Statements by Member Academies prepared during May - August 2002
At the CAETS Council meeting in Helsinki on June 11, 2001, a discussion of Engineering and the Public/Public Understanding of Engineering brought forth comments and concerns from most member academies. Several concerns were mentioned, among them the need for more students studying and entering engineering, the need for a better-informed voting public, and the need for better communications between the engineering community and the public. Each concern was held by several member academies.
As this is a subject of common concern to most member academies, the CAETS Council meeting on August 27, 2002, at Prague included an extended discussion of this subject. To improve the usefulness of that discussion, each member academy was asked to prepare a brief summary, not more than two-pages, noting its areas of concern regarding public understanding /awareness of engineering, recently completed, current, and near-term future efforts responding to these concerns, successes and failures in these efforts, and other comments that may be of interest to other member academies.
Statements of Member Academies
EA CR Czech Republic
RAEng, United Kingdom
NAE, United States
ANI, National Academy of Engineering of Argentina
National Engineering Academies, in addition to their specific functions of promoting the development of knowledge; discussing and disseminating leading-edge issues and trends involving their professional activity; and those dealing with research and advice to other governmental and private institutions; as well as rewarding the achievements of engineers and engineering students deserving special recognition, are in a privileged position and have a special responsibility to contribute to the public understanding of the engineering activity. To achieve this, they are assisted by their Academy and their members’ prestige, and the additional advantage represented by the different specializations of their members, which allows them to encompass and represent the complete range of engineering, from experiences to excellence views over and above sectorial interests.
The National Academy of Engineering of Argentina has traditionally exercised this dissemination function by holding public activities and technical meetings, either dealing with specific leading-edge issues, or the incorporation of new Academy members, or to award prizes to those contributing to the progress of engineering or to the top graduates of the different engineering schools or learning institutions of the country. Likewise, it has published and distributed in academic media and among engineering organizations, bulletins and books transcribing special reports, conferences, papers, proceedings and conclusions arrived at in Congresses, Symposiums and panels. On the other hand, it has promoted joint meetings with the Education Academy and others of a scientific nature.
However, public repercussion of these activities has not been as wide as desirable and massive media only gave them minimal treatment.
The National Academy of Engineering of Argentina (ANI), is concerned to improve the understanding by, and interaction with, the different engineering, technological and scientific sectors; with engineering students and those in high-school close to defining their future university careers; with other professionals; with decision-makers in the production and government sectors; and with public opinion in general. To this end, ANI - inspired by the debates at CAETS and by the programs of the National Academy of Engineers of the U.S.A.- has charged its International Relations Committee to prepare an Action Plan, which would be initiated with the following activities:
1. Structuring and expanding its WEB site (www.acadning.org.ar) and publicizing it as well as updating it with bi-monthly bulletins distributed by e-mail that should regularly reach all interested groups and organizations within and outside the engineering sphere, including communications media.
2. Develop among high-school students, and with the help of other Academies and professional engineering associations, a broad direct action plan for the dissemination of engineering and technology, its drive for achievement within the framework of its scientific rigorousness, creativity and innovation; of the standards governing the ethics of their profession and citizenship; of their environmental and social responsibility, and of their service function as an essential tool for strategic planning, for technological developments that generate added value and competitive growth, and for the support and promotion of a territorial order; the improvement of physical infrastructure and services and the consequent expansion of productive activities and research work; and substantially contributing to a sustainable and equitable socio-economic development.
3. Compilation, selection and later dissemination of most significant Argentine engineering achievements (jobs, systems, processes, products) as of 1870, when the first engineer complete his studies in Buenos Aires.
4. Initiation of scheduled contacts with specialized journalists of the different communications media, as a preliminary step towards a broader engineering marketing plan that cannot be developed at this time due to financial limitations.
An exchange of ideas and experiences with other academies, as well as CAETS information support, will be very important for the success of this program.
ATSE, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Promoting the Engineering Profession
The principal object of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) is to “promote in Australia the application of scientific and engineering knowledge to practical purposes.” While ATSE does not directly promote individual professions, it collaborates with relevant professional institutes in matters of mutual interest. The main professional engineering body with which ATSE collaborates, The Institution of Engineers, Australia (IEAust), has the promotion of the engineering profession in Australia as one of its major objectives.
In 1995-96, ATSE joined with IEAust and the Australian Council of Engineering Deans (ACED) to sponsor a review engineering education. The ensuing report, entitled “Changing the Culture: Engineering Education into the Future”, has provided the basis for restructuring professional engineering courses and accreditation processes in Australia over the past five years. A tripartite IEAust/ATSE/ACED committee monitors progress in implementation.
ATSE President Tim Besley and IEAust Past-President, Martin Cole are members of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, the peak body advising the Prime Minister and senior cabinet members on important national SET matters. Engineering was recognized as an important partner with science through renaming of the original Prime Minister’s Science Council several years ago (- “Innovation” was added later). This body has proved to be an extremely valuable source of advice to government on the important role engineering plays in national well-being. Minister of Science, Peter McGauran has recently referred to “engineering (being) well and truly an influence on Government policy” and “rightly tak(ing) its place on the Government and economic agendas – not to mention social, environmental, medical – all of the aspirations and ambitions of society are wound up in engineering.” These are landmark statements in the long course of seeking better understanding and recognition of engine
ering by Australian government. Concerted pressure over recent years has resulted in the regular insertion of the “E” to convert S&T to SET in government documents ; this is slowly being picked up in the print media. There is also developing understanding of the important relationship between “generators” and “translators” of intellectual capital and their roles in the innovation process.
At the wider community level, however, understanding of the differences between science, engineering and technology remains very limited and confused, with engineering more often than not considered as being part of science or even of technology, while ‘technology’ is frequently misused to refer specifically to IT. The mass media also have a generally poor grasp of the role of engineering ; attempts to correct misunderstandings are not well coordinated. This requires the ongoing joint attention of IEAust, ATSE and ACED.
Community education starts at the school level. ATSE is conducting an investigation into the teaching of science and technology studies in primary schools (K-6). It has been working with IEAust on a proposal to develop an on-line national inventory of technology education resource material and has been a partner in the development of the AVEL virtual engineering library. www.avel.edu.au
The national professional engineering body, IEAust (www.ieaust.org.au ), promotes the engineering profession in a number of ways:
? Through its Policy Unit, whose key role is to assist in elevating the image of engineering by influencing government actions and putting forward the Institution’s position to the wider community (including commerce, industry, educational institutions, etc) on engineering and technology issues. The Unit has an ongoing strategy to raise the profile of engineers and the contribution engineering makes to Australia’s economic, social and physical environment. The aim is to increase IEAust’s credibility to the degree that governments seek comment or advice from IEAust on all matters concerned with engineering or having an engineering dimension. A successful meeting (‘Connecting Engineers with Government’) was held earlier this year to brief Federal parliamentarians on engineering matters. The annual ‘Engineering Week’ program aims to promote the benefits that engineering brings to the Australian way of life and put a human face to the profession. www.ieaust.org.au/./events/eng_week.html
? Through its Schools Engineering Outreach Program (K-12) - a promotional strategy based on a need to influence children’s awareness of engineering and technology and for children to think of engineering as a career choice from an early age; careers information (see www.ieaust.org.au/careers/index.html ); school resources covering contemporary engineering topics; and projects to engage and challenge students. Included are: a primary schools resources kit; cd-roms (“Engineering our Future” and “Engineers make it happen”) ; and games (see www.ieaust.org.au/./about_us/divisions/nt/info_schools.html ); also a volunteer speakers program and text of a talk (‘Engineering is for you’) that can be used by speakers.
? By promoting engineering excellence and achieving due recognition of the valuable contribution engineers and engineering make to the community, through awards programs which identify, recognise and reward outstanding achievement, eminence in the practice of engineering and conspicuous service to the profession and the Australian people. An annual program of Engineering Excellence Awards is run at state and national levels.
? Through provision of accreditation of professional engineering degree programs. IEAust is a founding member of the Washington Accord.
