Promoting Interdisciplinarity in Engineering Teaching

Gareth Harrison, Ewen Macpherson, D. A. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With funding from the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, the University of Edinburgh has developed a series of truly interdisciplinary design courses aimed at improving penultimate-year students' ability to operate across disciplines and improve their preparation for industry. Led by a Visiting Industrial Professor, the course on hydropower design requires students to provide a full feasibility study of a small scheme in western Scotland tackling issues from hydrology through to grid connection. The course has had several very successful outcomes which include: appreciation of other engineering disciplines; experience of teams where different skills and expertise are available; demonstration of the links between engineering design and economic viability; introduction to non-technical areas essential to the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence; and enhancing interest in the hydropower sector in technological and career terms. The key message from this project is the need to ensure balance across tasks, within groups and staff support across disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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