Eye on Research: Cultivating Change
From providing food and water for a global population of nearly 10 billion and mitigating and adapting to climate change to building more resilient cities, the 21st century’s biggest challenges are now converging to create a pivotal moment in the history of human civilization.
Many of those issues are ones environmental engineers will play a crucial role in solving, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Chaired by Chancellor Domenico Grasso, the committee of authors found a need for new paradigm-shifting systems and technologies will drive numerous innovations in the field.
Notably, that will also require new strategies for training and educating the next generations of environmental engineers.
“In addition to matching curricula to the most current science, we think creating practical, systems-based solutions will require environmental engineers to shift to a new collaborative moment,” Grasso said. “That will include not only working more closely with each other, but with professionals in other fields, stakeholders and affected communities.”
To support that work, the report found the environmental engineering field should cultivate amore diverse workforce, with special attention to the racial and ethnic diversity of the pipeline of scientists who enter this field. In turn, funding organizations and research institutions can bolster their own cultures of collaboration by supporting and incentivizing interdisciplinary work.