? Through support to the Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AaeE) as a Society of IEAust. (www.pchost.com.au/aaee/ )
? Through its monthly publication Engineers Australia (www.engaust.com.au ), which provides reports on engineering activities, achievements and issues in a non-technical way.
? Through a trial media campaign “Raising our professional standing” aimed at raising the status and profile of the CPEng (chartered professional engineer); TV and print-media ads have been used in the trial and an evaluation is being conducted.
Promotion of engineering in Australia continues to be an important but uphill task that requires constant attention by all individuals and bodies concerned with the status and standing of the profession. The exchange of information through CAETS can only help.
BACAS, Royal Belgian Academy Council of Applied Sciences
Promoting the engineering profession: Comments on the Belgian situation.
In the recent past, the Royal Belgian Academy Council of Applied Sciences has published different reports with connections to this problem:
? Stimulating the Interest in Science and Technology (1995)
? Engineering Educational Profiles (2000)
? The Information Society (2000)
? Industrial Innovation: Obstacles and Suggestions (2001)
In direct relation to the issues mentioned, following statements can be made.
1. There is little confusion in the general public concerning the difference between science and engineering. In Belgium, as in France, education is given either in specialised institutions (e.g. Technical Colleges, Grandes ?coles) or in university faculties with well-established traditions.
2. To make the public policy community technologically literate is a universal task. In the European Union some progress has been made due to the Sorbonne and Bologna declarations that put such issues on the public fora. The Erasmus research and educational programs have achieved a broad notoriety and improved science and engineering policy awareness. The EU Commission has also taken initiatives in search of excellence and worldwide benchmarking in the domain of scientific/engineering research (led by Mr. Busquin, Member of the European Commission).
3. Accurate information in the mass media, adapted to the addressed public: there is considerable need of improvement here. The smaller audience in countries like Belgium does not allow for large scientific staff in newspapers and other media, neither for many specialised journalists. Local publications of excellent standard exist, mostly in cooperation with the international press. It would be of great help if professional organisations (e.g. Engineering Associations) could provide for full-time professional public relations in that area.
4. Many actions to attract young students to the engineering profession have been undertaken, with mixed results. The prevailing image still has a negative touch: environmental issues, over-specialisation and after the Internet hype, job insecurity. Technical studies at the high-school level are often considered second choice by parents. The introduction to basic engineering principles should be improved in high school (general secondary education), since technically oriented studies are insufficiently appreciated. Recently the creation of Technopolis (in Mechelen, Belgium, www.technopolis.be) has filled a gap in promoting technical education. Also a popular broadcast series that cover broad areas of scientific/technical nature conveys inspiring messages. Professional organisations (e.g. Agoria for the manufacturing and electrical industry) are also undertaking actions to improve the situation.
5. The female participation is growing: today they amount to 15% of the engineering student population in general and up to 50% in area’s like bioengineering and architecture. Informatics, environment and biomedical specialisations attract more female students than the traditional disciplines as electricity, mechanics, and materials. Many professional and engineering organisations have this issue on their action list.
Concerning awards, several prices sponsored by the government, the scientific research communities, the university and the industrial societies exist also here. Their notoriety however is limited to the inner circles and less known by the general public.
CAE, Canadian Academy of Engineering
In considering Canadian activities in the context of “Engineering and the Public”, it is useful to revisit the mission of the Canadian Academy of Engineering – to enhance, through the application and adaptation of science and engineering principles, the promotion of well-being and the creation of wealth in Canada. The Academy fulfills this mission by:
? promoting increased awareness of the role of engineering in society,
? recognizing excellence in engineering contributions to the Canadian economy,
? advising on engineering education, research, development and innovation,
? promoting industrial competitiveness while preserving the environment, in Canada and abroad,
? speaking out on issues relevant to engineering in Canada and abroad,
? developing and maintaining effective relations with other professional engineering organizations, academies and learned societies in Canada, and abroad.
Each of the modalities highlighted is clearly relevant to the theme of “Engineering and the Public”.
Awareness of Engineering in Society: The Academy collaborates with the other national Engineering Associations in Canada (Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, and the Engineering Institute of Canada) in raising public awareness of Engineering. One such activity has been the planning and delivery of National Engineering Week, which involves all of the Provincial Associations across the country, each with a variety of local and regional activities, in addition to a national theme and a supporting web-site.
Recognizing Excellence: In the year 2000, special emphasis was placed on five of the most important achievements of Canadian Engineers in the 20th Century. Also, through the appointment of an Honorary Chairman of National Engineering Week, national attention has been directed towards some of the nation’s most prominent engineers, raising public awareness of the wide variety of tasks they undertake.
Advising on Education, etc: The Academy recently compiled a report on the Evolution of Engineering Education in Canada. This study takes the somewhat controversial point of view that undergraduate education of engineers should tend to emphasize breadth of training, if necessary at the expense of some technical depth, so that the engineer may be a more knowledgeable and articulate member of society. By the same token, it suggests that engineering faculties should participate actively in improving the technical literacy of the general public, particularly by teaching the essential principles and history of science and technology to general and liberal-arts students.
Promoting Competitiveness / Preserving the Environment: Another recent study of the Academy is entitled Protecting the Public and the Environment – A Responsibility of Canadian Professional Engineers. This Report recommends that the role of professional engineers as protectors of the health and safety of the public, and guardians of the environment, be given paramount attention in the future evolution of the profession. The report goes on to recommend that engineers move to ensure and enhance the protection of the public in areas shared with other licensed professions and also with members of non-regulated and non-licensed bodies.
An additional study, with major implications for the public, is the Academy report on Energy and Climate Change – A Canadian Engineering Perspective; the report attempts to chart a mid-course for Canadians between ensuring the vital flow of energy in the future and ensuring a responsible stewardship of the environment.
Speaking out on Issues: In order to provide better guidance to the public at large, and in particular to those making decisions on behalf of the general public, the Academy has recently moved to collaborate with other national academies in Canada to develop greatly enhanced capacity to provide assessments of complex national issues, which involve basic and applied science to some extent. This new organization, designated as the Canadian Academies of Science, is a joint creature of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. It is being set up to provide a highly responsive infrastructure, to enable the rapid organization of ad-hoc panels on important issues.
In addition, the Academy is a major participant in a national organization designed to bring engineers and scientists together with federal senators and parliamentarians (a plausible proxy for the general public) on a regular basis – to ensure a better flow of technical and scientific information into the legislative activities of the government.
The Canadian Academy of Engineering shares the view expressed by many other CAETS member academies that engineers must take a more assertive and proactive role in enhancing the public understanding of engineering and technology, and their direct relevance to society as a whole.
CAE, Chinese Academy of Engineering
Challenges and Opportunities for Engineering Education in China
China at the beginning of the 21st century is in the final phase of the transition from a planned economy to a market economy. This change to market forces as the primary determinant of the types of goods produced has resulted in critical changes in the demands of society. Industrial production facilities are in the process of restructuring to meet the needs of the future market. There are also new developing circumstances for China as a member of the World Trade Organization due to the influence of the global economy and engineering education worldwide. This has given impetus for the upgrading of universities to achieve the high levels of internationally recognized higher learning and research, the establishment of cooperation and exchange with engineering education throughout the world, and a general competition to attract well-qualified scientists and technicians and top students.
Also, in common with the rest of the world, China has seen an explosion in natural knowledge leading to a high speed of product development. Developments in the natural sciences based on the analysis of natural phenomena have laid the foundations for the development of an engineering technology that utilize a comprehensive integration of natural knowledge. There is an existent excitement that the 21st century will be the era of engineering technology, an era of the comprehensive utilization of knowledge, and of engineering education. Concurrently, a new educational system is being developed that is responsive to these trends. Our contribution to the discussion on public understanding and awareness of engineering will focus on our efforts in the restructuring of engineering education.
