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STEM for Equity and Sustainability: Highlights from the Engineering and Science for Deeply Uncertain Times Conference

Highlights from the Engineering and Science for Deeply Uncertain Times Conference

The Engineering and Science for Deeply Uncertain Times conference, hosted by the University of Warwick's School of Engineering in collaboration with the Sustainable Cities Global Research Priorities program, brought together academics and industry leaders to explore innovative solutions and strategies to enable the building of a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future.

The conference covered several themes, including:

Advancing Humanitarian Engineering and Science Education

One of the key themes of the conference was the significance of modern, innovative pedagogical approaches in engineering education delivery. The conference highlighted how these approaches can tackle inherent barriers in quality, knowledge organisation, content, and hierarchy, to support the development of emerging skills and capacity-building required to equip engineers of the future. The Enhance Project, funded by the European Commission and based at the School of Engineering, is a transformative global initiative that aims to modernise engineering education by introducing innovative pedagogy and fostering the development of emerging skills.

Showcasing Humanitarian Science and Engineering Research

The conference featured a showcase of humanitarian science and engineering research, with speakers presenting their research on a range of topics such as tackling humanitarian challenges through participatory mapping in the Global South, investigating pollution and antimicrobial resistance in rivers to safeguard human health, and urban groundwater resource issues and management in the context of climate change and rising sea levels.

Emphasising Resilience in a VUCA World

The conference's keynote speakers, Elena Korosteleva, Professor and Director of the Institute of Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick, and Vita Sanderson, Senior Consultant at Arup International Development, delivered thought-provoking talks on living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world. They explored how resilience can help us survive and transform and what resilience can look like.

Envisioning the Future of Inclusive Education

The conference also focused on the future of STEM R&D, and how innovative pedagogical approaches can equip engineers of the future with the skills and knowledge required to address the challenges facing our world today. The distinguished panelists who spoke at the conference included Emma Crichton, Head of Engineering at Engineers Without Borders UK; Angela Wilks, Power System Engineer at National Grid ESO; and Rana Ilgaz, Head of Profession Highways and Traffic at Transport for London. They brought their unique perspectives and insights to the conference, focussing on a range of topics such as humanitarian science and engineering, the sustainable use of underground space, the challenges of operating the GB electricity system and transitioning to zero-carbon, delivering London's transport strategy, and gender-responsive humanitarian engineering.

Legacy of the MSc in Humanitarian Engineering Programme and Closing Remarks

The event also brought together a panel from Warwick Alumni of the MSc Humanitarian Engineering who joined to share not only their inspiring experiences from studying at Warwick but also provide insight to their experience as professionals in innovating new technologies, working with multiple stakeholders and leading the development of solutions that improve the quality of life and the wellbeing of communities. The event's closing remarks were delivered by Georgia Kremmyda, Professor and Head of Teaching at the School of Engineering, who emphasised the importance of bringing humanity to whatever we do for taking along communities, end-users and stakeholders, and for inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists to pursue a career in STEM. Overall, the Engineering and Science for Deeply Uncertain Times conference was a valuable platform for exploring innovative solutions and strategies to build a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future.

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