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News:BE:Berlin Workshop Programme

Exchanging Practices which Integrate
Democracy, Ethics, Sustainability, Social Justice and Peace into Teaching

- Science, Engineering and Architecture Education and Social-Ecological Responsibility

Industry and Nature - A romantic relationship at first sight

International Workshop

at Technische Universität Berlin

05. + 06. October 2016


Leading Questions

The leading questions for the workshop are these:

  1. How to prepare students in science and engineering for social (which includes ecological) responsibility? Implications for university teaching and for accreditation.
  2. How to establish and promote an effective network of teachers and other relevant actors such as accreditors?


Primary goal of this international workshop is to guarantee ample time for discussions and sharing of experiences after each presentation. This will answer important aspects of especially the first of the leading questions. The programme thus enables the production of a meaningful output in the form of a report. The organisers are committed to taking the lead in producing this report, which they intend to submit for publication to the European Journal of Engineering Education. All contributors to the workshop are invited as co-authors of this publication.

The workshop will start October 5 at 10.00 hr local time and will end October 6 at 15.00 hr local time.

On the basis of the contributors to the workshop, the organisers have established the following programme. The organisers consciously refrained from setting up an exact timetable, in order to be more flexible and to give the time needed for each presentation, discussion and the conclusions for the report.

We will go together for lunch in close by cheap but good restaurants. On October 5 we invite everyone to go have a small conference dinner in a close by restaurant.

Kiera Reifschneider - Arizona State University. School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Science Outside the Lab: Changing perspectives on the role of scientists and engineers in society

Over the past ten years, we have brought graduate-level scientists and engineers to Washington D.C. to participate in a two-week summer workshop that offers contrasting views on U.S. science and technology policy issues. Participants leave the program appreciating the potential of science to serve societal needs, complemented by an increased understanding of the complexity and diversity of stakeholders that contribute to the construction of science and technology policy. While science and technology can enhance the well-being of individuals in unprecedented ways, disconnects between technological progress and societal good still exist. One factor that may contribute to a disconnect is the way scientists and engineers are trained, in the lab, to focus on “pure” science at the expense of other subjective or societal considerations. This insight resonates with calls in E.U. frameworks for pursuing grand challenges and responsible innovation. With our Science Outside the Lab (SOtL) program, we pursue a supplemental mode of education that allows scientists and engineers to grapple with the relationships between their technical work and societal context. Using a discussion-based pedagogy, we involve analysts, lobbyists, business people, and decision makers from across the political spectrum in programming, highlighting their diverse perspectives. The SOtL program set in the U.S. context incorporates elements of democracy, ethics, and sustainability in science.

Yann Serreau – Directeur Exécutif InnovENT-E CESI

Repository of competences for Ethics

InnovENT-E is a French program initiated by 4 groups of engineering schools (INSA –Institut National de Sciences Appliquées-, UT -Université de Technologie-, CESI –Centres d’Etudes Supérieures Industrielles-, ENSGSI – Ecole Nationale Supérieure en Génie des Systèmes et de l’Innovation, l’université de Lorraine-). InnovENT-E impacts more than 75 institutions of Higher Education and more than 100000 students. It aims at providing a shared training offer dedicated to SMEs about innovation and export. This offer is based on a skills repository, co-built. In order to help future professionnals in facing the issues relative to ethic in connexion with innovation and international relationships, an ethical competence was thus defined: “To handle ethical issues”. It is described through 12 habilities and observable criteria. This ethical competence description will serve as reference for designing ethics training for all these institutions. The following step is the current designing of a common event in which students may be involved to handle some ethics issues.

Further Information: http://www.innovent-e.com/

Tatiana Smetanina - Udmurt State University

Sustainable Development Activity: Tools for International Project Cooperation

I would like to share my practice in teaching Environmental Management course to discuss with the colleagues ways for the science, government and public cooperation to manage Environmental problems together. I would be glad to give my private experience for doing a little part of great work in forming multilevel interdisciplinary basis for lifelong education system.

