“UK engineers are at the forefront of both research and the translation of that research into innovation that creates wealth and addresses the challenges we face as a society.”

Professor Dame Julia King FREng Vice Chancellor, Aston University

The impact of engineering on the quality of life

A world without engineering – the more you think about it, the more impossible the idea becomes. Every day, engineering is making a tangible difference to people’s lives; improving the quality of life for people with disabilities; allowing people to live and work in clean environments, and bringing new forms of communication into our homes.

Engineering’s contribution to the nation’s quality of life in terms of wealth, health and wellbeing often goes unnoticed. However, a number of global social and demographic challenges now face modern society, and engineering’s role in delivering solutions must be recognised to ensure the needs can be met.

Quality of Life and Engineering for Growth

The UK population will reach 85 million people by 2030, with people living for much longer. In 2010, 22.6% of the UK population was over 60 and by 2035 this will be 28.6%. The increase in life expectancy means people are more likely to suffer chronic illness, which puts pressure on healthcare systems and facilities.

Engineering will provide the systems and devices to sustain quality of life for those with health problems, including ways to allow them to live independent lives for longer. As the global population increases, engineering will continue to create and reinforce the infrastructure that provides vital services to society – such as energy, transport, water and communications.

Engineers have developed ways for us to communicate with friends and enjoy our leisure time, from mobile computing to hi-tech gaming. Such technologies not only provide entertainment but also stimulate growth and competition in emerging sectors of the economy.

To drive this progress in engineering we need greater awareness of the societal benefits it delivers. Throughout the year, Engineering for Growth will demonstrate how engineering improves people’s lives and society’s progress.

This month’s activity highlight

  • Full STEAM ahead: IET 2014 Memorial Mountbatten Lecture

    15 October 2014

    Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are vital for a modern knowledge economy. It is important too that we recognise the role of the arts, with particular emphasis and illustration given here to user considerations and aesthetics for product / market success.

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