June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.296.1 - 14.296.20
Building Research Communities and Collaborative Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean: LACCEI Vision and Initiatives
Many engineering education organizations and agencies exist world-wide at the international, regional, national, and local levels. Some of them have specific initiatives conceived to provide capacity building. The need to identify, develop and execute activities directed to advance skills and competencies of engineers and improve process and community infrastructures is calling for engineering education organizations, industry, government and academia to share perspectives, resources, and expertise to effectively and efficiently meet these challenges. This paper aims to document the perspectives and current initiatives of the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions, LACCEI. It also describes future initiatives that require collaborations with other organizations, with the hope that these collaborations can materialize, and progress can be made to develop global engineers for the Americas. In October 2006, LACCEI initiated an Engineering Collaboration Agreement for the Americas that has been signed by seven multinational organizations; the results obtained during the first two years and how other organizations can join the agreement is also described.
There is an awareness and growing commitment for capacity building in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The region is interested in developing a competitive model by enhancing the knowledge, skills and competencies of its human capital, and by improving the use of resources and process not only to survive but also to be gung ho in the rapidly changing world. Since engineering plays a central role in building knowledge-based economies, a key factor in regions becoming and remaining globally competitive, there is a particular interest in educating engineers with a new set of skills and competencies so they can contribute to the economic and social growth of the nations on this hemisphere while they develop technology and transfer the knowledge through the region.
Changes in the global economy, especially the importance of moving to a knowledge-based economy1, have changed the role of the engineer and engineering education in the 21st century. This comes at a time when there is a shortage of engineers and a decreased interest of students to study engineering. The global market and outsourcing has changed the skills required of engineers. The engineer now has to “think globally and act locally” in order to bring global jobs to their region and be able to adapt products to the global market. Preparing these global engineers requires a shift in paradigm in their formation.
In 2006, Continental Corporation funded the first scientific global engineering study conducted by eight prestigious universities around the world2. The study resulted in four recommendations: (1) A key qualification of engineering graduates must be global competence; (2) Transnational mobility for engineering students, researchers, and professionals needs to become a priority;
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