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Aston University news

The latest study and research news from Aston University

November 2011

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August 2011

May 2011

January 2011


Free workshops to encourage next generation of engineers

The Aston University Engineering Academy is holding an ‘Engineer Your Future’ day on Saturday 26 November at Aston University. Aimed at Year 9 students, this ‘Engineer Your Future’ day will promote Engineering and Science as ‘cool’ subjects to study and encourage the UK’s next generation of engineers.

This free event will give students, their families and friends a ‘hands on’ engineering experience through a day of exciting workshops, technical challenges and talks. Students will be able to find out how a love of Lego, F1 racing and Scalextric could be the start of their career as they take part in a series of activities run by AUEA’s partner organisations including the RAF, E.ON, Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid and Rolls Royce.

Lee Kilgour Principal Designate of AUEA believes that many students are unaware of the nature of careers in Engineering and Science and their suitability for girls as well as boys. He says: ‘Engineering and Science are essential for the UK’s future. There is currently a shortage of young well-qualified engineers and scientists, despite the fact that potential earnings and career prospects are excellent. We need to change this.

‘Engineering and Science play a major role in many technological devices and advances and encompass a huge range of industries such as construction, transport, medicine, food and cosmetics. We’ve invited some of the national employers that the Aston University Engineering Academy is working in partnership with so that students can talk to a broad range of engineers to find out about career opportunities in engineering.’

AUEA is a mixed University Technical College with specialisms in Engineering and Science for students aged 14–19 years old. AUEA is currently under construction and is due to open in September 2012. When open, Academy students will specialise in engineering and science alongside core subjects in English, maths and languages. It will provide a pathway into Higher Education at university or apprenticeship qualifications into highly skilled engineering careers.

‘Engineer Your Future’ is being held at Aston University (Main Building) on Saturday 26 November from 9.45am to 2:30pm.

Further information can be found on the Aston University Engineering Academy’s website.

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Aston Business School moves up to fourth in world ‘careers rank’

Aston Business School has been ranked 31st in the world according to figures published on 19 September 2011 by the Financial Times 2011 Masters in Management ranking.

Aston Business School (ABS), part of Aston University, has climbed eight places from 39 in 2010 to 31 for its MSc in International Business, reinforcing Aston Business School’s reputation as a leading international business school. ABS has also retained its position as fifth within the UK.

In recognition of the successful careers of its alumni, Aston Business School held on to its position of third in the UK for ‘careers rank’ and moved up from seventh to fourth in the world in this prestigious category. The careers rank measures the seniority of alumni three years after graduation and the size of company in which they are employed.

Professor John Edwards, Executive Dean of Aston Business School, said: ‘I am delighted that our Masters in Management continues to be ranked as one of the top programmes in the UK by the Financial Times. This is testimony to the quality of our programmes, our academic staff and the high calibre of students we attract to study here. To know that the career prospects of our alumni are amongst the best in the world in the current tough jobs market is fantastic and clearly demonstrates that with an MSc from Aston Business School our students can compete for the very top jobs worldwide.’

This latest announcement follows news earlier this month that Aston University has been ranked 5th in the UK and 1st outside London for the percentage of graduates entering employment who achieve graduate level jobs in the new 2012 Sunday Times University Guide. The University was also ranked 51st for ‘Employer Reputation’ in the 2011 QS World University Rankings, the annual league table of the top 600 universities in the world.

Aston’s MSc focuses on the links between the major business functions and their role in international business. It covers areas including strategic management, the economic environment, international finance, marketing, human resource management and international operations.

The FT Masters in Management Ranking was first published in 2005 and is now recognised globally as one of the most important league tables for those interested in the quality of business education. The ranking is intended to give a thorough assessment of masters in management programmes on offer across the world, as well as an insight into participating business schools and their alumni. The overall rankings are established by looking at several different aspects of the MSc course, including value for money, salary today, placement success and the percentage of international students.

There are approximately 7,622 business schools in the world, 766 in Europe and 102 in the UK.

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Countdown to the UK’s new wave of engineers starts in Birmingham

The official countdown to September 2012, which will see the first major university sponsored University Technical College (UTC) in the country – the Aston University Engineering Academy – open its doors to students, started today at an event held at Birmingham Science Park Aston to mark the occasion.

An image of how Aston University Engineering Academy will lookWhen the £15.2m Aston University Engineering Academy opens in a year’s time it will play a crucial role in delivering knowledge and skills through engineering and science for 600 pupils aged between 14 and 19 years old. Academy students will specialise in engineering and science alongside core subjects in English, maths and languages. Students will have the opportunity to work with Aston University engineering staff and students as well as local and national industry.

