Academic outreach

The academic (or educational) outreach programme is aimed at introducing students, from secondary school to further and higher education, to the challenges of engineering ultra precision products; from high resolution measurements to precision machine positioning and control.

The programme will be delivered in a variety of methods depending on the level of the students and the available time, for example the Centre has already participated in some local school career evenings, hosted a visit from the London International Youth Science Forum and is investigating other delivery methods into the UK school science curriculum.

The more obvious outreach example is the Centre for Doctoral Training, although established as a separate EPSRC funded centre, it is closely allied with the Centre in Ultra Precision and these students are often the best ambassadors for ultra precision to other students.  The institutions involved with the EPSRC Centre also have their own masters and research programmes that are also actively promoted.

The educational outreach also extends into industry, where free educational and networking events are being provided by the EPSRC Centre to both link industry and academia, but also to educate industry on what new ideas are being developed.  More specific short-course training is also available to industry as a continuing professional development (CPD) activity for their staff.

Lastly academic outreach also intends to forge strong links between other academic institutions in allied centres of excellence, both other EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing and research organisations who may currently not be directly involved.  It is hoped that through these links project collaboration and student sharing may be possible between partners.

Educational Demonstrator Programme


The EPSRC Centre in Ultra Precision developed the Watch it Made® programme as an educational demonstrator.

The broad thinking behind this idea is to enthuse school children into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects by providing a challenging, entertaining and practical engineering experience.

Watch it Made® has a high level objective to enable young learners in the UK, in years 7-8, to produce a quality self designed and semi manufactured watch. The Watch it Made® concept will draw on learning aspects of design, manufacture and assembly.

In the design phase they can produce a unique image for the the dial, choose the type of decoration and style of numbering and which hands to use. They can also determine the colour of the watch case and strap. In the manufacturing phase pupils will finish off the machining of their watch case on a lathe, giving a high quality feature to the watch case provided. Dials are printed using an industrial ink jet printer using ultra violet cured resin to create the face of the watch. The back plate of the watch can be custom engraved with their own personal brand on the back. Once the main components have been manufactured, participants then assemble the watch using manufactured parts together with pre-supplied components, e.g. the watch glass, setting crown and stem.

School pupils will gain appreciation of making an engineering product, one they can be proud of producing and regularly use. Importantly, they will gain this experience prior to their GCSE subject selections.

The programme has run pilot experiences at the Cambridge Science Festival in 2014 and with smaller groups of school pupils at Cranfield University. Both of these pilot programmes showed extremely high levels of engagement by the children.

The EPSRC Centre in Ultra Precision at Cranfield University is now continuing the development of this educational programme and the first Watch it Made® Manufacturing Learning Studio has been created at Cranfield. This will enable schools to bring groups of students to the studio where they can undertake the Watch it Made® experience. The website provides further details about the progamme and how schools can book to attend the Watch it Made® experience. To contact the Watch it Made® studio, please email: or visit the programme’s website to book an experience.

Download the Watch it Made Brochure Visit the Watch it Made Website