Powerful forces, including demographics, globalization, and rapidly evolving technologies are driving profound changes in the role of engineering in society. The changing workforce and technology needs of a global knowledge economy are dramatically changing the nature of engineering practice, demanding far broader skills than simply the mastery of scientific and technological disciplines. The growing awareness of the importance of technological innovation to economic competitiveness and national security is demanding a new priority for application-driven basic engineering research. The nonlinear nature of the flow of knowledge between fundamental research and engineering application, the highly interdisciplinary nature of new technologies, and the impact of cyber infrastructure demand new paradigms in engineering research and development.
Moreover, challenges such as the off-shoring of engineering jobs, the decline of student interest in scientific and engineering careers, immigration restrictions, and inadequate social diversity in the domestic engineering workforce are also raising serious questions about the adequacy of our current national approach to engineering.
The purpose of this study is to pull together the principal findings and recommendations of the various reports concerning the profession of engineering, the technology and innovation needs of the nation, and the role played by human and intellectual capital, into an analysis of the changing nature of engineering practice, research, and education.
The University of Michigan
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