Impulse To Innovation
Season 2 Live Episode - Formula Student 2021

Season 2 Live Episode - Formula Student 2021

July 30, 2021

Helen was joined by the IMechE's audio-visual engineer, Syed Ansar in the second of our podcasts this month which was recorded live on the 23rd July track-side at Silverstone Park.

This was I2I's first live show with members listening in around the world.


Helen and Syed spoke with special guests.

Sam Collins - FS Commentator and F1 Broadcaster

Will Snyder - Sales Engineer at IPG Automotive UK Ltd (FS Sponsor)

Wayne Morse - Recruitment Specialist at BMW (UK) Manufacturing (FS Sponsor)

Dr Andrew Deakin - Chair, Formula Student

Rob Porter - Head of Events & Member Engagement, IMechE


Several of the guests had also taken part in FS as student undergrads and their passion for the event was tangible.  Helen explores the reasons why it is such a popular competition, why automotive companies are so keen to be involved and sponsor the event, and what the future holds for this incredible competition in the future.


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode and the IMechE Challenges. If you would like to get in touch email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at 

Season 2 Episode 6: Exploring the IMechE Challanges

Season 2 Episode 6: Exploring the IMechE Challanges

July 5, 2021

This month we are posting not one, but two episodes! to celebrate the Instituion's Challenges.

We have finally reached the summer and we don’t know about you, but this year seems to have gone pretty fast so far.

Despite being in a kind of limbo, between pre-2020 normality and a new 2021 blend of virtual and physical working, the team here at I2I are pleased to see some of the IMechE events returning to the calendar and especially the IMechE Challenges, aimed at young engineers across the globe.


From the 21st to the 25th July, all eyes will be on formula student, as it kicks off at the Silverstone circuit after a year’s hiatus. This year their are only 40 teams competing and it is not open to the public as it usually would be, but that will not deminish our excitment.

I2I will be right there, coming live from the competition.

This will be our first live broadcast and we are hoping to have some special guests and a ‘phone in’ for you, our listeners, to ask questions about the FS challenge and the Instituion's other comeptitions.

More details on that closer to the day, so keep your eyes on the I2I podcast page  at 


The Railway challenge was live again on the 25th - 27th June after also taking a year off due to COVID. The event is held at Stapleford miniature railway in the grounds of Stapleford hall, and also included a virtual segment this year, to enable teams who were not able to participate, the opportunity to get involved.

The University of Huddersfield’s HudRail team were the overall winners of challenge, the RCAS team from the University of Sheffield took the runners-up spot and the Alstom & University of Derby team were in third place.  Thanks goes to all the hard work of the railway division and their trackside volunteers.


The design challenge for 1st year engineers, the Automation challenge for apprentices and the UAS challenge take place later in the year, around September/October, so keep an eye out for all of those.

You can find details of all the challenges at 


So, to get you in the spirit of the season, Helen's first podcast this month was recorded with Lydia Amarquaye, IMechE Education Policy Advisor.


Before joining the IMechE as a member of staff, Lydia was an active member and chaired the YMB in 2017. As part of her role on the Manufacturing Industries Division Board, she was involved in helping to devise and establish the Apprentice Automation Challenge. So she is well placed to talk about this exciting part of the IMechE’ s STEM engagement.


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode and the IMechE Challenges. If you would like to get in touch email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at 

Season 2 Episode 5:  Visibly More Inclusive - How the IMechE is Embracing Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Season 2 Episode 5: Visibly More Inclusive - How the IMechE is Embracing Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

June 7, 2021

In this month's episode we discuss the IMechE's drive towards greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the engineering profession and why during Pride Month here in the UK, it is important for us to come together as a community and recognise the variety of differences that makes up our engineering world.


“When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization”. This is a quote from Pat Wadors, Chief People Officer for Procore Technologies and passionate ED&I advocate.


And that idea of commonality, as well as being uniquely individual, is what unites the 120,000 members of the IMechE.  But a year of unprecedented changes to our lives and workplaces as well as the shocking racial attack on George Floyd in America, have sparked a sea change in the way we think, speak and see equality, diversity and inclusion. This of course is not something that is new to those who have been campaigning for change across gender, sexual orientation or race for decades.  But this convergence of events have triggered a retrospective process across many aspects of society.

So, where does the engineering community come in to this?, and how does it effect, not just the IMechE’s members but the millions of engineers world-wide?


