in the field of water management.

Professor Falconer, Founding Director of the Hydro-environmental Research Centre (1997-2014) and Professor of Water Management, has been appointed a member of the Trustee Board of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) for three years in the first instance from September 2016. CIWEM is the leading independent Chartered professional body for water and environment professionals, promoting excellence within the sector.

Professor Falconer has also recently been appointed to the Scientific Committee of the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI). MaREI is the marine and renewable energy research, development and innovation Centre supported by Science Foundation Ireland. It combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main scientific, technical and socio-economic challenges across the marine and renewable energy sectors.  MaREI is coordinated by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork and has 130 researchers working across 6 academic institutions collaborating with over 45 industry partners.

Cardiff University’s School of Engineering is to collaborate with Keysight Technologies to increase the range of hardware utilised by students and prepare them for a career in industry.

US-based Keysight will provide students full access to industry-leading software tools such as Advanced Design System (ADS), SystemVue, EMPro, Genesys, IC-CAP, and GoldenGate.

This extended collaboration is a result of the Keysight EDA University Educational Support Program.

Professor Sam Evans, Director of the School of Engineering, said that the institution “really values” such innovative industrial partnerships.

“The Keysight RF/MW Student Certification Program provides the practical tools which will help our students to overcome the challenges they will meet as engineering graduates in electrical and electronic engineering.

“Together we are providing a practical engineering education which gives our students the best possible preparation for future careers in industry.”

However, the collaboration is not limited to the installment of cutting edge technology – with Keysight Technologies also set to provide curriculum material, on-site training and access to professional technology events.

Not only this, but students demonstrating excellence in RF/MW (radio frequency and microwave filter) design and measurement could be acknowledged and rewarded under the company's Certification Program.

“We are proud to partner with Cardiff University to help research engineers and students acquire the skills they need to positively impact industry and advance quickly in their careers,” said Todd Cutler, vice president and general manager of Keysight EDA.

“Our software donation is given as an acknowledgement of the strong level of cooperation and commitment between Keysight and Cardiff University.”

Cardiff University is a partner in a new £14m EU-backed operation to stimulate transformational and sustainable growth in the high value manufacturing industry in West Wales and the South Wales Valleys.

The operation, entitled ASTUTE (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) 2020, will bring together world-leading expertise from Welsh universities to work with manufacturing industry in Wales to facilitate and support the development and adoption of advanced technologies, increasing competitiveness and driving growth.

The operation has been funded by the Welsh Government’s European Regional Development Fund and the participating higher education institutions. The five-year ASTUTE 2020 project, led by Swansea University in partnership with Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University, and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, will support industrial research, development and innovation using the expertise of world class academics and a team of highly qualified technical experts.

Announcing the launch of the project yesterday, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford commented “This is yet another example of the importance of EU funds for our economy. Our priority is to get the best deal for Wales in the forthcoming negotiations over the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU. This includes safeguarding all the funding to which Wales has access.”

The future challenges for Welsh manufacturing are many and varied and include: increased adoption of robotics and automation; use of advanced materials; leveraging the internet of things and industry 4.0; embedding innovative new technologies in smart manufacturing processes; and creating resilient supply chains. These are just some of the key areas that will be addressed by ASTUTE 2020.

Professor Rossi Setchi, Leader of the High Value Manufacturing Group at the School of Engineering said: “The ASTUTE 2020 project is a conduit which will translate world class academic research into impacts that expand and maintain high value manufacturing in key areas of Wales.”

The Cardiff ASTUTE 2020 project team includes a collaborative multidisciplinary group of researchers from across all three colleges of Cardiff University, led by Professor Rossi Setchi from the School of Engineering and supported by co-directors Professor Ian Weeks from the School of Medicine and Professor Mohamed Naim from the Cardiff Business School. The team has already started work on collaborative research projects with several Welsh manufacturing companies.

Paul Davies, CEO of Industry Wales which brings together companies and expertise in key manufacturing sectors including automotive, aerospace and electronics, commented: “We welcome this important initiative to assist manufacturing companies in North and West Wales and the South Wales Valleys.”

Further information about the operation is available on the ASTUTE 2020 website

School of Engineering undergraduate Ross Gardner has found his Year in Industry placement at Wilde Analysis to have provided valuable insight into the world of professional engineering as well as a great many career-boosting benefits.

Ross arrived at the Cheshire-based advanced engineering analyst firm in August 2015 to fulfil the Year in Industry placement which forms a key part of his studies at Cardiff University.

As part of his placement, Ross has received training in leading engineering software and become actively involved with multiple projects, ranging from hyper elastic seal modelling to buckling analysis of large scale anaerobic digester tanks.

Ross says that the experience of working with Wilde’s engineers and gaining technical and business-related skills has been “thoroughly enjoyable”.

“I have gained so much knowledge in the process, not only about simulation analysis but also on a wide range of industries through the projects I have worked on.

“My colleagues have been extremely friendly and welcoming throughout the year, making sure I get the most out of my time here. I believe the skills and experiences I have gained at Wilde will benefit me greatly in my University studies as well as providing me a strong starting point for my career.”

John Dennis, Wilde’s Technical Director, said that Ross had worked “exceptionally well within our engineering team here at Wilde.

“It is a very rewarding experience for the company to see promising young engineers developing their skills whilst they are with us. For the individual trainee engineer, this is a wonderful opportunity to absorb and develop valuable technical and business related skills. This truly is a situation where everyone wins.”

Our annual Summer School for Electrical & Electronic Engineering students came to a close on Friday, 22nd July with a Gala Dinner at Aberdare Hall.

The two week event saw around thirty-five international students (including parties from the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Beijing and Guangzhou) visit the School of Engineering to experience a range of lectures and laboratory work.

Highlights of the academic side of the fortnight included some insightful industrial visits to Cardiff University’s Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory and the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed.

Beyond the classroom, our guests were able to experience local culture: a trip to the Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival, a “Welshcake Masterclass” and a visit to Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

The students even had the chance to take some Welsh phrases to their homelands – with words such as “tafarn” (pub) and “iechyd da!” (cheers!) proving particularly useful at events such as the Pen & Wig’s famed quiz and a roast dinner at Y Mochyn Du.

Having made some lifelong friends, our students are now returning home; some, however, departed in the hope of returning to Cardiff University as full time international students.

Our gallery of the event can be found here, via the College of Physical Sciences & Engineering Admissions Facebook page.

Last week, Cardiff Racing unveiled the machine they will enter in the 2016 Formula Student Competition at Silverstone on 14th-7th July.

Tasked with building upon the team's finest ever results, achieved by the CR11 at the end of the last European season, the CR12 weighs in at a record low of 180kg despite the inclusion of a new aerodynamic package. It is powered by an Aprillia SXV 550 engine; a choice described by industry magazine 'Racecar Engineering' as "very continental".

However, the soul of the CR12 does not lie in its technical evolution, but in the touching connotations of the car's less formal name: "Nella".

It is a moniker with roots in 1970s Formula One, a scene graced by none other than Tom Pryce, a Denbighshire-born racing driver who remains Wales' only entrant to the premier class of single-seater racing. Regarded as a rising star within the sport, the Shadow driver achieved nine top-six finished in his two-and-a-half year career in the top flight.

However, the Formula One of the time was an incredibly dangerous pusuit - and at the 1977 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, he was involved in an accident which sadly claimed his life.

Almost forty years on, Cardiff Racing driver Dewi Griffiths remains inspired by Pryce, leading the team to purchase him a blank helmet which was then personalised to recreate the distinctive black-lined, Welsh flag design carried by Pryce.

However, chief technician Lee Treherne was able to go further, establishing contact with Pryce's widow, Fenella, and upon hearing of the team's admiration of her husband's racing exploits, Fenella returned unseen pictures of the Welshman during his career.

Nevertheless, the team wanted to do more.

"We had the idea of naming the car after her," said Lee. "She couldn't attend the launch because she lives in France, but she said that she felt humbled and flattered."

He added: "I wrote back to her and sent her pictures [of the CR12's launch] and she wrote a lovely message back wishing us luck and all the best."

With Nella set to make her competitive debut in the next week, the Cardiff Racing team has high hopes that their new challenger will live up to its illustrious heritage.

Cardiff University School of Engineering joined together with Academic Schools from across the University for the ‘STEM Live! Exploring Your Future’ event on Monday 27th June.

The event was organised by the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering and the College of Biological and Life Sciences, in partnership with St David’s Catholic Sixth Form College.

Some of the exciting Cardiff University research on show at the event included: the science behind 3D cinema; the Universe beyond the visible; how glaciers move;  targeting cancer treatment through computer modelling; using catalysis for a better world; decoding earth’s history using microfossils; and measuring heart function at work, rest and play.

Over 200 sixth formers and their teachers came from 12 schools from across South Wales to participate in a conference designed to showcase the diverse research being undertaken at Cardiff and to introduce them to the kinds of challenges they might get involved in if they choose to take up a career in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM).

Researchers and students from ten Academic Schools, as well as the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair, were on hand to explain and demonstrate the exciting research projects on show, giving students and their teachers the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities and workshops.

When asked what they had enjoyed most about the day, one student replied “everything”.

She added: “The workshops have been really interesting and it has also been useful to be able to speak with current undergraduates and find out more about university life and what the different courses entail.”

Mr Hughes, Assistant Head of Sixth form at St Joseph’s RC High School, described the event as a ‘unique opportunity’ for students to gain an insight into a wide range of STEM subjects, and commented that some had even been prompted to reconsider the STEM subject they will apply to study next year.

He went on to say: “Our students have been inspired and enthused by both the researchers’ and undergraduate students’ obvious passion for their subjects, and I feel that they are now in a much better position to make an informed decision about their future careers in STEM.”

Dr Fiona Wyllie, the lead organiser of the event said, “We wanted to expose sixth formers to the full breadth of  STEM courses and research on offer in the university, including subjects unfamiliar to them through their school curriculum””.

