• Question: What do you do in your work and how does it effect the world socially, environmentally and economically?

    Asked by Danni to Aaron, Abbey, Keith, Natalie, Pete on 17 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Aaron Boardley

      Aaron Boardley answered on 17 Nov 2015:

      I work in an office at a computer, mainly producing writing but sometimes things like videos and podcasts, talking about the latest science and engineering news.

      Socially: just today we’ve launched a big toolkit to help companies get a more diverse group of people into engineering. Women, black and minority ethnic groups, for example, are really not well represented in engineering, even though we have a shortage of engineers. So part of my work is helping to get more people interested in engineering. This is just one example – but everything I do I hope shares the news of science and engineering to help people be more informed – so we can improve the way things work.

      Environmentally: engineers work on environmental problems, too – they fix things using science. Recently I was involved in promoting a new report which looked at the how we generate electricity in this country, and called for more investment in renewable energy, amongst other things.

      Economically: lots of people are employed in engineering jobs making and fixing things. In fact, for every pound spent on engineering you get more money back in return. In boosting engineering education in the UK, and helping people become more aware of the issues we face, I’m trying to encourage more people into engineering so we can make and do more things in this country, which really benefits the economy as a whole.

      This is a really good question – before I worked in engineering I worked for an organisation that funded research into economic and social issues so I know how important these considerations are!

    • Photo: Natalie Garrett

      Natalie Garrett answered on 20 Nov 2015:

      I work on a project with a bunch of other scientists. Our aim is to make brand new, exciting teeny tiny nanoparticles, the purpose of which is to ferry medicines around the body more efficiently. This is important, since it is actually very hard to get medicines into the brain (the brain’s blood vessels have a special coating called the blood brain barrier, which effectively stops 98% of medicines from entering the brain). So, my project is aiming at trying to get anti-cancer drugs, and drugs to treat Alzheimer’s into the brain and so help treat these diseases more effectively.

      Socially, this will hopefully mean that people will have better quality of life and won’t die from such horrible diseases so often. Environmentally, these nanoparticles will be so efficient that we won’t have to use so much of the medicines in the first place, which will reduce the environmental impact of the pharmacy industry. Economically, this new product will be produced in factories which will provide new jobs for people. Also, if people are not suffering in hospitals so much, this will help the NHS.