Professor Peter Gardner

It has been another successful and extremely busy year for the Department of EESE. As in every other walk of life, everything has been made more challenging by the complications of the pandemic lockdown, and I am very proud of the way everyone in the Department has pulled together to continue our teaching and research activities. This has enabled our final year undergraduate students to graduate, our non-final year students to progress and our students on postgraduate taught programmes to carry out their projects. In addition, we have continued to grow and develop our portfolio of research projects and capabilities.

We are in the process of relocating to new premises. Already this year the Smart Grid Lab of the Electrical Power Systems Group has moved in to a specially refurbished space in what was the Mechanical and Civil Engineering Building (although pre-1960 alumni may still think of this as the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Building, so that in a sense this facility has returned home). The nationally unique THz vector network analyser facility and the Emerging Device Technology Group’s RF, Microwave and THz labs have also moved to brand new labs within that building, adjoining the new clean room suite which combines together and enhances the capabilities of the old EDT clean room in the Gisbert Kapp Building with the Mechanical Engineering clean room into a new state-of-the art facility for the fabrication of cutting edge electronic filters, antennas, sensors and biomechanical devices.

Other EESE research activities currently located in the Gisbert Kapp Building will be moving to purpose-built labs in the brand new School of Engineering Building. This will include the radar and remote sensing activities of MISL group, and will feature a new electromagnetic anechoic chamber for antenna measurements into the mm-wave region. The Space Environment and Radio Engineering Group (SERENE), with its expanding activities in space weather, will also be moving to the new building.

We will be retaining two notable footholds in the Gisbert Kapp Building. The roof lab area has been carefully protected as an electromagnetically quiet zone for many decades, and we will continue to use this for MISL’s expanding radar research activity. In addition, about 50 years after the iconic radar dish was mounted on the Gisbert Kapp roof, we will be installing a new radar system. This will be a high performance staring array radar, facilitating new research into new air-traffic control and wildlife protection issues associated with the expected rise in drone usage in urban environments. The work also has strong links to the work of the UK Quantum Technology Hub. We will also be continuing to use the tank lab in the basement of the Gisbert Kapp Building, for underwater communications and sensing research.

Equality, diversity and widening participation continue to be vital issues for us as we seek to bring the benefits of an electronic, electronic and systems engineering degree education broader and more diverse groups of students. Significant developments for us in this area include our Catalyst programme with South and City College and University College Birmingham, our partnership in the new Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology, our successful bid for NCATI and of course the School of Engineering’s success in achieving an Athena Swan award.

I hope that the above snapshots have given you a sense of the diverse and exciting activities continuing in EESE, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the newsletter. We look forward to an exciting year ahead as we return to as near as possible to normal operations, embracing the opportunities and challenging of more on-line teaching, completing the move to the new building and continuing to grow our research.

And finally, a big thank you to those of you who have kindly volunteered with the Department over the last academic year. This includes mentoring our students, advisory board members, offering careers advice and professional expertise, and featuring at Open Days. Thank you, you've made a real impact here. If you'd like to get involved too, please get in touch with our Alumni Relations Manager, Grace Surman on

Best wishes

Peter Gardner
Head of Department

Read the 2020 EESE Alumni Newsletter here.