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Engineering Without Borders Crucial To Helping A Fast-Changing World

Engineering without borders crucial to helping a fast-changing world

February 19, 2014

The world is undergoing huge changes and engineering is playing a substantial part in people’s lives, a leading University of Canterbury (UC) lecturer Professor Conan Fee says.

UC is hosting the annual national Engineering Without Borders conference in July and Fee says clean water, safe food, medicines, roads, petrol, buildings, energy, tv, internet and computers were just some of the many aspects of life facilitated by engineering research.

``Engineering responds to need and opportunity. So clean water and iphones are examples in a fast-changing society with huge population growth and shifts towards urbanisation in China; massive increases in standard of living of people in India and potential for disputes between these countries over resources, Dean of Engineering, Professor Fee says.

``We are facing rapidly increasing demands for energy to meet both the needs and desires of these changing populations, and the demands of ageing populations needing more healthcare. Other issues include the depleting natural resources through economic and population growth and an explosion in the e-digital world.

``According to the United Nations, by 2025 1.8 billion of the world’s people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity and two-thirds of the global population will be experiencing stress conditions.’’

Fee says engineers worldwide are playing a major part in helping people cope and survive. UC’s College of Engineering is sponsoring the Engineers Without Borders conference on July 19. It is the first time the conference has been held in Christchurch.

The conference and delegates will seek to link communities, students, academics and corporates through design challenges. The event usually attracts just as many engineering students as professional engineers.

``Engineering students not only learn about design but also gain valuable information by learning about developing nations and their problems. What we take for granted in the developed world can be a daily challenge for those in the third world, and it underlines the importance of engineering, in all its disciplines, to providing the basic needs of a community.’’

Topics at the conference will include disaster recovery, co-operation in the development sector and indigenous perspectives on development.


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