Conference Theme

Engineering for social change

What do you mean by 'social change'?

Engineering plays a direct and indirect role in shaping the lives of everyone in all societies. The kinds of objects and processes that engineers design or maintain or dispose of reflect the kind of society we have. This includes the way in which design and management of engineering allows or prevents different types of people from benefiting from them or bearing the risks generated by them. For TE2024, we have taken inspiration from UCL STEaPP and UCL CEGE's new undergraduate degree programme - BSc Science and Engineering for Social Change - to provide a focus for the conference theme. 

For inspiration have a read of the following paper from Engineering Studies, which gives 3 spontaneous examples of transdisciplinary engineering in practice, all in one sense or another focused on social change:

Beyond Efficiency: Engineering for Sustainability Requires Solving for Pattern, Date & Chandrasekharan, 2018

How can I make my research relevant to the theme?

If your work normally involves testing or designing a new object or process, such as ways of making an industrial process more efficient, or creating a new product design that makes it simple to manufacture, you can submit a paper that does any of the following:

Remember - to be acceptable to TE2024, your paper can be more discursive than you might normally write for standard engineering conferences or publications. It doesn't have to be description of a modelling process or an analysis of product lifecycle, it can be a structured reflection on how you as an engineering engage with ideas which might challenge the standard ways of working, or the opportunities you observe in collaborating with non-engineers. 

I'm still a little lost - can I get more help?

Yes! As a social scientist focuses on engineers and engineering Dr Adam Cooper - the TE2024 conference chair and Associate Professor of Engineering Policy at UCL STEaPP - is keen to have conversations with engineers interested in bringing a paper to TE2024. Ideally, we'd like to record the online chats and share them via this conference website, as a way of reaching the wider community. Get in touch with Adam directly if you would like to have a conversation about how to bring a 'social change' focus to your submission. 

Alternatively, you could contact a social scientist from your institution or one in the same country for a conversation about your work and see what questions they would ask about your work. By 'a social scientist', we mainly mean someone with one of the following backgrounds: sociology, anthropology, human geography, Science and Technology Studies, political or policy sciences, philosophy or related backgrounds. Explain that you want to understand what questions a social scientist would ask about your work as you are keen to submit to TE2024, and want to understand how to do that better. Ideally the conversation could lead to a paper you jointly submit. The focus of the paper could even be reporting on your journey as you explore how social science approaches affect your engineering approaches, tools and methods. This would definitely count as on topic and in scope.