The role of the professional engineer in the 21st century

Aoife Foley, Paul Leahy

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In light of the current world economic and environmental crisis due in part to
unsustainable development and poor financial planning, 21st Century engineers are faced with unprecedented challenges of developing a sustainable world in balance with the forces of nature to combat global environmental, social and economic crises. The European Union, the United States of America and a number of other countries have identified that smart solutions and highly skilled professionals are needed to survive climate change and create long-term prosperity. In this paper the evolution of the changing career of the engineer will be presented. The policy background to the current system of engineering education at bachelor’s and graduate level in Ireland will be introduced and perceptions of engineering as a profession by society in general, and by
school leavers selecting third level courses will be discussed. The role of the engineer as a specialist, expert or generalist will also be studied in terms of the changing demands and needs of society. Finally the responsibility of universities, through broad-based multidisciplinary teaching and training, to prepare the next crop of engineers will be examined.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Event3rd International Symposium for Engineering Education - University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Duration: 30 Jun 201002 Jul 2010


Conference3rd International Symposium for Engineering Education
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