Classroom Activities at York University, Toronto

Airbus GEDC Diversity Award

for engineering education

About the Award

The Airbus GEDC Diversity Award aims to shine a light on successful projects that inspire students from all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering. The award was developed and funded by Airbus in partnership with the GEDC, the leading international organisation for leaders of schools and colleges of engineering education. Launched in 2012, the award is now in its 8th year. 

The long-term goal of the Airbus GEDC Diversity Award is to increase diversity among the global community of engineers so that the engineering industry reflects the diversity of the communities it supports, with diversity recognised as a driver for innovation and growth. We invite you to discover the outstanding initiatives previously shortlisted for the award in the Airbus GEDC Diversity Award e-book.

What is the Global Engineering Deans Council?

Airbus is a corporate member of the GEDC (Global Engineering Deans Council). This is a leading global organisation whose members are individuals responsible for setting the agenda for higher education in engineering in their countries and universities. 

What Do We Mean by Diversity?

Based on The American Society for Engineering Education definition, diversity is the inclusion of individuals that represent variations in gender, race, ethnic background, disability, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, nationality and other non-visible differences resulting in an environment rich in intellectual variety and respect for the individual, and optimally suited to address the technological, business and societal needs of the future.

GEDC in the News

Visit our Airbus Newsroom for other GEDC articles

The 7th Airbus GEDC Diversity Award

Three finalists from Canada, Italy and UK were invited on 3rd June 2020 to an exceptional Airbus virtual event, celebrating their projects. Each project team presented to a distinguished jury, composed of: 


  • Sirin Tekinay – Dean of the College of Engineering, American University of Sharjah, UAE & GEDC Chair
  • Jean-Brice Dumont – Executive Vice President Engineering, Airbus & Patron of the Airbus GEDC Diversity Award
  • Jennifer Ogle – Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Airbus
  • Amanda Simpson – Vice President for Research and Technology, Airbus Americas
  • Yacob Astatke – Assistant Vice President for International Affairs, Morgan State University, USA & 2016 Diversity Award Recipient


Finalists attended the Award Ceremony to celebrate the winning project. The Award Committee of Airbus and GEDC representatives led the event, presented by Clémence Bastien, Head of Employment Marketing at Airbus.

Alongside the global visibility that the award offers, the winners C4: Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom diversity initiative from the York University in Toronto, Canada received a prize of $10,000 USD to support their development. 

In addition to the monetary prize, the three finalist teams were introduced to an Airbus Engineering Executive composed of exceptional mentors:

  • Florence Verlut, HO Electrical System & Integration, Airbus in support of the Cross-campus capstone classroom (C4) by York University – Lassonde School of Engineering, Canada
  • Marc Fischer, HO CoC Flight Physics, Airbus, supporting Embracing Diversity MOOC by METID Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Philippe Gourdon, HO Aircraft Operations, Airbus nominated coach for NUSTEM: Broadening Aspirations to STEM careers in North East England by the Northumbria University, United Kingdom.

The mentors will coach them until the end of the year with the aim at maturing the teams so that they will grow stronger and multiply their project reach and ultimately increase their success


Read more about the final ceremony of the GEDC Diversity Award, here

Watch the 7th Airbus GEDC Diversity Award final ceremony


Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) have announced the winner of the 7th Airbus GEDC Diversity Award. C4: Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom diversity initiative from the York University in Toronto, Canada, was selected for their project designed to increase diversity in engineering education. Read less Read more

The 7th Edition Projects

An Award Committee of Airbus employees and GEDC members reviewed 48 entries from 18 countries and 5 continents, the highest number of entries in the history of the award. The committee deemed the quality of entries to be exceptionally high with 14 projects selected for the shortlist.

Collectively, these projects have made engineering career paths more visible and more attainable to over 80,000 students worldwide.

