New Master of Engineering Program will Create a ‘Climate Innovation’ Culture
MEng in Climate and Sustainability Engineering aims to create climate leaders versed in tech and business
Damages caused by the changing climate—from sea level rise to food insecurity—are far-reaching, and these effects are felt most keenly by the world’s most economically vulnerable people. The global cost of the now-inevitable losses that climate change will incur tallies up to about one trillion dollars per year, and the global cost of mitigating further damages adds another trillion.
The Climate, Resilience, and Sustainability space urgently needs engineers to develop and apply sustainable solutions to emerging crises for diverse populations of people, and to help communities adapt to unavoidable changes. Skills like greenhouse gas accounting, energy management, carbon modeling, holistic design for climate adaptation and business acumen are in short supply, and the demand is only growing.
With its new Master of Engineering in Climate and Sustainability Engineering, Duke aims to help meet that need.
“The world requires engineering solutions that mitigate the effects of climate change, but also those that can help communities and organizations adapt and increase their resilience to those effects.”
HENRI GAVIN | CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
“The need for a new generation of engineering professionals who can immediately implement sustained actions is our motivation for launching the new Master of Engineering (MEng) in Climate and Sustainability Engineering,” said professor Henri Gavin, the W. H. Gardner, Jr. Chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Duke University. “The world requires engineering solutions that mitigate the effects of climate change, but also those that can help communities and organizations adapt and increase their resilience to those effects.”
Duke stakeholders evaluated similar programs offered by other schools, assessed job openings, and forecasted future technical needs before developing the new curriculum and launching the MEng. “We identified gaps and created the program specifically to fill those gaps,” said Gavin.
The new program is structured around four pillars: energy transition, sustainable infrastructure for climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable materials and circular economy, and climate finance. The Duke MEng degree emphasizes business fundamentals, the management of high-tech industries, and a professional internship component that is supported by proactive career services specifically targeting early-career employment in climate and sustainability engineering.
Leading the new MEng program as Executive-in-Residence is Sara Oliver CEE’06. Oliver returns to Duke from 17 years as a practicing engineer and program manager. Most recently, eight years of leadership at Michael Baker International, where she managed a contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In this role, Oliver was charged to inform the way communities understand and think about disaster risks and to empower them to take the steps needed to be more resilient against them.
“The world desperately needs engineers equipped to synthesize the big picture of the climate landscape with the technical expertise required to implement detailed engineering solutions.”
Sara Oliver | Executive-in-residence, Master of Engineering in Climate & Sustainability Engineering
“The world desperately needs engineers equipped to synthesize the big picture of the climate landscape with the technical expertise required to implement detailed engineering solutions,” said Oliver. “This new MEng program will fill this acute need by leveraging Duke’s deep expertise and resources and empowering us to train a pipeline of vigilant leaders.”
“We expect that the multiplier effect of our graduates’ future professional collaborations on climate solutions projects will help achieve the Duke Climate Commitment’s goal of a ‘resilient, flourishing, net-zero-carbon world by mid-century,’” added Gavin.