It is now conventional wisdom, as witnessed by this discussion, that engineering does not exist apart from the society it serves and that there is a lamentable gulf to be bridged between common culture and scientific culture. The lessons of the past are that there must be intimate relationships between them and these we seek to incorporate in the new engineering education by the implementation of it as a conjunction of engineering, the natural sciences, the social sciences and the arts. Broadly speaking, the natural sciences provide the guide as to the types of engineered products that are realizable, the social sciences provide the moral guide as to which engineered products are good, the arts provide the aesthetic guide for engineered products to be pleasing, and engineering performs the work of producing the engineered products. Thus, not only is engineered products to be incorporated into society, but also society is to be incorporated into the engineering. It is perhaps also conventional wisdom, but it is worth repeating that we see the main challenges and the solution key as the attracting and keeping of talented people, and the ability to treat and teach engineering subjects and researches as lively fields of social significance.
The urgent needs of engineering education in China are (1) enlargement of the total number of students in the different levels, including the intensification of a life-long learning system of continuing education for the present more than 10 million engineering staff, and (2) improvement in the quality of the universities and the establishing of a number of top, internationally rated universities to serve as the breeding grounds and homes for imaginative and creative students. The needs of the first problem can be seen from the statistics, which show that although the total number from the university-age cohort admitted into an institute of higher education is growing fast, the number of university-trained personnel is still too small. In China, there is a growth in the number of university students, from 3.02 million in 1996 to 5.56 million in 2000. The proportion of university admissions that are into engineering departments showed a small drop from 40.0% to 38.6%, which should be expected given the original very high proportion of engineering students. However, this problem is more subtle, and this is that the need is not just for the quantity of students but also for quality students who have the ability to keep in mind social as well as technological issues and who can see things from many views. This needs the simultaneous consideration of the other urgent need mentioned above.
The second urgent need is to improve the quality of the universities, and specifically to visibly demonstrate the vitality of engineering education. China has advantages in doing this because its industries carry out their research and development in collaborative programs with the universities and research institutes, and this is also actively promoted by the Ministry of Science and Technology via its 863 projects. Thus, questions are posed to research workers by industry, that is, the questions are immediately relevant, socially significant and evident and exciting. Students are exposed to the R&D for new processes, the modification of traditional modes of production by the injection of modern technology, and the incubation of new industries. The hope is that all these are manifest attractions for the top students.
In the competition for the top students, China has faced the same problems as everywhere else, that is, top students have much more choices and have their pickings of the more glamorous departments of finance, management, etc., and it is also undeniable that there exists some prejudice that considers traditional engineering departments as sunset departments, such as has been the perception of metallurgical engineering and machinery engineering. The foil for these is to dispel the notion of tradition in engineering and to foster the understanding that engineering is tied to the development of new fields. New courses on new research fields play an important role in this, e.g. courses on nanoparticle technology, bio- and ecological chemical engineering, fuel cell technology, and conducting polymers among others. The emphasis, with an eye on attracting the top students, is to get people involved in new ideas. In product engineering, the emphasis is on the design and manufacture of smart products. In process engineering, the emphasis is on process intensification and process scale-up or process scale-down of the chemical plants at hand. Another theme of emphasis, again to attract the top students, is the social significance of ecological chemical engineering and the production of environmentally benign products, with the challenge to students to make the reputation of engineering with a profession that can clean up after itself in addition to its making great contributions to human comfort with the products of its huge modern chemical industry.
In summary, engineering education must be cognizant of and ready to contend with the curiosity of its very best students. Engineering education must set itself to satisfy the career ambitions of these students, to imbibe them with the spirit of von Karman: scientists study the world of being, engineers create being from dreams.
EA CR, Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic
In the last decades in the Czech Republic in the similar way as in other developed countries it has been observed a notable decline of public interest in engineering. Hand by hand with this decrease goes a drop of interest in engineering profession. As a consequence studying engineering attracts less and less high school students especially the talented ones. Industry is gradually lacking young specialists graduating from the technical universities. This tendency may finally lead to serious consequences to the country economy, which was traditionally based on industrial production and highly qualified technologically educated manpower.
One of the reasons behind this tendency is the fact that engineering is only one step in the process in which today technology driven society convert new ideas generated by Science and achievements of the scientific research into hi-tech products serving the society. Due to the increasing complexity of this process general public cannot clearly perceive the important role of engineering in the whole system. Mass Media, which bring new achievements to public, do not help to improve this situation and as a rule, ignore the role of engineering.
Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic is concerned about this situation and in line with its mission will enhance its current activities contributing to public understanding of engineering:
1) Engineering Academy will promote achievements of engineering research underlying interconnection with Science and scientific research. It will demonstrate to public that engineering research makes scientific achievements work for the benefit of mankind. It will show the interactive character of such a process in which engineering research develops scientific achievements and ideas and as a feed back stimulates further scientific research. At the same time it will be pointed out that in making new discoveries and opening new horizons of Science scientific research is fully dependent on sophisticated instruments provided by Engineering. This will be demonstrated on the scientific areas bringing direct benefit to public such as Biomedical engineering. In the process of mediating these achievements to the public the EA CR will cooperate with the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Technical Universities and the Media informing regularly broad public about scientific achievements.
2) EA CR will in the same way as in the recent years cooperate with the Association of the Innovative Enterprising CR in organizing yearly exhibitions “Innovation” demonstrating to public importance of the link between basic and applied research in transforming new scientific invention and achievements to practice with the direct impact on the economy.
3) EA CR will cooperate with other CAETS Academies and will be introducing successful projects promoting Engineering to the public in the Czech Republic.
4) EA CR will continue promoting excellence in Engineering through the annual Award of the Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic.
5) Ea CR will continue its effort in demonstrating challenges of engineering research and perspective character of engineering profession to high school students. In this process EA CR will enhance cooperation with high school teachers and create a panel of high school teachers teaching technical subjects, which will be providing feedback for this project.
6) EA CR will develop initiatives for reintroducing the subjects teaching the basics of engineering principles and developing technical creativity of children.
7) EA CR will strive to win support of Ministry of Education a Ministry of Trade and Industry for these initiatives and projects.
ATV, Danish Academy of Technical Sciences
Public Understanding/Awareness of Engineering
The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, ATV, has not initiated any activities to promote public understanding of engineering. Instead ATV has chosen to focus efforts on promoting the understanding of the fact that welfare and wealth of Danish society are closely bound up with our investments in education, research and development and with our ability to make use of the recent knowledge commercially through improvement of products and manufacturing processes of trade and industry. We believe that this will improve the understanding - the public understanding, too - of the need for engineering abilities.
In the Academy's opinion it is too narrow a perspective to focus on engineering only - especially in relation to the public at large. Engineering is an essential factor of the varieties of qualifications needed to secure a country's wealth, social welfare and status as independent civilised society. However, engineering cannot stand alone. There is a need for competencies within natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences, humanities etc. as well.
ATV has - mainly through articles in the press and discussions with the political system - been trying to attract attention to and understanding of the need for considerably larger investments in research and education - especially in further and higher education. When (if) these efforts result in an intention to increase investments, ATV - in cooperation with public research institutions and trade and industry - would like to contribute to suggesting where funds are needed the most. Engineering has - as the only main field - experienced a decrease in research investments in Denmark during the past decade.
ATV shares the concern about the declining interest - globally as well as nationally - in studying technical and scientific subjects. It is an international trend in most western countries, which it will be difficult to break within the short term. An important factor in Denmark is too weak an effort within the technical and scientific subjects in the Folkeskole (primary and lower secondary school) and in high school (upper secondary school). These subjects are increasingly given low priority, and often the teachers are insufficiently educated to give inspiring lessons.
Through a special initiative aimed at high school teachers ATV has tried to compensate for this. The initiative, which was not restricted to a certain field, made it possible for high school teachers to be stationed in a job in a private company for a period of one to six months. 21 jobs were arranged through this initiative; of these 25% were within science. From a general point of view the jobs carried through were successful for the teachers as well as for the companies. The initiative was discontinued due to the fact that it was impossible to provide a satisfactory number of jobs. Furthermore, it turned out to be difficult for the high school teachers to obtain leave during the period of the stationing.