Large, medium and small private sector companies as well as large public sector organisations are all playing a valuable role, with employers such as National Grid, E.ON and Rolls Royce Plc providing high quality work placements, student mentoring, allowing Academy students to use specialist facilities, as well as inspiring students to pursue a career in their industry.

The Academy is being created in partnership with Birmingham City Council and will work closely with secondary schools across Birmingham to create clear progression routes to higher education or directly into industry. GCSEs, A-levels, Diplomas and a wide range of accreditation, matched to the learner, will be taught.

The Aston University Engineering Academy launchLord Kenneth Baker, Chair of the Baker-Dearing Educational Trust said: ‘This is the beginning of the UTC movement. Back in 2008 Aston University, Birmingham City Council and local employers came together to create a new type of college that combined first class training with excellent academic study. It will be the first of many UTCs – soon there will be over 20. Birmingham has led the way.’

Lee Kilgour, Principal Designate of Aston University Engineering Academy believes that young people with an excellent technical education will be essential for ensuring that the UK can lead the world in designing and using new technologies.

Lee said: ‘The Engineering Academy is seeking to recruit young people with a passion and interest in engineering and science. We have been working closely with industry to develop an exciting and engaging curriculum. The new Academy will provide company supported apprenticeships alongside Diplomas and A-levels and will play a key role in addressing the technical skills gap.

‘The specialist education offered by the Academy will ensure that the UK has the skilled employees needed for essential future projects such as building wind farms, developing carbon-efficient housing and designing high speed rail links.’

Professor Alison Halstead, Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at Aston University is committed to inspiring and encouraging young people in the fields of science and engineering. She believes that raising the aspirations of young engineers and developing an innovative workforce for the region and beyond is vital. Speaking at the event she said: ‘This is the culmination of four years’ planning between local employers, university staff and the local authority to create this inspirational learning environment for young scientists and engineers in Birmingham. The new Aston University sponsored Engineering Academy will play a key role in addressing the nation’s skills gap and fostering an enthusiasm for science and engineering that will enable us to produce a new generation of innovated and talented students.’

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: ‘As Leader of the City, and Chairman of the Science Park, it is a great pleasure to be welcoming the Aston University Engineering Academy Birmingham into our educational family. Birmingham has the youngest population of any city in Europe, with immense potential – if we invest wisely in our youth.

‘Having a world-class teaching facility like this, that will provide our children with the skills they need to meet the challenges of tomorrow; will be a formidable asset for the city and the region. This is why I have long been a supporter of the project, and have ensured the City Council plays a leading role in bringing the Engineering Academy – the first of its kind in the UK – to Birmingham.’

For further information about study opportunities at the Aston University Engineering Academy, please contact Lee Kilgour on 0121 204 4643, email lee.kilgour@aston.ac.uk or visit the Aston University Engineering Academy website.

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Aston University to host National Student Enterprise Conference

Aston University in Birmingham will host the National Student Enterprise Conference (NSEC) in 2012.

The National Student Enterprise Conference aims to inspire and bring together young budding entrepreneurs and encourage them to develop business skills with the guidance of top business professionals and celebrity entrepreneurs.

The successful 2012 bid, co-ordinated by Aston Business School and Aston Entrepreneurs, made a great impression on the judging panel of the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE). Aston demonstrated its support for students and regional businesses through a number of quality programmes. These included Aston Idol, which lets students pitch their business ideas to a panel of national and regional business representatives and its involvement in innovative business start-up programme BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network). This project, funded by Birmingham City Council, has provided support for over 100 graduate entrepreneurs from the West Midlands region. This includes opportunities to access extensive mentoring, free office space and business grants to help with start-up initiatives.

Aston is also involved in The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the largest survey-based study of entrepreneurship in the world involving over 60 countries.

Dr Patrick Tissington, Associate Dean of Business Partnerships; Kelly-Anne Lewis, Director of Marketing and Nathalie Lam, Business Partnerships Co-ordinator from Aston Business School were involved in the successful bid, alongside Samuel Wilson, President of Aston Entrepreneurs.

Dr Tissington said: ‘Aston University’s ethos is to ensure students graduate with strong academic skills alongside opportunities to develop real life business acumen. This knowledge combined with practical real life experience provides students with a new set of insights into entrepreneurship and business as a whole. We are delighted to be hosting this prestigious event next year.’

