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Engineering Sustainability - Informed debate on one of the key issues of the century




David A. Smith - CEO, Global Futures & Foresight

Speakers: Professor H Muller - Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Professor Y Phillis - Director of CAM Laboratory, Dr P Waide - Navigant, Professor F Steward - Policy Studies Institute, Professor B Collins - Department of Transport, DoBIS, Dr Erastos Filos - European Commission, David A. Smith - CEO, Global Futures & Foresight

Engineering Sustainability - Informed debate on one of the key issues of the century

Hosted by:

Systems and Control Research Centre, City University London

and IEEE SMC Society UK & Ireland

Whatever our degree of conviction about climate change and its impact on our lives, sustainability seems to be poised to emerge as the key challenge and issue for the 21st century. However, we believe sustainability is a global systemic issue and everyone has a role to play in ensuring we leave the same privileges to future generations that we enjoy today.

 Faced with global challenges, such as population growth and the eventual depletion of non-renewable natural resources, we explore the rationale for a broader and systemic perspective on sustainability as an emergent system property, with many hard and soft facets, and not just a focus on ecology. The development of a holistic framework will provide a credible underpinning to the understanding, communication, assessment and overall assurances of sustainability.

 This public seminar has invited a panel of global, discipline visionaries and authorities in systems thinking to explore, inform and demystify the pertinent sustainability issues, comprising:

 Climate Change, Natural Resources, Energy, Society & Ethics, Ecology,
Technology, Politics, Economics & Finance & Science

 We also hope to encourage informed debate, leading to pragmatic solutions and consensus on one of the key issues of the century. We believe that it is only in the light of such insights that potent and affordable solutions can be sought, devised, endorsed and applied to mitigate the risks.

 Places must be booked in advance

The Systems & Control Centre is one of the five Research Centres of the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences with research covering the areas of Systems, Control of Complex Systems and Information Engineering.

IEEE SMCS is a non-profit professional Society within the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, USA.

Seminar Programme

Time Topic Speaker
13:00-13:30 Registration
13:30-14:00 Welcome and Context by organisers

Professor N Karcanias - City Systems & Control Centre,

Professor A Hessami - IEEE

14:00-14:30 A New World Order: Building Blocks for Sustainable Global Governance Professor H Muller - Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
14:30-15:00 Sustainability Indicators for Nations-Models of Sustainability Assessment Professor Y Phillis - Director of CAM Laboratory
15:00-15:30 Sustainability Focused Energy Policy Dr P Waide - Navigant
15:30-16:00 Tea & Coffee Break
16:00-16:30 Transformative Innovation & Sustainability Transitions Professor F Steward - Policy Studies Institute
16:30-17:00 Intelligent Mobility: A Sustainable Way of Alleviating Congestion and Stress Professor B Collins - Department of Transport, DoBIS
17:00-17:30 Low-Carbon Manufacturing: The Role of ICT Dr Erastos Filos - European Commission
17:30-18:00 The future of education, training and development

David A. Smith - CEO, Global Futures & Foresight

18:00-18:30 Towards a Global Sustainability Agenda - Round Table Discussion Panel Members
18:30-19:30 Networking Reception

Abstracts and Speakers

Abstract Professional Biography

Intelligent Mobility: A Sustainable Way of Alleviating Congestion and Stress

Demand for personal mobility is inexorably rising but the social and financial cost of providing more capacity is rising even faster; intelligent use of the assets we already have, private and public, seems to offer the only affordable and sustainable solution to this problem.

I will discuss the nature of the problem, and illustrate some solutions that are being implemented and are under development.
Finally I will offer some thoughts on research questions that still need to be addressed.

Brian Collins

Professor Brian Collins is a graduate of Physics and PhD in astrophysics from Oxford. He joined the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), now Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in May 2008 as its Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA).

His role is to provide scientific advice to the Secretary of State, Ministers and the Management Board, ensuring the use of sound scientific, engineering and technological evidence across the Department.  He also acts as Head of Profession for the Department's scientists, engineers and technologists.

