Current research funding in the Centre for Research in Engineering and Materials Education

Centre for Research in Engineering and Materials Education

Funded Research Projects

The following are current funded research projects taking place within the research centre:

Promoting equity in education for sustainable development through community-based learning and teaching

Principal Investigator: Rehan SHAH
Funding source: Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE)
Start: 09-10-2023  /  End: 31-10-2024
Amount: £1,000

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) plays a crucial role in equipping learners with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to create a sustainable future. Community-based learning and teaching provides a platform for learners to engage directly with local communities, enabling them to develop a holistic understanding of ESD through firsthand knowledge of local challenges, cultural practices, and sustainable solutions. However, achieving equitable learning outcomes in ESD remains a persistent challenge. This research project aims to investigate the integration of ESD and community-based education within the curricula of two collaborating universities in East London. Through co-creation with student partners, we will assess the extent of integration and identify gaps and challenges in achieving equitable learning outcomes in ESD. Working with Learning Development (LD) communities across both universities, we aim to develop recommendations for integrating effective community-based learning approaches into ESD practices.

Queen Mary Centre for Undergraduate Research

Principal Investigator: Giuseppe VIOLA
Co-investigator(s): Maria ROMERO-GONZáLEZ, Henri HUIJBERTS and Julia SHELTON
Funding source: President and Principal’s Fund for Educational Excellence
Start: 24-09-2023  /  End: 23-09-2024
Amount: £20,000

The central aim of this project is to establish a centre to support undergraduate research activities.

Locating communities in community-based learning: empowering local community groups in university-community partnerships

Principal Investigator: Rehan SHAH
Funding source: QMUL Centre for Public Engagement
Start: 08-11-2023  /  End: 12-08-2024
Amount: £1,000

This project involves organisation of a workshop at QMUL featuring 20 existing local community partners involved in community-based learning and teaching (CBLT) in current undergraduate modules at QMUL to explore how they experience such community-university collaborations. The intention of this will be to develop and extend CBLT by foregrounding the voices of community leaders/representatives and build more mutually beneficial practice, while also extending the networks of the partners beyond the humanities and social sciences, thereby enabling them to work with the wider university, particularly within science and engineering disciplines.

Community-based placements in higher education (follow-on project)

Principal Investigator: Rehan SHAH
Funding source: UCL Centre for Engineering Education
Start: 18-09-2023  /  End: 31-07-2024
Amount: £10,000

This follow-on project on community-based placements in engineering education will complement and build on the findings of its scoping study project carried out across UK universities such as UCL and QMUL. While the scoping study focused on community-based placements occurring as credit-bearing activities within the curriculum, the follow-on project will expand this definition to include summer internships, mentoring, volunteering and other types of relevant activities. The research agenda co-created with student interns in the scoping study will inform future priority research areas. The study may also be expanded to international settings to investigate best practice methods to compare and contrast them with the UK context.

A comparative study looking at underrepresented engineering students in different institutional contexts: Investigating what contributes towards a holistic engineering student experience of international and home students (Follow on project)

Principal Investigator: Folashade AKINMOLAYAN TAIWO
Co-investigator(s): Sanaa HAFEEZ
Funding source: UCL Centre for Engineering Education
Start: 01-08-2023  /  End: 31-07-2024
Amount: £7,000

Continuation from previous project to analyse the current student experience as reported by the student themselves. This includes the learning experience and performance but at the same time places great emphasis on aspects of inclusion, wellbeing and the relevant support mechanisms.

Enabling Collaborative Academic Development, Research & Entrepreneurship (eCADRE) Across UK-China TNE

Principal Investigator: Gabriel CAVALLI
Funding source: British Council
Start: 01-01-2022  /  End: 31-03-2024
Amount: £22,500

Embedding Cultural References to Catalyse the Transition to Active Learning in Transnational Education

Principal Investigator:
Co-investigator(s): Sulafudin VUKUSIC, Agne KOCNEVAITE, Xinru DENG and Gabriel CAVALLI
Funding source: Westfield Fund
Start: 12-10-2022  /  End: 31-12-2023
Amount: £6,000

Many students in our transnational programmes, but also international students in our home programmes, experience difficulties adapting to active learning approaches, resulting in lower engagement and lower academic performance. Cultural differences derived from more traditional education systems play a major role in these difficulties. This project proposes co-creating with students the embedding of cultural references to ease the transition from traditional lecturing to flipped classroom.

BeLOnG in SEMS: Perspective from the SEMS community

Principal Investigator: Folashade AKINMOLAYAN TAIWO
Co-investigator(s): Angela JONES
Funding source: Westfield Fund
Start: 05-12-2022  /  End: 08-12-2023
Amount: £4,350

There is a need to facilitate and encourage students to share their experience, and utilise student partnerships to explore their needs. Through the development and display of a blog, students can identify what success and barriers they have identified in addition to how they experienced it. Blogs can draw together small virtual groupings of individuals interested in constructing knowledge around a common topic within a community of practice, and supporting each other. Through personal or group blogs, data sharing is enabled and experts and novices alike can make their voices heard to the rest of the online world. Therefore, students do not only participate in an activity and acquire skills, but also produce shared outcomes and advance the experiential learning of the readers.

Understanding the barriers to inclusivity and belonging within team based assessments

Principal Investigator: Folashade AKINMOLAYAN TAIWO
Funding source: ALDinHE
Start: 05-12-2022  /  End: 01-12-2023
Amount: £1,000

Teamwork activities can simulate an authentic learning experience that supports peer feedback and self-reflection. Within teamwork, there are a variety of elements that are challenging for students, such as, managing expectations and group dynamics, and these can lead to a breakdown in communication. Teamwork approaches that consider diversity and promote equitable participation by all students, enhance the culture of the learning environment and are more likely to lead to productive group interactions.