Engineering education research

Engineering Education Research (EER) aims to inform practice in the design, delivery and assessment of engineering-subject content, thus raising both the quality of the student experience and the significance of the degree to real-world needs. Matters concerning the motivations of academic staff for the realisation of such practice are also central to EER.


Specific objectives of the EER group include:

  • The support of teaching-focused staff in engineering and a platform for focused interdisciplinary research and development on engineering education matters, bringing together teaching expertise and practice across different disciplines.
  • The set-up and support of initiatives for enhancing student skills, motivation and employability as well as a focal point for national and international collaboration in engineering education.

These are achieved through initiatives and projects that are based on student partnership and engagement through undergraduate (MEng) research projects and where possible collaborative (cross-departmental) supervision. The group also closely interacts with the Faculty’s Teaching Fellows Forum to consider areas for specific educational need and development.

Research activity

The work centres on the application of current educational theory and psychology to facilitate student learning and personal development. In recent years, specific topics of study have included:

  • Student enthusiasm and motivation for engineering
  • Engineering education in research-intensive universities
  • The global dimension in engineering education
  • Ethics teaching and ethical development in engineering
  • Peer-based teaching and learning
  • The effective use of graduate (and undergraduate) teaching assistants
  • The measurement and development of transferable skills

The Department is also actively engaged in the wider community of Engineering Education, including:

  • Membership of the European Society of Engineering (SEFI)
  • Memebership of the UK & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network (EERN)
  • Representation on the editorial board of the European Journal of Engineering Education (the official journal of SEFI)

Consultancy work is also undertaken in the support of transferable skills development in other external institutes, such as the running of residential courses for the Helmholtz Association of Research Schools (Germany) and various ad hoc workshops across a number of UK universities. Occasionally, joint MSc projects are undertaken in collaboration with the School of Psychology and Human Development at the Institute of Education, London.

Research projects

  • Immersed Virtual Reality in Engineering Education
  • 3D Cinematography in Transferable Skills Development
  • Gamification in Engineering Education
  • Process simulators in Engineering Education
  • Mobile Apps in Engineering Education
  • Skills development through Real-World Projects


  • 3D printers
  • Desktop and support scanners
  • HDMI heat sets and augmented reality visors

Key publications

Kinchin IM, Alpay E, Curtis K, Franklin J, Rivers C, Winstone NE (2016) Charting the elements of pedagogic frailty, EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH 58 (1)pp. 1-23 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD

Alpay E, Verschoor R (2014) The teaching researcher: faculty attitudes towards the teaching and research roles, European Journal of Engineering Education

Alpay E (2013) Student attraction to engineering through flexibility and breadth in the curriculum, European Journal of Engineering Education 38 (1)pp. 58-69

Alpay E (2013) Student-Inspired Activities for the Teaching and Learning of Engineering Ethics, Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (4) pp. 1455-1468

Alpay E, Verschoor R (2013) The teaching researcher: Faculty attitudes toward the teaching and research roles, 41st SEFI Conference

de Graaff E, Alpay E, Bernhard J, Ihsen S, Kolmos A (2012) EditorialEuropean Journal of Engineering Education 37 (1) pp. 1-2

Alpay E (2012) General engineering - Student motivations towards flexibility and breadth in the engineering curriculum, Proceedings of the 40th SEFI Annual Conference 2012 - Engineering Education 2020: Meet the Future

Alpay E, Jones ME (2012) Engineering education in research-intensive universities, European Journal of Engineering Education 37 (6) pp. 609-626

Alpay E, Ahearn AL, Bull AMJ (2011) Promoting cross-departmental initiatives for a global dimensionin engineering education: The imperial college experience, European Journal of Engineering Education 36 (3) pp. 225-242

Alpay E (2011) Student-inspired activities for the teaching and learning of engineering ethics., Sci Eng Ethics 19 (4) pp. 1455-1468