Engineers offer expertise to Rwandan schools



An initiative involving engineering post-docs and PhD students from Heriot-Watt to help school children better understand biomedical engineering has been exported to Rwanda.

The initiative showcases the commitment of students to improving the lives of others.

Dr Helen Szoor-McElhinney

Proteus, an Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration between Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Bath Universities, was, together with The University of Glasgow, awarded a prestigious Ingenious Public Engagement Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering. The award was to develop a programme, called Circuits!, offering creative and innovative ways to teach secondary school pupils about biomedical engineering.

Originally aimed at enhancing the Scottish curriculum, this initiative is now being exported to Rwanda. Engineering workshops (including bioengineering and electrical engineering) and other activities have been delivered to more than 1000 Rwandan children in ten secondary schools.

A range of activities was designed by members of the Proteus team including post-docs and PhD students from IB3 and IPAQS at Heriot-Watt. These activities are currently being delivered in Rwanda by engineers from Glasgow University (FemEng) who are part of the Ingenious Circuits! team.

The universities worked in partnership with the University of Rwanda.

Inspiring future students

Dr Helen Szoor-McElhinney, EPSRC Proteus Engagement Strategist at The University of Edinburgh, said, “Circuits! is a fantastic collaboration between students from Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Glasgow, who are using creative learning tools to inspire future engineering students. The initiative showcases the commitment of students to improving the lives of others and providing innovative learning opportunities for secondary school children in countries like Rwanda.”

Katjana Ehrlich, a Heriot-Watt Phd student who works on the Proteus project and is an Ingenious Circuits! Engineer, said, ‘As an engineer I am thrilled to be part of the Ingenious Circuits! Project, sharing our research with students in the UK and Rwanda'