What do you want the world to look like 100 years from now?
Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, data analytics, quantum computing, augmented reality — these are no longer just buzzwords. These technologies are out in the wild, changing the way engineers work and reshape the world.
Many of these advances were unimaginable 100 years ago. What new innovations will come through in the next 100 years? How can engineers harness new technology to build a more sustainable world?
“Engineers are creating the future of technology. We are the ones who first see the potential impacts. If we don’t prepare our people for that, we’ll see unintended consequences of the technology.”
Prof. Elizabeth Croft, Dean Faculty of Engineering, Monash University
Each day of the World Engineers Convention will have a stream dedicated to exploring this topic in detail. Engineers from around the world will share their expertise on topics from innovation and disruption, to modelling and simulation, artificial intelligence, advanced materials use, automation and more. Delegates will also have the chance to hear from keynote speakers about how technology and innovation are reshaping engineering.
Some keynotes you don’t want to miss are:
Meredith Westafer, Senior Industrial Engineer for Tesla. As the engineer responsible for managing the factory design and site layout for pioneering car company’s Gigafactory in Nevada, US, Westafer developed the models that determined the factory’s space requirements and designed an automated material delivery system. (Speaking on day two of WEC during the session “Is the future of engineering human?”.)
Matt Gough, Director of Innovation for MACE. MACE is the company behind London’s Eye, Olympic Park and The Shard. He will share the company’s digital transformation journey and how technology is helping the construction industry become more sustainable. (Speaking on day two of WEC, session titled “Transforming construction – a UK perspective”.)
By 2050, 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. With the population projected to reach 9.7 billion by then – that’s about 6.6 billion people living, working, playing and (hopefully) thriving in urban areas.
This makes sustainable urbanisation more important than ever. Society is feeling the pressure, and engineers of today are vital to planning more human-centred cities while bridging the gap between urban and rural areas.
What transport systems do we need to move people from place to place? How can utilities like energy, water and waste evolve to be more sustainable? Can all infrastructure become green infrastructure? How can cities evolve in harmony with the environment? And how do we get food from farm to table to feed billions of people?
“The future is not written in stone; the future is something that we all build together. So it depends on the decisions that we make today, tomorrow, in a year and so on.”
Prof. Carlo Ratti, Director, Senseable City Lab, MIT and Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
At WEC, you can attend several presentations on all three days exploring how engineers around the world are crucial to keeping our cities liveable and our people healthy. Some of the top minds discussing this are:
Stephen Yarwood, urban futurist and former Lord Mayor of Adelaide. Yarwood is one of Australia’s best-known and respected contemporary urban planners, and he is considered an international specialist on the future citizen and the relationships between people, technology, infrastructure, society, cities and quality urbanism. (Presenting on day one of WEC during the plenary session ‘Engineering for humanity through diversity – responsive design for greater liveability’.)
Adrian Piani, Chief Engineer, Australian Capital Territory (ACT). As the world’s cities continue to grow – and more of the planet becomes urbanised – cities will be on the frontlines of mitigating the effects of climate change. Piani will discuss how engineers have an opportunity to solve this global problem by making the cities the work or live in more sustainable. (Presenting on day two at WEC on the topic of sustainable energy resources.)
Engineering has a diversity problem, which affects the profession’s ability to address the increasingly complex problems the world faces.
Diversity, equity and collaboration underpin the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and it’s hard to achieve these goals unless the profession mirrors the communities it serves.
Gender is just one facet of diversity in engineering – the profession needs to bring in diversity of experience, diversity of age, race, ethnicity, cultural background, socio-economic status and more.
Engineers from around the world will be converging at WEC to explore how today’s engineers can break down these barriers to change the face of engineering for the next 100 years.
“Unless engineers represent the world they serve and the communities they serve, then engineers will design a world that doesn’t reflect those communities and that perpetuates these global challenges.”
Susan Freeman-Greene, CEO, Engineering New Zealand (presenting on day one of WEC on “The diversity imperative”)
Not only does the theme of diversity and inclusion run through presentations on all three days of the World Engineers Convention, but several keynotes are devoted to the topic:
Lydia Gentle AO, Engineering Manager, BHP. Gentle believes the case for creating inclusive and diverse engineering teams has never been stronger. During her keynote, she will explore why embracing difference of experience, perspectives and ideas gives companies a competitive advantage. (Presenting on day one of WEC on the topic “Engineering inclusion is the key to success”.)
Valeria Agberagba, Vice-President and Chair, Committee for Women in Engineering, Federation of African Engineering Organisations. Agberagba will be joined by other top minds during a panel discussion to debate how the engineering profession can harness the benefits of diversity and what success looks like. (Presenting on day one of WEC on “The diversity imperative”.)