Through discussions and committee work ATV has, furthermore, tried to improve the Danish engineering education. In ATV's opinion it is the main condition for increasing the numbers of students at the technical educations that the universities offer an attractive product; i.e. educations which young people find attractive and interesting and which imply good chances of employment after the education. Moreover, it is ATV's opinion that the improvement of the education should be a top priority at the universities from a general point of view.
Below please find a survey of the projects focusing on engineering education in Denmark, which the Danish Academy has completed over the past seven years. The results of the projects are presented in reports available in Danish only.
The new Reality for Engineers - Roles and Education (2000)
The report presents problems and need for improvement of the engineering educations focusing on the need for the training to be constantly adapted to the demands of employers and society. The report focuses on the need for weighting between the specialist role of engineers and their role as provider and integrator of competencies from other disciplines.
Training Software Engineers in Denmark (1999)
- Training to form a Profession
The report illustrates the need for a new software engineering education, which should be defined and targeted in cooperation with the educational institutions and the potential employers of its graduates in trade and industry.
On the Track of the Profiles of future Engineers (1997)
- Views on Economy and Management in Basic Engineering Education
The report recommends that the Danish engineering education is improved by strengthening the education within economics and management. Partly by incorporating an integrated commercial course in the basic engineering education, partly by establishing superstructure programmes, technical and commercial combinatorial programmes and supplementary training courses.
Shortage of Engineers - a ticking Bomb under the Welfare Society (1996)
The purpose of the report is to document the need for steps to be taken to increase the flow of students towards the technical and scientific educations. The report contains a description of the situation concerning recruitment of students for engineering educations. Furthermore, a forecast of the engineering employment market is presented; including a forecast of workforce, employment and unemployment 1995-2010 based on economic and demographic data.
Mechanical Engineering Education developing (1995)
- Report on the Structure and Contents of the Education
The report describes future challenges and main problems for the mechanical engineering education and possibilities of progressing.
FACTE, The Finnish Academies of Technology
FACTE has at the moment going on several activities of which
1 - Who needs technology?
Describes best the common relationship between the people and technology.
The project aims to produce material for the teachers, students and other people in close relations to the education tasks and to the future professional selection tasks. The training material promotes to describe also the needs of technology to improve the man made world still better and to avoid the risk of destroying the nature not knowing the consequences of their processes.
In the training material the technology, its progress in the past and the needs in the future and the educational possibilities and the different technological fields are well described.
According to the project timetable the material could be finished this year and the practical goal is to get technology as a subject to the school training plans. It will take several years but instead of this the technological approaches can be seen in many other subjects like in mathematics, physics and chemistry even next years.
2 - Walther Ahlstrom Prize
Aims to give a feeling to the public that technology is protecting environment and saving energy. Every year FACTE is internationally seeking for good candidate for the nomination of the prize. The prize is offered by the ministry of trade and industry and gets the publicity via many media measures.
3- High Technology Finland Prize
Aims to give to the large public a feeling that the technology takes in to the consideration the humanity in addition the hard and successful business goals. The project is under construction at the moment and will be finished next year. The prize will be distributed every second year.
MMA, Hungarian Academy of Engineering
Introduction of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering (MMA) in brief
The Hungarian Academy of Engineering (MMA/HAE) the first such institution in this part of Europe, was founded on 29 January 1990. Now the HAE has 177 members. In electing new members, covering every field of technical life and the adequate representation of different fields are among the basic criteria.
The HAE aims to foster international integration of creative engineering activities by establishing the constitutional framework and functioning conditions of an independent national engineering academy in the Hungarian Republic in such a way, so as to enable the organized co-operation with the Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS; Washington), the EURO-CASE (Paris), and with the engineering academies of other countries, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian scientific associations, the Federation of Technical and Scientific societies, other organizations, representing engineers, institutions of higher education, and research institutions.
The declared aims of the HAE are to serve the Hungarian Republic and the nation in all fields connected to the development of techniques and technologies, as this is the basic instrument for social welfare, to act as a forum for collecting and exchanging information in the fields mentioned, to express its opinion, and to advise the Parliament, the Government, the Executive Branch of Government and other appropriate bodies.
In order to fulfill the above-mentioned aims, the HAE organizes programs, competitions, study tours and publishes various printed materials.
The work of the HAE was greatly supported by the Parliament, the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Tourism (IKIM), the National Committee for Technological Development (OMFB), the Ministry of Culture and Education (MKM), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) and the Federation of Technical and Scientific Societies (MTESZ). Assistance was also received from the Hungarian Credit Bank (MHB), the Hungarian Oil and Gas Co. Ltd. (MOL Rt.), ESAB Hungary Ltd., the National Power Line Ltd. (OVIT Rt.), the Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. (PA Rt.), the Hungarian Electricity Board (MVM Rt.), and from Prof. Ernő Rubik and Dr. Albert Keresztes.
In its far-reaching activity the HAE considers as important task to stimulate creativity, and to promote the realization of technical ideas and innovations. Therefore it established a foundation to support these needs.
The HAE is operating to fulfill the aims stated in its Constitution using its domestic and foreign links and its member’s expertise and activity.
Prize of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering
The HAE made a very important decision in 1998: in order to acknowledge the activity of the Hungarian engineers and as a mark of our esteem for the creative engineering work the HAE – at the initiative of Professor Ernő Rubik and the Foundation of the HAE – established the „Prize of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering”, This Prize can bestowed to one person per year.
A passage from the Statutes of the HAE Prize: „The Prize will be awarded by the Presidency of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering after the consideration of the proposals received from the members of the HAE and the requested experts.”
Apart from the moral recognition, the sum of the Prize might also have a stimulating effect on all the excellent engineers who feel committed towards their profession. The winner of the Prize receives a certificate acknowledging the Award of the Prize as well as an amount of HUF 1 million.
The Prize was awarded for the first time at the 3rd General Assembly of the HAE in November 1999.
FHAE-RIF - the new foundation
The activity of the foundation forms an important part of the work of the HAE.
In 1997 the newly elected presidency had to face with a completely newly structured foundation and started to operate it.
The financial basis of the foundation changed considerably when our Honorary Life President, Professor Ernő Rubik added the means of his old foundations and his earlier commitments of public interest to the Foundation of the HAE. The new foundation thus set up has been registered by the Court of Budapest under the name of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering Foundation-Rubik International Foundation (FHAE-RIF) with the reg. number 6513.
The Founders have developed the strategy as follows:
„The Foundation declares that it will always act for the common interest and public use and aims at supporting every activity stipulated in the Statutes using the earnings and the interests of the foundation estates – separated from the Scholarship Foundation – and taking into consideration the current priorities.”
From time to time there are published articles about the up to date activities of the HAE in the Hungarian press, about its Foundation and about the outstanding results of its members to promote the public understanding of Engineering. The leaders of our Academy are invited regularly to the Hungarian Television and Broadcasting programmes, which are dealing with engineering, technological problems.
Through our Foundation we support the international activities of our most outstanding M. Sc and PhD students.
We plan to organize a scientific forum on the 10. November 2002 about the importance of the elite engineering education. We have many international visitors annually. At the end of August 2002 the delegation of the Korean Academy of Engineering (Seoul) will visit us.
INAE, Indian National Academy of Engineering
NAE was established in response to the desire of the fraternity of engineers, engineer-scientists and technologists to form a "Peer" organization composed of the best talent from the entire spectrum of engineering in the country and to promote all-round excellence. The Academy provides a forum for futuristic planning of the country’s development requiring engineering and technological inputs by bringing together specialists from various fields. Further, the Academy recognizes young engineering talent pursuing creative research and provides support.
Public understanding / awareness of engineering
Engineers instinctively understand and appreciate limitations because they work with the immutable laws of nature. On the other hand social scientists rarely comprehend these nuances of immutable logic. They mostly deal with manmade laws that are changeable and advocate apparently impossible ideals. They are also successful in rallying public opinion. Engineers as a class are more reticent and always stick to what is possible. As engineers are seldom asked to present their point of view on issues concerning general public, engineers’ perceptions do not reach the public at large leading to avoidable polarization.