The support from Aston University to student and graduate enterprise has achieved impressive results. Aston graduate, Nick Holzherr, recently received the ‘Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Enterprise’ award. Another Aston graduate, Mike Bandar, has created, My Health Cards, a web-based company which aims to increase the awareness and ease of life for allergy sufferers. He has managed to secure a place on the exclusive and prestigious Entrepreneurs Foundation programme.

President of Aston Entrepreneurs, Samuel Wilson, who is a second year student in International Business with Spanish, believes the event is going to ‘change mentalities for the better.’ The Aston Entrepreneurs Society started in 2009, helps develop business skills among students, and industry links. The Society is aiming to increase its active membership from 186 to around 500 members by the end of next year.

‘Enterprise can’t simply be learnt from a textbook, but I wholeheartedly know that events such as NSEC will work miracles.’ he said.

This year’s conference in Manchester brought together 200 of the most promising students across the UK as well as leading academics, investors, international corporates, global entrepreneurs and the media.

The NSEC is due to be held at Aston University from Saturday 18 February to Sunday 19 February 2012.

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Aston’s lead marketer to share good practice on global platform

Aston Business School is one of only two British universities to be invited to a prestigious annual gathering of distinguished marketers from across the world.

The ‘Who’s Who’ gathering, the American Marketing Association (AMA) Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium, being hosted by Oklahoma State University in Stillwater in the USA, will take place next month.

A total of 126 business schools have been invited, of which just 26 are of non-USA origin.

The four-day event, from 15–18 June, will feature presentations, workshops and networking events that encourage interaction, dialogue and sharing of good practice between AMA members from both sides of the Atlantic.

Marketing PhD student Neil Shepherd will be representing Aston Business School at this event.

Dr John Rudd, Head of Aston Business School’s Marketing Group, said: ‘Neil is a smart marketer who is ambitious, articulate and a brilliant team player. He is a great ambassador for Aston and we are pleased that he has accepted the invitation to attend. We strive to prepare our students for the fiercely competitive and rapidly changing marketplace, wherever in the world they may choose to work in and we wish Neil all the very best.’

Heiner Evanschitzky, Professor of Marketing at Aston Business School, said: ‘We feel truly honoured to be invited to this remarkable event. It reassures us of our place in the global league on Marketing. This opportunity to share a platform with fellow marketers from all over the world is one that we are very proud of and are grateful to the AMA for.’

Established in 1965, the AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium was created as an endowment to encourage marketing doctoral candidates to undertake research in significant subject areas, while introducing students to rigorous and balanced coverage of current issues and research in marketing.

Over the four-days, the AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium, now in its 46th year, will provide an opportunity for the academics and corporate communities to create dialogue, debate and develop some mutual research interests.

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Leading carpet manufacturer partners with Aston Business School

A world-class carpet manufacturing company based in the West Midlands is set to further enhance upon its already glowing success, thanks to a new business model created by experts at Aston Business School.

Dr Prasanta Kumar DeyBrintons Carpets, which is based in Kidderminster, is looking to adopt an innovative model which aims to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and overall performance of a business.

The rare supply chain performance measurement model, which measures performance across supply chain processes and decision levels, is the result of a collaborative project between Aston Business School and the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce. The project is funded by the British Council under PMI2 Connect.

Dr Prasanta Kumar Dey, Reader in the Operations and Information Management Group at Aston Business School, said: ‘From our joint research a number of things have emerged that will enable us to design optimum supply chain, manage risk, establish integration across the supply chain stakeholders, and evaluate suppliers’ performance in any industry.

‘The proposed supply chain performance measurement model not only measures performance of the individual organisation but also benchmarks performance of the participating organisations and facilitates adopting the best practices. I am particularly grateful to the management team at Brintons Carpets for believing in, and supporting this project, the results of which I believe will benefit all parties involved.’

The Brintons family have been making carpets in Kidderminster since 1783. Michael Brinton is the sixth generation of the family to be involved in the business, which since it began has focused on superior quality.

Brintons Carpets have won contracts with companies all across the globe. Among them are – MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen, Oriana and Aurora cruise liners, Hong Kong Airport and more recently, Terminal Three at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India.

Phil Ellis, Group Operations Director at Brintons Carpets, described the model as ‘extremely valuable to our business.’

He added: ‘The work carried out by Prasanta and his team has provided interesting and thought-provoking data. Whilst some of the information contained in the study confirms areas for improvement already identified for the business, the recommendations within the interim report help clarify areas of priority focus.’

Mr Ellis explained: ‘Benchmarking is extremely important for any business and I am keen to understand how areas of performance identified within the report compare with the other businesses included in the study. We have found this study extremely valuable to our business and we look forward to continued collaboration with Aston University.’

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