Dame Kate Bingham DBE was interviewed recently for NMITE where she talked about her experience chairing the Vaccine Task Force (VTF); the similarities she sees between that and the way NMITE will be working; the need for more women in engineering and the impact she thinks NMITE will achieve in the future.
Describing leading the VTF as “manic but great fun” and a “heroic and astonishing collaboration between industry, academia, governments, regulators, scientists and manufacturing”, Kate explains how virtual meetings helped enormously in terms of running the programme. Her team, many of whom she has still yet to meet, set a record in terms of time taken from the date the original virus or pathogenic agent was identified to the point at which a vaccine was approved. The previous record was for measles, identified in 1953 with a vaccine being approved in 1963.
In a frank and honest interview, Kate who is a great supporter of NMITE, talks about the shortage of women in technology and engineering and her own role as a woman leading a team of talented women and men. Kate explains that she, like many women, questions her own confidence “I still don’t have the same sort of brash confidence of a man. If I’m asked to do something, I will look at all the reasons why I can’t do it rather than the reasons I can. Obviously, I don’t say that to my daughters and the people with whom I work. I push them and say, ‘Of course, you can do this’, and you just get on with it.”
Kate also pays tribute to the role of engineers in the vaccine process: “Engineers, are always behind the scenes. You don’t see them, but you couldn’t make the drugs if you didn’t have engineers. We need to manufacture the drugs. We’ve got to bottle them, put them in vials. We’ve got to do all the experimental work to actually validate them. All of that needs engineers and yet engineers are not shouting from the rooftops saying, “Look at what we’re doing.”
The key parallel that Kate describes between running the VTF and NMITE’s way of working is partnership, “NMITE will be working with local and national businesses to solve real-world problems and to do so quickly. We have a massive climate challenge facing us globally. And the sooner we can come up with game-changing new ideas and products, the sooner we’re going to be able to start limiting the damage that we’re doing to the earth.”
Commenting on how she believes NMITE will have an impact in the education world, Kate said, “I think it will change the way that teaching is delivered. This idea of very intense periods to solve real world problems in a practical way is a much better way of teaching, rather than learning over the course of a year by going to lectures. I think there will be a shift in how teaching of these practical subjects is delivered. I hope that we will end up with more innovation and that’s ultimately what we want. We want to provide new solutions to improve the way we live our lives.”
NMITE believes role models like Kate Bingham will inspire a new generation of future engineers who Kate describes as “innovators and change-makers”. Other events and speakers will be featured in NMITE’s Summer of Discovery programme running across the summer months.
For more information on NMITE’s Summer of Discovery with new events being added, visit: https://nmite.ac.uk/summerofdiscovery
To watch the interview with Kate Bingham, please visit: https://nmite.ac.uk/blog/2021/07/nmite-dame-kate-bingham-dbe
Notes to editors
Media contacts :
Joanna Dodd, Claire Russell, Ashley Miln, Jo Williams, Rochester PR Group
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NMITE’s vision is to deliver a different model of engineering higher education developing work-ready, talented engineers. It aims to recruit a diverse cohort, including learners who may not have considered engineering as a career. These learners won’t be studying engineering, instead they’ll be learning how to become engineers. NMITE’s curriculum brings the engineering disciplines together and integrates the liberal arts and the interpersonal skills needed by today’s employers to tackle the world’s problems.
NMITE is supported by engineering businesses, the Herefordshire community, Herefordshire Council, Olin College of Engineering (USA), professional engineering bodies and the UK Government, which awarded up to £23million in initial funding. £8million of this funding was awarded by the Marches LEP via its Growth Deal with Government with details provided in two separate announcements in October and November 2019 regarding our redesigned city centre location, Blackfriars, and the building of a new campus Centre on Hereford’s Enterprise Zone, Skylon Park. A further £400k was awarded (March 2020) to enhance an additional building on the Blackfriars site and, in August 2020, £1.6m to accelerate the delivery of the Centre for Automated Manufacture (Skylon Park) in response to the Government’s call for projects that can be brought forward to stimulate the economy.
NMITE was inaugurated on 19 October 2018, was listed in the register of English higher education providers by the Office for Students (OfS) in August 2020 and in November 2020 received validation by The Open University, the UK’s largest academic institution and a world leader in flexible distance learning, which means that NMITE can undertake recruitment of its Pioneer Cohort for September 2021. The long-term goal is to be educating 5,000 students.
Applications to NMITE are now open via UCAS and direct via www.nmite.ac.uk for students wishing to start in September 2021 or January 2022.