The Airbus Diversity Award aims to shine a light on successful projects which inspire students from all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering. The award was developed and funded by Airbus in partnership with the GEDC, the leading international organisation for leaders of schools and colleges of engineering education. Launched in 2012, the award is now in its 6th year.
About the Award
The 2018 award will be given to the institution behind the project that demonstrates best use of technology to enhance diversity in engineering education.
Registrations are now open. Entries will be accepted on the award platform in May 2018.
The long-term goal of the Airbus Diversity Award is to increase diversity among the global community of engineers so that the engineering industry reflects the diversity of the communities it supports, with diversity recognised as a driver for innovation and growth.
What is the Global Engineering Deans Council?
Airbus is a corporate member of the GEDC (Global Engineering Deans Council). This is a leading global organisation whose members are individuals responsible for setting the agenda for higher education in engineering in their countries and universities.
What Do We Mean by Diversity?
Based on The American Society for Engineering Education definition, diversity is the inclusion of individuals that represent variations in gender, race, ethnic background, disability, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, nationality and other non-visible differences resulting in an environment rich in intellectual variety and respect for the individual, and optimally suited to address the technological, business and societal needs of the future.
Who Can Apply?
Award entries can be made by individuals or teams working with or in an engineering faculty, or a school or college of engineering. Entries can come from outside academia, if the project has involved working in collaboration with an institution; however, students are not eligible to make award entries.
Where a team has worked on the project, one person should act as our main point of contact and complete their details within the entry as ‘Project Representative’. The application form provides space to mention additional team members working on the project.
A Dean can be part of a project team mentioned in an application form or can submit the application form as Project Representative on behalf of a team.
Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology’s BIRDS Satellite Project was selected as the recipient of the 2017 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award, with the Schulich School of Engineering: Discover Engineering Programme at Canada’s University of Calgary and the Women in Engineering (WIE) Programme at the University of New South Wales in Australia as runners up.
Taiwo Tejumola from the Kyushu Institute of Technology, presented the project to a Jury of industry experts and distinguished guests, as well as 200 international engineering education leaders gathered for the 2017 GEDC Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada. The three finalist projects were evaluated on the basis of the impact of their work, evidence of generating results and the possibility to be scaled-up. The winning project was awarded US$ 10,000, and the runners up US$ 1,500.
Speaking at the Award Ceremony, Taiwo said that "The BIRDS Project team at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan appreciates this recognition. Our collaborative programme provides a unique opportunity for young engineers to compete in today’s global market, teaching specialised waste-minimising systems engineering models, developing core skills and building a supportive peer network. The project also creates a sustainable pathway for participants to implement training initiatives in their home countries, further contributing to the diversification and globalisation of engineering skills”.
Get inspired by our previous Award recipients and finalists
& Find out more about their work
Airbus Diversity Award Recipients
2016 Award Recipient – Dr. Yacob Astatke is Assistant VP for International Affairs at Morgan State University in the USA. For the past 13 years, he has worked to improve the delivery of engineering education in Ethiopia through teaching graduate courses, sharing best practice and delivering training. He led the implementation of Mobile Studio Technology and pedagogy in five universities in Ethiopia and has been instrumental in facilitating the donation of equipment and other resources.
2015 Award recipient – Professor Fadi Aloul from the American University of Sharjah, UAE was selected as the Award recipient for his key role in developing a common first-year programme at the AUS, which introduces undergraduate students to the engineering profession, stimulating their critical thinking, creativity and innovation. To date, over 10,000 students from 92 nationalities have taken part, with an average of 35 percent female students.
2014 Award recipient - Marita Cheng, from Australia, is the founder of Robogals Global, an initiative designed to inspire girls aged 10-14 to choose engineering and technical careers, and to create a global community of engineering students committed to the cause of greater diversity. Through a varied meme of workshops, training, student challenges, a Robogal Ambassador programme and a dedicated outreach programme for rural and regional areas, Robogals has so far reached over 20,000 girls worldwide, utilising a largely volunteer workforce of university students. In six years, it has grown from a single university chapter to an international organisation.
2013 Award recipient - Ana Lazarin, Director of Programme to Broaden Participation in Engineering, Wichita State University, USA. Ana’s Engineering Summer Camps, Changing Faces Programme, and Community Outreach Events capture the interest of underrepresented students by educating them about both the different fields of engineering and what engineers really do. A primary goal is to convince students at an early age that they can succeed in college, and especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. www.wichita.edu/thisis
2017 Winning Project - BIRDS Satellite Project
The Kyushu Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu, Japan
The BIRDS Satellite Project trains graduate students from developing countries in using cost-effective innovative systems engineering to execute a comprehensive two-year satellite project, with the long-term goal of equipping them to commence a sustainable space programme in their respective home countries. The collaborative programme provides a unique opportunity for young engineers to compete in today’s global market, teaching specialised waste-minimising systems engineering models, developing core skills and also building a supportive peer network. The project also creates a sustainable pathway for participants to implement training initiatives in their home countries, further contributing to the diversification and globalisation of engineering skills.
