Tackling engineering excellence on the rugby pitch: Dyson’s undergraduates pass their knowledge to Bath Rugby
15th June, 2023
In the Spring, Bath Rugby wing, Will Muir, visited the Dyson campus in Malmesbury, to meet with Dyson Institute Undergraduate Engineers and learn all about how he can gain an engineering edge on the pitch. Muir studied engineering before pursuing a career in rugby and the Dyson Institute saw this as a perfect opportunity to combine two of his interests.
Dyson has partnered with Bath Rugby since 2014 and continues to show a long-term commitment to the club, sharing a joint focus on resilience, discipline, learning from failure and a determination to be the best while nurturing young talent.
The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology is unlike any other higher education institution.
It aims to develop the best engineers in the world by combining rigorous academic programmes with work on future Dyson products – giving Undergraduates real responsibility from day one. Embracing best practice for quality in learning and teaching, rigorously uphold academic standards and offering individualised experiences. With over 150 undergraduates enrolled in a 4-year programme, Will Muir’s visit gave students an opportunity to apply their engineering knowledge outside of the set curriculum to topics such as elite sports.
Will Muir, Bath Rugby wing said: “I think the Dyson Institute is such a unique opportunity for people to come and do the theory and lectures, and then transfer that into working with Dyson. I'd definitely have applied, whether I'd have got in or not is a different matter!"
In collaboration with a group of Undergraduate Engineers, Dyson Institute Lecturer Javad Taghipour devised a special day diving into the mechanical engineering principles that can be applied to rugby. This included designing miniature wind turbines and using them to investigate key principles such as aerodynamics and fluid dynamics, with Muir adding his on-the-pitch experience to bring these theories to life.
Following this, a student presented their own summaries in relation to various existing research papers. This included the mechanical forces at play during a rugby tackle, predicting who would win a tackle, and how the design of a rugby ball balances aerodynamic shape with ensuring good grip for the players. Muir then shared his on the pitch experiences, giving the students valuable insight into how he has evolved as a player and his own stories of tackling and passing in a matchday environment.
On the tour of the campus, the group visited the onsite gym for some passing practice and rugby tips. Muir gave some tips on how to pass accurately and encouraging the students to make mistakes and take risks.
Muir said: “You can spend time in training looking at what the perfect pass looks like, or the optimum angle of a tackle, but without spending time on the pitch, taking tackles and making split second decisions in the moment you can’t expect to perform at your best. You need both to succeed, and I think the same applies here in engineering too.”
Muir finished off his day with a tour of our research, design, and development labs to get a behind-the-scenes look at how we design develop and test products. Reflecting on the day as whole Muir identified the similarities between Dyson’s determination to produce the best products, and Bath’s goal in training to be the best players on the field come matchday.
“What a fantastic day! It was a pleasure to meet Will Muir and gain an insight into the mechanics behind aspects of rugby. Opportunities like this have made my time at the Dyson Institute a brilliant experience already.” Said Dhruv Bhavsar, first year Undergraduate Engineer
The day was made possible by a highly engaged group of Undergraduate Engineers, who all embody the Dyson Institute values of; curiosity, a passion for engineering and a willingness to collaborate and learn. Seeing the students connect their own interest in rugby with their work and studies in engineering alongside Muir demonstrated all the values that make the Dyson Institute a truly unique and engaging place to learn, work and study.