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Infrastructure Debate
The Great Infrastructure Debate, 
April 2012
Transport Challenges
The Challenges of Sustainable Transport,
March 2012
The Future of Energy
The Future of Energy for the North East,
December 2011
Future of the City Visions
Visions for the Future of the City, 
October 2011
Sustained Engagement

The success of engineering projects depends on understanding the intersection of technology with human values and behaviour. Engineers who lack an understanding of the human side are at a disadvantage, as are citizens who lack an understanding of the technology. Sustained Engagement was a project funded by Royal Academy of Engineering as part of the Ingenious grant scheme that brought engineers and citizens together in ways that encouraged each group to engage deeply and constructively with the other, to the benefit of both. We believe that engineers who got involved in this project emerged with a better understanding of the changes towards more sustainable behaviour that citizens would like to make, those they would not be willing to make, and of the social barriers to change.

Sustained Engagement provided engineers with practical experience of public engagement activities by staging a series of twelve public discussion events on a range of issues on the theme of engineering for sustainability. The events took place in London, The North East and Sheffield, during which over 300 members of the public discussed engineering and its impact on our daily lives.

Participating engineers presented their solutions to engineering-related policy issues, allowing them to share their knowledge and reflect on the social impact of their work. The events used a process designed by new economics foundation (nef) called Crowd Wise which encourages engineers to engage more deeply with audiences in order to seek consensus.

Group discussion at Visions for the Future of the City event Group discussion at The Challenges of Sustainable Transport event

The project was driven by new economics foundation in partnership with three public engagement partners:

  1. The Great Debate in the North East
  2. Action for Involvement (A4I) in Sheffield
  3. The British Science Association in London

North East Events:
Visions for the Future of the City, Saturday, 22nd October 2011
The Future of Energy for the North East, Monday, 12th December 2011
The Challenges of Sustainable Transport, Wednesday, 14th March 2012
The Great Infrastructure Debate, Thursday, 26th April 2012

The North East events are organised by The Great Debate in partnership with

North East Steering Group:
Dr Caspar Hewett, Director and Chair, The Great Debate
Professor Paul Younger, Director, Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability
Professor Dermot Roddy, Director, Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research.
Professor Tony Unsworth, Chair of Engineering, School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, Durham University
Dr Sara Walker, Director, Sustainable Buildings and Energy Systems Group, Northumbria University
Bill Colwell, independent advisor

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© C J M Hewett, 2012