Airbus Diversity Award Finalists
2016 Finalist – Dawn Bonfield, former Chief Executive of the UK’s Women’s Engineering Society, UK
Dawn Bonfield MBE is former Chief Executive of the UK’s Women’s Engineering Society, where she created National Women in Engineering Day, a UK national awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the exciting career opportunities available to girls in the engineering sector. Now in its 3rd edition, the event’s success and impact has multiplied with supporters and organisations adopting the Day, carrying out their own initiatives, events and celebrations.
2015 Finalist – Renetta Tull, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Development & Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA
Renetta leads the Promise Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate to train undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty. This programme includes a global STEM diversity and inclusion initiative, and aims to build global engineering workforce capacity through focused attention on increasing the numbers of future engineering faculty from underrepresented groups and has resulted in a significantly increased pipeline of diverse alumni and engineering programme participants.
2015 Finalist - Martin Baumann, Assistant Professor, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
Martin has been selected for his work on enabling students with disabilities and diverse learners to be assessed on an equal basis with all students. He has developed a range of tools to assist students and support teachers, and also works directly with students concerned to create the interfaces and devices required to meet their needs. More than 30,000 students have been able to take adapted e-assessments since 2004.
2014 Finalist Bevlee Watford: Associate Dean, Academic Affairs/Director, CEED, Virginia Tech, USA
Bevlee was selected for her wide-ranging programmes aimed at building an inclusive and diverse engineering student body at Virginia Tech, and now used as a model for institutions throughout the USA. Over 10,000 engineering students, many of them from underrepresented groups have been supported and mentored through the Programme since its inception in 1992.
2014 Finalist - Bryan Hill: Assistant Dean, University of Arkansas College of Engineering, USA
Bryan was chosen as a finalist for his work leading initiatives to recruit and retain underrepresented engineering students through the Engineering Career Awareness Programme (ECAP) at the University of Arkansas (U of A). Between 2007-2014, minority enrolment in engineering programmes at U of A increased by more than 190%, with a 150% rise in female undergraduates.
2013 Finalist - Catherine Pieronek - In Memoriam, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of Women’s Engineering Programme, University of Notre Dame, USA
In response to alarming data about why women were leaving engineering undergraduate courses, Catherine initiated the important changes to enable the programme to be as accessible as possible to women and the broadest possible range of candidates and students.
2013 Finalist - Maria Angeles Martin Prats, Associate Professor, University of Seville, Spain
The main goal of Maria’s initiative was to promote and increase the number of students in engineering, especially women, particularly by create a support network and advice for students and young engineers. As chair of IEEE Women in Engineering, Maria is an advocate for women starting out in their education.
Professor Mary Wells has led a series of ONWiE initiatives to uncover the causes of the continued lack of participation of women in engineering, and developed programmes to address these barriers. ONWiE activities range from work with primary and secondary level girls to programmes for current engineering students. The initiative has boosted female application and entry rates to Ontario engineering programmes by over 200%.
2017 Finalist Project - UNSW Women in Engineering (WIE) Programme
University of NSW, Australia
The Women in Engineering (WIE) Programme aims to break down barriers and raise awareness of Engineering opportunities for women; improving recruitment and retention of female engineers through outreach, scholarships and opportunities at all academic levels, from school student to professional engineers. The programme delivers a comprehensive range of workshops and activities targeted at changing the image of engineering among female students, parents, employers, and teachers. Also focussed at raising awareness amongst industry, and helping companies achieve their diversity goals and transformations. Alumni and industry partners are engaged as speakers, mentors and sponsors. The project’s mission is to address gender imbalance and create a strong community of support and guidance for engineering students at a national level.
2017 Finalist Project - The Schulich School of Engineering: Discover Engineering Programme
The Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, Canada
Discover Engineering is a teaching initiative used to introduce secondary level students to engineering. 25 trained student facilitators, primarily from underrepresented groups themselves, lead engineering career workshops for Grade 11 and 12 students. The programme goal is to increase the diversity of future University of Calgary students; helping students to develop a deeper understanding of engineering, introducing them to the wide range of career paths, and demonstrating how engineers solve problems in society. Additionally, Discover Engineering serves as a teacher learning opportunity, so that educators can provide students with informed career advice and incorporate engineering topics into the classroom.
Watch the Airbus Diversity Award Highlights
The Airbus Diversity Award in the media
Morgan’s Yacob Astatke Recognized for International Achievements in Engineering Education
Congratulations to Morgan State University’s Yacob Astatke, D.Eng., for being selected as the 2016 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award recipient by aeronautics firm Airbus Group and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC). Dr. Astatke, the interim associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in the Clarence Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering, was chosen from among 40 candidates from 17 countries for his work in engineering education and, specifically, his efforts to improve the delivery of engineering education in Africa.
Marita Cheng at the world’s first in-flight Tech Talk
Marita Cheng, 2014 Award Recipient spoke at the world’s first in-flight Tech Talk, from Sydney to San Francisco. Marita is the founder of Robogals Global, which inspires girls aged 10-14 to choose engineering and technical careers.
Renetta Tull at the Third International Conference on Transformations in Engineering Education, India
Renetta Tull, 2015 shortlist candidate took the stage for GEDC and Airbus in India, focusing on diversity in engineering at the Third International Conference on Transformations in Engineering Education, January 2016 in Pune, India.