Engineering education & sustainability

Engineering education for a sustainable society.

Principal applicant: Martin Crapper

Team members:

  • Dr Martin Gillie
  • Dr Tim Stratford
  • Dr Luke Bisby
  • Dr Jane Blackford
  • Dr Eirini Theofanidou


Finding sustainable solutions when developing engineering infrastructure is of critical importance to today's society. Sustainable development requires engineers to be able to incorporate qualitative social and ethical aspects with quantitative technical, economic and environmental factors. It has been shown that many students find applying both qualitative and quantitative dimensions to problem solving particularly difficult (Walsh et aL,2007); they tend instead to compartmentalise these two types of knowledge and apply only one or the other when solving problems (Sabella, 1999). Funding is sought to trial innovative teaching methods, specifically a combination of Case Method and Socratic Dialogue Method, to help undergraduate engineering students develop an ability to find solutions to design problems that have both qualitative and quantitative dimensions.

If successful this approach will be rolled out into other areas of undergraduate teaching in Civil Engineering, helping to develop engineers with the skills necessary to produce sustainable designs in contexts with complex interaction of social, ethical, environmental and economic aspects.

Final Project Report

Project outputs

Special mention received in, 'The Global Dimension in Engineering Education' 1st European award for best practices for the integration of Sustainable Human Development into technology and engineering education, with proposal entitled, 'Sustainable Human Development in Mainstream Undergraduate Engineering Education'.