Strategic competences for concrete action towards sustainability: An oxymoron? Engineering education for a sustainable future

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Abstract

In the current discourses on sustainable development, one can discern two main intellectual cultures: an analytic one focusing on measuring problems and prioritizing measures, (Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), Mass Flow Analysis (MFA), etc.) and; a policy/management one, focusing on long term change, change incentives, and stakeholder management (Transitions/niches, Environmental economy, Cleaner production).These cultures do not often interact and interactions are often negative. However, both cultures are required to work towards sustainability solutions: problems should be thoroughly identified and quantified, options for large change should be guideposts for action, and incentives should be created, stakeholders should be enabled to participate and their values and interests should be included in the change process. The paper deals especially with engineering education. Successful technological change processes should be supported by engineers who have acquired strategic competences. An important barrier towards training academics with these competences is the strong disciplinarism of higher education. Raising engineering students in strong disciplinary paradigms is probably responsible for their diminishing public engagement over the course of their studies. Strategic competences are crucial to keep students engaged and train them to implement long term sustainable solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1111
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume68
Issue numberPart 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Engineering culture
  • Engineering education
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Paradigm
  • Strategic competences
  • Transitions

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