In order to give you a better service Airbus uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies I agree

Airbus GEDC Diversity Award

for engineering education


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 6th year. For the 2018 edition, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation have partnered with Airbus for the award.

About the Award

The 2018 award was given to the project that demonstrates the best use of technology to enhance diversity in engineering education. Alongside the significant global visibility and recognition, a financial reward went to the winning project.

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.

An e-book was formally announced by Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President, Airbus Commercial Aircraft, at the 2018 Diversity Award ceremony held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Read the e-book to discover the outstanding initiatives selected for the Diversity Award shortlist between 2013 and 2018: 

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.

Award Process and Timing

The 2018 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award final took place at the WEEF-GEDC Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, from 12 to 16 November 2018.

The Project Representatives were invited to attend the event and present their projects to Jury of industry experts from Airbus, UNESCO and the GEDC.

The winning project, Chilean outreach initiative SaviaLab, was announced by Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive VP Engineering at Airbus Commercial Aircraft. A prize of 10,000 USD was awarded to the project team to support the continuation of their work.

2018 Winner

The 2018 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award winning project, SaviaLab, was selected for innovative use of technology to increase diversity in engineering education. Developed by a team at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, this educational ‘pre-engineering’ programme empowers rural students in Chile with concrete technology and innovation tools. The impact goes beyond the rural minorities to the university’s own students that represent minorities themselves. Since 2014, the initiative has introduced over 3,300 students from 7 regions to potential STEM career paths.

The 2018 finalist projects were iSTEAM Underwater Robot Competition of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and NASA Swarmathon, based at the University of New Mexico, USA.

DA2018 1 Jason Collin Photography, (c) 2018 Jason Collin Photography, All Rights Reserved
GEDC 13 November 2018

DA2018 1

DA2018 2 Jason Collin Photography, (c) 2018 Jason Collin Photography, All Rights Reserved
GEDC 13 November 2018

DA2018 2

DA2018 3 Jason Collin Photography, (c) 2018 Jason Collin Photography, All Rights Reserved
Human Ressources 13 November 2018

DA2018 3

Inspiring Initiatives

Get inspired by previous shortlisted projects

Increasing diversity amongst the global population of engineers is a well-documented challenge that Airbus, the GEDC and UNESCO are committed to addressing. As in the past, this year’s finalist projects were selected for their potential to be scaled up or replicated elsewhere. Airbus are proud to announce the launch of an e-book dedicated to the Diversity Award’s most successful initiatives, to share the valuable insights which will inspire others to take action.

This e-book aims to showcase the outstanding initiatives selected for the Diversity Award shortlist between 2013 and 2018 and to celebrate the achievements of the individuals and teams behind them.

Together, Airbus, the GEDC and UNESCO want to recognise exceptional efforts to increase diversity and inclusion around the world and inspire others to replicate leading initiatives in their own institutions. We hope that the visibility gained from publication within this e-book will support the continuation of the great work of these cutting-edge projects.

Check out the Diversity Award e-book

Watch the eBook overview


Airbus GEDC Diversity Award Finalists

2016 Finalist – Dawn Bonfield, former Chief Executive of the UK’s Women’s Engineering Society, UK

Dawn Bonfield MBE is former Chief Executive of the UK’s Women’s Engineering Society, where she created National Women in Engineering Day, a UK national awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the exciting career opportunities available to girls in the engineering sector. Now in its 3rd edition, the event’s success and impact has multiplied with supporters and organisations adopting the Day, carrying out their own initiatives, events and celebrations.

Read more

2015 Finalist – Renetta Tull, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Development & Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

Renetta leads the Promise Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate to train undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty. This programme includes a global STEM diversity and inclusion initiative, and aims to build global engineering workforce capacity through focused attention on increasing the numbers of future engineering faculty from underrepresented groups and has resulted in a significantly increased pipeline of diverse alumni and engineering programme participants.

Read more

2015 Finalist - Martin Baumann, Assistant Professor, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Martin has been selected for his work on enabling students with disabilities and diverse learners to be assessed on an equal basis with all students. He has developed a range of tools to assist students and support teachers, and also works directly with students concerned to create the interfaces and devices required to meet their needs. More than 30,000 students have been able to take adapted e-assessments since 2004.

Read more

2014 Finalist Bevlee Watford: Associate Dean, Academic Affairs/Director, CEED, Virginia Tech, USA

Bevlee was selected for her wide-ranging programmes aimed at building an inclusive and diverse engineering student body at Virginia Tech, and now used as a model for institutions throughout the USA. Over 10,000 engineering students, many of them from underrepresented groups have been supported and mentored through the Programme since its inception in 1992.

Read more

2014 Finalist - Bryan Hill: Assistant Dean, University of Arkansas College of Engineering, USA

Bryan was chosen as a finalist for his work leading initiatives to recruit and retain underrepresented engineering students through the Engineering Career Awareness Programme (ECAP) at the University of Arkansas (U of A). Between 2007-2014, minority enrolment in engineering programmes at U of A increased by more than 190%, with a 150% rise in female undergraduates.

