on February 11th, 2022

A whole week celebrating engineers is a welcome addition to the international calendar, culminating in World Engineering Day on 4 March.

Not only does Engineers Week shine a spotlight on what engineers do, but it also drives a lot of conversation to ensure, internationally, engineers and student engineers know what marvellous opportunities exist for them.

In 2022 the theme for the week is Reimagining the Possible! squarely placing engineering into a place to show that engineers are truly driving change in society. This leads to assumptions about the field, but Engineers Week shows the exciting side of engineering, whether it is in the build environment or in automation.

It’s a great time for all engineers to feel proud of what they do, and celebrate the changes engineers bring to their everyday lives. In 2022, EIT is joining World Engineers Day with a “Sustainability 5.0” panel discussion for which you can register here.

A previous Webinar EIT hosted on Sustainability 5.0.

A Day of Learning

On 4 March World Engineering Day multiple engineering organizations and education providers are creating online and face-to-face events. You can check the schedule on their website and possibly attend your local event, or participate in an online round table.

Picture: Unsplash

UNESCO is set to have a 24-hour live broadcast this year where engineers across the world will take part to show what they are doing, profile engineers in different regions and give insight into what engineers are doing across the world.

Check this live stream out on the 4th of March and register for access to the 24-hour broadcast register here.

The broadcast is set to be studio produced and does offer a full exploration of engineering topics. The event is hosted by the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) and its members and partners.

Featured events may include interviews, panel discussions, exhibitions and tours of the facilities, and even some light-hearted entertainment (engineering-related, of course).

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also places emphasis on where engineering can improve further.

Ensuring that future generations of engineers and scientists will be able to design solutions for local and global challenges is critical.

The organization believes that World Engineering Day helps raise awareness of the role of engineering, which can to mitigate climate change and advance sustainable development.

UNESCO also notes how important it is for more women engineers to join the ranks professionally since women only make up 10 to 20% of the engineering workforce globally.

In collaboration with Engineers Without Boarders International, we are excited this year to launch the World Engineering Day Hackathon.

According to UNESCO even women who graduate with engineering qualifications face gender stereotypes in the field or inadequate policies and educational environments that is not in line with their needs and aspirations.

Women on Top

To show how much women mean to the world of science, a lot of Engineers Week is focused on how to further advance female engineers.

Picture: Unsplash.

UNESCO with the UNWOMEN, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and Elevate Trust hosted International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022 on 11 February at the University of Zimbabwe.

The objective of the day was to highlight the roles of women scientists in solving water-related challenges in Southern Africa a presented a series of women in STEM talking about science and giving sage advice to the next generation of scientists from the region in Africa.

UNESCO believes some of the obstacles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development relies on harnessing all talent, and that translates to a need for more women working in STEM. Diversity in research expands the pool of talented researchers, bringing new perspectives, talent and creativity UNESCO concludes.

The second UNESCO Engineering Report, Engineering for Sustainable Development: Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, released last year pointed at the lack of diversity in the field and wants to ensure an inclusive and gender-balanced profession able to realize its full potential.

A recent paper How She Persisted: Working Women Engineers’ Experiences in and Perceptions of Engineering makes mention of changes that is happening to address diversity.

A key discussion is that with less support the women who do work in engineering are often there because they hold positive perceptions of the engineering field, and that contributes to their persistence.

Those positive perceptions are valuable.

Picture: Unsplash

On 24 February Discover Engineering (DiscoverE) will host its annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering event.

Some of the important work done by DiscoverE offers diverse studies that look at why women leave engineering and technology, but also looked at the women who persist in their careers.

DiscoverE has since released Despite the Odds: Young Women Who Persist in Engineering, a comprehensive literature review that shows that giving girls the chance to take part in meaningful engineering activities works. It builds girls’ interest, confidence and understanding of engineering. Women who stay the course say that often it is strong support that allows them to flourish in engineering.