Professor Collins is also CSA at the Department for Transport and he advises the Home Office and other agencies on Intelligence and Counter Terrorism matters.  He is also Professor of Information Systems at Cranfield University. He was made a Companion of the Bath in the 2011 New Year's Honours List.

A New World Order: Building Blocks for Sustainable Global Governance

Sustainable world governance in the 21th century requires a fundamental adaptation of international politics. Western arrogance, a relic of the imperial epoch and reinforced by the triumph of Cold War victory must be relegated to the dustbin of history. But non-Western great powers must rise to their awesome responsibility as well.

A concerted relationship among the great powers is the most basic requirement. It creates the precondition for dealing with virulent regional conflict. A great power concert as well as the integration of alienated actors on the global scene means also that all states, notwithstanding their internal order, possess a claim to participate in shaping a sustainable order as long as they abide by agreed rules. Law must trump power.

All this is a demanding agenda, but none beyond the possible. It corresponds to an enlightened perspective on self-interest and is capable of accommodating the rise in the importance of legitimate non-state actors as well.

Harald Müller

Professor Harald Müller received a Doctorate in political science at Frankfurt University 1981. In 1996, he became Director of Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and was appointed Professor of International Relations at Frankfurt University in 1999. Since 1984 he is teaching regularly at Johns Hopkins University Centre for International Relations, Bologna, Italy.

From 1994 till 2005, Prof Müller was a member of the Advisory Council on Disarmament Matters of the UN Secretary General which he chaired in 2004. He served in the Defence Review Commission of the German Government and participated as member of the German Delegation in the Review Conferences of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

His most recent monography is "Building a New World Order. Sustainable Policies for the Future". Since 2007 he is member of the Board of Directors of the Frankfurt University's Cluster of Excellence called "The Formation of Normative Orders".

Transformative Innovation & Sustainability Transitions

The talk will make the following points:
• The targets for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate dangerous climate change require radical, not incremental change, in society and economy
• The radical change needed is best described as 'transformative innovation' which is pervasive, system wide and embraces technological and social change.
• The shift to a low carbon society is a systemic 'sociotechnical transition' not a set of singular scientific solutions.
• Current public policies on innovation and sustainability are inadequate. 
• A new policy direction to promote transformative innovation for global sustainability is urgently needed which needs to span many of the existing boundaries in the established policy landscape.

Fred Steward

Professor Fred Steward is Professor of Innovation & Sustainability at the Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster, London.  Prior to this he led innovation research at the business schools of Brunel University and Aston University.  Seconded to NESTA, the UK innovation agency in 2008, he has advised government departments in the UK, Europe and China on innovation and sustainability. 

He is Visiting Professor at Imperial College, London and President of the European Association for the Study of Science & Technology, EASST.

His primary research interest is in 'transformative innovation' and his approach combines innovation network concepts and sociotechnical transition theory. The role of innovation in addressing the global challenge of climate change and environmental sustainability is his research focus along with its implications for policy.

Sustainability Indicators for Nations: Models of Sustainability Assessment

Large scale problems of enormous consequences make the headlines nowadays: unusual weather phenomena attributed to global warming, economic crises, toxic spills, deforestation, desertification, hunger - all raise questions about the future.

A question is raised: is our society sustainable? Equivalently, what is sustainability and how do we measure it? One could say that a society is sustainable if it provides basic necessities and happiness to the present and future generations.

In this talk several approaches assessing SD will be discussed. A hierarchical fuzzy inference model will be presented, among others, that computes overall sustainability OSUS from two primary components, Ecological Sustainability ECOS and Human Sustainability HUMS. Nations are then ranked according to their sustainability status. Decision makers can then focus on these to enhance the sustainability practices of nations. These ideas can be extended to the computation of corporate sustainability.

Yannis Phillis

Professor Yannis A. Phillis received his Ph.D. from the UCLA in control systems in 1980.

Since 1986, he has been with the Department of Production Engineering and Management, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece where he is professor and director of the CAM Laboratory.

As Onassis Foundation Senior Visiting Fellow in the US, he lectured on environmental issues in four American Universities. His research interests are in stochastic control, discrete-event systems, and applications in manufacturing networks and environmental systems.