In 2020 the Institution formed its diversity and inclusion committee, chaired by Isobel Pollock-Hulf OBE. It was made up of members and staff with a wide variety of experiences and knowledge on D&I matters.  In February this year, the committee launched ‘A Case for Change’, its Diversity & Inclusion strategy report for 2021-2025.  The report aims to “support our vision, culture, foundations and goals across our employee and membership base.” And is “about people developing a sense of belonging, feeling respected and valued for who they are.”  So, how will this report translate into real actions? and what effects will it have on our engineering community?


My guests this month are Dr Shini Somara, Carly Nettleford, and Dr Mark McBride-Wright.

Shini is a Mechanical Engineer & Fluid Dynamicist turned international TV presenter, Children's Book Author, Podcaster, public Speaker and Mentor. She is passionate about making science & technology accessible to all and has turned cutting-edge science into heartfelt and informative television; reporting on challenging subjects such as climate change, food, health, energy, and the physics of dark matter.


Carly joined the IMechE as an Engineering Policy Officer in April 2020. She works with the policy advisors and IMechE’s expert member groups to help shape the debate across the field of engineering policy. Carly began her engineering career in 2012 on a pre-apprenticeship programme and Completed her apprenticeship in just two years, being recognised for her achievements by winning the Apprentice of The Year award for West London. She has worked in construction and in biomedical engineering and is now a chartered Eng Tech.


Mark is a chartered chemical engineer specialising in health and safety in the oil and gas and defence industries. He is a recognised leader in diversity and inclusion in the engineering and construction industry and is chair and co-founder of InterEngineering, an organisation which connects, informs and empowers LGBT+ engineers and supporters. Mark has authored a report for the UK Government on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in engineering and is working with the UK Government on implementation of the report’s recommendations. So its no surprise that the IMechE asked Mark to facilitate engagement with staff and members for the D&I report.


We also hear from IMechE past president and D&I committee chair, Isobel Pollock-Hulf OBE.

Isobel has been promoting Engineering, Measurement and Manufacturing for over 30 years following a highly successful career with a number of large Yorkshire-based multi-nationals.  She was the 127th President in 2012, only the second lady at that time. She is a visiting professor of engineering at Leeds University, She was Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, and is a Fellow of the IET and CGI. She was named as one of the Daily Telegraph’s Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering in 2016 and is a patron of the Women’s Engineering Society.


Useful Links:


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode and the IMechE's ED&I report. If you would like to get in touch email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at 

Season 2 Episode 4: Waves & Wireless - How Telecommunications is Revolutionising Society

Season 2 Episode 4: Waves & Wireless - How Telecommunications is Revolutionising Society

May 3, 2021

This month’s episode is all about telecommunications.

The world of wireless comms has come a long way since Bell and Tainter first conceived the photophone in 1880.  Today, we are literally surrounded by radio waves and it is believed that from that first intentional radio signal we sent into space in 1974 from Arecibo, our radio echoes can be heard across the galaxy some 100 light years away.

Back here on earth, the social revolution that occurred in the 1990s triggered by the development of digital wireless networks, is now part of our lives. And indeed, without such systems the last year, of isolation and lockdown, would have been even more unbearable. Today, wireless communications and our connected devices dominate our lives. But what are todays engineers working on that could possibly improve on our data-driven lives tomorrow?

Helen’s guests are Dr James Flint, Professor Misha Dohler and Rick Hanks. They share their thoughts on what wireless networks and communications means to them, and their anticipation of what is to come in the future.


Dr James Flint is a chartered engineer with the IET, Reader in Wireless Systems Engineering and Deputy Associate Dean of Teaching in The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University. His research focuses on various aspects of wireless systems, and currently he is working on novel computing for sensors, the Internet of Things, and Energy Harvesting. He also has a keen interest in biomimetics, ultrasound and on converting systems found in nature into workable engineering solutions.

Helen talked to James about the advances in wireless systems, and how wearable technology and biomimetics will become an everyday part of our lives.

Useful Links:


Mischa Dohler is Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s College London, driving cross-disciplinary research and innovation in technology, sciences and arts. He is a fellow of the IET, IEEE and the Royal Academy of Engineering as well as being a serial entrepreneur, composer & accomplished pianist. He is passionate about changing the way we interact with telecommunications and wireless systems through tactile and haptic technology, and is pioneering various novel concepts, which will become reality with 6G.

Helen asked Misha to explain why he is already working on 6G, when 5G is only just being adopted, and why he coined the term the Internet of Skills.

Useful Links:


Rick Hanks is the Smart Metering Lead and Industry innovation Principal Director at Accenture.  He has extensive experience of implementing digital transformation, smart metering and business change projects within the utilities and communications sector and is leading the design of the smart metering communications infrastructure across the UK.