Discover more about the exceptional finalists and shortlisted projects

Human Resources 16 December 2019

2019 Diversity Award Shortlist Announcement

Finalist Projects

York University - Lassonde School of Engineering, Canada

Cross-campus capstone classroom (C4)
York University – Lassonde School of Engineering, Canada

Created by Engineering and Dance faculty members to break down disciplinary barriers between students and explore how diverse teams solve problems together. In its inaugural year, 74 students from 23 programmes from 8 of York's 11 faculties, including 23 fourth-year engineering students from 5 programmes, are working in multidisciplinary teams to create sustainable solutions to 11 social-impact challenges from companies, non-profits, startups, and government-linked organisations. This full-year capstone experience helps students recognise the value of their own disciplinary skills, learn how to work effectively across boundaries and understand that today's problems need us to come together, learn with each other and find our common purpose.

Read more
METID Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Embracing Diversity MOOC

METID Politecnico di Milano, Italy

The course raises awareness of stereotypes related to women and LGBT people, with special attention devoted to the stereotype that STEM studies and careers are only for men. The MOOC considers the effects of discouragement and self-exclusion on female talent - with big repercussions in the world of work - and shares actions useful to motivate more girls to study STEM. It also reports, as best practices, the cases of organisations that promote inclusion to create a fertile, authentic work environment. The MOOC “Embracing Diversity” is hosted on Polimi Open Knowledge Platform, available for free to everyone. 2,000+ users have participated, with 900+ obtaining the certificate of attendance (over 60% completion).

Read more
Northumbria University in the United Kingdom

NUSTEM: Broadening Aspirations to STEM careers in North East England

Northumbria University, United Kingdom

In the UK, under 20% of engineering and technology undergraduates are female. The UK also has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe. The North East underperforms this national picture. Established in 2014, NUSTEM represents a radical rethink of university outreach. The initiative, built on robust research, provides sustained, collaborative, inclusive and career-informed interventions with young people from early years onwards, and with their influencers - their families and teachers. NUSTEM now has long-term collaborations with 48 schools in areas of deprivation and has worked with 43,795 children and enabled a further 14,119 interactions with their families and teachers.

Read more

Shortlisted Projects

Expanding Access to Engineering through Bioengineering Summer Institute

University of Calgary/Schulich School of Engineering, Canada

The project addresses gender disparity in engineering by creating an alternative admission pathway programme focused on recognising high quality students who may have chosen biology over physics at high school and thus were held back from pursuing engineering at university. The programme leverages the Bioengineering Summer Institute (BSI) to deliver physics fundamentals in a more relatable way by placing them in the context of biology and biosystems. In autumn 2019, the first cohort of students entered engineering through this new pathway. The programme has contributed to a 4% increase in the ratio of female students compared to the previous year.

Read more

Femineer® Program: An Innovative and Engaging Program to Empower K-12 Female Students

Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering, United States

A project devoted to inspiring K-12 female students to pursue STEM majors and careers, focusing on Scratch programming, C programming with an Arduino chip control platform, sewing with conductive thread, soldering and Raspberry Pi with the Python programming language to build and program a robot. The project started in 2013 with a cohort of 24 female students, 100% of whom completed the three-year programme. 22 of the students went on to two- or four-year colleges or universities to study in STEM-related fields. The programme has expanded to 2,000 students in 116 schools with 265 teachers trained to deliver the curriculum.

Read more
Wettbewerb "Eine Uni - ein Buch" - RWTH ist eine der geförderten Universitäten

How popular media such as comics and movies can support serious, sustainable and diverse engineering-education.

RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Over one semester, the practical course ‘Media boost Engineering’ guides students to become universally skilled workers and team players. Students work in small diverse teams on a text, comic or video of their choice with a hidden connection to an engineering subject and use scientific methods to analyse the scene. They also receive training in analogue and digital communication, innovative teamwork methods, pitching and presentations. The semester ends with presentations from all teams, with awards given for the most inventive teams. The project encourages students to recognise that engineering is not just about numbers: it’s an attitude. Over 140 students have been impacted so far.