In addition, most engineering advances come with two unavoidable effects. One, they make existing practices obsolete, and hence would call for change in the mindset of the general public. Two, sometimes the engineering advance disturb the environment and hence call for precautions. Therefore, engineers as a class need to keep their dialogue continuous with the community at large. This would help win their confidence and move fast towards the common good.
Institutional initiatives to increase Public awareness of engineering
The engineering and technology scenario in India encompasses various Government Ministries and Departments, scientific agencies and academic institutions on a matrix mode for technology development. These organizations together with Industries, Industry associations, NGO’s and other interested groups involved in the area of application of engineering and technology have taken several initiatives to increase public awareness of engineering.
A shared vision backed by policies that enable and empower, and restructuring of business with processes of innovation are the felt needs of people of India. These are required for India’s transformation. Apex organizations such as Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Science & Technology, Institution of Engineers (India) and others are operating many programs and demonstration projects to enhance public awareness of engineering. However, these have remained mostly as islands of excellence. There is room for application of this learning and its large-scale extension.
Privatization of Infrastructure and new demands on engineering
Engineering, technology, economics or management is but one facet of life or nature. When this is not understood, the modernizing process can become one sided, and several conflicts can arise. In India, public perception of engineering is galvanized mostly through large infrastructure projects. These projects, till recently, wee exclusively in government domain. Private investments in public infrastructure, which are a new phenomenon, are now addressing some higher aspirations of discerning customers. Application of newer technologies leading to speed of completion, better quality of services and economy in operations is needed in the changed scenario. Indian engineering which has for long remained in a state of underachievement, is now taking up the new challenges of providing precisely what the end customer needs, when the customer needs it and at a price that reflects the product's value to the customer. Hence, interaction with public – the end customer of all engineering services has become more import
ant than ever before.
Standardization of engineering education
Diverse standards of engineering education in India – with premier institutions with large governmental support such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) at one end of the spectrum and privately-funded recently-established engineering colleges at the other end, has necessitated standardization of quality of engineering education. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) that administers engineering education covering over 1,200 institutions with annual intake of 350,000 for undergraduate courses has recently launched a program to categorize these institutions and gradually upgrade their levels to acceptable standards.
Engineering discipline has always remained secondary to others such as Indian Administrative Services (IAS) for reasons that date back to India’s colonial regime. This has had a demoralizing effect and adversely affected the quality of services. “Engineers Bill”, a proposed new enactment delineating the roles and responsibilities of Indian engineers is expected to address these issues and also help in building up public awareness of engineering.
Globalization and its effect on Indian engineering
Globalization would mean diffusion of technology and knowledge across borders and transformation of consumption patterns. This multiplicity of linkages and interconnections between nations, societies and corporate entities has put a new demand on Indian engineers. The influx of foreign sponsors, contractors and engineering consultants into India has already begun. Engineering Council of India has been formed recently to accredit Indian engineers as ‘professional engineers’ by global standards and further help to bring Indian engineering services to acceptable global standards.
EAJ, The Engineering Academy of Japan
The Engineering Academy of Japan did not, and still do not have any special program to promote the cause of the public understanding of engineering. There were and are voices to organize a project along the line, but such argument has not materialized as a program due to many reasons beyond the influence of those who advocate the issue.
Though there is a strong concern on the fact that Japanese youngster’s interest in science and technology is one of the least among many countries and still declining, the concern is only directed to the continuing supply of professional scientists and engineers, and not to potentially more serious risk of literacy of future voter population.
The Engineering Academy of Japan is ashamed of revealing the fact, but wish to take this opportunity to turn the situation around by changing priority of our program. The summary of NAE is very informative and shows the vision of NAE well.
NAEK, National Academy of Engineering of Korea
Books for Public Awareness: As an Activity of NAEK
One of the major concerns of the National Academy of Engineering of Korea (NAEK) is to promote public appreciation of engineers and public awareness of the importance of engineering technology for continuously improving the quality of life in Korea. In the past year, NAEK has started publishing a number of series of books for public. Two new series of books have been initiated, namely, a series of books on general interest and books based on research in addition to another series on national polity which has been started in 1997. We want to briefly introduce the activity.
Books on General Interest
A total number of ten (10) books are planned to be published under the name of “New Encounter with Engineering” series on the subject of general interest. Four books have already been published and six are scheduled before the end of this year. This series is funded by Daeduck Electronics and is planned to publish ten books annually. This series aims at making people learn about engineering better in a short time and approach it friendly. Ultimately, it will help public to upgrade their level of understanding of engineering technology. Ten books of this series are as follows:
1. Top Ten Engineering Technologies for 21st Century
This book analyzes and evaluates the current Korean engineering technology level through the accomplishment of the remarkable technologies in the 21st century such as semi-conductor, information technology, digital technology, e-business/contents, automobile/shipbuilding, chemical/new materials, energy/environment technology, nanotechnology.
2. Industrial Technologies of Korea Surpried by the World
It introduces the history of Korean core industrial technology for example semiconductor, steel, automobile, mobile phone. Especially, it includes various historical events and behind stories to attract the interest of many leaders. Further, it implants prides and hope of Korean engineering technology in the people by comparing with other country’s technology development history.
3. Traditional Cutting-Edge Technologies in Korea
It strives to find out the meaning and value of cutting-edge technology in the traditional heritage, emphasizing the great potential of Korean engineering. For this, author uses outstanding achievements of ancestors in science and technology for example Cheomseongdae (the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia), Tripitaka Koreana (the printing blocks preserved in excellent condition over the last seven centuries), Clepsydra (probably the first public clock in the world), Honcheonui (an instrument used to measure the locations in celestial coordinates of astronomical) etc.
4. Engineering is Also Person’s Work; Learn from Failures
In history, human being has gone through various hardships and privations. Engineers were not exceptional; however, after experiencing many difficulties, they finally succeed in creating the incredible development in engineering technology for the better life of humankind. This book sets the goal at making people to learn engineers’ strong will and wisdom to overcome failure.
5. Extreme Engineering
This book aims at reaching the purpose of engineering by extreme engineering such as the fastest accelerator, the highest skyscraper. It also shows the diverse and interesting world of engineering and studies the right direction of future technology development.
6. Nanotechnology Changes the Future
Nanotechnology is expected to bring about the revolutionary changes to whole industry including manufacturing, medical industry as well as environment, energy industry etc. Furthermore, it will be influential to every aspects of society. However, the information of nanotechnology is insufficient in Korea. Thus, this book not only introduces the studies of nano specialists such as Eric Drexler, Richard Smalley, George Whitesides but also adds new knowledge related to nanotechnology.
7. Robo Sapience : Evolution of a New Species (Translation)
Is he a man? Or Is he a robot? This book is a translation version of Robo Sapience : Evolution of a New Species by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. That is the world-famous book to catch people’s eye by dealing with the structure, system, materials, and kinds of robot, philosophy to create robot, finally the future of robot.
8. The Bit and the Pendulum : from Quantum Computing to M Theory – The New Physics of Information (Translation)
It sets up a new paradigm of harmonized world between quantum mechanics and engineering technology centered on quantum computer.
9. Future Energy and Environment
This includes an interesting and professional analysis of next generation energy and examines the functional principle and possibility of realization of new energy source. Moreover, it touches the effects of new energy industry as well as suggests the better energy policy, presenting alternative energy suitable for Korea.
10. Bio Informatics
This introduces bio informatics created by bio-engineering & information technology and top-class bio informatics centers in U.S. leading universities. And it also leads the public to a better understanding of bio informatics showing how bio informatics results in the development of genomics and gene related industries.
Books on National Policy
NAEK published its second book on national policy entitled “Lead 21st Century by Engineering Technology” following the first book which was published in 1997, a year of presidential election. This book consists of eight chapters covering national policies on national competency, technology development system, engineering education, engineering leadership development, venture industry, engineering culture, north-south and international relationships, and NAEK’s policy recommendations by technology area. Aiming at another presidential election this year, NAEK plans to invite policy advisors of three major parties and to have a forum on national policies related to industry and technology based on this book.
