ETUDE (Engineering Transmission Using Deliberative Events)

Project Description

The success of engineering projects depends on understanding the intersection of technology with human values and behaviour. Engineers who lack an understanding of the human side are at a disadvantage, as are citizens who lack an understanding of the technology. The aim of ETUDE was to bring engineers and the general public together in creative ways to encourage each group to engage deeply and constructively with the other, to the benefit of both. ETUDE was funded by Royal Academy of Engineering as part of the Ingenious grant scheme. Engineers from industry and academia were mentored in public engagement skills, and delivered four public events. The programme included four days of intensive training for 15 engineers during National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) culminating in a one day open event devised and delivered by participants (including 2 panel debates), 2 consensus-building discussions using the Crowd Wise process (http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/crowd-wise) and one further panel debate. Events were part of Great North Festival, NSEW and the annual visit to the North East of Director General of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Workshops provided participants with the opportunity to develop public engagement skills and increase confidence in delivering events. Evaluation focused on which types of training and events worked best for engineers and public audiences. The project provided participating engineers with practical experience of public engagement activities involving members of the public in discussing engineering and its impact on our daily lives. The project directly addressed three regional challenges through the events. The questions posed were: 1. What do we need to do to develop brownfield sites and make the best use of                   them? How do we want to use them? What technologies can be applied to                     make them useable? 2. Should we exploit the UK’s onshore shale gas, and if so under what                                conditions? 3. What is the current state of the North East’s infrastructure? How does it                            compare with the rest of the country? What should we prioritize over the next                  decade and the next half century? Project Report September 2014 26 engineers participated in the project and 4 public events were delivered reaching 290 members of the public. The public events were: The Wonders of Engineering, 22nd March 2014 Rescuing Our Brownfield Spaces, 3rd April 2014 The Fracking Great Debate, 22nd May 2014 Debating the State of the Nation, 1st  July 2014 Full details of the project and the events can be found at http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/ETUDE.html and videos of the events and activities on a dedicated Vimeo channel at http://vimeo.com/channels/etude/. Feedback from engineers and audiences was very positive. The project is complete and the final report which outlines all the outcomes is being written and will be available on request from end September 2014.