Preparing engineering students for the challenges of the SDGs: what competences are required?

Una Beagon, Klara Kövesi, Brad Tabas, Bente Nørgaard, Riitta Lehtinen, Brian Bowe, Claus Monrad Spliid

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Despite the emerging discussions about the growing role of engineers in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is a lack of agreement on which competences should be prioritised to prepare engineering students to resolve future sustainability challenges. This study examined and compared the views of key stakeholders of engineering education (Academics, Employers and Students) using twelve focus groups in Denmark, Finland, France and Ireland. The findings were mapped against competences identified in previous studies to highlight gaps and opportunities for development. The results confirm the strong emphasis on normative, strategic and systems thinking competences in engineering. However, the outcomes also lack acknowledgement of anticipatory competence, contradicting the future oriented perspective required to achieve sustainable development. The findings can be used by educators to inform programme development and to implement opportunities for students to develop the competences necessary to support sustainable development and the SDGs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Number of pages23
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2022


  • Engineering education
  • SDGs
  • engineering competences
  • sustainable development


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