Pitt trains budding engineers to 'think green'

May 04, 2006

Dwindling natural resources mean that engineers of the 21st century, more than ever before, must be conscious of environmental constraints. To help train the next generation of engineers to think green, the Mascaro Sustainability Initiative (MSI) in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering has created a Sustainable Engineering Fellowship Program, which will begin in fall 2006.

The interdisciplinary program for Pitt engineering Ph.D. students will be supported by a three-year, $506,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program.

"Engineers must understand that the world is a finite place with finite resources, and next generation products and processes must be designed within the framework of this complex system," said Eric Beckman, codirector of MSI and Bayer Professor of Chemical Engineering at Pitt.

"This grant will enable us to engage a diverse and talented group of students to translate the fundamental science of sustainability into real products and processes," added MSI codirector Gena Kovalcik.

Pitt engineering students already can travel to the University at Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil, to conduct research in green construction and sustainable water use technology under a University program funded by a $3.2 million Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship grant from the National Science Foundation.

Engineering professors at the University also are collaborating on a project called "Research in Sustainable Community Development," which will support an international workshop to generate a research agenda in the areas of green construction and water that is attentive to cross-cultural and ethical issues.
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More information on MSI can be found at www.engr.pitt.edu/msi. For more information on the Sustainable Engineering Fellowship Program, contact Kovalcik at 412-624-9698 or kovalcik@engr.pitt.edu.

University of Pittsburgh

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