Rick is fascinated by the way in which wireless communications can change the way we use our energy resources. He shared his thoughts with Helen on what other technologies might benefit from wireless connections in the future.

Useful Links:


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode or about your experiences, interest or work in telecoms and wireless systems. If you would like to get in touch email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at 

Season 2 Episode 3: Resilience Engineering - Protecting our World from Threats

Season 2 Episode 3: Resilience Engineering - Protecting our World from Threats

April 5, 2021

In this month’s episode we explore how we keep society safe, what effect remote working has had on the way we manage and monitor our infrastructure and what engineers are doing to protect safety critical technologies from cyber-attacks.


We are constantly facing both present and emerging threats to our technical, organizational, societal and economic way of life. These threats can be natural, such as earthquakes or storms; man-made such as poverty or lack of resources; and in our ever-growing technology-driven world, they can affect our data and computer networks.


UK businesses faced over 600,000 breaches in their systems in 2020, that equates to an attempted attack every 46 seconds. Indeed it is believed that manufacturing companies account for nearly a quarter of all ransomware attacks, but equally, our healthcare systems are suffering similar security issues, with more than 93% of healthcare organizations experiencing a data breach in the past three years.


Living in such complex systems of systems, engineers are having to find new way to protect us from these threats and ensure we can absorb and adapt to the challenges as quickly as possible after the threat has passed.


Helen's guests are Andy German and Pete Stewart, both Resilience Engineers who work for Atkins, part of the SNC Lavalin Group.

Pete is a chartered engineer and fellow of the IMechE and a Board member of its Safety and Reliability Group. Pete’s career has focused on high hazard industries, particularly UK nuclear and Oil & Gas.  He is currently the Discipline Lead and Chief Engineer for Nuclear Safety Assurance within the Resilience Engineering Practice.

Andy is a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Engineering and Technology and is a member of Safety Engineering Technical Network.  He works as the Professional Head of Discipline for Resilience Engineering including System Safety and Safety Critical Software within Aerospace, Defence, Security and Technology.


Useful links:


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode or about your experiences, interest or work in resilience and safety engineering. If you would like to get in touch email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at 

Season 2 Episode 2: On Track for New Travel - Decarbonising & Automating our Railways

Season 2 Episode 2: On Track for New Travel - Decarbonising & Automating our Railways

March 1, 2021

In this month’s episode we are focusing on Railways and rail technology and how one of the world’s oldest forms of mass transit is changing the way we think about climate change.  We also discuss automation and how the heavy rail industry may one day adopt well-tested technologies used on our metro trains. 


George Stephenson looms large in the minds of most mechanical engineers when you ask them to think of an engineering icon.  Indeed, the earliest history of our institution was born from the steam and motion of those early technological developments of the 1800s. But while George and his like would still recognise the rails and the roar, todays locomotives and the services they provide across continents, would be beyond even his wildest dreams. And those early engineers would certainly be unaware of the global impact their technology would eventually have on international economics, environment and society. 


Today the UK rail is a £20Bn industry with £881m of that generated by Freight transportation. In 2019 passengers travelled over three-and-a-half trillion kilometres on the world’s rail networks, with three-quarters of rail passenger movements and half of rail freight relying on electricity as the main form of power. And indeed, the International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that Global transport emissions could peak in the 2030s if railways are “aggressively” expanded, particularly as they are “uniquely positioned” to take advantage of the rise of renewables in the electricity mix, making Rail among the most efficient and lowest emitting modes of transport. 

But moves to expand rail networks is not without controversy and the environmental impact of large-scale rail construction projects  and the level of disturbance caused by railways due to noise and vibration, air, soil and water pollution, and soil erosion continue to provoke serious debate. 

Useful Links:


Helen's guests this month are both rail engineers and have spent much of their lives following that ‘permanent way’.  

Malcolm Dobell has over 45 years experience in the industry. He was Head of Train Systems Engineering for the London Underground for much of that time, Leading the 300 strong Rolling Stock, Signalling, Track, and Power engineering teams who provide engineering services to the undergrounds. He is also a former IMechE Railway Division Chairman and a current board member, and helps to organise and judge the annual Railway Challenge. Malcom and I discussed the benefits of automation of rail services, the challenges facing rail engineers in designing safety systems and what other innovations we might see on the railway in the future. 

Useful Links:,to%20the%20infrastructure%20capacity%20limits.


