Heriot-Watt University Dubai Hosts the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows for STEM Workshop

The event was sponsored by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce


15 November 2022, Dubai, UAE: Heriot-Watt University Dubai hosted the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams, to deliver an experiential STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workshop for students.  Sponsored by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, the workshop showcased state-of-the-art technologies used in industries ranging from aviation to robotics.

The event was launched by H.E. Patrick Moody, UK Ambassador to the UAE, and was held as part of the Heriot-Watt University Dubai outreach programme, “Engineer for a Day,” a series of interactive workshops aimed at giving students an insight into a career in engineering. It was attended by renowned guest speakers including Dr. Eng Suaad Al Shamsi, first Emirati woman to work as an aviation engineer, who shared her journey and challenges as a female engineer, and Mich Turner, award-winning entrepreneur and food scientist, who highlighted the importance of science across different fields. Finally, the RAF Red Arrows team delivered a STEM talk sharing their experience as pilots and engineers.

The workshop included elements of design, manufacture, testing and competition in areas of aerodynamics, turbomachinery, advanced manufacture and 3D-printing to virtual reality and the coding of robotics, autonomous and interactive systems. The Red Arrows Team together with Heriot-Watt University Dubai, The British University in Dubai, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems introduced participants to basic flight principles and dynamics followed by testing of various airplane designs. Heriot-Watt University Dubai also organised a hands-on experience in programming and testing robotic vehicles, and a design task where participants built and raced models of F1 cars from scratch.

Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Deputy Vice Principal at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said: “We are delighted to host the Red Arrows and sponsors, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, who showcased the latest innovations and state-of-the-art technology to inspire future generation. Our “Engineer for a Day” outreach programme is designed to give students an insight into the opportunities and rewards of a career in engineering. As part of our ongoing commitment to partner with industry leaders to bridge the gap between education and the marketplace, we are pleased to provide students with hands-on experiences that can give them insight into fields that are highly in demand and will have endless opportunities.”

Squadron Leader Tom Bould, Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, attended the session.

He said: “Inspiring young people to learn more about the STEM subjects and what teamwork can achieve is a core aim of the Red Arrows. This fantastic session in Dubai was a great way of showcasing STEM in action, highlighting how these topics are used throughout the Red Arrows’ work and using aviation to encourage more individuals to discover their future career.”

Omar Ali Adib, Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace Vice President Customers for the MENA Region, said: “Against the background of the current COP, focusing on technologies that enable sustainable aviation and aerospace solutions is central to our Pathway to Net Zero strategy. Collaborating with the Heriot-Watt University and partnering with the Red Arrows provides students with the opportunity to understand how technology is moving at pace towards this goal.”

Jonathan Bird, BAE Systems UAE Country Director said: “Partnering with the Red Arrows, Rolls-Royce and Heriot-Watt University provided a compelling formula to focus minds on the incredible benefits that building careers around STEM subjects offer. It enables a pathway towards multiple opportunities for the future whether that be in cyber technology, the deep oceans or space, something which BAE Systems is committed to supporting with partners here in the UAE and around the region.”

With the need for innovation and technological advancement to counter global challenges and meet sustainability goals, the demand for engineers has never been greater. Heriot-Watt University values experiential learning and provide state-of-the-art facilities for students to engage with real-life engineering challenges, prepare them for a rewarding career in engineering and enable them to succeed as future leaders in various engineering disciplines.