Cliff Dansoh profile shot

Meet Dr Cliff Dansoh

How did you choose your subject?

I have spent most of my life in industry. Having started in the Royal Navy and then through a range of consultancy roles I have been lucky enough to experience a variety of diverse types of engineering and ways of getting things done. This journey has impressed upon me the merits of not only being technically competent, but:

  • Having the vision and creativity to establish what needs to be done; and
  • The implementation skills, competencies and behaviours to have the best chance of actually achieving the end.

      What are you most proud of in your career?

      I worked for London Underground in a variety of consultancy roles over several years. On the rare occasions these days that I travel on the London Underground, I have a spark of pride when an S Stock train comes into view having spent 3 years as part of the team that bought it into service.

      Continue reading “Meet Dr Cliff Dansoh”
      Angad Panesar

      Meet Dr Angad Panesar

      As a Principal Lecturer my role encompasses leadership on mechanical engineering course pathways, and research and development on a range of sustainable energy technologies.

      My career path and route to teaching

      I have always had a keen interest in sustainable technologies in energy recovery, energy storage and sustainable transport. I joined our internationally-recognised research group, the Advanced Engineering Centre at Brighton, to undertake my PhD in thermal engineering themed research. For this I received institutional award of ‘Best Presentation in the Faculty 2013’ and a further ‘Best Presentation in the Faculty 2014’. I was drawn to innovative approaches in practice-based teaching in engineering, with the aim to develop cross disciplined, multi-skilled and solution focused engineering graduates through ingrained fundamental principles.

      How my professional life influences my teaching

      I have 14 years research and development experience in energy engineering, via simulation and experimental methods applied to transport and stationary applications. I have gained this through successful industry-focused large and small projects, these include, ‘Libertine waste heat recovery unit via Innovate UK 2016’ to ‘Engine efficiency challenge via Advanced Propulsion Centre 2018′.

      To integrate my professional experience with teaching opportunities, I founded the STEP Lab (Sustainable Technology and Engineering Projects) in 2020. This offers a multi-disciplinary project-based environment, in a tutor-student collaboration, and has embedded the employability advantages on our engineering courses. During 2020-22, over 50 masters, bachelors, internships and shadowing students have completed authentic engineering experience via real-world industrial projects.

      I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy which has allowed me to lead the implementation of comprehensive changes on our largest practice and skills module in 2022, resulting in significantly enriched student experience. I have developed, managed and delivered our course portfolio, which is accredited (gold standard) by professional engineering bodies. I was awarded the ‘Inclusive Teaching Award 2017’, followed by the ‘Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning Award 2018’ and a further ‘Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning Award 2019’, all recognising my contributions in improving student engagement and achievement in engineering education at the institutional level.

      How the subject addresses global challenges

      To align with the emerging industrial skills and demands, the STEP Lab offers students at all levels of studies to problem-solve energy challenges in heating, cooling, power and energy conversion. To pave the way from the theoretical concepts to practical engineering for diverse and large cohorts I have implemented various methods in my practice, these include: problem-based learning; reverse engineering; puzzle-based learning; real-world case studies; practice-based learning; feedforward plans; peer-based learning; and simulators as virtual training tools.

      We pride ourselves in offering an authentic engineering experience

      At Brighton, we use a variety of teaching and learning methods. You will see me delivering courses in interactive and group learning sessions via, modern case studies, inspirational guest talks, reverse engineering, projects, and personal academic tutor group challenges, in a new approach to embed practice and skills in our courses.

      From year one these sessions and their activities range from 30 min (sustainable engineering challenge ideas), to two hours (writing engineering code of conduct), to one day (small robot competition), to one week (creation of feedforward plans), to four weeks (rocket car challenge), to finally a 12-week Engineers Without Borders project.

      We support you to reach your potential

      Our courses are multi-disciplinary and combine theoretical, analytical, computational and practical activities and have accreditation from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. We have stepped up to the challenge of developing and implementing a range of active teaching approaches and learning opportunities for our aeronautical, automotive, design, electrical and mechanical engineering students.

      For example, during year one you will use laboratories in automotive simulator for telemetry, wind tunnel for aerofoil measurement, and the aircraft simulator for flight control, engine testing for energy balance etc. This is all part of our forward-thinking ‘Energy Systems’ subject area, where there will be a range of problem formats during the sessions, these will include numerical, descriptive, conceptual, diagrammatic, graphical, practical and diagnostic.

