ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CERTIFICATE AT ISAE-SUPAERO: TRAINING ENGINEERS IN THE CHALLENGES OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY TRANSITIONS
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Training engineers capable of understanding the challenges, having a holistic view of the life cycle, having a grasp of the complexity of the environmental impacts and the aeronautical value chain – the Environmental Engineering Certificate was designed to provide students with all the keys to produce an evolution in the role of engineers in favor of the ecological and energy transition in companies.
PRESENTATION OF THE CERTIFICATE
Developed under the CEDAR Chair (Chair for Ecodesign of AiRcraft, financed by Airbus), the Environmental Engineering Certificate is designed for students in the last year of the Engineering Training program at ISAE-SUPAERO and the schools in the ISAE Group.
Last April and May, 20 ISAE SUPAERO students and 16 ISAE-ENSMA students followed the Environmental Engineering Certificate program. This 175-hour certificate is divided into 3 modules: “Current situation in the environment and aeronautics” (61 hrs); “Aviation of the future” (70 hrs) and “Engineers in action” (44 hrs) and ended with a Final Oral Exam on the ISAE-SUPAERO campus and remotely on June 1st and 2nd. The Final Oral gave students an opportunity to present their subjects in connection with the Chair’s subject before Airbus and the contributors.
OBJECTIVES OF THE CERTIFICATE
- Understanding environmental and energy challenges.
- Understanding the socioeconomic impacts and the externalities related to the energy and environmental transition.
- Addressing the overall political and regulatory aspects.
- Understanding how industries integrate the challenges.
WHEN DEVELOPING THE PROGRAM WITH JONATHAN PREIST AND SERGE BONNET OF AIRBUS ENGINEERING, WE WANTED TO OFFER STUDENTS SOLID THEORETICAL CONTRIBUTIONS ON THE OVERALL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND THEN INDICATE THE SPECIFIC CHALLENGES IN THE AERONAUTICS SECTOR. WE FELT IT WAS INDISPENSABLE FOR THE STUDENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY QUESTIONS SO THEY CAN ACQUIRE THE NECESSARY SKILLS AND HINDSIGHT BEFORE STUDYING THE DIFFERENT TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS CURRENTLY BEING PROPOSED OR STUDIED
EVE JOLICOEUR, 3rd-YEAR STUDENT, SHARES HER EXPERIENCE
What did you take away from the Environmental Engineering Certificate? What are the stakes of such a training program?
The certificate was a revelation for me. I was interested in environmental questions but this certificate gave me a proper understanding with greater precision. Through the general courses and other more specific courses on aviation and transport taught by a variety of contributors, we acquired solid knowledge and practical skills, such as drawing up a carbon balance or a Life Cycle Analysis. We were able to develop critical thinking, notably thanks to the exchanges with the professors with whom we were able to have discussions. With the diversified courses on technology as well as on psychology and philosophy of technology, we learned to keep an open mind, or even to take a big slap upside the head concerning our preconceived notions.
This certificate was an opportunity for personal introspection for many of us – what values do we want to defend? Could I work in a company that does not subscribe to these values? What role do I want to play in society in the fight against climate change? What commitment do I want to make and what meaning do I give to it?
I think one of the main challenges of this certificate was finding a way to present the facts as they are, with no subjectivity. If the contributors expressed opinions, it had to be clear so as not to confuse facts and opinions. Furthermore, two months is a very short amount of time to cover such a vast subject, so they had to propose courses providing the best possible understanding of the problem while presenting the most exhaustive range of existing or feasible solutions possible. It took some time to give us the keys so that we in turn can transmit them to others and apply them to our way of thinking.
How did you approach the Final Oral Exam?
I approached the Final Oral with relative peace of mind. Even though it might seem stressful, having a panel of experts listen to us is a chance, quite a unique opportunity. It is a real opportunity to talk with them, to open up the debate, and to raise questions while presenting our work. Preparation for the Final Oral gets you to think for yourself about environmental problems, user newly-acquired knowledge to develop your own reasoning, pushing your reflections ever further.
RICH, VARIED PANEL OF CONTRIBUTORS
The certificate program was taught by contributors with a variety of profiles from industry, research centers, schools and independent experts. Nearly 60 contributors spoke to increase the students’ awareness of the new environmental challenges.
Thus, for Bastien Lefrançois, Engineer in Airship Design and Operation (Flying Whales) and hot-air balloon pilot, came to present aerostatic balance to the students. “I would like for students to leave with an understanding with what aerostation is – very different from more conventional aviation. They now have a few theoretical keys and a few experimental keys.”
Stéphane Amant, consultant at Carbone4 and an ISAE-SUPAERO alumnus who came to speak about the specific challenges of air transport in the transports of the future, explained, “At the end of my talk, I would like for students to remember that a golden age in aeronautics is opening up before them.” He added that the engineer will hold a more important place in the future than during the past thirty years.
The outlook is therefore favorable for the students, future engineers who tomorrow will have to be able to apply their knowledge of the subject at the companies of today, all well aware of these environmental issues.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CERTIFICATE IS AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FOR AIRBUS AND ISAE-SUPAERO TO PROVIDE ENGINEERS WITH A COMPREHENSIVE VISION OF ALL THE CHALLENGES FACING HUMANITY, NOTABLE FOCUSING ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS AND THE AERONAUTICS SECTOR. IT IS ALSO A TWO-MONTH JOURNEY DURING WHICH, TOGETHER, WE EXPLORE THE COMPLEXITY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN DEPTH. STARTING WITH THE INTRODUCTORY SESSION, I FELT THE STUDENTS’ COMMITMENT TO THE TOPICS COVERED AND THEY ALSO SHOWED GREAT ENTHUSIASM FOR THE EXERCISES, WORKSHOPS AND QUIZZES. THIS TOOK PLACE IN A DYNAMIC ATMOSPHERE THAT MADE THIS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE FOR THE CONTRIBUTORS. AT THE FINAL ORAL EXAM, THEY COVERED COMPLEX INTERDISCIPLINARY QUESTIONS ON A VARIETY OF ISSUES SUCH AS DIMINISHING RESOURCES, ETHICAL CHALLENGES AND THE NOTION OF CARBON BUDGET. I WAS IMPRESSED BY THEIR ABILITY TO EXPLORE, ANALYZE, SYNTHESIZE AND PRESENT STUDIES ON THESE SUBJECTS IN SUCH A SHORT TIME AND I AM REALLY PROUD OF THEIR GROWTH AND THE INTELLECTUAL VALUE OF THEIR OUTPUT. THEY WILL BE PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF WORKING TOWARD THE TRANSITION IN THE AERONAUTICAL SECTOR!
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