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Addressing challenges in environment, technology and development

The UNESCO Chair in “Engineering for Human and Sustainable Development” has been established at the University of Trento in 2011.

The key goal of the Chair is to contribute to the growth of a new generation of engineers, able to make technological choices that promote human development, in a social, environmental and economical sustainability perspective.

The Chair pursues its goals through an integrated system of research, higher education, as well as institutional partnership with other Universities, local and national government institutions, international organizations (particularly UNESCO), NGOs and civil society actors, other UNESCO Chairs, private companies. The activity of the Chair develops according to the following three main working lines:

  • engineering education – capacity building
  • applied engineering research – knowledge sharing
  • institutional partnerships

Educational activities supported by the Chair refer to three levels, covering undergraduate and graduate studies in engineering as well as lifelong learning educational projects.

Research topics of the Chair preferentially focus on environmental engineering in a interdisciplinary perspective, in close partnership with actors from the developing world. The broad thematic areas with key competencies and research interests are:

  • river management
  • water supply and sanitation
  • urban and environmental planning and analysis
  • biodiversity conservation and forest management
  • biodiversity policies and development
  • solid waste management

The initial motivation for the Chair has started from the need to better integrate the dimension of human development, with engineering education and research, particularly in relation with the role of technology in projects of local and international cooperation for development. These strongly interdisciplinary assets have often been considered in separate frameworks often resulting in separate divisions or units of involved institutions and, consequently, in uncoordinated actions and reduced development impact. Engineering and technology are of vital importance in driving social and economic development and are central components in addressing basic human needs.

The partners of the proposed Chair cover a wide variety of social, cultural and geographical contexts, which contributes a great added value to the sharing of knowledge.