      Finally, we are proud of the success of our students through collaborative real-world projects. My colleague, Dr. Nicolas Miche, supported students in the highly selective European Space Agency competition, to build and test an experiment for a CubeSat micro-satellite on the parabolic flight. More recently, supported by my colleague Dr. Steven Begg, our university students not only successfully completed, but also won an award in the London-to-Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally 2022.

      Duncan Baker-Brown presenting at COP27

      Reduce climate impact now – sustainable construction expert reflects on COP27 experience

      University of Brighton’s sustainable construction expert Duncan Baker-Brown reflects on COP27 and the pressing need to decarbonise global construction.

      Duncan Baker-Brown attended the climate change conference in Egypt as co-chair of Royal Institute of British Architect’s Climate Task and Finish Group, contributing to debates on measures to decarbonise the built environment and reflecting on the urgent need for action. He highlighted the key role that architects must play, the importance of reducing whole life carbon, as well as discussing retrofitting and technology policy worldwide.

      Construction creates an estimated third of overall waste and at least 40% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, with approximately half of the raw materials extracted from the planet each year destined for the world’s built environment. Yet COP27 was only the second of the high-profile international gatherings to discuss the built environment, following its first-time appearance on the agenda at COP26 last year in Glasgow.

      On the last day of COP27, Baker-Brown witnessed the UN’s Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction launching a commitment to a ‘Buildings Breakthrough‘, with the UK joining France, Germany and 16 other countries confirming their support – with others set to join. The ‘Buildings Breakthrough’ commitment demands that “near-zero emission and resilient buildings are the new normal by 2030”, providing a joint vision and a rallying point for all countries.

      Leading the way on sustainability

      As a practising architect and environmental activist, Duncan’s research on sustainable construction informs his lecturing in architecture at University of Brighton, complementing the university’s broader commitment to providing practical responses to global challenges such as tackling climate change and creating sustainable and creative economies.

      Researchers at the University of Brighton are playing their part in creating a greener, cleaner future with a diverse range of projects. These include agenda-setting work on the role of hydrogen engines in both the private and road freight sectors, exploring how to create the UK’s first zero-emission port, piloting the world’s first 100% hydrogen fired bricks, and driving change in sustainable fashion.

      As a pioneering example of putting principles into practice, Duncan Baker-Brown also created the Brighton Waste House on the university’s City campus – the world’s first permanent building built almost entirely from so-called waste material – in the process diverting 55 tonnes of material that would have contributed to carbon emissions through landfill or incineration.

      Waste House built almost entirely from waste materials

      Duncan also played a key role in crafting Brighton & Hove’s Circular Economy Routemap published earlier this year, setting out an action plan behind a sustainable green growth strategy for the city to 2035. The University of Brighton is also at the heart of regional plans exploring green retrofits of thousands of local authority houses which will slash both energy bills and carbon emissions, while saving tenants millions of pounds in fuel bills.

      Building on COP27 debates

      At COP27, Baker-Brown took part in a panel discussion which explored the collaboration between businesses and governments that is needed to create a thriving and resilient buildings sector, capable of delivering for a net zero economy.

      He said: “One of the most positive aspects of COP27 was the agreement to deliver a global fund for loss and damage, providing money to cover the existing economic, cultural and social impacts caused by climate changes to benefit some of the most vulnerable people across the world.”

      However, it was not all good news. The goal of keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius was described by UK COP26 President Alok Sharma as on “life support”, while UN Climate Chief Simon Stiell warned that current national plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 are not enough to stop further potentially devastating global temperature rises.

      “It’s clear that we need to reduce our climate impact now. It’s undeniable that buildings are a significant source of emissions and construction design and practice has to change. Collective action is needed to embed carbon targets into regulations, and sustainability into planning and procurement processes. But we must commit to reusing materials that are currently destined for landfill, rather than continuing to plunder the planet’s raw materials”.

      Duncan Baker-Brown
      Elisa Lega profile pic

      Meet the staff: Elisa Lega

      Elisa’s interests lie in researching on the fields of Design/Architecture/Urbanism, addressing space and inhabitation at different scales.

      Her research focuses on developing critical understandings and approaches for the design of spaces, by questioning what an interior space is and which roles it covers in the ever-changing spatial landscape we live in.

      Elisa has carried out research on the field of Interior (architecture and design), and its critical engagement with related fields of knowledge, for the understanding and design of contemporary urban scenarios, focusing on the roles and values of the in-between urban spaces (interstitial, accidental, left-over spaces).

