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Cambridge University Engineering Society Freshers • Sep 2017

Engineering in the Developing World How we can engineer a better future for all

Contents 04 From the Head of the Department 06 What can Engineering Outreach do for you? 08 Industrial Placements 09 Society Zoo! 24 Kathy’s Centre 28 Career Profile: Oxfam 31 Remotely Monitoring Infrastructure 33 The Business of Aid 37 Low Cost Diagnostics


From the Editor A warm welcome back to Cambridge after the long summer break! The Cambridge University Engineering Society (CUES)


Freshers’ edition this year has taken on a new look, so we hope you enjoy that! For the freshers, we have our usual collection of articles introducing you to CUED, with its myriad of activities and societies to join. I’m sure you’ll all find something you’re interested to try out, and when you run out of things to try, you could always start your own society in CUED. The theme for this issue is engineering in the developing world. As the world population increases at dramatic rates, much of the world still lacks the infrastructure to tackle basic needs, particularly areas such as WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). In this issue, we look into some companies which do work or volunteer in developing countries to help resolve such issues. Researchers at CUED also have projects which concern themselves with these problems. Hopefully, this will inspire you to see the change that engineers can have in solving these global issues, and perhaps try something out yourself.

Magazine Editor Sze Ning Chng magazine@cues.org.uk



Professor David Cardwell, Head of Department

FROM THE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT Dear Engineering Freshers,

form well in the Engineering Tripos.

ported every step of the way within

So, well done, again, to you all.

the Department by our extraordi-

I’d like to welcome you all warm-


nary academic staff and within your

ly to one of the best Engineering

But admission to the Department is

College by your Supervisors, Director

Departments in the world. And many

just the start. Make no mistake, our

of Studies and Tutor. So you’ll be given

congratulations on winning your place

Tripos is the most demanding under-

every opportunity to fulfill your poten-

here, which is a huge achievement in

graduate Engineering course in the

tial with a successful, rewarding and

itself. Undergraduate applications to

world, and you will need to be well

enjoyable Cambridge experience.

the Department are booming, with

prepared to tackle it. There’s abso-

almost seven applications per place,

lutely no room for complacency. We

You’ll need to work hard, attend lec-

the highest by far of any large sub-

expect a lot from our students; our

tures and labs, prepare for supervi-

ject in the University. The Cambridge

academic standards are unrelenting,

sions, write reports and revise effec-

admissions process is the most rigor-

and our short, 8-week terms mean

tively. You’re here primarily to demon-

ous and demanding of any academic

that you won’t have time to pause for

strate your worth as one of the world’s

institution in the world, and Colleges

breath. But succeed, as I expect you

best Engineers, with achievement

generally get it right. Believe me, you

to, and in four years time you’ll be

measured by exams, coursework and

are here entirely on your own merit,

one of the most sought after gradu-

projects. But there’s more to University

and based on your potential to per-

ates on the planet. And you’ll be sup-

life than this, and in the Engineering

Department you’re encouraged to

with construction of a new building

make use of opportunities such as the

for Civil Engineering. It’s unlikely that

individual hands-on project facilities

the move West will have any material

in the Dyson Centre. You will have to

impact on your studies over the next

juggle such extracurricular activities,

four years, but it is something to be

in the Department, in your College,

aware of, and to embrace. Specific

and in the rest of the University. The

details of the new Department will

trick will be to find the right balance.

be released as we make progress, so watch out for these.

You may be aware that we’re in the exciting process of relocating the entire

I wish you a very busy, hard work-

Department to West Cambridge. This

ing and productive four years as an

represents the biggest Departmental

undergraduate in the Department.

project in the history of the University

You’ve earned yourself a once-in-a-

(and, I suspect, its future) and under-

lifetime opportunity - now all you have

lines our commitment to producing

to do is to use it well.

You’re here primarily to demonstrate your worth as one of the world’s best Engineers...But there’s more to University life than this...”

world-leading Engineers for the 21st Century. The first, £300 million phase,

Professor David Cardwell

of the project is already well underway

Head of Department

ll, nt

“People don’t just hear what I have to say, they really listen.” Catherine’s perspective on support

Graduate opportunities in engineering, science, business and trading Taking charge of exciting new projects. Pushing the limits of innovative materials. Testing critical new systems. With great energy comes great responsibility. And as a BP graduate, great responsibility is something you’ll experience from day one.

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WHAT CAN ENGINEERING OUTREACH DO FOR YOU? Maria Kettle, Outreach Officer here at the Department of Engineering, shares more about how you can get involved in engineering outreach here... Outreach is a bucket term, a description for all the inter-

the interactions children have with science as they grow

actions between the Department of Engineering and the

up. Probably, at least one of your parents studied science

community where it is located.

Being Cambridge, that

or a science-based subject such as medicine or engineer-

Our outreach efforts

ing at University. They took you to science museums and

community is the whole planet. spread around the globe.

their idea of a top tourist attraction was a big bridge or

Engineers do out-

a vertiginous dam.



You talk about sci-

Engineering has

ence and maths at



home, your family


use maths and sci-

report for 2016 is

ence to explain their

full of good news.

observations of the

Engineering con-



tributes £456 bn to the UK econ-

Some children don’t

omy each year, it

get this. Their par-

is 68% more effi-

ents don’t consider

cient than retail-

themselves to be

ing or wholesaling

‘science-y’ and nei-

and it employs 5.5



children make a link


But not enough



between the sci-

school students study subjects that allow them to access

ence subjects studied at school and interesting employ-

engineering careers and routes for adults to change careers

ment possibilities.

in later life are limited. Engineering is short of workers and

ence-y school students a chance to use the knowledge

Brexit will make this situation worse. Outreach attempts to

they acquire at school in a practical context.

tackle this problem.

them to understand the world by making working toys for

Engineering outreach offers non-sciWe help

themselves. Outreach participants can use maths and logic


You already have high ‘science capital’: you must have,

to program Lego robots to play games or to pull dance

because you are reading this. Science capital describes

moves. Most important of all, by meeting you, school stu-

Engineering Outreach at the Cambridge Science Festival

dents realise that engineers are not

Each year, some of our events are

events for the year and more

egg-headed maths geniuses. On the

organised in collaboration with local

details are added as our plans

contrary, they are ordinary, hardwork-

and international employers.

firm up.

ing people on track for an interesting,

offer a chance for you to meet current

diary now for Saturday 17th March.

creative and well paid career.

employees and make your job appli-

That’s the day for Engineering’s

cations more personal.

flagship event for the Cambridge


But what’s in it for you?

