Cleveland, Ohio – Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is in the midst of two initiatives that recognize and celebrate ethnic, race, and gender diversity in engineering – long seen as a discipline dominated by white males.
Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC), have launched a call for nominations for the 2017 edition of the Airbus Diversity Award, which aims to shine a light on successful projects that have encouraged more young people of all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering. The long-term goal is to increase diversity among the global community of engineers so that the engineering industry reflects the diversity of the communities it supports, with diversity recognized as a driver for innovation and growth.
The award was developed and funded by Airbus in partnership with the GEDC, an international organization comprised of leaders of schools and colleges of engineering. This fifth anniversary edition of the award is being placed under UNESCO patronage.
Jean Brice Dumont, executive vice president of engineering at Airbus Helicopters and patron of the award says, “At Airbus we know that a diverse and inclusive culture is an asset. It boosts the innovative mind-set that underpins the vast technological advances happening in aviation and aerospace today.”
Flavia Schlegel, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for natural sciences, adds, “We need more young people from every background and of every profile to acquire the skills the world needs to solve our greatest global challenges, as well as realize the potential of new opportunities.”
“We invite everyone working to improve diversity in engineering education around the world to put their successful projects forward, to share their good ideas and innovative approaches, and to inspire others to do more on this critical issue,” says said Peter Kilpatrick, McCloskey Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and GEDC chair.
In November 2016, the Airbus Diversity Award went to Dr Yacob Astatke from Morgan State University, a historically black college in Baltimore, Maryland, for his introduction of technology and training initiatives across universities in Ethiopia to improve the delivery of engineering education in Africa.
Entries for this year’s award will close on July 10, 2017 with the winning project to be announced at the GEDC Annual Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada Oct. 11-13, 2017.
Entries can be made online by any individual or team working with or in an engineering college/faculty, whose project has demonstrated tangible results in bringing more diversity among engineering students and/or graduates.
To register or to participate, visit: https://gedcairbusdiversityaward.com/application/
Representing nine different nationalities and eight universities across Africa, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, the five finalist teams embody diversity, which Airbus regards as a key driver of innovation and performance. The students, competing for a 30,000 euro prize, come from a variety of disciplines from natural sciences to engineering and business. Students’ ideas had to answer one of five challenges identified by Airbus to provide sustainable future solutions.
The finalists’ concepts cover a range of innovations from using commercial airliners as an alternative to satellite imagery, improved aircraft taxiing, clever ways of boarding, accessing new areas for luggage storage, and offering a new business model using existing Airbus A400M aircraft for fire-fighting.
These inventive ideas were selected from more than 350 entries in the biennial global student competition, also run in partnership with UNESCO.
The five finalist teams – from Australia, France, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and the UK – will spend a week at the Airbus ProtoSpace facility in Toulouse, France, where they will get to prototype, test, and visualize their ideas using state-of-the-art equipment with personal guidance from Airbus engineers before presenting their projects to aerospace and academic experts.