      Find out more about Elisa’s research

      Dr Derek Covill cropped head shot

      Meet Dr Derek Covill

      Derek is the course leader for Design Engineering BEng(Hons), Design Engineering MEng and Design Engineering BEng(Hons) with integrated foundation year. He teaches in a range of areas such as mechanics of materials, mechanical design, computer-aided design/engineering, and digital fabrication.

      The way I like to teach

      I am a big fan of practical learning, where theory is complemented with practical activities. For example when teaching mechanics of materials, I am keen for students to get hands on to use our materials testing lab to characterise a range of real materials using the theory covered in class. I also try to take a ‘triangulated’ approach to these topics where possible. For example, when comparing real world experimental data with numerical models (e.g. FEA) and then using simplified analytical (i.e. formula based) models. Importantly, we then follow this up with discussions around the benefits, limitations and assumptions made in each of these approaches. 

      I’m also a fan of trying to do project-based learning, and to try to make this fun! We run a series of group-based design projects relating to the design and testing of water rockets. Water rockets make for a great project because they can be very easy to make – a soft-drink bottle, some cardboard fins, tape, a cork and a bicycle pump is all you need to get a water rocket in the air. And even with such rudimentary materials the performance of the rocket is quite astounding, going 100+ meters in the air. From there, we can use a range of analysis tools to measure and evaluate the performance of the rocket. We can go into the wind tunnel to measure its aerodynamic behaviour. And of course we can test it in the field, instrument it with low-cost microcontrollers (e.g. Arduino or BBC Micro:bit), and we can use video analysis to take measurements of attitude, velocity and acceleration. It’s great fun, but equally we can do some great, deep engineering analysis on this using a range of advanced tools, so it makes for a great engineering project!

      Continue reading “Meet Dr Derek Covill”
      Dr Rotimi Joseph head shot

      Meet Dr Rotimi Joseph

      Dr Rotimi Joseph is course leader for our Quantity Surveying BSc(Hons) degree. He teaches estimating and quantification of construction works, quantity surveying professional practice, construction risk and financial analysis and advanced quantity surveying professional practice.

      The way I like to teach

      I am passionate about quantity surveying activities within the wider construction industry framework. My main approach to teaching is using real-life projects in my lectures. This helps students to understand and contextualise what they are being taught and what they read in textbooks. In addition to this, it prepares students’ minds in readiness for various challenges they may encounter in industry. In making it easy for students to understand 2D drawings, when taking-off quantities, I use SketchUp to translate 2D drawing to 3D and enhance learning and understanding. Measurement is one of the core modules on our course, students are taught both manual and automated estimating and quantification of works using industry lead software.

      What I love about teaching

      What I enjoy most in teaching at undergraduate level is seeing those that have passed through our subject area doing well in the industry. I also enjoy using real life projects in most of my teaching, this gives students the assurance that what they are being taught is very relevant, as they are able to relate with it well, compared to when it is hypothetical scenario.

      Our students are also exposed to industry practitioners, providing them guidance on what they can expected as they leave university and integrate into the construction industry.

      Continue reading “Meet Dr Rotimi Joseph”
      uncan-Baker Brown inside the Brighton Waste House

      University of Brighton helps to shape city’s vision of the future

      Brighton & Hove Council have published a Route Map outlining a Circular Economy strategy to 2035 – drawing on key input from the University of Brighton.

      Brighton architecture lecturer Duncan Baker-Brown has been a global pioneer in innovative ways to cut the huge amount of waste and carbon emissions that afflict current building construction. At present, this contributes a massive 40% of overall global CO2 emissions and at least a third of the world’s waste.

      Continue reading “University of Brighton helps to shape city’s vision of the future”
      Profile of Michael Spooner

      Meet the staff: Michael Spooner

      Michael is an architect and educator, with a passion for understanding how people and cities work.  He trained in medical science in Canada and Japan, before arriving in London to study at the AA, RIBA Studio and Bartlett. As associate director at dRMM, he led the design and delivery of many award-winning projects, including the 2017 Stirling prize-winning Hastings Pier.

      Continue reading “Meet the staff: Michael Spooner”

      Profile of Sophie Ungerer

      Meet the staff: Sophie Ungerer

      Sophie Ungerer is a tutor on our Interior Architecture BA(Hons).

      Sophie is an architect, practicing, teaching and exploring in London and Brighton.

      Sophie is curious about the threshold between the interior and the city. How can our designs reflect the transient urban lifestyle of today and respond to the social and environmental global challenges we are facing?

      Continue reading “Meet the staff: Sophie Ungerer”