recognizing that the role of NSF is basic, rather than applied research, panel members felt that NSF should include collaboration between new tool developers and tool users as a discriminating criterion in proposal evaluation. This collaboration could extend beyond the pure development phase into actual application and testing, whether funded by NSF or some other entity.
The challenges the geoengineering profession faces in reforming geoengineering education should not be underestimated. The best and brightest students will be attracted to areas of science and engineering where they believe they can make new discoveries and inventions. Increasing the breadth of disciplines integrated into geoengineering education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels will be an important first step in attracting top students to the field. The profession also needs to work through education to “aspire to a future where engineers are prepared to adapt to changes in global forces and trends and to ethically assist the world in creating a balance in the standard of living for developing and developed countries alike” (NRC, 2004c). For this to be achievable there must be greater flexibility in engineering education that engages previously untapped populations of university students. Educational expectations have changed for both the new postsecondary school attendees and the traditional college attendees and the engineering profession and engineering educators should capitalize on these expectations.
At the undergraduate level, issues surrounding changes in curriculum are complex. The report The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century (NAE, 2004) states that the expanding role of engineers in dealing with more complex problems requires additions to an already full curriculum: