Waste recycled into energy. Edible cutlery. Clean water treatment.
All these and more are examples of sustainable engineering products and technologies that aim to use natural resources more efficiently and wisely while lessening the negative effects on the environment. That way, we can meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
As Dr. Helen Meese, the former Head of Engineering in Society for the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, says, “When engineers are given the opportunity to develop sustainable solutions to global challenges, the results are outstanding,”
Indeed, for many engineering professions around the world, sustainable development is becoming more important — when incorporated as an engineering principle, this not only benefits society but also helps businesses save more money and time, and opens up new opportunities to make the world a better place.
If you too envision a more sustainable future, consider taking your first step with an engineering degree from one of these top universities:
Politecnico di Torino
Located in Turin, the industrial excellence in Italy, Politecnico di Torino is ranked among top 50 universities for Engineering and Technology in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and got great results in the ranking by subject and for campus sustainability as well.
Programmes here nurture the values of sustainability, as well as scientific and technological innovation. These include innovative and up to date programs such as: Architecture For Sustainability, Digital Skills For Sustainable Societal Transitions, ICT for Smart Societies, Environmental and Land Engineering, and Territorial, Urban, Environmental And Landscape Planning.
Throughout the years, PoliTO has built its good reputation thanks to the quality of its degree programs as well as its commitment to research and innovation through initiatives such as the Festival of Technology, seminars and engagement with the city of Torino.
PoliTO has heavily invested in resources to attract top international talents to study here. With over 400 international agreements, and more than 100 double degree and student mobility agreements, students can access opportunities to take up double degrees in the Erasmus Mundus programme with top level European universities.
PoliTO’s student-centred mindset also saw them quickly switching to full-time online teaching and making teaching material available offline for international students in different time zones. It is working hard to welcome students back to the physical campus as quickly and as safely as possible too.
Learning is practical here, with students trained to be work-ready — as many as 90.5% of its master’s graduates are employed within a year of graduation, a percentage highly above the national average. PoliTO also offers career counselling, recruiting events and local and international job opportunities.
With several campuses in Switzerland that boast scenic views of the Alps, easy transport access and excellent infrastructures for teaching and learning, ETH Zurich has is home to over 23,000 students from 121 countries at all academic levels.
Over 520 professors work at ETH. They are involved in Switzerland’s 10 centres of excellence — the centres with the most number of ETH professors are the MaP, the AI Centre and the ESC.
The university is ranked the sixth best in the world by QS. Their interdisciplinary courses ensure students are well supported to know how to deal with contemporary world issues through critical thinking, responsible behaviour and teamwork.
520 professors work at ETH; they are involved in Switzerland’s ten centres of excellence — the centres with the most number of ETH professors are the MaP, the AI Centre and the ESC.
ETH offers consecutive and specialised master’s programmes — the former builds up on knowledge gained from the bachelor’s studies, and the latter focuses on one topic. Students can choose from Environmental Engineering, Integrated Building Systems, Mechanical Engineering, and Energy Science and Technology, among others. Most master’s courses can be completed within four semesters.
Imperial College London
Imperial College London’s beautiful campus on a sunny day. Source: Imperial College London, Facebook
As the only university in the UK to exclusively focus on science, medicine, engineering and business, Imperial College London is a world-renowned research university with the highest number of high-impact research concentrations in the UK. It also boasts research collaborations in over 140 countries.
Imperial is consistently ranked among the UK’s top five universities — it is third among European universities, seventh in the world (QS World University Rankings), and has been named as the University of the Year 2022 (Times and Sunday Good Times).
Students here can expect to be part of a supportive research community with access to the latest technology facilities and online learning resources. Postgraduate students can join their Professional Skills Development Programme that equips them with academic and professionalskills in order to be career-ready.
Their Global Fellows Programme allows students to take up a professional skills course and work in top-rated research universities; meanwhile, the Placement and Internship Unit helps students find internships abroad for practical experience.
At Imperial, students can choose to study environmental engineering, soil mechanics, environmental data science and machine learning or even sustainable energy futures (under the Energy Futures Lab).
Delft University of Technology
The cross-faculty Railway Institute — a collaboration between ProRail and Delft University. Source: Delft University of Technology, Facebook
With eight faculties located in the main campus of Delft, the Netherlands, Delft University of Technology has one of the largest university campuses in the world measuring over 161 hectares. Almost 27,000 students call Delft their second; nearly 22% are international.
Delft is ranked in the top 20 European universities, and is among the Netherlands’ top three universities. It is also the most international university in the country, holding the number one spot nationally for “Impact: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure.” Most recently, the Times Higher Education Subject Rankings ranked Delft number 21 for Engineering and Technology.
Delft is committed to ensuring its campus is as sustainable as possible — there are 4,000 solar panels on 12 buildings’ roofs. Their staff is involved in new construction and renovation projects — the Pulse education building, where the Faculty of Architecture played a role in its construction, is the first energy-neutral of its kind on the campus.
Excellent research facilities at Delft help students carry out top-lelvel scientific research. These include the Geosciences and Engineering Laboratory, Aerospace Engineering Classroom, and Simona Research Simulator.
Master’s courses available here include the MSc Sustainable Energy Technology, MSc Environmental Engineering, and MSc Complex Systems Engineering and Management.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International