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The 2016 Alumni Weekend at the Department of Engineering Science

This year, during the University of Oxford’s tenth Alumni Weekend anniversary, the Department of Engineering Science main lecture theatre was full for two fascinating lectures on biomedical engineering. Engineering alumni as well as those from other subjects and non-alumni were treated to two stimulating talks on ‘Digital Health’ and ‘Engineering Tomorrow’s Therapies’. The talks were preceded by an update from the Head of Department on the 2020 Vision for Engineering Science in Oxford and this year’s Oxford Engineering Alumni (OEA) Annual General Meeting.

Alumni Weekend 2016I found the AGM and subsequent lectures to be most interesting.  As an Engineering Science alumnus who was not fully aware of the current activities and priorities within the faculty, I was most impressed with the recent achievements that Professor Tarassenko told us about.  This was particularly so in relation to the recent increase in the profile of Engineering Science at Oxford that has been made possible by the efforts that have been made to attract funding from industry’.  Alumnus (Pembroke, 1968)

‘The lectures were well presented, surprisingly easy to follow and relevant to a medical practitioner, especially that which dealt with the application of everyday digital technology to achieve improvements in healthcare both at hospital, in the surgery and at home.  We hope to attend similar events in the future’. General Practitioner.

‘A great opportunity to learn about the state of the art biomedical engineering research at Oxford. Basing the engineers on the medical campus is obviously working well’. Alumnus (Magdalen, 1979)

‘Congratulations on an excellent day.  The lectures were outstanding and the enthusiasm generated has resulted in an over subscription of alumni wishing to join the OEA committee!’ Martyn Hurst (Merton, 1962), OEA President (outgoing) and formerly Messier-Dowty, Dowty Aerospace and British Airways.

‘I was last in the 'Engineering Block' back in 1973 and was keen to hear more about the name change from SOUE to OEA or Oxford Engineering Alumni. I was impressed to learn how Engineering is taking a centre stage at Oxford under the current head Lionel Tarassenko - maybe then a time for more of us alumni to 'get involved' !’ John Carter (Keble, 1969) recently joined as a member of the OEA committee.

Fascinating lectures on the latest in biomedical engineering…

Professor Constantin CoussiosThe annual Jenkin Lecture was given by Professor Constantin Coussios, the Department’s Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Fellow of Magdalen College. Professor Coussios’s talk explored how multi-disciplinary engineering approaches are changing clinical practice. From applications of fluid mechanics and control engineering to organ preservation, and from ultrasonic waves and bubbles to oncological drug delivery and spinal surgery, engineering can play a key role in developing tomorrow’s therapies.

Professor Coussios received his BA, MEng and PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge and was elected to the first statutory chair in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford in 2011, with special responsibility for drug delivery and therapeutic devices. Supported by an EPSRC programme grant, he recently launched the £10m Oxford Centre for Drug Delivery Devices and will serve as the Director of the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering from October 2016. In 2008, he was one of two academic founders of the Oxford University spin-out OrganOx Ltd., which has developed a novel normothermic perfusion device for improved liver and kidney preservation prior to transplantation. In 2014, he was the lead academic founder of OxSonics Ltd, which is developing a new generation of ultrasound-based medical devices for drug delivery and minimally invasive surgery.


The Jenkin Lecture can be viewed on video via the link below.

Professor Lionel TarassenkoProfessor Lionel Tarassenko, Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Head of the Department of Engineering Science and Fellow of St John’s College, gave his lecture on ‘Digital Health - wearables, smartphones and machine learning’. Although digital technologies are making a huge impact on most sectors which affect our daily lives, from communications and entertainment to transport and aerospace, this is much less so the case in healthcare. Digital solutions in general are built around a combination of sensors, computing platforms, algorithms and databases. Professor Tarassenko’s talk showed how the combination of novel sensors (including wearables and webcams), smartphones and computer tablets, machine learning algorithms and the increasing availability of large-scale clinical trial data is giving Oxford engineers and their clinical colleagues an unprecedented opportunity to apply the benefits of digital technologies to healthcare.

The ‘Digital Health’ lecture can be viewed on video via the link below.

Jenkin LectureJenkin Lecture 2016 Video

Digital HealthDigital Health 2016 Video

The AGM - Oxford Engineering Alumni (OEA)

At this year’s AGM alumni gained a unique insight into the progress the Department has made over the last 12 months. Professor Tarassenko’s highlights included:

  • The Department’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize
  • The 42nd Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture given by the first female speaker - Lauri Hansen, Director of Engineering at the NASA Johnson Space Centre
  • Professor Eleanor Stride (IBME) selected as one of the top 50 influential women in engineering 2016.

Martyn Hurst, OEA PresidentThe outgoing President of the OEA, Martyn Hurst, launched the new annual OEA prize for the best overall student to present their 4th Year Project during the Department’s Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture event (held in May each year and judged by alumni). The overall winner will be invited to deliver a 15-minute lecture about their project at the Alumni Weekend (in September each year) and receive a prize of £500.

The incoming President of the OEA will be Professor Roderick Smith, formerly Chief Scientific Advisor Department for Transport and Past President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

We want to hear from alumni who want to ‘get involved’

Professor Tarassenko said: ‘The Department would be delighted to hear from alumni who can offer their time and expertise as mentors for undergraduates or who are able to offer internships for students on our newly launched EEM (Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Management) course option in the third and fourth years’.

If you are interested in ‘getting involved’ please e-mail:

Professor Tarassenko’s update on his 2020 Vision and the AGM can be viewed on video via the link below.

2020 Vision Update2020 Vision Update Video

The Day in pictures - catching up with friends and students over drinks and canapés

Our thanks to members of the Oxford Engineering Alumni (OEA), formerly Society of Oxford University Engineers (SOUE), students and staff who helped to make this such a special and memorable day, and to all alumni and non-alumni who attended.