Engineers of the future are set to be inspired by staff from Cranfield University after the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) awarded a £30,000 grant for a series of school outreach events.

The funding given to Cranfield is part of the RAEng’s Ingenious awards for public engagement projects designed to inspire the next generation of engineers. It supports 16 projects across the UK to help reach underrepresented audiences and change perceptions of engineering.

Pupils in years 5 and 6 at four schools across the Milton Keynes area will receive a series of visits from Cranfield University experts to learn about materials engineering. Solutions to global challenges such as sustainability, green energy, better transport and improved healthcare depend on the discovery and development of new materials, and will need enthusiastic engagement in the future.

The outreach visits will culminate with an engineering conference at Cranfield, with the young engineers presenting a poster on their materials interests. This will involve PhD students, early career researchers and technician staff at Cranfield.

Dr Joy Sumner, Reader in Energy Materials at Cranfield University: "We are thrilled to have been awarded funding for this project. Our goal is to inspire a new generation of engineers from underrepresented backgrounds by providing hands-on experience of materials engineering. We hope to show pupils how materials engineering affects their everyday lives and encourage them to consider pursuing a career in engineering in the future."

Previous school initiatives by Cranfield University have introduced pupils to innovative technologies, such as photovoltaics and 3D printed materials used in healthcare.

The Ingenious programme started in 2007 and is funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. It has funded over 250 projects to date.