Prof. Dr. William M Megill
Prof William Megill is both an engineer and a biologist, whose research interest is in what goes on underwater, specifically in the coastal and riverine environments, where life is complicated.
His group designs and builds propulsors and sensors which they incorporate into small submersibles and boats, then field test in open water. Many of their designs draw their inspiration from the animals which live and thrive in rivers and the coastal zone.
Alongside the engineering research and development work, Prof Megill and his group are interested in the ecology of the environments their robots are built to study. The fieldwork is done all over the world, starting with the Spoy Canal in front of the lab, and heading out into the Baltic, the Scottish Islands, and the Pacific Ocean. The group has close links with groups in Mexico, Scotland, Wales, Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Canada.
Like his research, Prof Megill's teaching is also multidisciplinary. He teaches several courses on bionics as part of the MSc in Bionics and the BSc in Science Communication and Bionics. His philosophy is very much to encourage and guide the students' experiential learning, so his courses are always accompanied by laboratory exercises. Outside the bionics degrees, he helps teach design, particularly the practical aspects of making a drawing come to life.
Outside the curriculum, Prof Megill is the driving force behind the University's ENSPIRE teams, which design and build machines to take part in international competitions at venues all around the world. The HSRW submarine team has been the flagship so far of ENSPIRE, but Rhine-Waal Racing has now begun building the university's first ever electric formula racing car, and other teams are gearing up to enter their own competitions this year.