The Future of Engineering Education: Where Are We Heading?

Lena B. Gumaelius, Anette Kolmos

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


The Nordic Engineering Hub has conducted a study on what engineering education
will consist of in 2030. The study, conducted by universities in five different countries,
focuses on the educational content and the pedagogical methods. Three major
challenges have been identified as being crucial for the development of future
engineering education: 1) sustainability, 2) digitalisation and 3) employability.

The first challenge is related to climate change and the 17 Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations (UN) that are vital for the future of the
globe. The second challenge is derived from technology and science. With an
expected increase in the use of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things and
artificial intelligence, digitalisation will saturate all corners of society; it will also affect
the engineering disciplines. The third challenge is about future conditions for
employability, including the need for innovation and entrepreneurship.

For this study, professors from various engineering disciplines were interviewed with
the aim of understanding their perspectives on how their discipline will be developed
in the future, and what trends will dominate engineering education in 2030. The study
adopted a phenomenographic approach, and, in this paper presents the initial
analyses of the first five interviews. The initial analyses identify two categories: the
importance of change and the role of the university. The discipline each interviewee
belonged to is hypothesised to be an important factor for variations, an indication that
will be followed up in future quantitative measurements. While the study is exploratory,
the theory about tensions between the academic, market-driven and communityoriented modes within universities is used as a theoretical framework. The
methodological approach is discussed, and it will be further emphasised during the
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings SEFI 47th Annual Conference : Varietas delectat… Complexity is the new normality
EditorsBalázs Vince Nagy, Mike Murphy, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Anikó Kálmán
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationBudapest
PublisherSEFI: European Association for Engineering Education
Publication date2019
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-018-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventSEFI annual conference 2019: Varietas delectat: Complexity is the new normality - Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 16 Sep 201919 Sep 2019
Conference number: 47


ConferenceSEFI annual conference 2019
LocationBudapest University of Technology and Economics
Internet address

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