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Skills of Dundee’s expert engineers celebrated with new Abertay project

29 June 2015

Images courtesy of Nicoll Russell Studios

The extraordinary engineering feat that will see Dundee’s railway station transformed into a superstructure worthy of the 21st Century is to be the focus of a new £27,361 project run by scientists and engineers at Abertay University.

‘On the Right Track: Engineering and Education For All’ is one of only 22 projects in the UK selected to receive funding from The Royal Academy of Engineering’s public engagement grant scheme, Ingenious.

The scheme supports projects that creatively engage the public with engineering – both to promote it as a worthy career choice and to raise awareness of the skill and expertise required to create the impressive structures that surround us.

Abertay’s project will do this by giving people an exclusive behind the scenes look at the railway site as the plans for its redevelopment are brought to life and it is remodelled and upgraded over the next two years.

It will bring engineers from research, industry and academia together with school children, teachers and the wider community, giving them the chance to see for themselves the incredible skill that goes into engineering such a complex build.

The new station building has been designed by architects at Nicoll Russell Studios, and the redevelopment of the railway station as a whole is being led by Fergus Wilson – Dundee City Council’s chief engineer.

Dr Patsy Dello-Sterpaio – Outreach & Public Engagement Network and STEM Coordinator at Abertay, who will lead the university’s public engagement project – explains:

“The redevelopment of Dundee’s Waterfront – and the railway station in particular – is truly a feat of engineering ingenuity, but we don’t always appreciate all the work that goes into something like this, because often the only interaction we have with it is through the disruption it causes to our lives with the roadworks, the noise and the dust.

“But it requires a huge amount of skill to design a project like this and to put it into action. The railway station redevelopment is a real, live example of science and technology in action, and there’s so much amazing activity happening right here on our doorstep every day that it should make for a really exciting learning backdrop for everyone involved.”

Through organised visits to schools, a ‘Meet the Expert’ event in November, and the availability of online learning materials, the project will make it possible for teachers to use the railway project as a novel and exciting context for learning across the curriculum.

Dr Dello-Sterpaio continues:

“By meeting with the engineers who are working on the railway project people will be able to find out exactly what they’re doing and how they’re achieving it; how subjects like the sciences, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects – are central to what is being achieved in Dundee’s regeneration.

“By highlighting the importance of these subjects, and the value that the knowledge and skills of the engineers involved are bringing to Dundee’s Waterfront regeneration, we hope to raise the profile of Dundee’s local engineers and, as a result, to encourage more young people – particularly girls – to consider pursuing the STEM subjects when they leave school so that they go on to achieve great things themselves.”

Dr Cornelia Doerich-Stavridis – Chartered Civil Engineer and Lecturer in Civil Engineering at Abertay – outlines what has been going on so far:

“Upgrading Dundee’s railway station is a massive undertaking. In any engineering project there are multiple jobs going on, and we hope that our Ingenious grant will help raise the profile of the many talented engineers we have working here in Dundee.

“There have already been a number of major challenges for them to overcome and a number of achievements, and there will be many more of these as the project progresses.

“The Victorian tunnel that runs directly underneath the central redevelopment zone, for example, presented the engineers with multiple challenges when they were bringing down the existing buildings, and the road network through this zone had to be reconfigured frequently to allow each stage of the deconstruction and reconstruction to be carried out with minimal disruption.

“Removing the old station building, creating the new superstructure, and building the new hotel above the concourse will prove particularly tricky because the station has to keep running as a live, working railway throughout the entire redevelopment process.

“Being an engineer is a fantastic job, but it is sometimes just taken for granted, so with this grant we’ll be helping the engineers to better communicate what they do, with the intention of inspiring the next generation of Dundonians.

“We want them to be aware of the fantastic career opportunities that are available, to make sure they know how they can get the skills and knowledge to be able to apply for engineering jobs, and for them to have the opportunity to go on to make a similarly fantastic contribution to the city – and wider society – when they are qualified.”

Teachers interested in finding out more about the project and how to get their schools involved are requested to email Dr Dello-Sterpaio via


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes for Editors:

  • Ingenious is the Royal Academy of Engineering's public engagement grants scheme for creative public engagement with engineering projects. The scheme is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Further information on the scheme is at:

About the Royal Academy of Engineering.

  • As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

The project is supported by Dundee City Council.

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