Read more


University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia

25% of girls in Australia choose not to study mathematics in their last year of high school, which makes it difficult for them to gain entry to an engineering programme at university. This project has established a network of over 250 young women in their final years of school in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The network provides access to advice from 30 female engineers at different stages in their careers, online information about different types of engineering, and face-to-face networking with peers and mentors. The project has improved girls’ confidence and perception of their ability to succeed in engineering.

Read more

Launch Workshop and Camp Program

University of Toronto, Canada

A multi-faceted outreach initiative. A diverse team of 25 facilitators deliver workshops, a multi-week summer camp and year-long activities for students in schools and community centres in priority areas of the Greater Toronto Area, northern Ontario, and Windsor, New York. Participating community sites receive investment in makerspace resources and tools to extend and embed engagement in STEM. Workshops are offered to teachers to learn how to use and apply these tools. The project focuses on solving 21st century challenges using the engineering design process at the core of a pedagogical approach for K-12 students. Over 3,000 students have been impacted.

Read more

Shaping engineers in diversity: gender equality and internationalization

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Aims to reduce the gender gap in engineering studies through mentoring programmes and workshops. The target audience is high-school girls between 12 and 18 years old. To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, (UN Sustainable Development Goal 5) the global or international vision is crucial. UC3M is committed to developing an international atmosphere where engineering students from different backgrounds and cultures can work together and learn how to build a better future. The university is collaborating with the best young European universities and promoting the mobility of students and academic staff to other countries. Currently, UC3M offers 1,833 Erasmus places in 29 countries.

Read more

STEMpower training for secondary school students

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

The project provides students in remote African regions with the tools to advance their economic future – including electronics, mechanics, biology and agro tech. They have established 22 STEM Engineering Centers throughout Ethiopia plus the annual Ethiopian National Engineering Fair showcasing middle and high school student entries. A weekly STEM TV show, also accessible on YouTube, reaches students in the remotest areas. During a recent summer outreach programme, more than 60 secondary school students participated for a duration of two months in the area of electronics and programming. Ethiopian university presidents have noted a marked increase in their incoming students' skillsets.

Read more

The Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) in the College of Engineering and IT (COEIT)

University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), United States

CWIT has a 21-year record of enabling success for women and underrepresented groups in technology fields. This is achieved through direct student support, community building, research and advocacy, and K-12 pipeline development. CWIT has directly supported 345 scholars in three different programmes (73% women, 25% underrepresented minorities) with scholarships, mentoring (from staff, faculty and industry partners), academic support, professional development and leadership opportunities. CWIT scholars have a retention rate of 95% and a 4-year graduation rate of 70%, well above UMBC averages. The project empowers students to be change agents in creating technology workplaces that are diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Read more

The Tuks Robot Race - enthusing our diverse youth to pursue greatness in engineering

University of Pretoria, South Africa

Students design and build a small robot vehicle that must navigate a maze of colored lines autonomously. The decision to invite family and high-school learners to the first Robot Race in 2013 saw the popularity of the event grow to an attendance of between 1500 and 2000 spectators. Many of these are a diverse assembly of high school learners aspiring to become engineers. The project levels the playing field by enforcing limitations on resources. This ensures that ingenuity and enthusiasm for the profession is key to success rather than individual variation that is irrelevant to one's success as an engineer.

Read more

Weber State University Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (WSU PREP)

Weber State University, United States

A free STEM summer academic programme for 12-14-year-olds. The programme runs five days a week for seven weeks, over three summers, for 21 weeks in total. It offers educational hands-on projects, challenging homework assignments, career awareness presentations, creativity and skill building workshops and Friday field trips. Incoming students who have an interest and aptitude in STEM studies receive an accelerated curriculum in preparation for secondary school, higher education and STEM careers. Coursework includes logic, algebra, statistics, writing, computer science and physics. Over 5 years, 48.5% of participants were female, 20% Latino and 16% Asian, Black, Islander, and other.

