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The Nordic Future Engineer.

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 14: Thinking about the Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Lena B. Gumaelius KTH Royal Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr Lena Gumaelius has a background as a researcher in Biotechnology (Lena got her Master of Science in chemistry 1993 and her PhD in Environmental Microbiology in 2001.)

In parallel with her research, she worked for several years with development of experiments for students at House of Science. In 2006 Lena became the director of House of Science, which she remained until 2012. House of Science is a university based Science centre with about 40 000 visitors were the goal is to stimulate high school students’ interest for the natural sciences, math and technology. During these years Lena developed her pedagogical skills and competence in the pedagogic field and besides leading the activities she organised pedagogical training for teachers, pupils and university students.

Between 2011 and 2016 Lena was the head of the new Department of Learning at the School of Education and Communication in Engineering Sciences (ECE), KTH. Lena was then responsible for building up a new strong research environment in engineering and technology education, K-12 to university level.

2016-2017 Lena was the Dean at the ECE school at KTH.

As this School was merged with another School in 2018, from January 2018 Lena has a research position as an Associate professor at KTH.

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Anette Kolmos Aalborg University

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Anette Kolmos is Professor in Engineering Education and PBL and Chairholder for UNESCO in Problem Based Learning in Engineering Education, Aalborg University, Denmark. Guest professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Guest Professor at UTM University Technology Malaysia 2011-2013. President of SEFI 2009–2011 (European Society for Engineering Education). Founding Chair of the SEFI-working group on Engineering Education Research. During the last 20 years, Dr. Kolmos has researched the following areas, primarily within Engineering Education: development and evaluation of project based and problem based curriculum, change from traditional to project organized and problem based curriculum, development of transferable skills in PBL and project work, and methods for staff development. She is Associate Editor for the European Journal of Engineering Education and was Associated Editor for Journal of Engineering Education (ASEE). Involved in supervision of 13 PhD projects and published around 200 publications. Member of several organizations and committees within EER, national government bodies, and committees in the EU.

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The Nordic Future Engineer.

How will the Engineering Education look like in 2030? This question has been raised globally as a number of reports show that today's Engineering Education does not deliver the engineers that the employers will need tomorrow (Royal Academi, 2007; Graham, 2018). There is a growing gap between education and societal needs. Society demands engineers capable of co-creating a sustainable society. In addition to this, industry demands engineers with experience in project management, with ability to learn and adapt quickly as carrier paths will change more rapidly (Hadgraft, 2017; OECD, 2017. Digitalisation, increased system understanding and process skills are other integral parts of the forth industrial revolution (Schwab, 2016).

In all Nordic countries, the general understanding is that education is a crucial part of the responses to these challenges. However, the Nordic countries face challenges in terms of identifying future competence profiles and developing adequate capacity within innovative and sustainable competences across traditional discipline boundaries. The Nordic countries have until now, applied different strategies for meeting these challenges, but we believe that, because the countries share much of their history and culture, overall welfare values and are geographically close, a common knowledge base and collaboration between these countries in particular, will empower the Nordic region and eventually also strengthen the global consensus.

In 2018, a Nordic STEM initiative was established, with the aim to empower the Nordic region when it comes to STEM education. In the start-up phase of this project, universities representing each country participate, namely; Aalborg university- Denmark, Aalto University- Finland, KTH- Sweden, Stavanger University- Norway and Reykjavik University- Iceland, as well as one partner representing Nordic Engineering universities, Nordtek and one representing the Nordic Engineers, ANE.

In this paper the Nordic STEM initiative present a study that wants to answer the question: How does faculty at Nordic universities express their vision for engineering education development in their field, and, how can a framework be shaped for this development, cross-nationally and cross-disciplinary. In is study, five Nordic universities have given their view of what is needed in order to meet the challenges the engineering profession faces. Five professors at each university, representing at least the three different program areas, mechanical-, chemical- and computer science engineering has been interviewed using a semi-structured interview methodology. Also, the Deans of education for all universities has been participating as interviewees in the study. The education of the future was investigated using a qualitative approach and three focus areas were selected to represent this future phenomenon. The professors where both asked to spy around ideas for development of future education as well as to reflect on best practices worldwide. Data was analysed through a coding scheme and similarities and differences between countries and programs are discussed in the paper.

This is a part of a larger study in where the Nordic STEM-initiative will present a vision of tomorrow's engineering education program, as experts in the Nordic countries should design it.

Graham, R. (2018). The global state of the art in engineering education. Retrieved from: Hadgraft, R. (2017). Transforming Engineering Education: DESIGN must be the Core. Paper presented at the SEFI Annual Conference 2017, Azores. Lorenz, M., Rüßmann, M., Strack, R., Lueth, K. L., & Bolle, M. (2015). Man and machine in Industry 4.0: How will technology transform the industrial workforce through 2025. The Boston Consulting Group. https://www. bcgperspectives. com/content/articles/technology-business-transformationengineered-products-infrastructure-man-machine-industry-4. OECD. (2017). Meeting of the OECD Council at Ministerial Level Paris, 7-8 JuneENABLING THE NEXT PRODUCTION REVOLUTION:A SUMMARY OF MAIN MESSAGES AND POLICY LESSONS. Retrieved from Paris, 7-8 June 2017: Royal Academy of Engineering. (2007). Educating Engineers for the 21st Century. Retrieved from

Gumaelius, L. B., & Kolmos, A. (2019, June), The Nordic Future Engineer. Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33411

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