Make a note in your

Science Festival. And what if you think something is

It’s fun. The children who attend our

wrong with Engineering in the UK

events enjoy themselves and improve

– not enough women, not enough


their economic life chances at the

people from your home town at

Thursday in full term at the Dyson

same time, a rewarding mix for vol-

Cambridge, too many… You fill in the

Centre meeting area tables. We

unteers. Outreach develops your soft


plan upcoming events, road test

skills; explaining science concepts to

you to take action and change things.

10-year-olds is informal and friendly. It

Part of the Outreach Officer’s job is to

improves your ability to communicate

support students with their own out-

technical ideas to a non-specialist

reach initiatives, to help with resources

small box in the north east corner

audience. Employers love this.

and ideas to ensure your activity has

of the DPO and I’m usually around

the impact you hope for.

on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and

Outreach provides a way for

Most active volunteers become STEM Ambassadors. This provides personal


Outreach meets

Development at



new ideas and eat cake. •

Come and see me! My office is the

Thursdays. How do you get involved?

liability insurance and an auditable log of your outreach activity, an easy

This is an excellent

way to start if you have a personal outreach project you want to get

Outreach volunteering oppor-

off the ground.

way for sponsored students to prove

tunities are posted on the vol-

that they have fulfilled their outreach

unteer calendar here: http://

Outreach: a chance to make the world



a better place and meet engineers at


all stages of their careers while hav-

calendar.pdf This shows the key

ing fun.

Outreach is a networking opportunity.


Vicky Houghton, Industrial Placements Coordinator

INDUSTRIAL PLACEMENTS Industrial placements are a key aspect of the CUED course. Vicky Houghton, Industrial Placements Coordinator, gives some advice on how to navigate the numerous opportunities.

First of all, welcome to the Department of Engineering! There will be a great deal of new things for you to find out about and one them is the Industrial Experience requirements. As you should already know, the engineering course has a compulsory industrial placement element where you must undertake a placement to obtain your Honours degree (unless you migrate to chemical engineering). This is a minimum of 6 weeks industrial experience that should take place in the summer of 2018 or the summer of 2019. If you have worked in an engineering or technology related role before joining the course, it may be possible to count this time towards this requirement. Every year over 550 engineering students undertake a summer internship in a wide variety of organisations, gaining an insight into different company cultures, increasing the depth of academic learning, improving transferrable skills and making important


contacts. Many

your parameters – are you willing to

employers use

relocate for the role? Are you open



to consider all types of roles? As an


IA student, some roles may be easier

tool to encour-

for you to secure – for example, civil

age you to joining them after graduat-

related or software related roles. By

ing. A win-win for many.

being more flexible, you will open up the number of roles you can apply for

The important news is that the recruit-

and increase your success rate.

ment season for 2018 has already opened. Securing an internship takes

However, employers often comment

time and effort so it will help to start

on the high number of generic or

early by getting your CV prepared and

poorly researched applications they

begin identifying suitable opportu-

receive. They find these easy to reject.

nities and making your applications.

Spend time researching your chosen

There will be many opportunities

employers and make well researched,

to meet employers at careers fairs,

well targeted applications.

weekly employer presentations and

better applications are more likely to

other events. They are here to talk to

gain success through to the interview

you and answer your questions – so

stage than simply applying to every-

use the opportunity! Alongside this,

thing and anything.


we coordinate with employers across the globe to ensure you are present-

When you need information or advice,

ed with a range of quality vacancies

or you wish to discuss any aspect of

which are shared with you through our

industrial experience, please get in

in-house database, CHOICE, however

touch. We are located in BNO-041,

you are more than welcome to source

Office floor in the Baker Building,

your own internship. You may be unsure at this stage about

Vicky Houghton, Industrial Placements

what type of internship may appeal to


you however you can start by look-


ing at how flexible can you be with


Society Zoo 10 Full Blue Racing 12 Engineers Without Borders 15 Tensegrity 16 Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle 18 Cambridge University Synthetic Biology Society 20 CU3D 22 Cambridge University Eco Racing


FULL BLUE RACING Full Blue Racing is one of the engineering departments biggest societies, our aim is to design and build a single seater racing car and take it to competitions across Europe, racing it with cars from other Uni’s in the formula student competition. You join us at the mid-way point in the team’s two-year design and build program. At the end of last year, 10 of our team members travelled to Silverstone to showcase our designs we had developed throughout the year. Our team was assessed for our ‘Design’, ‘Business’ and ‘Cost’ material for the car: Full Blue Racing was placed fifth overall and claimed third place in the design competition, beating the likes of Bath and Imperial universities. After this theoretical assessment, we will be undergoing the practical side of the competition in 2018 – of course racing the car is the best part! So, this year we are going to be getting stuck in to the build of the new car. Anyone can get involved, there is no entry requirement or prerequisite knowledge needed to join the team, no matter how much experience you have, you are welcome to join. The team will equip you with strong practical abilities, which is an excellent supplement to the theoretical nature of the Cambridge course. We build skills in terms of both team management and technical skills. We welcome all technical backgrounds at Full Blue, if you can’t tell your ‘carburettors’ from your ‘turbo chargers’, or if you’ve been building cars since you were 12, come and get involved and we will give you an insight into what it is like to get out on the track and be part of high speed racing team.


Photos courtesy of Full Blue Racing

The success of the last year has put us in good spirits for the upcoming build, and with the new year comes a fresh new leadership team: Harry Gatward has shot up the ranks, from joining the team late in his first year, he’s now become team leader as he enters third year. He’s ready to get

free to ask them anything about the

things running better than ever, with

team and what we do.

talk of a well-populated social calendar, and crystal clear new-member

To join the team, come along to one

induction as part of his lead. We also

of our into-lectures at the beginning

welcome the return of Oli Albert, who

of Michaelmas and Lent terms, email

will be taking on the role of technical

getmore@fullblueracing.co.uk or look

director - after taking a year out to

out for members of the team wearing

work for Mercedes, he’ll be bringing

stash around department.

some of their skills and expertise back into Full Blue. These guys are open to

From all of us at Full Blue Racing, wel-

all questions and ideas, so look out

come to Cambridge and good luck

for them around department and feel

with your first year.

Anyone can get involved, there is no entry requirement or prerequisite knowledge needed to join the team.”

Delivering access to safe and secure infrastructure We apply our expertise to lessen our impact on the planet, help communities prepare for the future and provide lasting local legacies.




Photos courtesy of Engineers Without Borders

Engineers Without Borders UK leads a movement that

and demanding change in the engineering community.

inspires, enables and influences global responsibility through engineering.

The Engineers Without Borders UK movement consists of people who believe in what we do. We have a number

We bring together people, ideas and engineering to

of individual members from all walks of life, as well as

respond to the complex challenges that we face as a global

University Member Groups throughout the UK. We wel-

community. We do this by working at all levels of education

come everyone to support our work, you don’t have to be

to inspire more people to become engineers by challeng-

an engineer, nor do you need to work in the engineering

ing their perception of what engineering is. We support

profession, to join us, you just need to be passionate about

partner organisations around the world by adding to their

using engineering as the catalyst for the change that the

engineering capacity with trained personnel and we lead a

world needs.

growing social movement who are rejecting the status quo


As a member, you will have the oppor-

tunity to: •

pate in our engineering educa-

a vital role in spreading the work and

tion initiatives and receive CPD

message of the organisation. You will


get involved with a number of activi-

●Join our international partner

ties including: delivering workshops

with like-minded people

organisations and work on a water

in local schools to inspire the next

●Receive a members only news-

and sanitation, clean energy or

generation of engineers, helping us

built environment project

to raise vital funds and awareness of

●Join our Annual General Meetings

our work by fundraising in your local

hear all about our latests news

and take part in the governance

community, host a number of events

and events

of the organisation

highlighting the importance of glob-

●Have the opportunity to stand for

ally responsible engineering and have

election as a Trustee and be part

the chance to work on a international

of our Board of Directors

project alongside our local partner

●Take advantage of opportunities

organisations and a professional engi-

●Help support our work by raising

and discounts with collaborative


vital funds and awareness of what


●Be part of the Engineers Without Borders community and interact

letter as well as our quarterly newsletter ‘The Movement’ to

●Receive a 10% discount on all

Engineers Without Borders UK events and join member only events across the UK •

●Have the first chance to partici-

we do •


To find out more head to ewb-uk.org

●Access a member only portal on

You can also join EWB University of

the Engineers Without Borders

Cambridge. As a member of EWB

UK website

University of Cambridge you will play

or contact membership@ewb-uk.org. Together we can engineer change.


Photo courtesy of Tensegrity

Art and sculpture might not be what comes to mind when

assemble a 3D puzzle which fights back as you try to put

you think of engineering structures, but for the Tensegrity

it together. All the parts needed to be numbered based on

Art Sculpture Club (TASC) engineering art sculptures is

the computer modelled design to make sure the right bam-

what its all about.

boo poles (compression members) were connected by the wires (tensile members). A curious characteristic of tenseg-

What is a tensegrity you might be wondering? Well they are

rity structures is that they have little or no redundancy and

a rather special type of structure in which none of the com-

are not in equilibrium until the last cable is tied in, so until

pressive members are joined to one another rather they are

that happens they need quite a bit of support.

connected by members in tension, which while not amazing useful can produce some visually stunning objects.

Thankfully the hands of our TASC members offered just

Buckminster Fuller came up with the name ‘Tensegrity’ - an

enough support (with a little gymnastics involved) to hold

amalgamation of tension and integrity – in reference to

the 30 member sculpture as it was built. Over the course

the fact that their structural integrity comes through the

of an afternoon our enthusiastic team turned that pile of

arrangement of the tensile members.

wire, nails and bamboo poles into a simple yet beautiful Christmas decoration for the department.

While the history of tensegrity structures is quite curious, TASC focuses on designing and building tensegrity struc-

In the coming year we’ll be setting our sights on more ambi-

tures as art sculptures, and in this first year we got our

tious projects, hoping to build larger and more extrava-

hands dirty building a giant tensegrity Christmas ornament

gantly decorated tensegrity structures for use at May

which we hung outside the department. Armed with 30

Balls, exhibitions, and festivals. Engineers of all flavours are

bamboo poles, electrical wire, nails, fairy lights, a glue gun,

always welcome, regardless of whether or not you consider

and a whole lot of helping hands we set to work.

yourself artistically minded. Building tensegrities can be great fun and you never know where it could take you...

Assembling a tensegrity structure is a lot like trying to


CAMBRIDGE AUTONOMOUS UNDERWATER VEHICLE Who are we? Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CAUV) is a team of students exploring the cutting edge of autonomous underwater vehicle technology. CAUV designs, builds and tests autonomous underwater vehicles to compete in the ERL Emergency Challenge - an annual outdoor robotics competition based in Italy. Our vehicles are designed to perform complex tasks such as surveying an area and searching for missing workers, all without any human intervention. Founded in 2006 by four first-year students, CAUV is completely student-run and receives funding from industry professionals. We currently have a team of seven students and are constantly recruiting more talented people to join us on our adventure. Our Mission Our mission is to build an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) capable of carrying out search and rescue operations as well as scientific exploration projects. We test out our technology every year by competing in the ERL Emergency Challenge. The competition simulates the scenario of the 2011 Fukushima Disaster. The AUV needs to perform various tasks such as locating a missing person underwater, closing off a valve, following a plume of “toxic waste� to its origin, and contacting a drone about the position of a leak. These tasks require the vehicle to process and recognise images, localise its position, perform complex manoeu-


Photos courtesy of Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

E S R E vres while at the same time withstand

to apply what we learnt in the engi-

water pressure and corrosion.

neering course; and also learn much more on the job, which is an enriching

How does an AUV work?

experience for all of our members.

Our AUV is an integrated system that

How We Operate

skills and explore your interests. Why Join Us In CAUV, you will gain a well round-

combines the fields of mechanics,

ed skill set, including mechanics, electronics, software and business.

electronics and software. It has the

Unlike many other student societ-

CAUV operates like a startup where

physical structure of an aluminium

ies, CAUV doesn’t have specialised

members have multiple roles, rather

cylinder enclosed by a frame. The

teams due to our relatively small size.

than being restricted in rigid posi-

cylinder contains all of our electron-

Instead, we work on a project basis.

tions. Instead of being a cog in a big

ics while the sensors and motors are

The team has regular meetings and

machine, everyone has the repsonsi-

mounted on the frame. The robot per-

discuss together about what to work

bility and the power to make a differ-

ceives the environment using its array

on. We then come up with a list of

ence. There is an investment of time

of sensors, which include a multibeam

projects that we can do within the

required, as well as a learning curve

sonar, an inertial measurement unit,

next few weeks. If a project seems

to overcome, but in the end getting

two cameras and two pressure sen-

too big, we break it down into smaller

involved is highly rewarding. If you’re

sors. They send the data they received

sub-projects. Afterwards, each mem-

passionate about robots, not afraid

to the computers, which then calcu-

ber can choose the project that fits

of challenges, and love to learn, then

lates the location, depth and orienta-

best to their interests or expertise and

join us!

tion of the vehicle.Then our control

work on it. Our approach gives our

algorithms determine the optimal

members exposure to multiple areas

path the AUV should take to reach

and experience in designing entire

its goal and send the relevant com-

systems, not just parts. Many of the

More information can be found on

mands to the thrusters. Two battery

freshers who joined us last year have

our website www.cauv.co.uk If you

modules supply a stable current to

worked on a wide range of projects

would like to get involved, please

the electronics. The sensors, motors,

such as designing PCBs, writing soft-

get in touch by emailing info@cam-

and electronics are all interconnected

ware, making websites and pitching


via waterproof connections. In order to

to potential sponsors. CAUV is a great

Alternatively, you can fill out the form

design such a vehicle, our team needs

place to learn a wide range of new

on our website.

Contact Details


Photos courtesy of CU Synthetic Biology

CU SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY Synthetic biology is an emerging field that combines engineering principles with biology to redesign and construct novel biological systems. These can range from single logic gates implemented in bacterial DNA, to entire genomes - and even multicellular systems – that have been reprogrammed for human purposes. Such constructs have been used in a variety of applications; such as biosensors that are able to detect toxins in wastewater, and white blood cells that have been modified to kill tumours. As foundational technologies in molecular biology and computing advance, it is become increasingly feasible to understand and engineer the immense complexity that characterises living systems. A key reason for this paradigm shift in biological engineering is the application of principles from mature engineering fields – such as standardisation and abstraction – to biology. Already, functional regions of DNA are being isolated as modular, standardised parts as genetic design shifts from an art to a science. This will hopefully lead to a genetic programming language that allows us to


Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary field that draws on the expertise of people from a variety of backgrounds.”

U y

hack biology with the same ease that enables software to

are looking for new members to get involved. This year, as

be modified by C or even Python.

well as continuing to host our own speaker events, we have partnered with other synthetic student societies at universi-

CUSBS was founded by members of the Cambridge team

ties such as Imperial and Warwick to live-stream synthetic

for the International Genetically Engineered Machines

biology talks from researchers across the UK.

(iGEM) competition in 2015. We aim to raise awareness for

Synthetic biology is an inter-

synthetic biology and provide

disciplinary field that draws

opportunities for students to

on the expertise of peo-

get involved in the field. To

ple from a variety of back-

this end, we organise a vari-

grounds, including engineer-

ety of events and activities

ing. Through joining CUSBS,

throughout the year. These

you will hear from leading

include guest talks by lead-

researchers in the field and

ing researchers in the field,


and ongoing practical proj-

from different fields and uni-

ects that are entirely run by

versities. You will have the

society members. Last year

opportunity to try out prac-

we ran two projects: the hard-

tical biological engineering

ware team continued work-

with state of the art tools and

ing on the conversion of a

facilities, including the societ-



CNC router to a scanning light microscope with associated

ies’ 3-D printer in the Dyson centre. If the challenge of engi-

image stitching software, while the wetware team focused

neering life itself sounds intriguing and you would like to

on the basics of genetic engineering and circuit design -

find out more about, please get in touch! You can find us at

laying the groundwork for a fully-fledged metabolic engi-

the CUSU Fresher’s Fair, on Facebook @CUSBS, on Twitter

neering project starting this year in the new Biomakespace.

@CU_SynBioSoc, at our website cusbs.soc.srcf.net, or by

Both teams will be continuing their projects this year and

signing up to our mailing list at CUSBS-Interest@srcf.net.


CU3D CU3D is the department’s resident 3D printing society, and

machine and in particular a lot of CAD work. Our preferred

we help students launch projects that need rapid prototyp-

CAD tool is Solidworks, so it’s a good chance to learn to use

ing skills. We work closely with the Dyson Centre, which is

the software as the course only teaches you to use CREO.

the department’s main workshop and somewhere you will no doubt spend a lot of time over the next four years.

If you’re in for a challenge, in October we are launching a new project for this year – designing a contraption display

The Dyson Centre has a set of Ideawerk and soon Ultimaker

for the Heath Robinson Museum in London. It will be a

3D printers which are free for undergraduates to use. We

modular design that will give new and experienced stu-

help train new students how to use the machines, what they

dents alike a chance to challenge themselves and come up

are capable of and how best to design for manufacture with

with innovative designs that pull on all areas of engineering.

3D printing.

You’ll have the opportunity to lead a design from day one and it will be a brilliant opportunity to improve you design

We meet each week at 2pm in the Dyson Centre. In meet-

and make skills. Ciara Norris is the Project Leader, and you

ings students work on personal projects, get trained to use

can get in touch with her at cmsmn2@cam.ac.uk for info or

the machines and work on society led projects. These can

to register your interest.

involve other training such as laser cutters, the digital CNC


Photos courtesy of CU3D

We also have an ongoing project from

filaments such as flexible plastic. This is

last year, our Robotic Archery Turret. We

free to use for members with a project

are upgrading the turret for the disability

that needs it, no matter how small.

charity Remap, which supports children

We strongly encourage you to come

around the country. The turret is effec-

along to one of the meetings or demon-

tively a ballista that allows physically

stration talks that we will host early on in

disabled children to opportunity to try

term. 3D printing even just for personal

out archery, something they couldn’t do

use can be incredibly powerful and it is

otherwise. Our Project Leader for this is

increasingly becoming an relevant skill

Preben Ness, who you can contact for

to have when looking to industry.

more details at pmn26@cam.ac.uk. Even if you are just looking for more We help students launch projects of their

info or for who to contact about an idea

own design, such as a cycling based

or problem to do with 3D printing, get

project last year which began collabo-

in contact with us. Contact one of the

ration with researchers in the depart-

Project Leaders above, find us in the

ment. The society has an Ultimaker 2+

Dyson centre on Wednesdays at 2pm

Extended of our own, upgraded to a

or you can contact the Team Director,

direct drive so it can print more exotic

James Roberts, at jpr55@cam.ac.uk.


Photos courtesy of Cambridge University Eco Racing

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY ECO RACING How can you cross 3,000km of the Australian Outback

This October, starting on Sunday 8th, the current CUER

using just the power of the sun? This is the question that

challenge team will be joining 41 other teams in attempt-

Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) has been tackling

ing to complete the route of the Bridgestone World Solar

since the team was founded back 2007.

Challenge in the fastest time possible. The team will face soaring temperatures over 40 degrees and the inhospitable

CUER is a society which provides an environment for stu-

terrain of the Outback during their 5-6 day adventure. This,

dents from all over Cambridge University to be part of the

combined with maintaining the solar car itself, poses a

solution to the long-term issue of sustainable transport. It

multi-faceted challenge which has had two years of dedi-

brings together the network to develop the expertise to be

cated preparation already. You can follow the progress of

able to create their own solar electric vehicle.

the team through our twitter, facebook and website (www. cuer.co.uk).

The team currently focusses its efforts on producing vehicles to compete in the World Solar Challenge (WSC), an

This year, the team is competing with Mirage, a 5m long

endurance competition covering 3,000km from Darwin to

vehicle with a carbon fibre chassis and triple junction galli-

Adelaide. Over 40 teams from institutions around the world

um arsenide solar cells. The concept, a development of the

compete in the challenge which takes place every two

team’s previous two vehicles, takes many lessons forward,

years. This timescale allows for significant development of

incorporating many features such as a solar array which

cutting-edge vehicles between competitions and means

tracks the sun and passive internal cooling for the driver.

that most students can experience the challenge itself during their time with the team.

In order to design and manufacture Mirage, the team has had to raise a significant amount of support, including


several hundred-thousand pounds in

continued growth comes from the

work and no play. This is helped by the

sponsorship revenue. Many compa-

stable network around the members

marvellous solar community which

nies are also involved on the technical

which provides a long-term view of

covers the globe and facilitates fruitful

side, providing engineering expertise

what the team has tried and achieved

and enduring relationships between

and manufacturing capabilities as in-

in the past, as well as ensuring that the

both teams and individuals.

kind sponsorship for the team. This

core values of the team are carried for-

is an excellent way for students to

ward through each generation. As part

As one cycle comes to its culmination,

learn about fundraising and money

of this structure, we are very privileged

the new competition cycle kicks off

management as well as developing

to have a Steering Committee com-

and we are looking for motivated, pro-

relationships with a large variety of

prised of some of the most influential

active and passionate students to join

companies from PR agencies to auto-

figures in the Cambridge Technology

all areas of our team as we define our

motive developers.

sphere, including Prof.Tony Purnell,

plans for further success at the World

Head of Technical Development for

Solar Challenge in 2019. A new cycle

Of course, the team doesn’t exist sole-

British Cycling, and Hermann Hauser,

is a great chance to reflect on what

ly for its own benefit, we are here to

founder of ARM.

we have achieved and see where we

inspire as well as to innovate. Our story

can go next. There are so many pos-

is a great example of the potential

The opportunity to work with and

sibilities and you can help to steer the

of young students and how excit-

learn from such influential individu-

direction of the next WSC campaign.

ing engineering can be, so we try

als is part of the reason that students

to share it as far and wide as pos-

are willing to commit so much to the

There are a huge variety of roles

sible. This involves the team attend-

team, as the return on investment can

available, from media and business

ing events across the world, most

be enormous for those who really take

through to concept development

recently in Tokyo and San Francisco,

the team’s values to heart. In addition

and vehicle analysis, so there really

running workshops with local schools

to this, through the intense nature of

is something for everyone. If you are

and also engaging not just local but

such an enormous challenge, tight-

interested in joining the team or want

national and international media.

knit teams are formed each cycle

to find out more, please email cap-

and through spending so much time


An entirely student-led team, CUER’s

together, we ensure that it’s not all


KATHY’S CENTRE A team of AECOM engineers volunteered to help build Kathy’s Centre, a community health and education facility in rural Uganda. AECOM shares more about this project.

At AECOM our technical expertise and global reach give us a unique opportunity to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of people around the world. We do this by delivering access to safe and secure infrastructure to those who need it most, ensuring they have a place to call home and resources to thrive. We’ve worked to promote quality of life and sustainable economic growth in developing nations for more than 60 years. Today, we’re one of the world’s largest International Development service providers, delivering solutions in more than 100 countries. We use our expertise to lessen our impact on the planet, to help communities prepare for the future and deliver international development services through


Zak (AECOM), Mauricia (Haileybury Youth Trust) and Giles (Wood Group Company) Photography curtesy of ©HYT 2017

dedicated practice areas. We work

and ensure future leaders reflect the

with clients in the public and pri-

diversity of the world we live in.

vate sectors to achieve sustainable development outcomes through cost-





effective, innovative and equitable

Manchester area volunteered for


Engineers for Overseas Development (EFOD) to help build Kathy’s Centre

These include:

— a community health and education

Infrastructure and cities

facility — in rural Uganda. Delivered

Agriculture and economic growth

through the North West (NW) partner

Democracy, human rights and

charity, Act4Africa - a Manchester-


based charity - our volunteers pro-

Human development

vided technical expertise and were

Disaster and crisis management

actively involved in fundraising for the project. This ambitious project was

We help to develop the next gen-

supported by the AECOM Millennium

eration of the world’s problem solvers



Zak Jones from AECOM writes more about his personal experience working on Kathy’s Centre and within the field of Development Engineering.

When I think of my experience in

In the context of a highly emotive

international development I think of a

and vulnerable community setting,

line from A Tale of Two Cities: ‘It was

our aim was to contribute to decision

the best of times, it was the worst of

making processes; applying our tech-

times.’ Not because it was anything

nical knowledge to help maximise

like the Charles Dicken’s novel but

the buildings’ operations, EFOD NW’s

it aptly describes the rollercoaster I

impact and the overall legacy.

experienced. International development is a labour of love but the per-

The complexity in international devel-

sonal sacrifices are rewarded with a

opment comes from the social, eco-

fantastic professional experience and

nomic and environmental responsi-

a chance to change poverty-afflicted

bilities and as volunteers, we share in

communities. It was an amazing expe-

this. Armed with enthusiasm we set

rience from inception to construction.

out to translate these complexities

We accepted the responsibility we

into a successful project. A mem-

had to the community, to our charity

ber of EFOD NW summed it up very

client and to our donors. We added

nicely, “If you are going to interfere in

value throughout the design and con-

people’s lives and communities, then

struction phases that will provide a

they deserve the best engineers and

legacy for the community we touched.


EFOD NW had just completed their second project in four years of exis-

Sustainable operation

tence and this is where I and my fellow engineers stepped in to be

A regular cost effective power supply


was crucial to the centre’s functioning. We opted to provide a solar panel


system that could operate as a mains

tion and construction.

electrical supply. This gave the centre a certainty over power supply, allow-

make no profit from project activities and at least 95 per cent of all pro-

Legacy of construction skills

ing their important work to continue

ceeds collected go directly to help children in the projects supported by

unaffected. We were able to reduce

Our largest impact has been in con-

the charity.

overheads in running costs through

struction skills sharing. From the

the roof design and construction. It

beginning we employed six local

In 16 years the charity has supported

was designed to use the stack effect

apprentices under EFOD’s and HYT’s

36 projects in 23 countries, funding

and passive ventilation keeping it cool.

tutelage for the duration of construc-

school buildings in Mozambique and

Large and frequently-placed windows

tion enabling them to have great-

Ethiopia and two sand dams in Kenya

enabled natural lighting. We also

er employment opportunities in the

to name but a few, It has raised more

installed a composting toilet (EcoSan)

future. We gifted the ISSB press to

than £200,000 for projects that have a

that diverts solids from liquids and

Act4Africa, which will keep producing

real and lasting impact on children’s

allows them to compost, thereby mak-

ISSBs to sell to the community. This


ing them suitable for agricultural use

will provide continued sustainable

and perfect for the rural area in which

construction materials and employ-

Kathy’s Centre is located. EFOD has a


reputation for promoting interlocking soil stabilised bricks (ISSBs) in sub-

AECOM Millennium Project

Saharan Africa. The bricks are cured on site in the sun. This approach elimi-

The AECOM Millennium Project is a

nates transport emissions, deforesta-

UK-registered charity focused on the

tion and wood combustion associated

relief of poverty, hardship and distress

with traditional clay-fired bricks. We

among children in developing coun-

employed the Haileybury Youth Trust

tries throughout the world. Managed

(HYT) that specialises in ISSB produc-

by a group of AECOM volunteers, we

Further Information AECOM www.aecom.com Engineers for Overseas Development www.efod.org.uk Act4Africa www.act4africa.org The Haileybury Youth Trust www.hytuganda.com

If you are going to interfere in people’s lives and communities, then they deserve the best engineers and solutions.”


CAREER PROFILE: OXFAM I started my academic and profession-

their ancestral relationship with the

al career in engineering, studying for

land, as well as finding out about their

an MA (Hons) in Physical Geography

culture and social norms, and their

at University of Aberdeen, and later a

involvement in oyster farming.

Postgraduate (MSc) in Environmental Engineering at the University of

While I was in that part of the world, I

Newcastle. I was able to learn about

saw the terrible aftermath of the tsu-

water resource management; water

nami in Aceh, a province of Indonesia.

quality and water quantity, WASH

This overwhelmed me and I decided



that I needed to be in humanitarian

Promotion) in developing countries

work. I worked for GOAL, an Irish NGO,

and water politics. As a student, I was

as a water and sanitation engineer in

interested in the humanitarian sector,

Sri Lanka for 1 year. This was hugely

but before launching myself into it I

challenging but massively rewarding

decided to gain some skills first in the

– helping the Sri Lankan communities

UK and then in New Zealand working

with rebuilding their homes, schools

for an engineering consultancy as a

and market areas post-tsunami.



graduate civil – hydraulic engineer. It was after this that I joined Oxfam


For five years, I worked on the devel-

as a water and sanitation engineer in

opment of both new and upgrad-

their emergency response team, and

ed waste water treatment works in

was posted to help with the tsunami

Cumbria, Liverpool and Manchester.

response in Indonesia. For five years,

Then I transferred to a placement in

I spent my time with the emergency

New Zealand for a couple of years

response team travelling around to

where I was responsible for improving

countries as need arose. For the last

waste water treatment systems in the

five years, I have been one of the

Far North of New Zealand. This was

global technical engineering advi-

a humbling, incredible experience

sors based in Oxfam headquarters in

working alongside the Maori commu-

Oxford, covering Asia, the Middle East,

nities. I learnt a lot from them about

and Northern Africa. Oxfam is one

In this issue’s career profile, we learn more about being an engineer with Oxfam. Jenny Lamb is a Water and Sanitation Engineer, focusing on emergency response, and she tells us more about her career in this field.