Read more

WomEng (Women in Engineering), South Africa

Interventions at critical career development stages for girls from 5 years old to women in industry. Career guidance and STEM awareness workshops on the future of work and the role of engineering and tech; engineering innovation challenges to develop engineering business solutions to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals; an online platform for women to connect, engage and learn from each other. 25,000+ women and girls from 22 countries have benefitted since 2006. The current Africa Catalyst project has provided STEM workshops for 700 high school girls and skilled 350 university-level female engineering students across Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Eswatini.

Read more

The Airbus GEDC Diversity Award along the years

2018 Award – Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

The three finalist projects from Chile, Hong Kong and the USA presented their projects to a Jury of industry experts at the WEEF-GEDC conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

SaviaLab, an engineering outreach initiative developed by a team at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, was selected as the 2018 award winner. Project representatives Gabriela Garcia and Constanza Miranda were presented with the award during a special gala dinner on Tuesday 13th November. An e-book was formally announced by Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President, Airbus Commercial Aircraft, at the 2018 Diversity Award ceremony.

2017 Award – Niagara Falls, Canada

Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology’s BIRDS Satellite Project was selected as the recipient of the 2017 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award, with the Schulich School of Engineering: Discover Engineering Programme at Canada’s University of Calgary and the Women in Engineering (WIE) Programme at the University of New South Wales in Australia as runners up. Taiwo Tejumola from the Kyushu Institute of Technology presented the project to a Jury of industry experts and distinguished guests, as well as 200 international engineering education leaders gathered for the 2017 GEDC Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada. The three finalist projects were evaluated on the basis of the impact of their work, evidence of generating results and the possibility to be scaled-up. For the 2017 Award, 45 entries from 18 countries were submitted.

2016 Award – Seoul, South Korea

Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) named Dr. Yacob Astatke, from Morgan State University in the USA, as the recipient of the 2016 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award for his work in engineering education. The award ceremony took place during the GEDC and World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF) conference in Seoul, South Korea. Out of a total of 40 candidates from 17 countries, Dr. Yacob Astatke was selected as the award recipient for his impressive introduction of technology and training initiatives across universities in Ethiopia to improve the delivery of engineering education in Africa. For the past 13 years, he conducted graduate courses, sharing best practice and delivering training. He led the implementation of Mobile Studio Technology and pedagogy in five universities in Ethiopia and has been instrumental in facilitating the donation of equipment and other resources.

2015 Award – Adelaide, Australia

Three candidates, from 29 applications worldwide, were selected as finalists for the third Airbus GEDC Diversity Award. On 1 December 2015, Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) named Professor Fadi Aloul of the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in the United Arab Emirates as the recipient of the 2015 Award for Diversity in Engineering Education. Professor Aloul was selected for his key role in developing a common first-year programme at the AUS, which introduces undergraduate students to the engineering profession, stimulating their critical thinking, creativity and innovation. To date, over 10,000 students from 92 nationalities have taken part, with an average of 35% female students.

2014 Award – Dubai, UAE

Three finalists were selected from over 20 candidates from 12 countries for the 2014 Award. They presented their ideas before a distinguished evaluation committee at the World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF) in Dubai. Their selection criteria focused on the measureable success of the initiative, the transferability of the idea and the potential to inspire others.

Marita Cheng was selected as the recipient of the 2014 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award at the World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF) in Dubai on 3 December 2014. She received $10,000 to support and develop her work in this field.

2013 Award – Chicago, USA

The GEDC and Airbus recognised three inspiring finalists in 2013. Over 20 individuals from universities in 12 countries around the world were nominated for their work to increase diversity amongst the global engineering student body. Ana Lazarin from Wichita State University, USA, was announced as the recipient of the award on 21 October at a gala dinner dedicated to diversity in engineering, which took place at the famous Art Institute of Chicago. She was selected for her outreach, recruitment and retention programmes, which resulted in a 91% increase in the number of under-represented minority students and a significant increase in diversity in engineering education at the College of Engineering at Washington State University over the previous 5 years.

Back to top