WEC is co-hosted by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations. It has previously been held in:
The UN Sustainable Development Goals can’t be solved in a day – or perhaps even a decade. And even if they could, new challenges will arise and with that will come opportunities to expand the role of engineers in society. This makes a strong pipeline of engineering talent essential.
Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education needs to change to prepare future generations to meet the needs of an ever-evolving society. On the flip side, today’s students want to forge their own path and solve real-world problems.
How can engineering education evolve to showcase the profession as the place to be for the world’s future problem-solvers?
“Engineering students can see what the issues facing the world are and they really want to make a difference.”
Prof. Mark Cassidy, Dean, Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne
Engineers working in academia and industry need to come together to prepare the next generation. Streams across all three days of the convention will feature speakers discussing how to future-proof the profession by attracting more young minds to a career in engineering, and how to give them the right skill set to succeed.
In addition, keynote speakers will share their expertise, including:
Prof. Mark Cassidy, Dean, Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne. As “incubators for our next generation”, he thinks universities have a responsibility to break new ground with research and provide students with opportunities to see where engineering can take them. (Speaking on day two of WEC on the topic “Engineering the future: People, places and partners”.)
Felicity Furey, Co-founder, Power of Engineering and Director of Industry Partnerships, Swinburne University. Furey is on a mission to get more young people – especially girls – into engineering by showing them what they can achieve as engineers. She will take a deep dive into the future of the profession during a panel discussion, touching on topics including the skills future engineers will need, the role of purpose, and how to attract and retain future talent. (Speaking on day two of WEC during the session “Is the future of engineering human?”.)
How many people discovered their love for creating while playing with LEGO as a kid? It’s the perfect medium to explore the creativity and problem-solving inherent in engineering.
WEC will host a series of LEGO workshops for kids both big and small. EXPLORE MORE
WEC will also host the world’s longest span bridge made from LEGO.
If engineers are to create a more sustainable world, the profession itself needs to think more about the principles and values that guide this work.
That means looking back at where the profession has been, and gathering the top minds in one place to discuss where it’s headed.
Global engineering leaders will converge in Melbourne for the World Engineers Convention to answer some big questions facing the profession:
-How can engineers and engineering organisations plan for a more sustainable future?
-What technical and interpersonal skills will be required for different or emerging careers?
-How can engineers take on more leadership positions outside of the profession?
Closer to home, as part of its Centenary celebrations Engineers Australia has been celebrating the contributions and leadership of engineers around Australia – many of whom will be at WEC in November. EXPLORE MORE
“It’s an opportunity for the engineering profession to take stock and say, ‘What’s next?’ What will the next 100 years look like?’. It’s also an opportunity for individual delegates and engineers to think about what they might do in their daily practices to improve their impact.”
Hon. Trish White, National President and Board Chair, Engineers Australia
Thought leaders, industry influencers and executives from around the world will converge in Melbourne during the three-day convention, giving delegates the rare opportunity to connect with global engineering leaders. Two keynotes you don’t want to miss:
Dr Marlene Kanga, President, World Federation of Engineering Organizations. Kanga will lead a panel discussion that brings together the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations and the International Engineering Alliance to establish a new benchmark for engineering education. (Moderating the keynote session on day two of WEC on the topic “Engineering education – the paradigm shift to engineer the future”.)
Dr Collette Burke, Chief Engineer, Victoria. Burke will share her views on how engineers can set priorities and balance needs when building smart, intuitive and flexible infrastructure during a panel discussion. Not only that, she will also present on how an inclusive culture in engineering contributes to greater capacity and better outcomes for all involved. (Speaking on day one of WEC on the topic “Engineering liveable cities”.)
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, and it’s a truly global issue.
It’s also a multi-faceted issue, one that requires better resource management, efficient technologies and processes, resilient infrastructure and environmentally friendly practices.
Through it all, engineers have an opportunity to show leadership in this space and put in place practices that will guide industries, governments and communities through uncertain times.
As one WEC speaker put it, finding solutions to these problems is what engineers do best.
“The key challenges here are to get to scale, bring down production and utilisation costs and improve efficiencies – these are all the bread and butter of engineers.”
Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist
Mitigating the effects of climate change links directly to the overall WEC theme of sustainability. How can engineers help make our communities and infrastructure more resilient and adaptive, while creating new technologies to reduce waste and increase efficiencies.
Dr Paul Durrant, Head of Innovation Strategies at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), will explore the emerging role of the hydrogen economy and the growing number of projects around the world. Appearing via video message, Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, will explore the challenges of scaling up renewable energy projects to realise the dream of an electric planet. (Both Paul and Alan will be presenting on day three of WEC.)
GREEN STAR VENUE
Fitting in nicely with this focus on sustainability, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is the first convention centre in the world to be awarded a 6-star Green Star environmental rating. EXPLORE MORE