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. The Airbus GEDC Award highlights Airbus’ continued engagement and support for diversity and engineering education.

C4 breaks disciplinary barriers

The winning C4 initiative is designed to break down disciplinary barriers between students and explore how diverse teams solve problems together. In its first year, 74 students from 23 programmes and 8 faculties, including 23 engineering students, were involved. Teams researched and designed a sustainable solution for one of 11 social impact challenges identified by companies, non-profits, start-ups, and government-linked organisations. This full-year project 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 require us to learn with each other and work together for a common purpose. In 2019-2020, C4 received 41 project pitches covering 9 themes, and chose 11 project teams to participate with off-campus partners and mentors.

Choosing the finalists

Fourteen entries were shortlisted by an Award Committee of Airbus employees and GEDC members, with the final three being asked to pitch their project to the jury members in a first-ever virtual, closed pitch session. The jury members were selected for their passion and representation of the promotion of diversity in engineering education.

The three finalist projects – Embracing Diversity MOOC from Politecnico di Milano, Italy, C4 : Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom from the York University in Toronto, Canada, and NUSTEM : Science for Families from Northumbria University, UK – pitched their projects and answered questions of the jurors. Each project was evaluated on the impact of their work, evidence of results and the potential to scale for growth. 

The winning project was awarded a cash prize and each team will benefit from an opportunity to work with mentors from Airbus engineering and inclusion and diversity teams.

An invitation like no other

Attendees present for the virtual ceremony were the globally diverse Awards Committee members from the GEDC, GEDC Executive Committee Members, GEDC and IFEES (International Federation of Engineering Education Societies) members, the jury members and the finalist teams. 

The 2019 jury included :

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

Focus on Diversity and Engineering 

Airbus and the GEDC joined forces in 2012 to launch this award to recognise and reward the achievements of individuals or teams in bringing more diversity into engineering education. The stated mission is to encourage more people of all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering, and then pursue careers in an engineering field.

The GEDC Awards have a long lasting impact on engineering and diversity initiatives. One of the 2016 GEDC Award finalists, Dawn Bonfield, pitched the International Women in Engineering Day which is now a UNESCO-sponsored international awareness day celebrated around the world on 23 June. Airbus supports impactful initiatives like this working with world-leading organisations and universities to build a pipeline of diverse engineers for the future and make positive steps to bridge the gap at a grassroots level.

From the 21 finalist projects recognised in the first 7 years of the award, over 170,000 students worldwide have been directly impacted who otherwise may not have considered an engineering career path. For the 7th edition in 2019, 48 entries representing 43 universities / organisations across 18 countries were submitted, the highest number of eligible entries in the history of the award. 

More information is available at "Airbus GEDC Diversity Award"