Helen chats to retired railway engineer and Rail Engineer magazine editor, David Shirres about the impact of decarbonisation on the UK rail network and how a blend of different energy sources will provide new opportunities for the rail industry.  David has worked in rail safety and compliance for much of his career and has managed a number of large-scale construction projects to improve safety and utilities management across the rail network. David is an ardent supporter of electrification and is keen to ensure wider society understands the impact the railway has on our environment and our energy consumption. 

Useful Links:


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode or about your experiences, interest or work in Rail and Rail Technologies. If you would like to get in touch email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at 


Season 2 Episode 1: Looking Skyward - How Satellite Technology is Changing Our View of Space

Season 2 Episode 1: Looking Skyward - How Satellite Technology is Changing Our View of Space

February 1, 2021

In this month’s episode we turn our attention skyward, to the captivating world of space and specifically satellite technology.

Humankind’s fascination with the cosmos has never really waivered, but last year saw a resurgence in interest, after a 9 year absence, of a fully-reusable space vehicle and its first human crew; when Behnken and Hurley took off in the Dragon capsule atop the falcon 9 rocket.

But the launch of satellites is often met with much less fanfare, yet we couldn’t live our technology-driven lives and we certainly wouldn’t have learnt about the wonders beyond our solar system without them. In fact, of the 104 successful space flights last year, 80% of them were to put satellite technologies into space. So what can we learn from these complex technologies?

Useful Links:


Helen’s guests this month are both enthusiastic engineers working in different areas of the satellite technology industry. They are driven by their fascination for how they operate, communicate and how they are changing the way we preserve the universe.

Helen chats with Christine Brockley-Blatt, Senior Project Manager at Mullard Space Science Laboratory and fellow of the IMechE. Chris has worked on Beagle 2; the British Mars Lander, and the SPIRE instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope which is due to launch in 2021. She is now the Project Manager of the VIS Instrument on the Euclid Space Telescope. Chris took time out of her day to talk to Helen about building satellites and how her 14 years of dedication to the recently launched Solar Orbiter will tell us more about the physics of our sun than ever before.

Useful Links:


Mike Lawton is an electronic & electrical engineer and serial space technology entrepreneur. He certainly knows a thing or two about squeezing large satellite structures into small spaces and has built an award-winning business innovating deployable assemblies for the satellite industry, such as solar panel arrays, antennas and boom systems. His motivation is to challenge tried and tested techniques by creating lighter, less complex and lower cost systems for satellite manufacturers. Helen talks to Mike about solar array origami, the problems with space debris and how engineers are finding ways to re-use old satellites while still in space.


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode or about your experiences, interest or work in Space & Satellite Technology. If you would like to get in touch email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at 


Episode 5: Holiday Special - Fireside Chat with Colin Brown & Terry Spall

Episode 5: Holiday Special - Fireside Chat with Colin Brown & Terry Spall

December 31, 2020

In this I2I Holiday Special Podcast, Helen looks back on 2020 with IMechE CEO Colin Brown and President Terry Spall and discusses how the pandemic has affected the IMechE and its members, and how they have had to adapt to these unprecedented times.

Terry talks about how his presidential year has meant less travelling, but more opportunity for engagement with members and how inspired he has been seeing so many engineers step up to address COVID.

Colin chats about the effect working from home has had on the IMechE staff, but how beneficial it has been bringing members from across the world together through virtual services.

Terry shares his thoughts on the new Governance Benchmark and how important that process has been for the Institution. Terry recognises the valuable input of all the members who have been committed to bringing about change over the last few years; including Past President Carolyn Griffiths, Implementation Group Chair Kerry Mashford and members of the Trustee Board.

In a look back at the 2019 annual report, Colin talks about his hope for 2020 being our ‘Year of Values’ and how members have addressed behaviours and culture in this new working paradigm. Colin highlights the importance of diversity and how all engineers need to feel that they can make a contribution to society.

Thinking about 2021, Terry looks forward with enthusiasm to the Institution’s future, and hopes more members will want to get involved in driving the IMechE’s strategies. His hope is to finally shake the hands of all those who have worked to implement change in the last few years. Terry also looks forward to work commencing on the IMechE building next year, which will ensure members have a historical yet contemporary home for the coming decades.

We could not end the interview without mentioning Colin’s intention to step down as CEO in May 2021. Having been a member of staff for 16 years and an IMechE member for many more years than is polite to mention, Helen asks Colin what his hopes for the Institution are, going forward and what he is most looking forward to doing in his ‘retirement’.


We wish all our listeners, wherever you are in the world, a safe and happy holiday season from all of us at the I2I Podcast.


