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Global Engineering Is Helping Impoverished Communities

Global Engineering Is Helping Impoverished CommunitiesThe field of Global Engineering is helping impoverished communities and making significant strides in addressing global poverty at two major U.S. research institutions. In May 2024, the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and Resilience (MCGER) at the University of Colorado Boulder partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to visit Armenia in West Asia. The goal of the visit was to improve water management and resources in impoverished Armenian communities.

Additionally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently established the K. Lisa Yang Global Engineering and Research (GEAR) Center, thanks to a $28 million donation from philanthropist Lisa Yang. The GEAR Center focuses on applying engineering research to benefit resource-strained communities.

What Is Global Engineering?

Research Universities like the University of Colorado Boulder believe that global engineering is the application of engineering tools and technology to provide equitable access to safe water, sanitation, energy, food, shelter and infrastructure. The university’s ongoing research projects have included delivering cookstoves and water filters to households in Rwanda to prevent disease and providing research analysis on the safety of reconstructed shelters for hurricane disaster relief in the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

Furthermore, in May 2024, the university visited Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, to communicate and train with the Government of Armenia, local communities, students and faculty at Yerevan University on modern water management. University of Colorado Boulder also provided a program for Armenian students to understand water resource management, simulation modeling and data analytics.

Engineering is helping address the fact that billions of people worldwide face threats to their health due to poverty. At MIT’s new GEAR Center, a team of MIT researchers and engineers plan to utilize new technologies and science to face real-world global health issues. The team has already visited the Middle East and North Africa, providing water-saving and solar-powered irrigation solutions through exploratory field research.

The Future of Global Engineering?

The global engineering program at the University of Colorado wants to continue to evolve engineering education to adapt to the changing world. The program wants to train future engineers not just in science and technology but also in global development and equity. An interdisciplinary approach to the field of engineering means knowing how engineers can help global poverty reduction and improve the livelihood of people on a global scale.

At MIT, global engineering is helping a new generation of engineers apply research and design strategies to help impoverished communities and meet global challenges. “These talented young students, postdocs and staff have the potential to reach across disciplines — and across the globe — to truly transform the impact engineering can have in the future,” said Dean of Engineering Anantha Chandrakasan.

– Jacob Buckner

Jacob is based in Raleigh, NC, USA and focuses on Technology and Solutions for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Flickr