Published on : Wednesday, November 14, 2018
The SaviaLab diversity initiative from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award for innovative use of technology to increase diversity in engineering education.
The SaviaLab initiative seeks to bridge the gap of opportunity by offering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach education to indigenous minorities and young people in rural areas across Chile.
Since 2014, the initiative has introduced over 3,300 students from 7 regions to potential STEM career paths. This educational ‘pre-engineering’ programme empowers others with concrete technology and innovation tools. The impact goes beyond the rural minorities to the university’s own students that represent minorities themselves.
The three finalist projects – NASA Swarmathon from the University of New Mexico, USA, SaviaLab from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and iSTEAM Underwater Robot Competition from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – presented their diversity initiative to a Jury* of industry experts and distinguished guests at the WEEF-GEDC 2018 conference – the largest engineering education gathering in the world – in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
This global award is administered by Airbus, the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Since Airbus launched the award in 2012, 198 entries representing 140 institutions from 37 countries have been submitted. For the 2018 edition, 39 entries were received from 19 countries. From the 18 finalist projects recognised in the first six years of the award alone, over 125,000 students who otherwise may not have chosen engineering have been directly impacted.
Increasing diversity amongst the global population of engineers is a well-documented challenge that Airbus, the GEDC and UNESCO are committed to addressing. As in the past, this year’s finalist projects were selected for their potential to be scaled up or replicated elsewhere. Airbus are proud to announce today the launch of an e-book dedicated to the Diversity Award’s most successful initiatives, to share the valuable insights which will inspire others to take action.