Skip to main content

Unit information: Uncertainty and Risk Management in 2021/22

Unit name Uncertainty and Risk Management
Unit code MENGM0038
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Booker
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The course comprises a series of lectures supported by case studies and examples designed to expose the student to the principles and practice of modern techniques used in Uncertainty and Risk Management. The course is given in five blocks covering:

1. Introduction: risk categories and the nature of risk and uncertainty; definitions used, measures and examples of different types of uncertainty and risk, costs related to quality and reliability, uncertainty in costs, auditing of costs, and roles and responsibilities of different actors, models for reducing uncertainty and risk in different product development/project phases; risk perception and socio-technical aspects of risk.

2. Techniques for Risk & Reliability Management: presents failure modes, causes and their mitigation, relationship to components, assemblies and systems, weak links, the recommended actions and planning for mitigation, lessons learned approaches, and examples.

3. Techniques for Quality Management: introduction to the standards of quality, Quality Management Systems and the Total Quality Management as a business approach, quality tools & techniques.

4. Techniques for Uncertainty Management: provides techniques for data handling, distribution fitting and tests of fit, correlation of variables, as well as hypothesis testing (F, t, χ2) with an overview of Monte Carlo Simulation and Sensitivity Analysis. Relevant standards also introduced.

5. Applications: domains for using the above methods and techniques.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, participants should be able to (mnemonic references are to Engineering Council AHEP categories):

  1. Through practice, gain an in-depth knowledge of the available techniques in uncertainty management, their theoretical development, purpose and integration in product, process and project development. (SM7M)
  2. Identify, quantify, analyse and utilise data for the purposes of making informed decisions to reduce uncertainty and for risk mitigation. (EA7M)(EL13M)
  3. Investigate and scrutinise the benefits that can accrue from the use of different techniques and the potential implementation issues and limitations to support their selection. (D9M)
  4. Devise appropriate methodologies composed from the various techniques to facilitate decision making in future projects. (SM9M)

Together with other units in the teaching block this unit will contribute to the ability of participants to:

  1. Create an effective engineering team and exercise initiative and personal responsibility in project delivery. (P11m)
  2. Generate an innovative design or design critique for products, systems, components or processes to fulfil new needs (D11M)

Teaching details

The unit will be delivered using lectures taught by academic staff, small group activities using case studies as vehicles for learning, a lab session on statistical process control. All learning materials will be made available to students in advance via Blackboard. A reflective log will be kept as part of the Global Challenge Project.

Assessment Details

  • Timed assessment at the end of the year (70%) (ILO 1-4)
  • Global Challenge Project (30%): Group report, viva and individual reflective log exploring real-world multidisciplinary engineering project and applying tools/techniques of uncertainty and risk management (ILO5, 6) (see separate description info_Global_Challenge_Project.doc)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MENGM0038).