The sixth formers took part in a wide range of activities including designing and testing boats, investigating how researchers work with honey bees to identify new plant derived drugs which can be used to fight bacteria, designing structures which will survive earthquakes, discovering how an otter project greatly benefits ecological research, programming a Raspberry Pi and discovering the properties and possibilities of chemiluminescence.

This is the third STEM event organised by the University to show sixth form students the wide range of life changing research to which they could contribute, if they choose a career in the sciences, technology, engineering or maths.

The event is one of a number of initiatives run as part of the University’s School’s Partnership Project, which supports researchers’ direct engagement with students and helps bring contemporary and inspirational research contexts into formal and informal learning. The Partnership Project is funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK) as part of their School-University Partnerships Initiative.

A team from Cardiff University School of Engineering had a successful trip to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers ‘iShow’ Innovation Showcase.

Adam Dixon, Luke Parkin and James Griffiths were among the ten teams in the final and took home one of the most prestigious awards, the fan favourite prize. Their product was a hydroponic system called ‘Hydrosac’.

The team performed excellently among a very competitive field, which included experienced business figures and accomplished engineers from various countries. The event is now in its ninth year, with this year’s final held in Washington, D.C.

The top prizes were scooped up by established companies with products such as a pay as you go gas delivery system, a smart water metre and a revolutionary prosthetic limb.

Commenting on the experience, Adam said: “It was an honour to be shortlisted by ASME and to win the fan favourite position! Luke, James and I learnt a lot about the process of hardware development and met senior engineering and business executives who helped us plot a strong plan for commercialisation of our Hydrosac design.

“Expertise and experience is extremely valuable as a resource particularly for young engineers and I recommend Cardiff university students apply for the iShow every year and many competitions like it for this exposure and learning.”

Professor Karen Holford, Cardiff University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, has been named in the inaugural list of the Top 50 Women in Engineering.

The list was compiled by the Daily Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), and today’s publication coincides with National Women in Engineering Day.

The top 50 were selected by a distinguished panel of judges from almost 900 nominations, and represent the UK’s most influential female engineers. Professor Holford is among only eight on the list who are based in universities.

Professor Holford said: “It’s an honour to be named on the same list as some of my engineering heroines, but this award is also recognition of people who have influenced my career - from those involved in my degree apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce and Cardiff, my engineering work at AB Electronics and the hugely supportive environment at Cardiff University.

“I have always felt very much part of a team here, and I’m very grateful to all the people who have helped and supported me in my various roles.”

Professor Holford’s career began at Rolls-Royce where she contributed to a range of technical projects including work on the Adour and Pegasus engines. Then at AB Electronic Products, she was responsible for developing automotive electronic products for Jaguar Rover and was soon promoted to the role of senior engineer.

Since moving into academia 25 years ago, she has helped to build the now substantial international reputation of acoustic engineering research at Cardiff, which now boasts the best equipped experimental acoustic engineering facility in Europe.

Her research into acoustic emission has resulted in technology that has greatly improved the safety monitoring of bridges and other structures, and she is now applying the same techniques to detect faults in aircraft structures - with the potential to revolutionise aircraft design and result in lighter aircraft.

This year she co-authored the Welsh Government report, Talented Women for a Successful Wales, which analysed the importance of getting more women into science and engineering careers, and how this might be achieved.

Julie James AM, Minister for Skills and Science, said:  “Karen thoroughly deserves this honour – she is a wonderful role model for all aspiring engineers.

“The under-representation of women in science and engineering is a serious problem for Wales and for the UK as a whole, and the Welsh Government is actively working towards increasing the numbers of women in the science sector.”

Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Advisor for Wales said: “Karen is one of those who defies the old stereotypes and has forged a hugely successful career as one of the most outstanding engineers in the UK and she has become an inspiration for young women everywhere.”

The list includes Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, former Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and now Chair of EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation.

Judge Allan Cook CBE, Chairman of Atkins commented: “I was really impressed with the calibre, quality and quantity of the submissions. Reading through the entries it was incredibly exciting to see the breadth of talent we have in our engineering community.”

Professor Thorsten Stoesser, leader of the School of Engineering’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability, is to be awarded the George Stephenson Medal by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

The medal has been presented annually since 1881, and is one of the ICE’s most prestigious awards. It recognises the second-best paper published in ICE Publishing’s ‘Energy’ category. The best paper receives the James Watt Medal.

Professor Stoesser secured this year’s prize for his paper ‘Calculation of fluid structure interaction: methods, refinements, applications’, which was published in Engineering and Computational Mechanics in 2015.

Commenting on the award, he said: ‘I had not known that this paper was considered for an award, so it caught me by surprise. I am humbled and honored, and also thankful to my former PhD student Mustafa Kara and current postdoctoral research associate Richard McSherry for their contributions.’

Regarding the research, he added: ‘The paper is on computer simulations of fluid structure interaction (FSI). We have summarized the literature on this topic, refined a numerical methodology to simulate FSI and applied it with success to predict vortex induced vibrations of structures that are subjected to unsteady fluid forces.’

The paper is to be made freely available through the ICE Virtual Library, and Professor Stoesser will be presented with the medal at an awards ceremony to be held at the ICE’s London headquarters in October.