Research Book Series
NAEK published a book entitled “Global Information Society (GIS) and Our Challenge” based on its funded research. The book consists of three parts including the concept of GIS and its technical and historical background, the challenge met by industries, and the challenge met by universities. This book is the first one as research book series. NAEK will continue publishing its research reports of public interest.
AI, Academy of Engineering, Mexico
Promoting the Engineering Profession
The Academy of Engineering (Mexico) has readily identified a very accelerated downturn in the economic activities related to engineering, such as infrastructure building, industry and agriculture. In some areas of old tradition, such as textile manufacturing and mining, the downturn is probably less felt, due to the very small size those economic areas already represent in the overall economy. In other areas, basically related to civil engineering and construction, including oil industry, it is believed that the number of engineering professionals actively engaged in their field of expertise has dropped to about one tenth of what it used to be some twenty years ago.
Student figures have not dropped that much, partly due to a chronic lack of liaison between profession and schools, and partly due to the fact that it is very widely known that so much has still to be built. Traditional areas of engineering are keeping their student numbers pretty constant over the years, just as emerging areas such as telecommunications and bioengineering are markedly increasing.
The Engineering Practice
The fact that engineering has a lower and lower impact on the actual economy is sorely felt, along with the uneasiness that comes with the worsening of the Mexican future. The law and its application, after NAFTA, has been poorly interpreted by lesser bureaucrats, and the preference of imported goods, services and processes has been privileged over Mexican ones. In some cases, the country has been benefited by better equipment and services, but there are massive leaks of precious capital to foreign countries that supply turnkey plants and installations. The rate of expense overcame the capacity for capital building, and the results are a weakened economy and a depleted engineering institution, among other symbols of the poor development model that was adopted.
The solutions, as posed in the government program by our president Vicente Fox, calls for an integrated effort to capitalize the development opportunities with Mexican technology aided by foreign talent, whenever needed. The path toward recovery crosses the revision and reinterpretation of existing laws and by-laws, as well as national administrative practices. One issue of paramount importance is the recovery of the planning capacities, which for many years had been the realm of engineers, who needed long-term planning to organize their development efforts.
Program of the Academy of Engineering (Mexico)
In accordance, the AE (M) has started several symposia and permanent discussion groups throughout the country to identify specific projects where engineers are and will be needed for national development. This search is focused on geo economic regions of particular strengths and opportunities, hence engineering specialties are commanded in the amount and at the precise time they are required.
A long-term view (2025) is gradually being built up with the ambitious aim to identify and command the various resources of the society needed to build up a stronger economy. The task is indeed academic in nature, but also requires the voice of several non-engineering professionals and policy makers as well as individuals of social relevance and moral strength.
In order to promote the engineering profession, the Academy of Engineering in Mexico has taken the following specific actions:
1. The merging of the two previous academies (the National Academy of Engineering and the Mexican Academy of Engineering) in order to form a single Academy of Engineering. This new single academy was formed in February 2002.
2. Two forums related to “Engineering Challenges in the New Century” and “The Necessary Alliance Between Society and Engineering”, were organized quite recently (but before the fusion) by the two existing academies of engineering. Currently, we have a symposium related to what we engineers are doing to solve the very serious water and energy problems we have in our country. This symposium consists of a series of lectures given each Monday (from June 17th to July 29th, 2002) by prominent specialists in each subject. This symposium is open to the public.
3. The Mexican Academy is doing a joint effort with the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico in order to promote research and teaching in the engineering fields. Thanks to this effort, the President of the Academy of Engineering has now a greater and more direct influence in relation to the science and technology strategies that the Mexican government must follow.
4. We are trying to keep more contact with our congressmen and politicians in order to give them better and real information related to the technical and engineering problems of our country. In this way, we are helping them to make better decisions and we are letting them know how the engineering profession can assist in solving such problems properly.
5. Through our web site and our monthly bulletin, we are trying to establish a better communication between the engineering community and the public. These two elements also serve to communicate, inform, publish and receive information from all the members of our academy.
6. Besides the general activities organized by the General Board of Directors of our Academy, each major field of engineering (we have 21 major fields) makes its own annual program of activities. Among such activities are those related to giving lectures and organizing workshops at universities and engineering schools, in order to promote the engineering profession and make students aware of what the engineering practice means and the significance of being an engineer.
NTVA, Norwegian Academy of Technological Science
To a smaller or greater extent, most industrialized countries have experienced a decline in the interest of young people in scientific and technological education. This decline might be temporary, and be reversed when young people discover that such knowledge is useful and meaningful. At the same time it is important to realize that young people might be interested in science and technology without choosing such subjects at school.
What is believed lacking in Norway, and possibly in other countries as well, is a national project to find the answers to four basic points:
1. The perceived present situation supported by statistics
2. Possible causes of the present situation
3. Possible effects and damage if the present situation continues unchanged
4. Measures that will reverse developments
The first three points are necessary to obtain facts to support any recommended measures. The aim is to identify actions that will have positive effects. We cannot just focus on the aim, we have to know more about the situation and specific problems.
In Norway, several initiatives in this area are directed towards children and young people to show them the importance of scientific and technological subjects in continued social well-being and the career possibilities they represent. These initiatives are mostly local and short term.
1. The situation
This spring 139 answer papers were graded from graduating students in an examination which included the following question: “Point out some important reasons why emissions of CO2 have increased drastically in recent years”. (Measurements from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, were attached to the question paper.) The answers have not been systematized, but several future teachers in Norwegian primary schools insisted that the most important reason for the increases in CO2 is poor technology. Indirectly they are blaming technologists for the increase of CO2. Who wants to be a technologist or engineer when they are then people with the responsibility for serious environmental problems?
One possible cause why many students blamed the technology and technologists for increased content of CO2 in the atmosphere might be the environmental education in primary and secondary schools. Almost every textbook that deals with the environment has a picture of “energy-production” using oil and gas as input into a box called “technology” with energy and CO2 as output. In environmental education there is often more focus on what CO2 does as a greenhouse gas than the way society uses and misuses energy.
3.1 What is technologically and environmentally possible becomes politically impossible
If the public believes that technology causes the increased content of CO2 in the atmosphere, the opponents of building gas-power plants can easily stop such projects. All they have to do is inform the public and politicians that the planned plant will use “old-fashioned and heavily polluting technology”. At the same time, these opponents do not have to find the answer to the question of how society can cover the constantly increasing demand for energy. The result might be a very irrational use of natural gas which is an important energy source in Norway.
3.2 The challenges in technology are not made plausible
In order to use our natural resources like oil and gas in the future, present-day technology for the extraction and use of this source of energy must be developed and improved. This raises innumerable challenges and possibilities that schoolchildren should be aware of. The way that energy and technology are presented to young people in school at present, might make them conclude that a career in scientific and technological subjects is a dead end.
4.1 More comprehensive environmental education
An obvious measure is to give schoolchildren as comprehensive environmental education as possible. This should also contrast the use of resources by individuals and society with the demand for sustainable development.
4.2 Where and how are products and services produced?
Today we usually only see the last link in the value chain from the producer to the consumer. Two to three generations back there was a dairy and a slaughterhouse in nearly every town. Many places also had other types of industry like a sawmill, a shipyard, a fish processing plant, a shoe factory, clothing production or similar businesses. Children worked or played in the production halls and the processes in changing a raw material to the finished product were well known. Improving these processes was something for grown ups. The heroes were those who had ideas for improvements. The demand for new and improved processes is greater now than ever before, but the totality and connections are not as visible as before. Let us try to show children and young people as much as possible of the value chain for products that they only know of as consumers or in advertising. Maybe this would generate interest in the subjects that are necessary for each of them to find their place in the improving the processes on which
the development of social well-being depends on throughout the world.
SAE, SPANISH ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
? The Spanish Academy of Engineering Academy (SAE) was created in 1995 with the objectives of promoting the quality and competence of Spanish Engineering. Furthermore, the SAE must create an active, qualified body for the analysis of current and future technological trends in society. The SAE represents Spain in CAETS as it has the duty, according to its founding charter, of establishing links with other academic institutions at the international level.
