The Missing Link: Research Co-Creation Through Design Engineering Projects
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Journal: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Design Education and Human Technology Relations, E and PDE 2014
The Design Project units are the cornerstone of academic and professional development within the undergraduate Design Engineering programme at Bournemouth University. They provide technical, conceptual and theoretical challenges to be resolved through the integration of taught elements and self-directed learning to yield tangible outcomes. Final year students supplement their project through the Advanced Technology and Innovation unit. Here they work in conjunction with the research centres to develop understanding of a specialised discipline and write a research paper. However, students have limited time to develop before formulating a methodology while access to research facilities is limited and the learning curve for research equipment can be time consuming. To address these issues, 2 year students were asked to design a fatigue testing machine for use within the Sustainable Design Research Centre as a design project. Designing such a device provided students with a sound understanding of fracture mechanics at the beginning of the project, operation capability of test equipment, test methodologies and systems control; essentially they developed the th f ' prerequisite knowledge to engage in their 4 year research. Funding was secured rom the University s fusion investment fund (co-creation strand) to provide flexible adaptable elements and construct a pair of exemplar fatigue testing machines reflecting those developed by the students. The familiarity through the inbuilt adaptability of mechanism, control and data acquisition systems allows for a rapid understanding of their operation and capability hence short learning curve with equipment prioritised for undergraduate research.