Dr John Robertson-Begg

Position: Senior Academic

College: College of Engineering and Technology

Department: Engineering

Subject area: Engineering

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I have been the University of Derby for over 17 years and currently hold the role of Senior Academic. Currently I am programme leader for two masters programmes:

  • MSc Innovative Engineering Solutions
  • MSc Professional Engineering

The main emphasis on Innovative Solutions is graduate employability. It was developed as part of a HEFCE Funded Postgraduate Student Support Scheme (PSS). The stdents graduating from the programme have excellent employability.

The Professional Engineering Programme was developed as part of the Engineering Gateways scheme and prepares students for professional registration at CEng level. They study workbased learning modules.

I teach modules on both programmes and I also contribute to undergraduate modules in the College of Engineering.

Teaching responsibilities

I am module leader for:

  • Innovative Solutions
  • Applied Research Methods in Engineering
  • Engineering Solutions Professional Practice

and module tutor for

  • Negotiated Advanced Technical Module
  • Neogtiated Module (Environmental and Ethical Responsibility)
  • CPD and Strategic Management
  • Negotiated Module (Technical and Commercial Leadership)
  • Negotiated Module (Innovation in Technology)
  • Negotiated Module (Solve Engineering Problems)
  • Independent Scholarship (Technology)
  • Project Management and Team Leadership

Professional interests

My background is the cast metals industry. I have expertise in computer aided selection of materials and processes using Cambridge Engineering Selector software and in failure analysis.

My main interest at the moment is TRIZ which is a Russian devised problem solving methodology. I am interested in its application to problem solving in different areas. I would be delighted to link up with companies and other organisations this area. In particular I can run short courses in the subject tailored to individual company/business requirements.

I am preparing students for a JISC challenge due to take place in May 2016 where we will use TRIZ techniques to help in the development of a new product to assist student learning.

Research interests

My PhD investigated the application of squeeze casting to the production of zinc-aluminium alloys and composites. For several years I worked on many cast metals projects involving alloying, heat treatment, and processing.

My current research interests are in the application of TRIZ methodology to different discipline areas. I am trying to demystify the various tools (at least 10 of them) into a unified methodology. In particular I am interested in whether the contradiction matrix is applicable over different subject areas.

My other interests are  in computer-aided materials selection and failure analysis and also the application of TRIZ to these areas.

Membership of professional bodies

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers. I have been a Chartered Engineer since 1998. 


  • BTech(Hons) Metallurgical Engineering and Management, Loughborough University 1980
  • MSc Terotechnology, Manchester University 1982
  • PhD Metallurgical Processing, Loughborough University 1992
  • MBA Open University 1996
  • Certificate of Professional Practice in HE. University of Derby 2001
  • TRIZ Champion - Oxford Creativity 2014 

Recent publications

February 2015 Book Chapter.

Development of non-Technical Skills Required by Future Global Practitioners in MSE and Corrosion Engineering. Chapter in Handbook of Research on Recent Developments in Materials Science and Corrosion Engineering Education

Hwee Ling Lim (Editor) (The Petroleum Institute, UAE) Release Date: February, 2015. Copyright © 2015. 493 pages.

Recent conferences

September 2013 Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD13), Cambridge. Paper Presentation.

April 2014 Materials Education Symposium Cambridge. Oral Presentation

July 2014 Failure Analysis Conference, Lisbon Oral Presentation.

April 2016 Materials Education Symposium Cambridge. Poster Presentation. Finding innovative solutions to engineering problems using CES and TRIZ.

Experience in industry

I worked in the investment casting industry, the steel industry, the manufacturing industry and also for a research association and a professional body.

In total this accounts to 11 years experience in different aspects of engineering from process optimisation, industrial development, and organising a World Technical Seminar. I presented papers in the UK and America. I also visited Ukraine on a castings-related consultancy trip.

International experience

I travelled to Kuwait as part of my teaching duties.

I have been involved in the setting up and management of an international collaboration between the University of Derby and Mediterranean College in Athens. I led the validation of two programmes:

BSc(Hons) Mechanical Engineering

BSc(Hons) Civil Engineering and Construction.

I carried out site visits, wrote documentation and managed the Progammes for 2 years from 2012-2014 where I was involved in monitoring visits.

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