Following are recent, major public activities carried out during the last year in the pursue of its primary mission by the Spanish Academy of Engineering
SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS
? ‘Energy supply: present and future’ Presented at the Engineering Centre of the University of Zaragoza, 27 April, 2001. Four academicians, leaders in their fields, presented their views on the various energy sources to a large audience exceeding 200 professionals.
? ‘Photovoltaic heterostructures and communications’ A Spain-Russia Seminar conducted in the Polytechnical University of Madrid. 1-2 October, 2001, and sponsored by private and public agencies, where four academicians from SAE and two corresponding members of our Academy, Profs. V. Andreev and Z. Alferov (Nobel Prize winner) presented various papers on advanced subjects in solar energy and on communications.
? Challenges in the Aerospace Industry. Round Table discussion in Seville on 27 November, 2001. Seven engineers from several aerospace industries, including Airbus, presented the state of the art and the challenges faced by this industry as Seville gears up to host some of the forthcoming developments in Airbus and related industries. The Round Table was attended by over 100 professionals.
? ‘Safety Issues in Tunnels’ Seminar in Madrid, 27 February, 2002, organized jointly with the Ministry of Public Works and sponsored by seven construction corporations, including some of the major ones in Spain. with personalities from the Administration and other Organisms, through which the S.A.E. is made known. Our opinion on matters of interest is transmitted and lines of collaboration are sought for certain activities. Attended by over 300 professionals.
? ‘Is There a Future for Nuclear Energy in Spain?’ Seminar/Round table organized in Madrid on 26 June, 2002, jointly with the Spanish Energy Agency (CIEMAT) and attended by over 150 professionals.
SUMMER SCHOOL OF THE SPANISH ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
For the first time, this year the SAE organizes a Summer School in three locations: A Coruna, Cartagena and Santander. Courses on several topics in telecommunications, civil engineering and alternative energies will be offered to professionals, with the major objective of presenting the state of the art using our academicians, corresponding SAE members and others for teaching short (around one week) courses. The programme has been sponsored by major Spanish corporations in several fields.
The SAE has developed a collection of Papers, ‘Papeles de Ingenier?a’ which publishes highlights in the development of Spanish engineering. The concept of this collection of papers is to present in each one, a specific engineering development by a Spanish R&D group, from the basic science to the final development of a product or a process. Until now the following titles are available, “The satellite UPM-SAT” (97 p?gs.), “Surface micromecanization technology for microsystems” (72 p?gs), “Simulation of bone behaviour; applications to design of prosthetic implants” (103 p?gs.), “Towards an industrial control of induced anisotropy in composites forwing” (60 p?gs.) and “European railway network interoperability” (57 p?gs.).
Additionally, the Academy publishes the proceedings of its Seminars, the presentations of the new academicians in their public lectures for their official entry ceremony, etc….
SATW, Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences
Promoting the Engineering Sciences
Promoting the next generation of technical scientists is an important focus for the activities of the SATW.
The SATW considers it essential that young people, especially young women, should be aware of the importance of technical achievements in their daily life, in supporting the Swiss economy and in resolving problems on a world wide scale, even if they do not consider a career as engineer.
In this context the SATW offers the following program:
Together with our member association “Engineers shape our future” and in cooperation with the Federal Office of Education and Sciences and the Federal Office of Professional Education and Technology the SATW has started an action to integrate presentations of phenomena of technical achievements of our daily life in the curricula of the first school years. The aim is to increase the children’s comprehension of technical achievements, of their historical development and of their practical applications.
Such an initiative has to start with teaching the teachers. Together with the appropriate federative organizations the SATW is selecting technical disciplines ( Architecture, Information technology and Telecommunication, Energy, etc.) and identifying relevant phenomena which then have to be embedded into special teaching programs by didactic design specialists.
This process was started this year by a successful congress in April and will continue for several years. We are also in contact with some German regions, where similar efforts are under way.
In their information newsletter for young people “TechnoScop”, which appears 3 – 4 times a year, and is available on the web at www.technoscop.ch the SATW keeps 16 – 18 years old informed about the latest topics in the technical sciences and their applications. At the same time we are offering opportunities to the readers to contact the authors as well as representatives of the relevant companies to discuss additional problems and questions. TechnoScop is distributed to all official secondary II schools in Switzerland.
At the website www.let-me-be-ing.ch 12 – 16 year olds are introduced in a light hearted way to the activities and responsibilities of engineers. They have the option of tracing various training possibilities via links to other sites.
An Engineer in the Classroom
This program promotes projects in schools, where engineers work together with young people presenting them for instance how technical solutions solve daily problems or how to program robots in special applications.
This program provides teaching modules for teachers, which can be downloaded from the web (www.asst.ch). Subjects are for instance well known Swiss scientists, their careers and achievements.
Promoting International Relations by Awarding Scholarships to young graduates to go abroad.
Financed by funds provided from private and public sponsors, the SATW enables young graduates in the field of technical sciences to gain additional qualifications and first professional experiences abroad. This applies to both, Swiss students abroad and foreign students in Switzerland. The SATW thereby encourages the scholars to build up their own international network of personal contacts and to develop their knowledge of languages and their experience with other cultures.
The SATW is participating in the European Information Society Technology (IST) price competition as well as in the newly established Swiss Technology Award. Both of these awards are focused on promoting start-up companies with excellent innovative ideas.
RAEng, The Royal Academy of Engineering
A key objective of The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Corporate Plan is to promote the importance of engineering. This is approached through a number of different mechanisms targeted at different audiences. These include:
- public lectures (www.raeng.org.uk/events)
- awards (www.raeng.org.uk/prizes)
- statements and reports (www.raeng.org.uk/policy)
- education programmes (www.raeng.org.uk/education)
Each influences particular groups of people – politicians, business leaders, students, professional engineers and sometimes the public in general.
1. Facing Out
The Academy has adopted a policy of facing out, aiming to address audiences well beyond our conventional targets. We have assembled a new advisory group to catalyse this process, involving politicians, journalists and broadcasters to advise on where and how The Academy can make a real difference to public debate on engineering issues. The primary aim in the first phase has been to establish the Academy Awards Dinner, providing a more public celebration of engineering vision and achievement through our prestigious medals.
The Academy Awards Dinner
The Academy’s first Awards Dinner was held on 27 May 2002. Academy medals for this year (see www.raeng.org.uk - Academy Awards 2002) were presented and the four finalists for the MacRobert Award were announced. These included a new Public Promotion of Engineering Medal, awarded to BBC Tomorrow’s World presenter Adam Hart-Davis.
The event was a step-change from anything previously attempted by The Academy, with a professional compere and specially commissioned video clips of the award winners. With 175 people attending the dinner including 14 media representatives from national newspapers, television and the engineering press, the Medal winners felt appropriately honoured by the occasion and it is planned to run a similar event next year. As a result of the dinner, good coverage has already been achieved about the announcement of the winner of the 2002 MacRobert Award and it is hoped to build on this success at the time of the medal presentation in October.
2. Media Relations
The 2001 winner of The Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award was Sensaura Ltd for 3D Audio. The varied applications, from computer games to mobile phones, coupled with an impressive display at London’s Science Museum, generated several national media stories.
The Academy’s increased capacity for policy response has enabled a renewed focus on policy to generate news stories. Our response to the Budget on the issue of R&D tax credits gained several national press mentions. The Academy’s report on the shortage of engineering PhD students was particularly successful, with coverage in all the major national newspapers. We have also adopted a more active campaigning stance, looking for new opportunities to refer to recent policy reports in a more political context.
The Academy continued to publish its lectures and statements for free or low-cost distribution and has also obtained some good media coverage of some of the public lectures – notably the Lloyd’s Register Lecture by Professor John Uff CBE QC FREng on engineering ethics.
The Academy was named in over 500 reports in the national, trade and regional press during the last year and we also recommended several Fellows for national radio interviews.
