David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, has opened the new Bloodhound Technical Centre in Avonmouth, Bristol, where the 1,000 mph jet and rocket powered racing car is now being assembled. As recognition of the Project’s success in inspiring children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Willetts also announced a £1m grant to support the Bloodhound project”s education and outreach mission.
This mission is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), a founder sponsor of the Bloodhound programme. A uniquely ‘open source’ high technology programme, 5,340 UK schools, including primaries, secondaries and special educational needs colleges are already using materials from the project in class. The funding will help the Project’s education team and 500 ambassadors extend this work and inspire more children about STEM subjects.
The Universities and Science Minister said “Bloodhound is British science and engineering at its visionary best. The project’s success will not only be measured in miles per hour, but also in how it inspires future generations. This new investment will help show even more young people how rewarding science and engineering careers can be.”
Professor David Delpy, EPSRC Chief Executive, said: “EPSRC has supported the Bloodhound Project since 2008. It’s an exciting example of Science and Engineering which has already inspired young people. We want that educational work to progress beyond the actual land speed record attempt and this funding will help the team achieve even more by firing the imagination of tomorrow’s research leaders.”
Commenting, Richard Noble OBE, the Project Director said: “It is significant that EPSRC was one of our original sponsors, for they recognised in the early days that this was an education project with a difference. This grant is an endorsement of all the work done by our team and ambassadors since then, and it will help us work with more schools and inspire even more children as the car rolls out and we share the images and data from record breaking runs with them.”
Three years of independent evaluation by the National Foundation for Educational Research found Bloodhound is having a positive effect, with key findings;
“The programme has increased young people’s understanding of engineering and the importance of STEM subjects. The Bloodhound education team’s work makes engineering accessible and relevant to young people’s lives and gives a real example of an engineering project in the UK.”
“The team have been very effective at engaging with, and inspiring, a large number of young people in schools and colleges and tackling gender stereotypes.”
And to prove the point Jess Herbert, 16, an engineering apprentice at Rolls-Royce Plc spoke about the impact The Project has had on her: “I first heard about the Project when I was 13 and thought it was incredibly ambitious and exciting. It really showed what engineering is all about: the challenge, the creativity, the teamwork and the problem solving. It helped me realise that this is the career path I wanted to follow. So here I am today, one of 12 Rolls-Royce apprentices, thanks to Bloodhound.”