Development of “sister” relations with foreign engineering schools, including linked course work and exchange opportunities.
Development of training programs for engineers from developing countries and for U.S. engineers planning to work in developing countries.
The U.S. working group developed several possible options and approaches for future consideration by various stakeholders. The U.S. working group hopes that this report spurs a broader discussion of these issues and what might be done.
Option One: Expand grant programs targeted at individual students and researchers for education and training related to global engineering. One option would be for NSF and private foundations to expand funding available for individual students, researchers and schools pursuing one or more of the tasks outlined above.
Option Two: Establish a new program of global engineering centers. The U.S. working group members also discussed establishing a new program of funding for global engineering centers. This approach might build on the experiences of the MIT Japan Program, with centers at different schools specializing in training and education aimed at particular countries, regions, or industries. Several working group members and experts consulted during the study are skeptical about the value of new centers, particularly large ones, and would prefer to focus resources on individual efforts. Other members believe that establishing smaller centers focused on particular countries or industries might allow for the accumulation of a critical mass of expertise.
Option Three: Expanded discussion and exchange among stakeholders. In order to further explore these and other options, perhaps various U.S. stakeholders could hold a conference to share their insights and discuss U.S. needs. The relevant stakeholders would include a range of engineering schools, industry, government funding agencies, private foundations, and engineering societies. The National Academy of Engineering might play a useful role in furthering this discussion.
1 The Joint Task Force realizes that companies based in smaller markets, particularly in Europe, are often more internationally focused than U.S. or Japanese companies, and may therefore have more international business and engineering experience.
2 Leaders in engineering education and practice have been aware of these growing international imperatives for some time. See National Academy of Engineering, Strengthening U.S. Engineering Through International Cooperation: Some Recommendations for Action (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1988).
3 Hideo Ohashi, “Guroubauru Jidai no Kogaku Kyoiku” (Engineering Education for a Global Era), Gijutsu to Keizai (Technology and Economics), April 1998.
4 Several U.S. respondents emphasized that in order to be an effective global engineer one must first be an excellent engineer.
5 Not the actual company name.
6 Communication with Evelyn Wang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology student who participated in Robocon.