Useful Links:


Episode 4: The Future of Electric Vehicles & Batteries

Episode 4: The Future of Electric Vehicles & Batteries

November 2, 2020

Episode 4 – The Future of Electric Vehicles and Batteries


In this month’s episode we will be focusing on Electric Vehicles and batteries; the challenges and opportunities electrification brings and what the future holds for EV technology. 


Helen talks with Williams Advanced Engineering Technical Director Paul McNamara about the up-coming IMechE International EV Batteries 2020 virtual Conference which will be held on the 11th and 12th of November. Paul is chair of the event and shares some of the exciting topics up for discussion, which include the challenges of transport decarbonisation, hybrid solutions, supply chain, battery cell sustainability, and life cycle management of battery materials. 

Useful Links:


Helen is joined by Stakeholder Engagement director at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Philippa Oldham to discuss her role in bringing together organisations from across the transport industry to develop innovative strategies for EV integration. She shares her thoughts on the growth of the UK EV market, government strategies on funding and emissions targets and some of the opportunities in recycling over the coming years.

Useful Links:


Actor, Fully-Charged Host and passionate EV enthusiast, Robert Llewellyn talks to Helen about his love for science and engineering and what lead him to advocate for clean energy and EVs. Helen and Robert discuss the outcomes from Tesla Battery Day, the opportunities for vehicle to grid charging, UK government policy on electrification and EV city planning. 

Useful Links:


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode or about your experiences, interest or work in electric vehicles and their associated technologies. Get in touch email us at 

Episode 3: Engineering Careers at the COVID Crossroads

Episode 3: Engineering Careers at the COVID Crossroads

October 5, 2020

This month’s episode is brought to you by the IMechE’s Young Members Board. The YMB represents the interests of over 69,000 young members from a broad range of industries and specialisms. The YMB works to ensure that the young member’s voice is heard and considered in all areas of the institution.

Your host is Ying Wan Loh, an IMechE chartered engineer and IET Young Engineer of the Year 2019. She is the professional development standards committee rep on the young members board.

In this month’s episode Ying explores three topics:

  • Challenges facing new workers
  • Furloughed and unemployed - tips to getting a job
  • The unsure worker - the importance of reskilling and training

With focus on engineering careers in the context of Covid-19.  She explores challenges and opportunities for young graduates and new workers, how to mitigate the impact of furlough and unemployment and provides some tips for those who are currently employed but thinking of other opportunities ahead.

Ying’s guests include:

Amar Gohil – Graduate Engineer WMG University of Warwick

Alan Carroll – Director Stratus Recruitment Ltd

Matthew Laskaj – Director Project Engineering Management Ltd & IMechE Scottish Region Chair


Challenges Facing New Workers

Ying discusses the challenges and opportunities faced by fresh graduates and new workers. The panel discusses how COVID-19 will change recruiting practices, how to ace online/phone interviews and how you should prepare for them, advice for fresh graduates looking for their first job, and those considering a PhD or further education.


Furloughed and Unemployed - Tips on getting a job

Ying explores how those at home on furlough might be feeling unsure or even nervous about their continued employment. The panel discusses whether gaps in your CV can put you at a disadvantage, advice on how engineers can structure their day to maximize their chances to get back into work and which engineering sectors may see major growth post-COVID.


The Unsure Worker - The importance of reskilling

With uncertainties in the job market, many are re-thinking their career options. Ying discusses working from home, professional development, online training and diversity and inclusion in the workplace, how people can continue to develop themselves professionally, how recruiters are ensuring a fair recruitment process in the light of the pandemic. The panel also discusses the benefits of professional accreditation, online Masters and Doctorates and the opportunities of developing entrepreneurial skills.


The IMechE offers a number of careers advice routes for those looking for job opportunities and CV development.  For members and their families, the Institution also has a Support Network. Useful links below:


Membership Surgeries are being held weekly across the Regions. They are free events online allowing you 1-2-1 time with an IMechE Business Development expert.

Visit the IMechE Near You page for your region 


The EngRec Live 2020, is a virtual careers and learning event for graduate and young engineers taking place 30th October. It is the UK’s first multi-sector virtual careers fair for the early careers in the engineering industry.

sign up at


If you have been impacted by the COVID crisis or any of the issues discussed in this episode, please reach out to the IMechE Support Network. They offer personal and practical support for members and their families. They can help with everything from employment coaching and CV writing, resources for dyslexia and autism, to debt advice, financial aid and counselling. If you wish to know more, please call on 020 7304 6816 or email