We could look at teaching practice (for bachelors and masters, etc.) through the following structured points:

  • Green Paradigm content (Introduction, background. history and perspectives),
  • International Environmental Activity Principles (on the basis of IE Law),
  • Environmental licenses and certification (permissions, passport, and control system),
  • International Standards, International Environmental Standardization (for students teaching course it is done by video-support and training practice),
  • Environmental management tools (micro- and macro-level): CP, EAc, LCS, LCC, MET, MIPS, DfE, EA, EPE, EMS, Environmental Taxes, Eco-Label and Green Public Procurement,
  • Waste World Problem and Waste Treatment BAT (for teaching - via the workshop and case activity)
  • BAT implementing effects (the system, practice, profit, perspectives)
  • Green Public Procurement (theory and education) for the national criteria convergence in Global Trade
  • The practical role and questions of (& for) the social initiatives and public organizations
  • Project final work according the group level and current interest (working practice).

Further Information: Environmental Management Tools: International Practices for Russia

André Baier - Studienreformprojekt Blue Engineering - TU Berlin

Blue Engineering - Engineers with social and ecological responsibility. Experiences with student driven teaching at TU Berlin.

The Blue Engineering-Project was created by a group of students during the winter-semester of 2008/2009, in order to encourage social and environmental responsibility of engineering. They developed a whole course-design and successfully tested the course twice without direct involvement by academic staff. Since summer-semester 2012/2013 two lecturers and three tutors continue to offer the course and develop it further.

The aim of the Blue Engineering is to provide an appropriate framework to reflect on technical achievements in general and one's own personal responsibility. However, Blue Engineering is not intended as a mere theoretical discussion, but is about discovering one's liberties in university and at work so that (prospective) engineers may act more according to their social and ecological responsibilities.

As a common basis, the founders of Blue Engineering have formulated a set of central, but not final concepts aimed at providing a common understanding of ecological and social responsibility. The ecological development and use of technology comprise the gentle and sustainable use of earth's finite resources, e.g. the reduction and prevention of toxic substances and transportation. Technologies should be developed according to the specific needs of their users and be adapted to environment and society. They need to be durable, repairable and recyclable. Socially responsible engineering means that the same rights and opportunities of all people are being respected. At work this includes good working conditions, reflecting and acting in teams, and fair and comparable wages. Accordingly, the resources of the planet we all share together must be distributed evenly.

To raise awareness of and to facilitate discussion on the different aspects of social and ecological responsibility, the Blue Engineering-Group developed the idea of teaching units. These units - named building-blocks - are typically designed for one lesson of 60 or 90 minutes and address a complex issue, e.g. whistle-blowing, ethical codes, technology as problem-solver, social businesses and cooperatives. Through the use of a wide variety of teaching methods the learning outcome depends more on the students as individuals and as a group than on the teachers. Consequently, the people responsible for the course don't function as experts who lecture but rather as moderators of group- and learning-processes. In fact, students may even be included in teaching by letting them prepare and conduct a building-block for the rest of the class. In addition, building-blocks may easily be used by a group of engineers working together in a company for their own continued education. An initiative has been taken to make all thirty existing building-blocks available in an open access database.

A short description of two building-blocks may help to better grasp the whole idea:

In the first phase of the block "Greenwashing or Decision Aids - Labels, Certificates and the like", the participants get to know the "seven sins" of greenwashing. Based on this, they develop in small groups creative advertisement for a fictional product by excessively using methods of greenwashing. The advertisement is presented to the entire group and rounded up with a brief discussion. In the second phase of the block the small groups work through brochures of widely known labels and certificates and discuss if they are reliable.

The participants of the block "Technology as a Drama - Technology in Drama" read passages of "The Physicists" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt and "Life of Galilee" by Bertolt Brecht. In small groups they rephrase the key messages in their own words and use them to improvise small scenes. The small groups present their best scenes to the whole group and lead a discussion on their interpretation.

Based on these building-blocks a course-design was developed that should provide a substantive insight into a broad range of topics and that actively engages students over the 15 weeks of a semester. Additionally, they work on different projects to influence the further development of the course.

The Blue Engineering-Course takes three hours per week. Each session usually starts with a 90-minute building-block. Next, students work on developing their own building-blocks or do similar projects. Their work is supported for instance by giving them a variety of teaching methods at hand and holding several sessions of peer-to-peer feedback. Around the 12th Week, a whole study day is used to test all created building-blocks. The students are encouraged to invite family and friends. Academic staff and other interested persons are also present. This increases notably the motivation of the students. In the remaining three weeks the students are assisted and given peer-to-peer feedback to write down the manuals of these newly created building-blocks. Consequently, the following semester has several newly finished and tested building-blocks to choose from. The fact that the students’ building-blocks may be used in the following semester provides additional motivation to create meaningful building-blocks and to provide an easy to follow manual.