Photos courtesy of Jenny Lamb

of the leading agencies in providing

Where and how you have helped as

water services through WASH and we

an engineer?

are a key player in research and devel-

ing water and sanitation facilities. A second memory is of Oxfam

opment. Our logistics teams have

Over the last ten years with Oxfam,

responding to the earthquake in

developed a range of engineering

I have responded to a variety of cri-

Port-au-Prince in Haiti. The only open

equipment, such as the Oxfam 14-litre

ses, including the aftermath of the

space left after the earthquake was a

water bucket, and steel tanks for con-

Haiti earthquake, the cholera out-

golf course! Oxfam helped set up a

taining water. Working for Oxfam is

break in Zimbabwe, and the conflict

camp for approx. 60,000 people in the

like joining a really big family.

in Iraq, Syria and Jordan. We work

golf course, providing water, as well

with local communities to understand

as bathing, and toilet facilities. Of late,

What qualifications do you need for

their needs, preferences and col-

I have been supporting the Yemen

the job?

lection action. Local people have to

team with their hugely challenging

assemble water tanks, or dig pits for

response given the war, food crisis,

In most instances in the WASH team,

toilets. Two of my lasting memories

and grave cholera outbreak. Cholera

we want candidates with either a

are when we carried out assessments

is the knockout blow for Yemen – it is


civil engineering,

in Kurdistan Iraq to hear that commu-

the worst cholera outbreak globally.

public health, and water resources.


nities had been displaced 2-3 times

I have spent a lot of time this year

However, if someone has experience

due to ISIS, how many families had

supporting the Yemen team with their

in the humanitarian sector then we

lost their immediate family and did not

cholera response.

would consider this as well and it does

know when they could return home.

not necessarily mean you should have

We helped through distributing cash,

a civil engineering degree.

shelter and hygiene items, and provid-


What do you personally get out of

has been a steep learning curve – you

the job?

learn on the job, roll up your sleeves and just get on with it. You need to

Working for Oxfam and in the humani-

be agile, creative, hardworking and a

tarian sector is a huge privilege and

team player – all which Oxfam sup-

honour. Every hour, every day I gain

ports you through by exposing you to

a huge amount from this experience

different contexts, and providing you

ranging from responding to different

opportunities to increase your techni-

countries, and contexts. Moreover, it

cal skill.

is the people you meet and engage with – ranging from the communities

To learn more about careers at Oxfam

affected by the humanitarian disaster

visit: https://jobs.oxfam.org.uk/

to the staff you work alongside. It sure

I saw the terrible aftermath of the tsunami in Aceh, a province of Indonesia. This overwhelmed me and I decided that I needed to be in humanitarian work.”


Sakthy Selvakumaran is a PhD researcher here at CUED. She tells us more about her current research and its applications.

REMOTELY MONITORING INFRASTRUCTURE We’ve long had eyes in the sky, but the range of sensors

remote measurements of movement using radar imagery.

and resolution of data available from satellites is growing

The radar waves transmitted from the satellite travel to

rapidly. Increasingly we are better able to monitor, map and

objects on the earth’s surface and then are reflected to

assess the Earth’s surface: everything from using radar to

the satellite to form radar images. The time it takes each

map flood damage (crucial

radar signal to return is

following recent disasters

used to calculate the

such as Hurricane Harvey

precise position of that

in Texas and severe flood-

point on the Earth’s sur-

ing in South Asia) to mul-

face. When features on

tispectral and optical data

the ground move, the

to monitor crop yields and

distance between the

the burning and healing

sensor on the satellite

of forests. The increas-

and the earth’s surface

ing frequency of extreme

changes, thereby pro-

weather events, leading

ducing a corresponding

to deterioration and col-

change in measured sig-

lapse of bridges, dams,

nal phase. The changes

tunnels and other key ser-

in measured phase that

vices has highlighted the

occur between repeat

importance of monitoring

passes of the satellite are

the structural health of our

used to quantify millime-

infrastructure – so can we help monitor and predict the failure of critical infrastructure

tre scale ground movements.

assets remotely from the sky? This will also be combined with other imagery and meaThe primary method of satellite measurement used in this

surement data sets to better understand environmental

research is Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR)

context and study assets which have collapsed or failed.

which has the capability to provide wide-area, high density,

As engineers we are able to study and understand how

Figure illustrating principle of InSAR satellite measuring technology


Clockwise from top: Bridge collapsing. InSAR image taken over London by the European Space Agency Sentinel 1 satellite constellation. Unwrapped phase image produced during InSAR processing (data provided by Deutsches Zentrum fĂźr Luft- und Raumfahrt)

infrastructure assets should and do move under various different loading conditions and environmental scenarios, but we are unable to constantly monitor assets manually. The ability to remotely monitor assets and detect unexpected movements or sinking to a millimetre level could potentially spot problems before they become disasters. The challenge of this research is to see whether the resolution, accuracy and frequency of satellite measurement is up to the job.


W p m

THE BUSINESS OF AID Chloe Underdown is a graduate engineer at Mott MacDonald working in international development. In this article, she shares about being in this field from the perspective of an engineering consultancy. When people think of international development, charities or non-governmental organisations usually come to mind initially. However, many international development projects are delivered by the private sector, including consultancies such as Mott MacDonald. The UK Government has committed to spending 0.7% of gross national income on international aid. Like many other nations, the money is spent directly on recipient countries, known as bilateral aid, or through multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, European Investment Bank and Asian Development Bank. Mott MacDonald works on projects both directly for donors and for the governments of developing countries. Some of the work Mott MacDonald undertakes includes supporting poverty alleviation, promoting good governance and helping increase access to basic services, as well as building capacity and resilience in areas such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation. The consultancy also provides leading expertise in sectors including transportation, infrastructure and renewable energy, while safeguarding the environment, promoting human rights and gender equity and fostering social and economic development. While this article will focus specifically on water and sanitation, Mott MacDonald’s projects span the full range of engineering disciplines. They also range in size. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the consultancy is providing management, procurement, design and construction supervision services for a new, safe and sustainable water supply. Consisting of a new river intake, water treatment works, trunk and distri-

Water tower in Yei, South Sudan, constructed as part of water supply and sanitation improvements managed by Mott MacDonald.


Clockwise from left: Bangladesh, where Mott MacDonald is working on a safe and sustainable water supply for 5 million people. Blue Gold Project. Project Sunrise.

bution mains, the system will serve

neers play a vital role in achieving all

stipulating female participation, Mott

approximately five million people

17 goals. The goals require connected,

MacDonald has helped make sure

and reduce dependence on a rapidly

multidisciplinary thinking, providing

that women have their voices heard,

depleting aquifer. At the other end of

companies such as Mott MacDonald

which in turn has empowered women

the scale, Mott MacDonald is also

with both an opportunity and a chal-

and young girls to take on other roles

building or renovating 26 public toi-


in the community. Additionally, train-

lets and bathing buildings in the city,


ing has helped farmers diversify their

which will improve safety by providing

While it is easy to see how infrastruc-

crops or livestock and support has

separate facilities for men and women

ture may contribute directly to certain

been given to help villagers bring pro-

and increase accessibility for disabled

goals, there are also indirect benefits

duce to market. As a result, the proj-


that engineering provides. Blue Gold

ect not only contributes to alleviating

is an ongoing project in Bangladesh

poverty for 150,000 families (SDG1)

The Sustainable Development Goals

which will stabilise a 115,000ha area

and increasing food security (SDG2),

(SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals

across four coastal districts, improv-

but also improving gender equality

covering a broad range of sustain-

ing the safety of the population by

(SDG5) and promoting sustainable



strengthening dykes and clearing silt

economic growth (SDG8).

