World Federation of Engineering Organizations Newsletter N° 37
GRAND CHALLENGES FOR ENGINEERING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
The U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington announced on February 2008 the grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. A diverse committee of experts from around the world, convened at the request of the U.S. National Science Foundation, revealed 14 challenges that, if met, would improve how we live. "Tremendous advances in quality of life have come from improved technology in areas such as farming and manufacturing," said committee member and Google co-founder Larry Page. "If we focus our effort on the important grand challenges of our age, we can hugely improve the future." The panel, some of the most accomplished engineers and scientists of their generation, was established in 2006 and met several times to discuss and develop the list of challenges. Through an interactive Web site, the effort received worldwide input from prominent engineers and scientists, as well as from the general public, over a one-year period. The panel's conclusions were reviewed by more than 50 subject-matter experts. The final choices fall into four themes that are essential for humanity to flourish -sustainability, health, reducing vulnerability, and joy of living. The committee did not attempt to include every important challenge, nor did it endorse particular approaches to meeting those selected. Rather than focusing on predictions or gee-whiz gadgets, the goal was to identify what needs to be done to help people and the planet thrive. "We chose engineering challenges that we feel can, through creativity and commitment, be realistically met, most of them early in this century," said committee chair and former U.S. Secretary of Defence William J. Perry. "Some can be, and should be, achieved as soon as possible." The committee decided not to rank the challenges. NAE is offering the public an opportunity to vote on which one they think is most important and to provide comments at the project Web site http://www.engineeringchallenges.org. The Grand Challenges site features a five-minute video overview of the project along with committee member interview excerpts. A podcast of the news conference announcing the challenges is available on the site. "Meeting these challenges would be 'game changing,'" said NAE president Charles M. Vest. "Success with any one of them could dramatically improve life for everyone." The Challenges • Make solar energy affordable • Provide energy from fusion • Develop carbon sequestration methods • Manage the nitrogen cycle • Provide access to clean water • Restore and improve urban infrastructure • Advance health informatics • Engineer better medicines 1
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Reverse-engineer the brain Prevent nuclear terror Secure cyberspace Enhance virtual reality Advance personalized learning Engineer the tools for scientific discovery
Consulting Engineers Africa Conferences 2008
FIDIC's Group of African Member Associations GAMA, hold its annual Africa regional conference GAMA 2008 in Tunis from 22 to 25 June. The event was organized in cooperation with the Tunisian Consulting Engineers’ Association-ANBEIC, the African Development Bank and the Tunisian Renewable Energies Agency. In workshops and seminars with the participation of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers FIDIC, the participants discussed the themes Energy and the Environment as well as Contracts and Dispute Resolution. A feature of the GAMA Conference was African Development Bank Workshop on 23 June (Lending programme; Business opportunities; Infrastructure, Water and Environment, sector information). The participants emphasised that the African consulting engineers play an important role in fighting the negative aspects of the expensive fuel prices in overcoming the impact of fuel prices increase and highlighted the necessity to build African...