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Multination Research Programmes: The UNESCO UNITWIN in Humanitarian Engineering Outreach Case Study

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2016 ASEE International Forum


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 25, 2016

Start Date

June 25, 2016

End Date

June 25, 2016

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks Session II Outreach

Tagged Topic

International Forum

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Paper Authors


Jane Goodyer P.E. Massey University

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Jane Goodyer is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology at Massey University. Regarded as an expert in manufacturing systems improvement she had led numerous research projects working with organisations, including Aston Martin, Jaguar and Caterpillar. Jane is also the New Zealand Coordinator for the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) University Twinning network in Humanitarian Engineering working with other Universities from Tanzania, Malta and the UK.

Until recently Jane was Director for Undergraduate Teaching and Learning where she led an initiative to design a new engineering curriculum. Her work has been acknowledged internationally with Fellowships from the UK’s Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand. Jane continues to be recognised for her work in engineering education and is currently engaged with advising NZ’s Tertiary Education Commission on introducing degree apprenticeships.

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Lizzie Miles Coventry University UK


Anh Lan Ho Tran Coventry University Orcid 16x16

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Dr Anh Tran is a Senior Lecturer of Humanitarian Engineering at Coventry University. Her research interests are in the area of Appropriate and Humanitarian Technology, particularly in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), sustainable waste management and renewable energy, humanitarian applications of 3D printing and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), social entrepreneurship and engineering education. Her current research projects are in 1) the use of fluorescence spectroscopy to assess water quality in areas of poor sanitation and disaster relief 2) floating biodigesters – a renewable energy, waste and sanitation solution for communities living on the water and the social enterprise models to bring this technology to market, 3) humanitarian UAVs for disaster relief - thermal imaging for search and rescue, 4) global competencies and intercultural awareness of engineers and 5) raising aspiration and widening participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through Humanitarian Engineering outreach programs.

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This paper describes the building of partnerships involving multiple nations through the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s university twinning and networking scheme (UNESCO UNITWIN) in Humanitarian Engineering. The originators of the UNESCO UNITWIN span the globe: the network’s coordinator is Coventy University, based in the UK, and is supported by the Institute of Accountancy Arusha, Tanzania; the University of Malta and Massey University in New Zealand.

The main objectives of the UNESCO UNITWIN is to promote an integrated system of research, training and information on humanitarian engineering and to enhance cross-cultural learning and sharing. We believe that humanitarian engineering is about having a forward thinking view: investing in what adds value to society, looking at how to use our engineering capability to apply technology appropriately into communites’ self-identified needs.

This paper reviews how the UNESCO UNITWIN was formed and describes a case study of an outreach programme; addressing one of the network’s goals to raise public awareness about how engineering can help society. Using these two ‘lenses’ we highlight the challenges of partnering with multiple nations using documented theories of transdisciplinary working. Challenges such as inexperience and communicating over large time-zone differences replicates what other transdisciplinary programmes experience. What we have learnt is that knowledge about multination collaboration is tacit. The challenge for the engineering education community is to make this knowledge explict so that we can equip ourselves and the next generation of engineers to effectively practice across disciplines and cultures.

Goodyer, J., & Miles, L., & Tran, A. L. H. (2016, June), Multination Research Programmes: The UNESCO UNITWIN in Humanitarian Engineering Outreach Case Study Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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