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Emissions reductions targets for the UK set out in the Climate Change Act for the period to 2050 will only be achieved with significant changes to the built environment, which is currently estimated to account for 50% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

The socio-technological nature of Civil Engineering means that this field is uniquely placed to lead the UK through such adaptations. This paper discusses the importance of interdisciplinary teaching to produce multi-faceted team approaches to sustainable design solutions.

Methods for measuring success in education are often not fit for purpose, producing good students but poor engineers. Real-world failures to apply sustainable design presents a serious, difficult to detect, and ultimately economically negative situation. Techniques to replace summative examinations are presented and discussed, with the aim of enhancing core technical skills alongside those required for sustainable design.

Finally, the role of our future engineers in policy-making is discussed. In addition to carbon, the provision of water and food will heavily influence the work of civil engineers in the coming decades. Leadership from civil engineers with the technical knowledge and social awareness to tackle these issues will be required. This provides both opportunities and challenges for engineering education in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-296
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number3
Early online date16 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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