MacDonald recently collaborated with

from drainage channels. Communities

the Royal Academy of Engineering

have been able to play a leading

Working in international development

on their Engineering a Better World

role in identifying, implementing and

is not without its constraints or chal-

programme*, which shows how engi-

maintaining these interventions. By

lenges however. Like all international



Some of Mott MacDonald’s projects are in fragile, conflict and post-conflict affected states, which ...challenge the design, planning, management, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes...”

projects, language and cultural dif-

provide people with even the most

down, or, if necessary, discontinued.

ferences must be accounted for. Mott

basic services such as clean water,

At the time of writing, the South Sudan

MacDonald combines global know-

healthcare and education.

programme is suspended due to the

how with local delivery, drawing on

resumption of armed conflict, with the

a network of 16,000 staff across 150

In South Sudan, Mott MacDonald

hope it will continue after the cessa-


is managing a programme of proj-

tion of hostilities.

ects to develop safe water supply for Some of Mott MacDonald’s projects

160,000 residents and basic sanita-

International development is a diverse

are in fragile, conflict and post-con-

tion improvements for 40,000 people

field with interesting opportunities

flict affected states, which present

in conflict-sensitive areas. The con-

across all engineering disciplines.

tough challenges in the international

sultancy is undertaking a technical

Although non-governmental organ-

development sector. These scenarios

review and coordinating between

isations may be seen as the traditional

challenge the design, planning, man-

multiple stakeholders to support a

route into the industry, the private

agement, monitoring and evaluation

client of limited capacity. Working in

sector has an important role to play,

of projects and programmes due to

unpredictable, governance-light envi-

particularly in the delivery of large-

the high levels of risk and uncertain-

ronments requires an approach to

scale infrastructure projects.

ties compared to working in more

programme design and management

stable parts of the world. There is

that allows for maximum flexibility,

often a lack of governance, along with

so that interventions can be quickly

a lack of will and/or the resources to

adapted or redirected, scaled up or


P f N


People waiting for the outreach clinic for maternal and child health in Northern Tanzania


Cassi Henderson is a PhD researcher at the Institute of Manufacturing (IfM) and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. She is part of the team of researchers which developed fast, low-cost diagnotic tests which could help save lives in areas with limited medical infrastructure. She explains how the technology behind these tests work. Treatable infectious diseases are among the major causes

as a sample-to-answer diagnostic test. The instrument will

of death in low- and middle-income countries. One of the

only require a small finger prick blood sample.

main problems is that some infectious diseases share similar or identical symptoms and often the only way to confirm

A second challenge towards achieving a successful test for

the illness is to take a blood sample and run a series of

low resource settings is keeping the cost down. Long sup-

specialist diagnostic tests in a laboratory. Such laboratories

ply chains and logistical challenges where medical equip-

are few and far between in the areas most plagued by such

ment has to be transported long distances and to remote


locations add significant cost to any test. A good solution will not only optimise the technical aspects but also look to

It is critical that health practitioners are able to detect the

make the best use of local resources available.

difference between bacterial and viral infections, for example leptospirosis and dengue fever, because they require

To overcome this, we are using novel technologies to

very different treatments. This is especially important in

enable the diagnostic tests to be manufactured locally,

light of the rise in global antibiotic resistance with clinicians

targeting less than $0.50 per test. One of the more expen-

reluctant to administer antibiotics without a confirmed diag-

sive components of the test is the enzyme that is used to

nosis of bacterial infection.

amplify the pathogen’s genetic material (DNA/RNA) to high enough levels to be detected from a finger-prick blood

To address this, we are using innovative biotechnology and


manufacturing technologies to develop a low-cost test that can deliver a real-time result without the need to send

The high cost and required specialist skills of traditional

blood samples off to a centralised pathology laboratory or

methods of manufacturing the enzyme, together with

the need for specialist technicians to process the samples.

requirements for refrigeration of the enzyme, would present

The aim is to integrate the whole testing process into a sin-

a barrier to local production. To address this, we have devel-

gle instrument similar to the home pregnancy test, known

oped a technique that allows for direct purification of the


Diagnostic lab in Northern Tanzania

enzyme from cell culture that bypasses the complex multistep process usu-

The project is a collaboration between

ally required and packages the enzyme

University departments of Chemical

ready for use.




(Professor Lisa Hall) and Institute for The enzyme has been genetically modi-

Manufacture (Dr. Ronan Daly) as well

fied using synthetic biology techniques

as global partners at the University of

so that it can be collected easily by

Ghana (Professor Gordon Awandare from

sedimentation. The protein has also

the West African Centre for Cell Biology

been given a pink colour to make it

of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP)) and

easy to see when the enzyme has been

the Universiti Putra Malaysia (Dr. Hui Yee

successfully produced and collected.


These two features should make it pos-


sible for individuals with minimal training

We hope to deliver a sustained improve-

to manufacture the enzyme locally in

ment in healthcare, while also develop-

low resource regions. The aim is to have

ing local economies, by using advances

the enzyme and all components

in synthetic biology and the applica-

be contained on a diagnostic card

tion of latest manufacturing research

that can also be manufactured local-

to deliver a robust local fabrication set-

ly and ultimately manufactured with

up. This will also drive local enterprise,

local materials. The diagnostic test will

improve technological education and

be linked to a mobile phone app for

management of infection. We see this as

data collection and transmission when

a sustainable approach to point-of-care


low-cost diagnostics.



W W W.C U ES .O R G .U K

The Cambridge Engineer: Freshers' Edition 2017  

The Official Cambridge University Engineering Society Magazine, Freshers' 2017

The Cambridge Engineer: Freshers' Edition 2017  

The Official Cambridge University Engineering Society Magazine, Freshers' 2017