Engineering enabling a changing world – conference at UC

Published: Tue 28 Aug 2012 08:37 AM
Engineering enabling a changing world – conference at UC today
August 28, 2012
The world is undergoing huge changes and challenging issues and people didn’t realise just how much of their everyday lives was enabled by engineering, a leading University of Canterbury (UC) lecturer Professor Conan Fee said today.
UC is staging a major engineering conference on campus today and Fee said clean water, safe food, medicines, roads, petrol, buildings, energy, tv, internet and computers and iphones were just some of the many aspects of life facilitated by engineering research.
``Engineering responds to need and opportunity. So clean water and iphones are examples of each. Society is changing fast with huge population growth and shifts towards urbanisation in China; massive increases in standard of living of people in India and potential for disputes between these countries over resource, Professor Fee said.
``We are facing rapidly increasing demands for energy, to meet both needs and desires of these changing populations, ageing populations needing more healthcare; climate change and so on.
``So knowing about these trends may give some insights into what society will need and want in the next 20 to 50 years, and therefore what engineering challenges will arise because of those.’’
Issues included depleting natural resources through economic and population growth and an explosion in the e-digital world.
According to the United Nations by 2025 1.8 billion of the world’s people will be living in countries or regions with “absolute water scarcity” and two-thirds of the global population will be experiencing “stress conditions”. Fee said engineers world-wide were playing a major part in helping cope and survive.
Australia’s Stefan Hajkowicz, from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, who has been leading their global trends project, will be the keynote speaker. He will talk about a range of current and future trends that will affect people around the world.

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