Every year, the Engineering Professors’ Council flagship Congress meeting defines what’s hot in engineering academia. Competitively hosted by EPC members themselves on a UK touring model, in 2023 we are thrilled to be visiting the historic city of Hereford; a foodie paradise on the Welsh border. We celebrate six weeks to go with six reasons why you should come too, from 12th to 14th June…

1. A glimpse into NMITE’s new model. Many of us have angled for an invite, here’s yours.

Hereford is, of course, home to NMITE; our hosts and new kids on the block in engineering HE. We’ve all heard of NMITE’s challenger approach and hands-on engineering degrees. No lecture halls. No traditional exams. No physics or maths requirement. But what does this actually look like and how does it relate to our own model of engineering HE?

Congress will be based at Skylon Campus: a new, sustainably built smart building constructed from responsibly sourced timber. We’ll be using the student spaces for ourselves throughout the event. There is also the opportunity to take a guided tour around NMITE’s repurposed, state-of-the-art city centre facility, Blackfriars Campus.

2. Our awesome line up of speakers

Featuring Vivienne Stern MBE, Chief Executive of Universities UK; Vicki Stott, Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency; The Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, Minister of State (Decarbonisation and Technology); Dr Annabel Kiernan, Pro Vice Chancellor of Staffordshire University; Dr Ruth Graham, author of Improving University Reward for Teaching: A Roadmap for Change; Ian Dunn; Provost of Coventry University; and Rod Bristow, former CEO of Pearson UK.

Plus a host of expert speakers from on new models of recruitment; delivery; curriculum; assessment; employability; academic employment and progression; and funding. Including: Advance HE; Dyson; Pearson UK; the Royal Academy of Engineering; Siemens; Arden University; Canterbury Christ Church University; University of Cambridge; University of East Anglia; Imperial College London; NMITE; Oxford Brookes University; Swansea University; TEDI-London; University College London; Warwick Manufacturing Group; and Wiltshire College

3. An opportunity to try blacksmithing

The Rural Crafts Centre is recognised as the foremost national centre for Smiths and is the largest training based forge in Europe. On Monday, you can enjoy a hands-on blacksmithing workshop and go home with your very own hand forged results to show for it! Spaces on this amazing activity are limited and will be offered on a first-come first served basis. So book your space sooner, rather than later.

4. Food and even more culture

A good lunch is always a draw, and we promise you’ll be impressed with Hereford’s impressive food pedigree. We’ll feed you well in the day, and even better at night, warming up with an all-weather curry social on Monday night before the main event, Congress dinner on the Left Bank overlooking the River Wye, on Tuesday evening. You’ll be entertained by neuroscientist, author and blogger, Dean Burnett, and we’ll celebrate the success of the EPC student Hammermen Award finalists. You will already have experienced the awe-inspiring Hereford Cathedral – home of the mappa-mundi – where world famous physicist, Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE, FRS, will give the public lecture on Monday.

5. Your network, let’s network

This year, Congress truly belongs to the Engineering Academics Network. Annual congress is an event to bring together engineering academics at all levels of their career, from deans and heads of department to postgraduates. We’ve missed the organic opportunity to ask questions, discover and share innovative ideas, and gain important professional insight across a host of engineering-related institutions. We are proud to support early career academics with heavily discounted tickets for Congress. Networking opportunities at Congress are second to none. We want more of you to benefit!

6. Outstanding value for money

With early bird member tickets discounted to under £300 until 5th May, and an even bigger EPC subsidy for early career staff and staff from the hosting university, the professional development on offer is a steal. Where else can you get so much for so little?

Bookings are now being taken for EAN Annual Congress. Tickets and further information here.

The results of the 2022 EPC Engineering Enrolments Survey are now available. Deep dive the results through our members-only Data explorer, view the slide-deck, or read the summary blog.

To start, many thanks to members who completed this year’s EPC engineering enrolments survey. The survey gives us all an early temperature check of the health of HE undergraduate and postgraduate engineering enrolments and provides early signals to changing patterns of enrolments. Our survey is the only place you can gain this insight, long before official sector enrolment data for 2022/23 is available.

Following the introduction of EPC Online earlier this year, we are delighted to present an enhanced survey report in 2022. Results are now showcased in our pioneering Data explorer service which provides you, our members, the opportunity to access and explore the findings through dynamic and flexible data visualisations. Using our new service, you can drill down and dissect results by specific cohorts, filter to your own discipline(s) of interest and view charts, tables and data personalised to your needs.

Please remember that this is a survey – not a data collection – but with more than half of EPC member providers submitting a response we celebrate better coverage (c35K students) of more discrete disciplines (210) than ever before. Net of the increase in responses, this leads us to a relative increase in enrolments suggesting a healthy Engineering intake in 2022.

In another first for our survey, IT systems sciences & computer software engineering leads the pack in Engineering enrolments in 2022, following a pattern of year-on-year growth in our survey. Mechanical engineering is a close runner up this year.

Last year, early signals of a contracting overseas market in First degree engineering raised concerns over Engineering’s ability to retain its relative strength in overseas recruitment. We were seeing sector-wide recruitment of overseas students increasing, possibly in subjects more easily accessible remotely in the pandemic recovery period than lab and kit dependent Engineering courses. While we can’t corroborate this trend in the HESA enrolments data for 2021 for a few months yet, our 2022 survey shows an encouraging, stronger, First degree overseas Engineering market this year.

In another overseas twist, a massive 82% of postgraduates in the 2022 sample were from overseas, continuing an upward trend since at least the 2019 survey and witnessing a sharp increase from 71% in 2021. Our surveys consistently show that Russell Group universities dominate the overseas postgraduate cohort so it is of note that our sample this year is weighted 2:1 to non-Russell group providers (compared to only a marginal non-Russell group majority typically). This may suggest we will see an even more pronounced swing when the full data collection becomes available in 2024.

Meanwhile, our members report declines in traditional Engineering disciplines of Civil; Mechanical; and Chemical, process and energy engineering this year, as well as Bioengineering. Growth is reported overall in Mineral, metallurgy & materials; Production and manufacturing; and IT systems sciences & computer software engineering. Of course, we are reminded that that market forces aren’t the only factor at play when it comes to changes in the engineering enrolments profile year on year.

More detail is available in the Recruitment + Admissions Forum launch presentation slide deck (and a recording will be available via the event page in due course). If you wish to explore the data for yourself, discover insights most relevant to your setting, and dive deeper into this this year’s findings, please do visit our to our members-only Data explorer. Do tell us what you think using the comment, discussion and takeaway channels available to you.

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