Dr. Shareen Hertel, Professor of Political Science and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut, introduced UConn’s Engineering for Human Rights Initiative.
The Engineering for Human Rights Initiative (EHRI) is a collaborative venture between UConn’s School of Engineering (SoE) and Human Rights Institute (HRI) that addresses human rights implications of the most significant challenges in engineering and technology in six key research areas:
- Water, Health & Food Security
- Product Design, Manufacturing, and Supply Chain Management
- Community Planning, Resilience and Justice for a Changing Environment
- Engineering Education and Accessibility Rights
- Engineering Substances and Process Sustainability
- Cybersecurity, Privacy and Human Vulnerability.
The Initiative involves 60 faculty affiliates across departments within UConn’s School of Engineering and in the School of Medicine; School Social Work; Law School; School of Business; College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; and College of Agriculture, Health & Natural Resources.
Dr. Hertel discussed how social sciences and justice perspectives can be integrated in engineering, the challenges that come with cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the impact this program had on engineering in the state of Connecticut. UConn trains most of the state’s engineers who now have been trained in including equity, justice, and human rights as part of their work. She also discussed ongoing conversations with industry, academia, education, and communities and how stakeholder engagement is key for the social sustainability of engineering initiatives.