Global environmental challenges are among the most pressing social and economic issues we face today. And while engineers are often the source of needed inventions and solutions, engineering can inadvertently generate new problems through the products, structures and services that are designed, built, distributed, consumed and thrown away.
There is momentum and demand to instill sustainability and environmental and social considerations as core tenets of the engineering profession. Providing all engineers with the skills and knowledge to develop innovative solutions without negative impact on people and the planet will require a multi-disciplinary approach. Higher education faculty, leaders and institutions need resources and tools to support the scale and urgency of the curricular transformation that is required.
Mobilized by The Lemelson Foundation and VentureWell, the Engineering for One Planet (EOP) initiative is building a coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to the ambitious goal of creating systems change in engineering education. The EOP initiative mobilizes a global community of hundreds of collaborators and advocates who have the expertise and leadership to institute that change, including stakeholders from academia, industry, philanthropy, government and nonprofits, and an Advisory Group composed of highly accomplished engineering professionals and academics, and that will also include student voices.
Together they have developed a draft framework that aligns with the US engineering accreditation body ABET and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help guide the curricular changes needed to ensure every future engineer can excel in their profession while operating within our planetary constraints.
Faculty from five universities – Arizona State University, Oregon State University, University of Central Florida, University of Maryland, Villanova University – will pilot the integration of the EOP framework into their courses and programs.