Olly Duncan

Summary of the 5th UK Sports Engineering Seminar Day

After a two year wait, we were really pleased to welcome the community to Manchester Metropolitan University for the 5th UK Sports Engineering Seminar Day. More than 100 delegates came from around the UK and abroad (special mention to guests travelling from Canada), spanning backgrounds from mechanical engineering to art and design. Delegates included academics, students and industry/governing body representatives. The event was organised by members of the Sports Engineering Group at MMU, and affiliate members Adil Imam (Canterbury Christ Church University), Kristina Brubacher (University of Manchester) and Daniel Haid (Sheffield Hallam University). Funding was provided by the ISEA via the engaging sports engineers grant, and Manchester Metropolitan University via the business engagement team, while the IMechE also supported and promoted the day.

We began with tours of our various connected laboratories, Fashion and Textiles, Sports Mechanics, Institute of Sports, and Facial Reconstruction. Then PhD students kicked off the talks, with spotlight presentations to introduce them to the community. Max Valentine (University of Bath) won the prize for best student presentation, and Katie Mills (Sheffield Hallam University) the runner up prize – prizes were sponsored by PING and the ISEA.

We welcomed speakers from the UK, and international/EU speakers (roughly 50/50 between industry/governing body and academia). Topics ranged from mechanical metamaterials to wind tunnel testing. Special mentions to Siamak Khosroshahi from Queen Mary University of London, for the entertaining evidence of developments in impact testing ethics; linked to the prize for best tweet (Adam S Kennerley, Sheffield Hallam/Latrobe), and Stefan Mohr from HEAD – a favourite during verbal feedback. After the success of the last day at Sheffield Hallam University, we kept sessions to below two hours, leaving plenty of time for breaks and networking, which we felt worked well in 2020.

Left: Siamak Khosroshahi from Queen Mary University. Right: Stefan Mohr from HEAD.

It is clear that the UK has a strong up and coming generation of Sports Engineers. Now, the UK community will benefit from the conference in Loughborough in 2024, and a new venue for the 2023 Seminar Day (Canterbury Christ Church University). Discussion topics arising from the day related to collaboration on key cross-sport and disciplinary challenges around equipment for injury prevention, understanding current and sustainable rubber-free artificial turf, and improving collaborations between Academica and governing bodies. There are plenty of opportunities for our budding and established generations of sports engineers to further knowledge and impact in the discipline – we welcome any initiatives to build an even stronger community.

Feedback from the day was positive – talks, content and scheduling received very good or good ratings. We look forward to helping Adil Imam lead the next event, keeping many of the now tried and tested formats, while ensuring there are spare microphones for questions! Once again, thank you to all who came, helped and contributed – it really was great to see old faces again, and meet new community members.