Integrating Formula SAE with the Engineering Curriculum 2005-01-1796
The Formula SAE competition (known as Formula Student in the UK) is well established and continues to be highly popular with engineering students. The annual United Kingdom competition bears witness to this enthusiasm with a strong turnout of a total of 84 teams, including 41 teams from the United Kingdom and 21 other nations represented in 2004. In 2004 some countries, including Japan, Australia and South Korea participated for the first time.
There are, for a university, significant implications of resource costs when running the Formula SAE project, mainly financial and time. Time costs in particular are acute with supervision time from university faculty groups and technicians (this latter being particularly intense). This investment needs justification in the light of other demands. In the longer term, the choice appears to be between a purely voluntary activity in which students participate for the experience and their career prospects or a highly regulated activity where all student participation is embedded in the curriculum.
We believe that the answer lies between these two extremes of either voluntary or highly regulated activity. The scheme can be integrated within the curriculum while the creation of the right working conditions and provision of working space will facilitate the extra commitment that the project needs. In this paper we will present the results of a research project into the educational aspects of Formula SAE in UK universities including Sussex where we have been exploring different structures to support the Formula SAE project. The research has covered the links between the project and the taught elements of the curriculum, the provision of facilities, the structure of the student team and the support provided by the university.