Siemens empowers sustainability education: insights from the ICL Conference

By margaretfox

To build a more sustainable future, academia and industry must work together to help future engineers prepare to tackle sustainability challenges. The Siemens Empowers Education and Startups (SEES) team is always looking to learn more about how academia can support sustainability through education and how innovative companies like Siemens can best support students. Last September, the SEES team attended the International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) in Madrid, Spain. Read on to learn more about the SEES team’s involvement in this event and some key takeaways.

What is ICL?

The International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) takes place each year at rotating locations around the globe. This interdisciplinary conference focuses on the exchange of relevant trends and research results, as well as the presentation of practical experiences in Interactive Collaborative Learning and Engineering Pedagogy. This conference provides a tremendous opportunity for Siemens to gain first hand global input from academia.

Innovation for Sustainability Roundtable

Dora Smith, Senior Director of the Global Academic Program and Antonio Riccio, Head of Learning and Growth Partners, hosted a roundtable at ICL titled “Innovation for Sustainability”. Participants included 30 professors, researchers, and industry representatives from across the globe. Below are the four big takeaways from this insightful discussion:

  1. Consideration of future generations is critical when determining how to address sustainability challenges. Climate change is a significant stressor for younger generations, so sustainability must be integrated into all aspects of daily life. Educators need further professional development about the best ways to train students to find sustainable solutions.
  2. Take a holistic approach with sustainability education. Students, educators, and industry professionals must look beyond the product or the solution and ensure they are practicing self-efficacy and civic maturity.
  3. Students need certain skills in order to successfully innovate for sustainability. Some skills mentioned in the discussion include active listening, international and multicultural collaboration, continued learning and training, design thinking, finding practical solutions, and considering the whole value chain rather than a part.
  4. Young engineers need support when taking their innovations from classroom to industry. Suggestions for support outcomes included partnerships, fund knowledge vs technology of the day, laws to incentivize innovation, and microcredentials.

Learn More

Check out the Supporting sustainability in engineering education blog for information about the Siemens Skills for Sustainability Network, which addresses the need for sustainability resources in engineering education. Join the SEES team again at ICL 2024 in Tallinn, Estonia from 24-27 September. Click here for more information. To learn more about how the SEES team fosters collaboration between industry and academia, check out Academics & Startups blog and the Innovation in the Classroom podcast.

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at