The course at the TUB originates entirely from students who got active themselves. This had signifcant influence on the design of the actual course as it is at no point teacher-centered. Participants of the Blue Engineering-Course regularly choose the existing building-blocks, prepare them and moderate them for the whole group. In addition they develop new building-blocks in a peer-to-peer-process for further classes. However, the basic idea of Blue Engineering involves more than merely raising the awareness of (prospective) engineers. Participants are encouraged to stay in touch and to network within companies and universities. They may even found their own Blue Engineering-Groups as it already happened at Technische Universität Hamburg.

Tom Boersen - Aalborg University - Campus Copenhagen

The use of case studies in teaching social-ecological responsibility to science and engineering students using chemistry as an example.

In this workshop I will present a special issue of HYLE: International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry entitled Ethical Case Studies in Chemistry. I provide an overview of the accepted contributions to the special issue and categorize them according to which of four categories of ethical consequences the papers address: 1) Intentional misuse and misconduct, 2) unforeseen consequences, 3) global and long-term influences and challenges, 4) impact on human culture. Then participants are split into groups where they shortly introduce their own experiences with teaching ethics, sustainability and peace to science and engineering students. Experiences with the use of case-studies are especially relevant to be discussed. I will close the workshop by suggesting how the ethical case studies of chemistry in the special issue of HYLE can be used in teaching social-ecological responsibility to science and engineering students in chemistry.

Rebecca Pinkelman - Technische Universität Darmstadt

Introduction to German Engineering. One week-International Project Work.

During the project, IGE/KIVA, students have the opportunity to experience project work in a typical engineering environment. In teams of 10 to 12 participants, they develop a solution to an engineering-based problem.

In this course future engineers are encouraged to develop awareness of issues facing professional engineers such as social responsibility and environmental awareness. Participants develop valuable team-work skills by learning group work methods with the assistance of support staff. The skills acquired through IGE/KIVA lead students to even more success in their further studies and professional careers.

Henk Zandvoort – Delft University of Technology

Engineering Education for a Sustainable, Just and Peaceful Society

Engineering students should, in the course of their education, learn to understand and evaluate how the broader institutional and legal conditions facilitate or hamper engineers’ contributions to a sustainable, just and peaceful society. This should empower them for sound evaluative judgements on the adequacy and effectiveness of these conditions, and on how these conditions might be improved, as may be needed in view of the overall mission of the engineering profession: to contribute to human welfare. This paper explores areas of analysis and knowledge that are pertinent to these goals because they are relevant for analysing and solving collective ethical problems. Examples of such analysis and knowledge are provided, and possibilities for incorporation in the engineering curricula are discussed. The sources of analysis and knowledge addressed in this paper are various fields in the social sciences and humanities, including game theory, decision theory, public choice, analysis of law, and history of law.

Further Information: Engineering Education for a Sustainable, Just and Peaceful Society

  • Collection and synthesis of results and conclusions that should/could go into the report.
  • Discussion of possible outline/structure of report.
  • Discussion and decisions on who will be co-author.
  • Discussion of timeline and other practical issues.
  • Planing further activities of the network

Intended output: report/publication.

As was stated above, the programme will enable the writing of a report on (at least) the first of the two leading questions mentioned at the beginning. The second of the two leading questions will be addressed as the final topic (number 7) of the international workshop. The report is intended for publication in the European Journal of Engineering Education (EJEE). All contributors to the workshop are invited to be co-authors.


Technische Universität Berlin

Rooms W 203 and 305
Straße des 17. Juni 144
10623 Berlin


The entrance to Buildung W is at the back of the building.

View on Map


Detailed Description.


05. October 2016 - 10.00 - 18.00
06. October 2016 - 10.00 - 15.00


Contact the organizers through email: workshop@blue-engineering.org

André Baier

Study Reform Project Blue Engineering
Chair Machinery System Design
Technische Universität Berlin

Tom Børsen

Department of Development and Planning
Aalborg University

Henk Zandvoort

Section Ethics/Philosophy of Technology
Technische Unversiteit Delft