Three universities team up to enhance environmental engineering curricula

A collaborative research team led by Carnegie Mellon University's Cliff Davidson, David Allen of The University of Texas at Austin and Brad Allenby of Arizona State University plans to revolutionize the way engineering education is taught through a new Center for Sustainable Engineering.

The center, supported by $1.7 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and $350,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is designed to help future engineers better manage increased stress on the world's limited resources.

Sustainable engineering involves meeting society's present needs for building materials, natural gas and other resources without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs for human development.

"Our goal is to encourage all of the 1,500 engineering programs nationally to incorporate environmental considerations into how they teach students to design processes and products," said Allen, a professor of chemical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, and the lead engineer on the center's EPA grant.

"Teaching environmental concepts should be done in the same way engineers have been teaching safety concepts for decades," he added.

Public desires to conserve energy conflict with its growing consumption as the global population expands and standards of living improve, adding to energy use. These factors provided a compelling reason to start the new virtual center, dedicated to teaching and rewarding engineers who incorporate environmental and social constraints into projects. The center's opening also coincides with a national conference that starts today at The University of Texas at Austin for the Engineers for a Sustainable World.

More than 500 engineering students and faculty, representatives from U.S. non-governmental organizations and 12 members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will attend the non-profit organi

Contact: Becky Rische
University of Texas at Austin

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