Wings Magazine

Airbus announces finalists for 2017 diversity award

Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) have announced the three finalist projects for the 2017 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award.

September 7, 2017  By Airbus

For five years, the award has celebrated successful projects, which have encouraged more people of all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering. The main goal of the award is to increase diversity among the global community of engineers, with diversity recognised as a driver for innovation and growth. For the first time, in 2017 the award has been granted UNESCO patronage.

The three finalist projects from Australia, Canada and Japan were selected from 45 entries from 18 countries:

Australia: The Women in Engineering (WIE) Program from the University of New South Wales. Kim Burdett WIE manager explains. “This program aims to improve the recruitment and retention of female engineers through outreach activities and scholarships at all academic levels. The WIE Program also delivers a comprehensive range of workshops and activities targeted at changing the image of engineering among female students, parents, employers and teachers. It is also focussed on raising awareness amongst industry, and helping companies achieve their diversity goals and transformations. Alumni and industry partners are engaged as speakers, mentors and sponsors. The project’s mission is to address gender imbalance and create a strong community of support and guidance for engineering students at a national level.”

Canada: The University of Calgary – the Schulich School of Engineering has been selected for the Discover Engineering Program. “It is a teaching initiative used to introduce secondary level students to engineering,” says Qiao Sun, associate dean (equity and diversity) at the University of Calgary. “Trained student facilitators, primarily from underrepresented groups themselves, lead engineering career workshops for 16 to 18 year old students. The program goal is to increase the diversity of future University of Calgary students, helping them to develop a deeper understanding of engineering, introducing them to the wide range of career paths, and demonstrating how engineers solve problems in society. Additionally, Discover Engineering serves as a teacher learning opportunity, so that educators can provide students with informed career advice and incorporate engineering topics into the classroom.”


Japan: The Kyushu Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu, with the BIRDS Satellite Project.
“The BIRDS Satellite Project trains graduate students from developing countries in using cost-effective innovative systems engineering to execute a comprehensive two-year satellite project,” describes Taiwo Raphael Tejumola, project manager. “The long-term goal is to equip them to commence a sustainable space program in their respective home countries. The collaborative program provides a unique opportunity for young engineers to compete in today’s global market, teaching specialised waste-minimising systems engineering models, developing core skills and also building a supportive peer network. The project also creates a sustainable pathway for participants to implement training initiatives in their home countries, further contributing to the diversification and globalisation of engineering skills.”

The three finalist projects will be presented to a jury of industry experts and engineering deans, who will gather for the GEDC annual conference in Niagara Falls, Ont., between October 10-13.

The 2017 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award winner receives $US10,000 to support the further development of the project. The two runners up will each receive $US1,500 to help communicate their projects.


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