At EIT, we are proudly leading the way in increasing gender diversity within the engineering profession. As of 2022, 45% of permanent academics at EIT are women. We are especially proud to have leadership positions filled by our female staff: Indumathi V. – Deputy Dean, Dr. Yuanyuan Fan – Course Coordinator, School of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Ana Evangelista – Course Coordinator, School of Civil & Structural Engineering. We believe that diversity in academia improves the overall teaching and research quality and in setting an example for showcasing the impact of women in science. Diversity is part of what makes EIT such a great place for students and staff alike.

This year world Engineering Day is focused on sustainability

On the day the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) aims to recognize the work engineers need to do, to address problems like climate change, technology development and innovation.

Some key areas engineers are encouraged to look at is access to clean accessible water, sanitation systems and affordable and reliable energy.

This all relates to how all engineering disciplines can come together to address seminal issues like:

Picture: Unsplash

1)            Effective pipeline systems

Oil transportation through pipelines is still the safest way to move this valuable resource.

Experts maintain that pipelines are still up to five times safer than transportation through railway systems. It’s invaluable that pipeline systems are then well run and effectively managed to ensure it is done in a way that is earth-friendly. Well-run and maintained pipelines require a clear grasp on the millions of kilometres of pipeline systems operating in the world today.

Strong skills in pipeline engineering give an in-depth understanding of applicable standards and specifications of pipeline design, operation and the importance of design aspects of these lines. Find a course in pipelines here.

2)            Renewable energy

Renewable energy is not only a buzzword, it is an essential component for future cities and ensuring natural resources aren’t squandered.

In fact, according to Earth Day switching fossil fuels for renewable energy like wind and solar power is the simplest and most effective way to lessen humanity’s carbon footprint.

A focus for engineers on the vocational application of renewable energy ensures they are part of the workforce that helps to restore the earth.

There’s a critical need for specialists in the field of renewable energy. Find a course here.

Virtual power plants could solve one of renewable energy’s most vexing challenges.
Photo by Nick Russill on Unsplash

3)            Biosolid management

Water maintenance is a key component in the environment, and this certificate ensures responsible and effective measures in managing wastewater and groundwater.

Biosolids in sewage have become a commodity, in that they can be used in a variety of ways including green roofs, construction and plant fertilization.

The treatment of biosolids and water management is important, as it not only affects climate change but also counteracts water pollution as well as air pollution.

It’s important that city workers, engineers and city planners understand available systems in managing sewage and water.

Find courses in sewage and biosolid management here.

Why we celebrate Engineers Week?

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951 Engineers Week is dedicated to ensuring diverse, educated and future-focused engineers that understand the world and also promote an interest in engineering and technology careers.

In 2022 Engineers Week is a formal coalition, with government, education institutions and engineering societies that come together to promote the field.

According to DiscoverE one of the organizations behind National Engineers Week promotion for younger minds many people don’t really know what engineers do.

In 2018 a study #EngineersWeek: Broadening our Understanding of Community Engagement through Analysis of Twitter Use during the National Engineers Week showed that the week manages to address limited understanding of engineering by engaging the public.

Its improved engineering and technology literacy, and allowed the public to participate in policymaking.

In even broader terms the week cultivated inventive approaches to addressing the problems engineers faced and spurred on economic competitiveness to find solutions.

A really good finding was that the week nurtured engineering education, allowed minority individuals to engage with engineering as a potential career choice and also allowed access to the STEM education ecosystem.

This is because Engineers Week goes hand-in-hand with workshops and activities across the world.

In 2021 and 2022 accessibility is even wider, since many programmers are offered online or through virtual engagement due to Covid-19 restrictions.

UNESCO says that in 2021 World Engineering Day had social media engagement that included 16,000 Hashtags and 115 registered events tied to engineering day.

Where to Celebrate

References:

Malik, Aqdas & Johri, Aditya & Karbasian, Habib & Handa, Rajat & Purohit, Hemant. (2018). #EngineersWeek: Broadening our Understanding of Community Engagement Through Analysis of Twitter Use During the National Engineers Week. 10.18260/1-2–29652.

United Nations, 2021. Energy efficiency and functional performance requirements for general service lamps. [online]  <https://www.U4E_Model-Regulation_GSL_Final_210201.pdf (united4efficiency.org)> [Accessed on 2 February 2022]

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