ICED19 Workshop: Design for Global Sustainable Development

Aug 5th, 2019




On a global scale, 20% of the world’s population continue to exploit more than 80% of its resources and climate change is agreed to be an extreme threat to our civilization, and the UN Agenda 2030 points out many of the challenges.  

We need to raise questions about the future and how innovative solutions to development issues, that are not only solving the pressing needs of the present but are enhancing the ability of future generations to meet new complex challenges. As a consequence, increasing our knowledge on the specific characteristics of a global development context, unearthing the true needs and what this implies for engineering design education and research approaches is crucial. By this, the creation of a mutual innovation capacity can be spurred; a capacity we believe is a necessity in order to successfully meet the global challenges we are facing.

We hereby invite colleagues from any area that have an interest in global sustainable development and how it can be linked to areas within engineering design to a workshop at ICED 2019 in Delft. The two overall research questions for the workshop concern: 

1)    how design science research and education can improve current ways of meeting sustainability challenges in global development 
2)    in what way design science research and education can be enriched through engaging in global sustainable development.

The objectives of the workshop at the conference is to spark a discussion on the mutual relation between engineering design and sustainable development in global development contexts. We hope to identify overarching research themes and potential new research and education collaborations with respect to cultural and resource differences. 
In this workshop, we want to get deeper insights to the specific needs in the African context and what requirement such setting provides for engineering design research and education when it comes to the principles and approaches in use. Further, we want to investigate the different dimensions of global sustainable development and how these can be linked to other more established areas within engineering design.

We also want to raise questions about the future in terms of  ‘What are the needed capabilities of the engineers/designers of tomorrow – in different cultures?

Welcome – Panos Papalambros and Margareta Norell Bergendahl
Introductory talks – Gabriel Dinda, Chris McMahon, Susanne Nilsson, John Clarkson
Participating contributions –  Participants from different countries/research teams
Break-out discussions in smaller groups
Vernissage of discussion outcomes 
Conclusions – moderated by Panos Papalambros

Organising team: 
Margareta Norell Bergendahl, Stephen E Maponga, Susanne Nilsson, Panos Papalambros.



Gabriel Dinda, Strathmore University, Kenya

Responsible Design: A Glimmer of Hope for Africa

Africa is at crossroads regarding a number of decisions it is required to make. The sustainability of the planet seems to have its wheels in Africa. Like a clean slate, Africa seems to be starting on a direct trajectory to the sustainable future. Economic Growth has been used for a long time as the parameter for societal growth. This is now changing owing to the realization of the need for Sustainable Growth for all the countries in the world. Africa, being the clean slate it is, has a chance to take a direct trajectory towards Sustainable Development without necessarily having to make the mistakes that other economies have made. To this extent, all the countries in the world over seem to be starting on the same ground. With all the gloom, that Africa has been associated with, Responsible and futuristic design(s) such as the once exhibited by Strathmore University, has a key to the future of Africa. A glimmer of hope through design.  The purpose of this speech is to provide an overview of the needs of the African continent in order to support and enjoy sustainable development in the light of Sustainable Development Goals


Chris McMahon, University of Bristol, UK

Facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent

Every day we receive warnings that are ever-more dire about the threats to the world of environmental damage and resource depletion, and yet there is very little clarity about what we should do to face the challenges.  For some, renewable energy offers a perfect substitute for depleting and polluting oil, while the circular economy will resolve other resource issues if we would only engage with them with suitable zeal.  For others, fossil fuels have been a one-off boon for humanity on which much of our economic activity has been based, and reduction in their use will necessitate a scaling down of that activity.  Can the engineering designer contribute to this debate, and what should be the role of the designer in different future scenarios? SEE PRESENTATIONS SLIDES.


Susanne Nilsson, KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Challenge-driven education as a means to build mutual innovation capacity addressing sustainable development in Africa and Sweden. 

The Global Development Hub (GDH) is a platform for students, faculty and external stakeholders to engage in global development and accomplish progress towards a sustainable world. The aim is to develop mutual innovation capacity through new ways of working and collaborating cross-culturally towards the SDGs with experience sharing and mutual learning between countries with disparate living conditions as key means. Through a new model of challenge-driven education, teams of students from different disciplines with different backgrounds collaborate on developing environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable solutions to real-life challenges provided by external stakeholders. SEE PRESENTATIONS SLIDES.


John Clarkson, University of Cambridge, UK

Developing a systems approach for healthcare improvement in LMIC

A systems approach to healthcare improvement has been developed by the Royal Academy of Engineering in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians and the Academy of Medical Sciences in the UK. This is being applied to the development of trauma care in Myanmar and is being further developed with the Royal College of Physicians and the Tropical Health and Education Trust to provide an approach for healthcare development in LMIC. SEE PRESENTATIONS SLIDES.



WHITE PAPER on Research in Sustainable Design


Participants are encouraged to offer resources that may be useful for the participants at the workshop and beyond, such as published papers, reports, or relevant organizations. Please contact the workshop organizers.


A White Paper describing findings from a literature review on Research on Sustainable Design in Africa is being composed by a team at the University of Michigan. A first draft of findings and initial thoughts on relevant research needs can be found in the previous link.

This is intended as a discussion starter. Feedback and additional information on relevant research efforts are very welcome and can be sent to Panos Papalambros.



Some additional references that can serve as discussion starters are the following:


Högfeldt, A-K. Lantz, A., Gumaelius, L. & Lujara, S. (2018, April). Understanding Engineering Education

Change With the Introduction of Challenge Driven in Tanzania. In Global Engineering Education

Conference (EDUCON), 2018 IEEE (pp. 1341-1349). IEEE.


Magnell, M., Högfeldt, A.-K. (2015). Guide to challenge-driven education, ISBN: 978-91-7595-089-1,

KTH, Stockholm,


Norell-Bergendahl, M., Rosén, A., Vasell, J., Wyss, R. (2018). Challenge Driven Education for Sustainable

Global Development – KTH Global Development Hub Position Paper. KTH Royal Institute of Technology,

Stockholm, Sweden.


Rosén, A., Edström, K., Grøm, A., Gumaelius, L., Munkebo Hussmann, P., Högfeldt, A-K., Karvinen, M.,

Keskinen, M., Knutson Wedel, M., Lundqvist, U., Lyng, R., Malmqvist, J., Nygaard, M., Vigild, M., &

Fruergaard Astrup, T., (2019). "Mapping the CDIO Syllabus to the UNESCO key competencies for

sustainability". Proceedings of the 15th International CDIO Conference, Aarhus, Denmark, June 25 –

27 2019.


Rosén A, Högfeldt A-K, Lantz A, Gumaelius L, Norell-Bergendahl M, Wyss R, Vasell J, Lujara S, (2018).

"Connecting North and South through Challenge Driven Education," Proceedings of the 14th

International CDIO Conference, Kanazawa, Japan.


UN (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution 70/1.

UNESCO (2017). Education for Sustainable Development Goals – Learning Objectives, ISBN 978-92-3-






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