ISEE Africa Conference to Promote a New Generation of Engineers

Sustainable building in Africa and strategies for improved higher education were the focus of a conference in Nairobi.

Also many young female scientists took part in the ISEE conference. (Photo: Meike Barucker-Sturzenbecher for BAM)

ISEE stands for innovation, science, engineering, and education – thus defining the field for exchange and discussion of the ISEE Africa Conference  recently held at Nairobi. About 100 personalities from academia and practice convened to develop solution strategies for enhanced education for a new generation of engineers, architects, and materials scientists. The selected attendants represented 27 different countries, two thirds from Africa, one third from all other continents; the ratio of women to men was 40 to 60 percent, respectively. Young researchers mingled with experienced experts at eye level and were happy to benefit from the well-drafted program and the opportunity to build up networks. "The conference was a huge eye opener and made me see the world of construction from a different perspective", as a participating student from Kenya put it.

The ISEE conference was a cooperation between the German BAM (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing), the University of Lagos, the Université de Dschang, the African Engineering Education Association and the University of Nairobi; it was funded by the VolkswagenStiftung. Organizer Dr. Wolfram Schmidt (BAM) points out that while engineering education needs to be enhanced all over the world, in Africa this can have the greatest impact not only regarding the global climate: "Africa has potential to develop and implement best practice solutions, avoid earlier mistakes, and skip technologies of a past era. A new generation of conscious engineers can create a great leverage right at the onset of a booming construction market. Thus African construction engineering can become a role model for the rest of the world."

More information on the conference

A printed conference booklet outlining relevant topics of construction and sustainable materials as well as educational challenges in the field were published in the run-up to the conference. The final proceedings capturing the results of the discussions and the workshops will be available for free download soon: