Engineers indispensable to our prosperity in a changing climate

April 20th, 2012 by University of Leicester

Professor Julia King (left), Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, keynote speaker at the Engineering Professors' Council's annual congress at the University of Leicester on April 17 with Congress organiser Professor Helen Atkinson, head of Mechanics and Materials Group in the University of Leicester's Engineering Department (click image to expand - image courtesy of University of Leicester)

Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, gave the keynote lecture at the Engineering Professors’ Council‘s annual congress at the University of Leicester on 17 April 2012.

She explained that the UK’s task of reducing emissions will contribute to a surge in engineering jobs through ‘green growth’

Her lecture, “Climate Change, Green Growth, Opportunities for Engineering and Manufacturing” examined how the UK Government’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 will create new opportunities for engineering research and development.

(click on slide to download Professor Julia King's slide presentation as a PDF file - courtesy of Aston University)

Professor King, who advises the UK Government on education and technology issues and is a non-executive director of the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said “reducing emissions means replacing our current operations, infrastructure and manufactured goods with low carbon alternatives, stimulating research and development, providing opportunities for innovative companies to claim new markets and for the UK to rebalance its economy through ‘green growth’.

The engineering challenge (click image to expand - image courtesy of Aston University)

Engineering UK, in its report on the state of engineering in 2012, predicts that over the next ten or so years there will be a growth wave in engineering jobs – the UK will need over two million additional engineers.”

(click on report cover to go to download page)

“Are we on the threshold of a new golden age for British engineering? I believe that we hold the responsibility, and the means, to make this happen,” she said.

Professor King received the President’s Prize which is awarded biennially by the Engineering Professors’ Council for services to engineering education.

The event was organised by Professor Helen Atkinson, Head of Mechanics and Materials Group in the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering, who is also President of the UK Engineering Professors’ Council.

Emission reduction target for 2050 (click graph to expand - slide courtesy of Aston University)

She said “engineering is crucial to our quality of life and to combating climate change. There are great opportunities for engineers in helping to develop technologies which will help the world to adjust to climate change.”

She said, “engineers gain real job satisfaction from solving problems, particularly when that benefits the society. There are also great prospects for job creation and economic growth through putting the UK at the forefront of technologies to assist with combating climate change.”

“The congress is an opportunity to gather Engineering Professors here at the University of Leicester to consider the issues facing engineering in higher education,” she said.

A slide from Professor King's presentation (click slide to expand - slide courtesy of Aston University)

The congress also featured talks from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and Universities UK (UUK).

A slide on Marine Energy from Professor Julia King's presentation at the Engineering Professor's Council's annual congress at the University of Leicester on 17 April 2012 (click slide to expand - slide courtesy of Aston University)

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