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Unit information: Research Project (Advanced Composites) in 2020/21

Unit name Research Project (Advanced Composites)
Unit code AENGM0007
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Hamerton
Open unit status Not open

Research Project Preparation (Advanced Composites)



School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The aim of the Research Project is to provide the student with the necessary skills to perform a critical and in-depth literature review, a research plan, and conduct novel research; these skills will be employed in the PhD phase (years 2-4). The report should present the state-of-the-art in the student’s chosen project field; comparing and contrasting results and methodology used in the referenced technical papers. The student should prepare a short plan incorporating recommendations for the full PhD project stage, to demonstrate the student’s ability to plan effectively. Each project is carried out under the supervision of at least two members of staff. Importance is given to the planning of the work programme, the setting and achievement of objectives, the presentation of the results of the work, and a work plan for the PhD phase. N.B. If the student opts for a new project then they will still be obliged to complete a project plan for the original short project topic.

Projects will be selected and allocated towards the end of Teaching Block 1; students are asked to specify two research themes (with one indicated as the main) and supply key words for the research topics of interest. Projects represent both academic and industrial collaborations and are supervised by at least two academic supervisors (at least one must be a core member of Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS) staff). The precise content of a project will vary between individual students and supervisors. However, the work to be performed will, in general, not be repeating known work or techniques, other than for comparing and contrasting different methods. In this way the student will be encountering new challenges and is encouraged to seek and propose his or her own solutions to these challenges and hence demonstrate individual research ability.

Students will complete a literature review in the field on their proposed research topic, which will be assessed formatively in the unit by the project supervisor. The empirical project commences directly after the summer exams in June and the final submission of the report will take place in August/September. Following the successful completion of this unit, the student may opt to continue with topic to the PhD phase or has the opportunity to change their project path at the end of the short project.

Aims of the unit:

  • To provide the opportunity for an original piece of research work of engineering relevance at Master’s level.
  • To develop project management skills.
  • To develop communication skills, reasoning skills, originality and creativity in problem solving.
  • Students are also expected to maintain a high standard of record keeping and management of information through an individual logbook.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. undertake an original research activity;
  2. plan and prepare a concise, written technical report in the format of a journal paper;
  3. deliver an oral presentation on the technical subject, including responding to questions and tailoring technical and specialist knowledge and information to a broader audience;
  4. adopt a high standard of record keeping and management of information.

Teaching details

Ongoing project supervision provided by project supervisor(s).

Assessment Details

Formative Assessments:

  • Literature review
  • Draft report
  • Logbook: submitted as evidence of student working practices and information management - best practice feedback reviewed by supervisor throughout project and CDT staff after project completion (ILO 1 and 4).

Summative Assessments:

  • 60% - Report: 15 pages, including references, in the format of an appropriate journal paper and comprising the literature review (ILO 1, ILO 2, ILO 4).
  • 40% - Presentation: delivered to mixed audience of academics and the CDT cohort (ILO1, ILO 3).

Reading and References

Students will search the literature for appropriate reference sources depending on their individual choice of project and discuss these periodically in face-to-face meetings with their chosen project supervisor(s), who will supply/advise on additional references.