This tribute to Thurai Rahulan, a much-loved and admired member of the EPC Board for many years, has been kindly written by Dr. Andreea Koreanschi, his long-standing colleague in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Salford.

 

Dr Thurai Rahulan, esteemed scholar and engineer, passed away suddenly on the 22nd of February 2024, at his home in Summerseat. Thurai was born in Sri Lanka and moved to United Kingdom to pursue his academic studies, then proceeded to work across a host of institutions and created a legacy for linking people across countries and disciplines. He is survived by his wife, Eileen.

Thurai’s journey in UK started with a BSc(Hons) in Mechanical Engineering, in July 1979, from Salford University. He continued with his postgraduate studies, which earned him his PhD, and a place on a project to implement his research on the extension of feedback control technologies in multi-mode systems, funded by the British Ministry of Defence. Subsequently, he worked with Jaguar Cars Limited in Coventry and finally, he returned to Salford University, in 1990, as lecturer, where he contributed to the development of young engineers in aeronautics for the next 31 years, until his retirement as senior lecturer in November 2021.

Thurai had an active mind and his retirement did not mean, as he often desired, ‘just completely relax and do absolutely nothing after retirement except go on holidays and watch TV all the time’. He threw himself in organizing Multiphysics Conferences across the world, traveling to the USA to offer consultancy and joined the University of Staffordshire as a visiting fellow and external examiner.

Throughout his life, Thurai was involved and contributed to numerous institutions and committees: Honorary Chair for the Association of Aerospace Universities, Executive Board member for the Engineering Professors’ Council, Chair of the EPC’s Aerospace Sectoral Group for more than 8 years, Council member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Chair of the RAeS Manchester Branch, TAS auditor for 20 years, member of IMechE ANW committee representing the views of the aerospace academics in the North West for 18 years, external examiner at Al Ghurair University in Dubai, and more.

He involved himself in many competitions for students and has left many memories in the minds of young people with his unique way of teaching and presenting difficult topics in an accessible manner. He loved talking about a wide range of aerospace related topics, and his talks were enjoyed everywhere where he was invited to give them.

By turns blunt, funny or serious about mathematics and engineering, Thurai touched many lives as a mentor, as a teacher and as a friend, and his passing leaves an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him. His legacy of service, scholarship, and compassion will continue to inspire and uplift all of us who have known him, and, though he may no longer walk among us, his spirit lives on in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.

A memorial service to celebrate Dr. Rahulan’s life and legacy will be held on 15th of March at 10:00 am, Rowlands Methodist Church, Rowlands Road, Summerseat BL9 5NF, followed by Radcliffe Crematorium, 11.30 (AKA East Lancashire Crematorium), Cemetery Road, Radcliffe M26 4EU. After that, a buffet at Park Farm Tea Room, Ramsbottom, Bury BL9 5NP. (Please contact Eileen if you wish to attend.)

The family kindly requests that donations be made in his honour to Northwest Air Ambulance and a school in Jaffna that Thurai has been supporting.

May his soul rest in peace, and may his memory be a blessing to us all.


We invite colleagues and friends to share their memories and tributes to Thurai in the comments below. Tributes can also be left here

We are excited to launch the EPC engineering enrolment survey 2023/4. The survey will be open throughout October and we encourage each engineering department to respond. If you have completed the survey previously, look out for an email from us in the next couple of days. Otherwise, if you would like to get involved, please contact us.

The annual EPC survey remains ever valuable as it provides an early check on the health of HE undergraduate and postgraduate engineering enrolments. It provides early signals of the changing patterns of enrolment long before the official sector enrollment data becomes available.

We would like to thank everyone who responded last year and contributed to its massive success in 2022. Thanks to our data explorer, analysing the results of the survey has never been easier and we are excited to implement this feature again for the upcoming year. See last year’s results in the data explorer.

Everyone who submits a completed survey will be entered into a prize draw for a free ticket to the EAN Access and Admissions Forum. Simply enter this by simply completing and submitting the survey.

This year the survey will be opening on the 2nd of October and will be open until the 30th of October. If you have any concerns about meeting HESA data collection deadlines, please feel free to contact us. The results for this year will be launched at the EAN Access and Admissions Forum. Watch this space for further details.

For more information and to access the survey, please follow this link.

 

6 December 2023 – Confirm your place

Thank you for expressing your interest in the RAeS/EPC Academic Forum to be held at

The TechnoCentreCoventry University Technology ParkPuma WayCoventryCV1 2TT

On Wednesday 6th December.  Please complete your details below to confirm your attendance.

Responses must be received by 1700 next Friday 17th November.

We are excited to welcome you to the forum and look forward to a productive and informative day!

 

 

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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