Dr. Phillis is rector of the Technical University of Crete for over10 years. In 1994 founded and developed the 80-acre Park for the Preservation of Flora and Fauna in Crete. The Park has a laboratory for the study and preservation of endangered plant species, which is also actively involved in ethnobotanical issues. The Park is visited by thousands of people every year. He has published over 100 scientific papers and four technical books.

Sustainability Focused Energy Policy

As the principal cause of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions the energy sector is at the core of the sustainability challenge. This talk addresses the scale of the problem, the technical options to move to a decarbonised energy system and the economic and policy related factors that will come into play.

In particular, it will stress the importance of policy settings to strengthen deployment of viable clean energy systems, the type of barriers that these policies need to overcome and the challenges yet to be faced in meeting energy sector decarbonisation objectives.

It will present the case for a portfolio of energy efficiency stimulus policies which target specific energy end-uses as well as being cross-cutting; and consider the need to develop a coherent blend of demand and supply-side policy frameworks, which establish the right blend between picking technology winners and yet applying a common framework to all decarbonised supply and demand side opportunities.

Paul Waide

Dr Paul Waide is the head of Navigant Consulting's European Energy Practice.  Previously he had a prominent role in the International Energy Agency, where he expanded the agency's work on energy efficiency and sustainable energy. He helped the G8 develop their Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development plan, including the endorsement of 25 major energy efficiency policy recommendations by the G8 heads of state and IEA governments.

He also helped initiate the International Partnership on Energy Efficiency Cooperation, which brings together G20 governments in a common cooperative framework. He is the author of numerous books and publications in clean energy and has over 20 years of professional experience in the domain.

Low-Carbon Manufacturing: The Role of ICT

The European Union's energy and climate targets for 2020 are (a) reducing carbon emissions by 20%; (b) increasing the share of renewable energy sources in energy consumption to 20%; (c) saving 20% of the EU's energy consumption. These targets aim at significant environmental benefits, while providing a unique business opportunity for many European companies.

The European Union is committed to pursue these targets through policy measures, R&D and innovation support actions.

The presentation will provide examples for the potential of ICT for energy efficiency. In particular, the presentation it will aim to show how ICT-driven innovations can provide cost-effective means to achieve the 2020 energy and climate targets.

Erastos Filos

Dr Erastos Filos is Head of the Sector "Intelligent Manufacturing Systems" at the European Commission. He coordinates ICT Programme activities in Factories of the Future and in IMS, a global R&D collaborative programme. Born in Greece, he has obtained an MSc in Physics from Hamburg University and holds a PhD from Constance University, Germany.

After his university research he went to industry, first at Perkin Elmer Corp. and then at Bosch. In 1993 he joined the European Commission's ESPRIT programme to work as Research Administrator. Mr Filos is the author of over 40 research publications and has contributed to three books.

Aligning lifestyle aspirations, consumption and sustainability

We know that the root cause of the difficulties we face in managing a sustainable global society lies in our rapidly changing populations, their wealth, lifestyle aspirations and consumption. To feed ourselves in 50 years we will have needed to double our food production, yet we waste between 30% and 40% of all the food we produce.

Many of the minerals and resources we need to maintain our lifestyles in the developed economies are already predicted to be depleted within a range of years starting in just 4 years time. So the challenge is how do we align 7 billion people's aspirations with the planet's requirements so that we can make room for the additional 2 billion people who are expected to join us in just 4 decades. This will be discussed in this final session.

David Smith

David A. Smith is a futurologist, and Chief Executive of Global Futures and Foresight (GFF) - a strategic futures research organization. David's 30 year diverse business career has made him recognisable as one of the world's leading futurists.

GFF prepares views of the future on many topics including the Middle East Travel and Tourism industry, the world Insurance markets and visions of the future for the food, real estate, information technology, IT, and communications industries.

Since founding GFF, David has worked with many of the world's largest organisations as well as academic institutions and industry associations. He has advised the UK and EU governments on strategic research investment decisions.

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When and where

1.00pmWednesday 30th March 2011

Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre Tait Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom

Contact Details

City Events Team

+44 (0)20 7040 8037

Contact the organiser