Published: May 10, 2023 By ,

This study set out to identify emerging trends in advancing engineering for sustainable development, supporting the engineering workforce to address wicked problems, and strengthening pathways between engineering education, industry, and policy. The following question guided this work: What are the emerging factors impacting the future of global sustainability efforts within engineering, and how can these be amplified to increase the impact of engineering for sustainable development? Using an adapted Delphi method with surveys, focus groups, and member-checking interviews, we hosted the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 2022 Engineering Global Development (EGD) Stakeholder Summit. The summit convened industry leaders, innovators, and academics to explore emerging factors impacting the future of global sustainability efforts in engineering. This manuscript synthesizes emerging trends and proposes recommendations for engineering, particularly in the specific focus area of engineering for sustainable development (e.g., ‘humanitarian engineering’, ‘global engineering’). Critical recommendations include the adoption of emerging cultural mindsets, which include: (1) take an interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach, (2) consider dynamic and interconnected systems, (3) increase humility and intercultural competence, (4) prioritize diversity and inclusion, (5) increase localization and center community perspectives, (6) challenge the perception that engineering is neutral, and (7) broaden the goals of engineering. Ultimately, this study highlights pathways forward for the broader engineering community to more effectively contribute to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Burleson, G., Lajoie, J., Mabey, C., Sours, P., Ventrella, J., Peiffer, E., Stine, E., Stettler Kleine, M., MacDonald, L., Austin-Breneman, J., Javernick-Will, A., Winter, A., Lucena, J., Knight, D., Daniel, S., Thomas, E., Mattson, C., Aranda, I. (2023). “Advancing Sustainable Development: Emerging Factors and Futures for the Engineering Field”.  Sustainability. 10.3390/su15107869.