MEng Civil Engineering with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Engineering Foresight

Course unit fact file
Unit code ENGM41011
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


What projects will Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineers work on in the future? This unit takes as its starting point the analysis of a current product or process technology and its market. Then it uses a variety of analysis techniques to extrapolate and predict future directions for the market and technology. The unit looks forward up to 20 years and is concerned with step change and disruptive technology and scientific breakthrough rather than just incremental product and process development. The work involves seeing Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering in the widest context of application to future market, societal and technological influences.


Introduce techniques for the analysis of technology, market and societal influences.
Explain how to construct predictions for the future direction of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering inputs to products, services and processes.
Apply systematic methods to analyse often incomplete and fragmented data from a variety of sources.
Develop processes of informed decision-making about future opportunities and identify the critical steps required to enable those opportunities to be realised.
Apply methods of presenting findings and proposals in both a persuasive business document and an oral presentation to a panel.

The information, analysis and report writing skills that are developed in this unit are useful to Engineers from any subject. These skills are highly desired by employers and are valuable when undertaking final year project work, job interviews and assessment centres.


Lecture  Topics
1 Project briefing and introduction
Introduction to Engineering Foresight and setting of project assessment tasks.
Product life-cycle
Influences of Science, Technology, Market and Society
2 Project planning
Planning the project using GANTT and Networks
Information gathering
Construct and submit topic/plan for project assessment
3 Scientific research
Horizon scanning, Patent and research publication trends, barriers to application of new technologies
4 Technological developments
Extrapolation, Step change, Breakthrough, Cost
5 Societal influences
Population, Demographic, Political, Health, Environmental, Sustainability
6 Market research
Secondary market research information gathering and primary market research methods
Limitations to market predictions
7 Identifying opportunity
Searching for opportunity
Report and presentation tutorial
Preparation for presentation, referencing and proofing
Using information to make decisions/ recommendations
8 Ideas generation and rationalisation
Generating ideas, thought shower, matrix, analogy etc
Developing future scenarios via iteration
9 Exploiting the opportunity, financial justification
Exploiting the opportunity
Commercial requirements for return on investment
Preparing for individual presentations
10 New Product Development Teams and risks
NPD teams and risk analysis
11 Individual presentation
Final report and presentation feedback
12 Reflection on professional skills development
Reflection on report and presentation skills development

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Report 70%
Oral assessment/presentation 30%

Feedback methods

Report - Week 3
Individual feedback comments via BlackBoard assessment tools

Week 12
Individual feedback comments via BlackBoard assessment tools

Oral presentation -  Immediate oral feedback at end of individual presentation

Week 12 marks via BlackBoard

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Project supervision 100
Tutorials 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 28

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Timothy Jones Unit coordinator

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