The climate is right for a fundamental change in civil engineering education

Tim Ibell, Nick Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Since the industrial revolution, civil engineers who have created a built environment for a civilisation that is based on fossil fuel have been admired. For over 250 years engineers have been educated and trained for the upslope of using ever more carbon to fuel engineering needs. But now there is an urgent requirement to enter an era which is an order of magnitude shorter, and which is on the steep downslope towards net-zero carbon by 2050, or earlier. The difference between what it means to be an engineer on the upslope and what it means to be engineer on the downslope is colossally different. The first step for all educators is to realise this, to embrace it, and to be part of the solution by instilling a downslope mentality in engineering students. Recently, the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) has reviewed and updated its guidelines for universities. It has placed the climate emergency central to the education of future civil engineers. This paper describes the background to, and details of, the changes which have been made by JBM. Given that creativity is enhanced further through these additional challenges, what could possibly be more exciting for engineering students of today than knowing that they will lead the profession in achieving massive reductions in emissions, to the benefit of all humanity? The JBM, and society, require of civil engineering education that this ambition is fulfilled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-971
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings
Issue number12
Early online date14 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

No funders were acknowledged.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


Dive into the research topics of 'The climate is right for a fundamental change in civil engineering education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this