Read more

2013 Finalist - Catherine Pieronek - In Memoriam, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of Women’s Engineering Programme, University of Notre Dame, USA

In response to alarming data about why women were leaving engineering undergraduate courses, Catherine initiated the important changes to enable the programme to be as accessible as possible to women and the broadest possible range of candidates and students.

Read more

2013 Finalist - Maria Angeles Martin Prats, Associate Professor, University of Seville, Spain

 The main goal of Maria’s initiative was to promote and increase the number of students in engineering, especially women, particularly by create a support network and advice for students and young engineers. As chair of IEEE Women in Engineering, Maria is an advocate for women starting out in their education.

Read more

2016 Finalist – Mary Wells, Chair of the Ontario Network for Women in Engineering (ONWiE) and the Associate Dean, Engineering Outreach at the University of Waterloo, Canada

Professor Mary Wells has led a series of ONWiE initiatives to uncover the causes of the continued lack of participation of women in engineering, and developed programmes to address these barriers. ONWiE activities range from work with primary and secondary level girls to programmes for current engineering   students. The initiative has boosted female application and entry rates to Ontario engineering programmes by over 200%.

Read more

2017 Finalist Project - UNSW Women in Engineering (WIE) Programme

University of NSW, Australia

The Women in Engineering (WIE) Programme aims to break down barriers and raise awareness of Engineering opportunities for women; improving recruitment and retention of female engineers through outreach, scholarships and opportunities at all academic levels, from school student to professional engineers. The programme delivers a comprehensive range of workshops and activities targeted at changing the image of engineering among female students, parents, employers, and teachers. Also focussed at raising awareness amongst industry, and helping companies achieve their diversity goals and transformations. Alumni and industry partners are engaged as speakers, mentors and sponsors. The project’s mission is to address gender imbalance and create a strong community of support and guidance for engineering students at a national level.

Read more

2017 Finalist Project - The Schulich School of Engineering: Discover Engineering Programme

The Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, Canada

Discover Engineering is a teaching initiative used to introduce secondary level students to engineering. 25 trained student facilitators, primarily from underrepresented groups themselves, lead engineering career workshops for Grade 11 and 12 students. The programme goal is to increase the diversity of future University of Calgary students; helping students to develop a deeper understanding of engineering, introducing them to the wide range of career paths, and demonstrating how engineers solve problems in society. Additionally, Discover Engineering serves as a teacher learning opportunity, so that educators can provide students with informed career advice and incorporate engineering topics into the classroom.

Read more

Watch the Airbus GEDC Diversity Award Highlights

Martin Baumann GEDC Airbus Diversity Award 2015 Finalist      
Renetta Tull GEDC Airbus Diversity Award 2015 Finalist      
Diversity Award 2014      
Airbus Group Diversity What Does An Engineer Do      
Fadi Aloul GEDC Airbus Diversity Award 2015 Finalist      
Airbus GEDC Award 2017      


The Airbus GEDC Diversity Award in the media

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile’s SaviaLab has been recognized for innovative use of technology to increase diversity in engineering education.

The diversity initiative, which seeks to bridge the gap of opportunity by offering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach education to indigenous minorities and young people in rural areas across Chile, has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award.
Read the article

UNM’s Swarmathon listed as finalist for Airbus diversity award.

The University of New Mexico’s NASA Swarmathon is one of three international finalists for the 2018 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award. The 2018 award will be given to the project that demonstrates the best use of technology to enhance diversity in engineering education and will be announced at the 2018 World Engineering Education Forum-Global Engineering Deans Council (WEEF-GEDC) conference in Albuquerque, which will be held Nov. 12-18. 
Read the article

Morgan’s Yacob Astatke Recognized for International Achievements in Engineering Education.

Congratulations to Morgan State University’s Yacob Astatke, D.Eng., for being selected as the 2016 Airbus GEDC Diversity Award recipient by aeronautics firm Airbus Group and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC). Dr. Astatke, the interim associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in the Clarence Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering, was chosen from among 40 candidates from 17 countries for his work in engineering education and, specifically, his efforts to improve the delivery of engineering education in Africa.

Read the article

Marita Cheng at the world’s first in-flight Tech Talk.

Marita Cheng, 2014 Award Recipient spoke at the world’s first in-flight Tech Talk, from Sydney to San Francisco. Marita is the founder of Robogals Global, which inspires girls aged 10-14 to choose engineering and technical careers.

Read the article and Watch the video

Renetta Tull at the Third International Conference on Transformations in Engineering Education, India.

Renetta Tull, 2015 shortlist candidate took the stage for GEDC and Airbus in India, focusing on diversity in engineering at the Third International Conference on Transformations in Engineering Education, January 2016 in Pune, India. 

Read the article

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion

The diversity of our talent drives innovation, while inclusion is how we make sure everyone is a full-fledged member of team.

Back to top