3. Parliamentary Contacts
The Academy briefs Members of Parliament as required for relevant debates and also promotes its work through Science in Parliament magazine, including a cover story on Sensaura Ltd as the MacRobert Award winner.
Our quarterly magazine goes from strength to strength, gaining in profile and audience with each issue. As the editorial themes evolve more publicity opportunities open up. For example, the February 2002 issue generated a news story on the role of the utility regulators in the Financial Times.
5. Web site
The Academy’s web site has been completely rebuilt during the year, with a new architecture to facilitate navigation and a more attractive layout. New features, including ‘Academy in the News’ and ‘Policy in Development’, keep the site up to date, and information on individual schemes and prizes is now much more accessible.
Over 16,500 people now visit our site every month, an increase of 4,500 since this time last year. All publications are listed and can be ordered through the website, and some full documents are available to download.
NAE, National Academy of Engineering, United States
Promoting the Engineering Profession
The National Academy of Engineering operates a number of programs aimed at promoting the engineering profession. Each of the following programs has specific goals and objectives, which are described at the referenced URLs. All of the programs together work toward the following intended outcomes:
1. the general public will understand the difference between engineering and science
2. the public policy community will be technologically literate about the decisions it makes in science and engineering policy
3. the mass media will feature engineering articles with more accurate information
4. K-12 students will be introduced to engineering within the education system and a greater number of students will be interested in pursuing careers in engineering at the college level
5. a greater number of women and minorities will pursue degrees and careers in engineering
Public Understanding of Engineering
The NAE Public Understanding of Engineering Program has two primary goals:
1. To help the public better understand the relationship between engineering and society and appreciate the role of engineering in their quality of life; and
2. To increase the amount and accuracy of engineering information in the mass media.
The following projects highlight some of the activities in this program. An overview of the program can be viewed at: (http://www.nae.edu/nae/naehome.nsf/weblinks/NAEW-4NHME9?OpenDocument)
Inventory of Public Awareness of Engineering Activities: NAE member Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. chaired an initiative to inventory current programs being conducted in the U.S. by professional societies, universities, foundations, science museums, television producers, and industry aimed at increasing public understanding of engineering. The project is designed to help the engineering community maximize its resources to deliver a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained message that will help the public better appreciate the fundamental importance of engineering to the quality of their lives and to the productivity and economic strength of the nation. A questionnaire was developed and distributed to 628 organizations in November 2001 and responses were received 245. It is evident that the engineering community is devoting significant resources to public relations, education, and public affairs—of the order of $400 million annually; however, we are concerned that these myriad efforts are being launched without cl
ear goals, consistent messages and metrics. Indeed evidence indicates they have not been successful and will not be successful unless better framed and coordinated. The NAE plans to work with stakeholders in the engineering community to develop a coordinated plan for future activities.
Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century: The NAE worked collaboratively with 29 engineering societies to identify the top engineering innovations that had a major impact upon the quality of life in the 20th century. In February 2000, astronaut/engineer Neil A. Armstrong announced the achievements at a press conference and launched the corresponding website. The website highlights the enthusiasm of discovery and achievement with detailed histories and timelines and is used by students and adults around the world. To complement the website, the Great Achievements project is currently working to develop a number of educational materials including a large-format book. (www.greatachievements.org)
Media Training for Members: The NAE is conducting training programs for NAE members during which they will learn how to become resources to the news media and learn to better understand journalists' points-of-view, including question-and-answer sessions with working journalists. In addition, the sessions include presentations about the NAE public relations activities and how members can be a part of those efforts. The Foundation for American Communications (FACS), which specializes in media training, runs this program with the NAE. (http://www.nae.edu/nae/naehome.nsf/weblinks/MKEZ-538P3X?OpenDocument)
Journalist Training Institutes: Reporters are given the opportunity to learn how to enhance their stories through incorporation of engineering principles. The seminars are conducted in partnership with FACS and teach the basics of engineering, the relationship between engineering and the journalists' beats, the importance and application of risk assessment, and more. Current news is used as case studies.
Program on Technological Literacy: The NAE program on Technological Literacy calls for a broad-based effort to increase the technological literacy of all Americans, a goal that will have many benefits including more informed decision-making by citizens and business and government leaders about the development and use of technology, and a more erudite population that will be better prepared for the demands of today's high-tech work environment. Technological literacy, a broad understanding of the human-designed world and our place in it, is an essential quality for all people who live in the increasingly technology-driven 21st century. This website explains what technological literacy is, why it's important, and what's being done to improve it. (http://www.nae.edu/nae/techlithome.nsf)
Committee on Diversity in the Engineering Workforce: This Committee addresses issues that contribute to the lack of diversity within the engineering workforce -- a critical concern in today's technology-driven society. The committee examines ways to strengthen the engineering workforce through studies, workshops, response to government inquiries, and other activities. (http://www.nae.edu/nae/naehome.nsf/weblinks/NAEW-4NHMAY?OpenDocument)
Engineer Girl Website: The NAE Diversity program launched the EngineerGirl website, which provides information and resources to help parents, teacher, and other mentors encourage girls to pursue engineering careers. (http://www.engineergirl.org/nae/cwe/egmain.nsf/?Opendatabase)
Committee on Engineering Education (CEE): The goal of the CEE is to insure currency and vitality in engineering education in the United States by providing guidance and advice to policy makers, administrators, employers, and other stakeholders to the engineering education enterprise. The CEE, established in late 1999, convenes leading engineers, educators, and administrators representing the academic and private sectors. During its first year, the committee developed a strategic plan and program agenda that addresses three primary areas essential to the long-term health of engineering education: maintaining currency in the engineering curriculum, promoting pedagogies that enrich engineering learning, and elevating the public image of the engineering profession. In 2001, the committee entered an active program phase by launching its first National Academies study, The Engineer of 2020. The Engineer of 2020 is a two-year study that will generate a compelling vision of engineering's future to inspire young p
eople and their parents and mentors. http://www.nae.edu/nae/naeceecom.nsf/weblinks/NAEW-59NRS3?OpenDocument
Outreach to Young Engineering
Frontiers of Engineering: Frontiers of Engineering is a symposium series that brings together a select group of the nation’s emerging engineering leaders from industry, academe, and government labs to discuss pioneering technical work and leading edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. The goal of the symposia is to introduce these outstanding engineers to each other, and through this interaction facilitate collaboration in engineering, the transfer of new techniques and approaches across fields, and establishment of contacts among the next generation of engineering leaders. The U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium was initiated in 1995, and annually brings together approximately 100 engineers from across the country. Two bilateral programs – the German-American Frontiers of Engineering (GAFOE) and the Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering symposia (JAFOE) – involve approximately 30 engineers from each country in annual meetings and were started in 1998 and 2000, respective
Gordon Prize: In April 2001, the NAE announced the creation of a new achievement award, the Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. The $500,000 Gordon Prize was established by NAE member Bernard Gordon through a generous gift of $10 million. The Gordon Prize is the largest monetary award for contributions in engineering education, and it was awarded for the first time in February 2002 to Professor Eli Fromm from Drexel University, Philadelphia.
Charles Stark Draper Prize: Recognized as one of the world’s preeminent awards for engineering achievement, this prize honors an engineer or engineers whose contributions have significantly impacted society by improving the quality of life, providing the ability to live freely and comfortably, or permitting the access to information. Presented annually, the prize carries a $500,000 cash award. The 2002 Draper Prize recipient is Dr. Robert Langer of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his development of biocompatible polymer technologies that control the release of medicine over time (from weeks to years), which has significantly advanced the controlled drug delivery industry.
Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize: Awarded for the first time in 2001, the Russ Prize recognizes outstanding achievement in an engineering field of critical importance (currently bioengineering) that, through widespread use, contributes to improving the human condition or impacts significantly upon society. Presented biennially, the prize carries a $500,000 cash award. The 2001 Russ Prize Recipients were Earl E. Bakken and Wilson Greatbatch for their independent development of the implantable cardiac pacemaker.http://www.nae.edu/nae/naehome.nsf/(weblinks)/LRAO-56WSW3?OpenDocument