Our original Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study, Facial recognition for access and monitoring, addresses the ethical issues of diversity, bias and privacy, and examines situations that professional engineers need to consider, such as informed consent, misuse of data, and conflicts with leadership.

This case involves an engineer hired to manage the development and installation of a facial recognition project at a building used by university students, businesses and the public. It incorporates a variety of components including law and policy, stakeholder and risk analysis, and both macro- and micro-ethical elements. This example is UK-based: however, the instructor can adapt the content to better fit the laws and regulations surrounding facial recognition technology in other countries, if this would be beneficial.

Now, as well as the activities within the original case study, we have provided an expansion on one of the activities in the form of a Case enhancement: Prompts to facilitate discussion activities.

We’ve provided this, and other case studies and case enhancements for you to use and adapt in your teaching. If you’re new to ethics, we have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

The EPC’s Engineering Ethics Toolkit is produced in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to making the Toolkit such a useful and vital resource.
If you would like to add or update your bio, please contact Wendy Attwell.

Contributor biographies


Engineering Professors’ Council (Research and Editorial Executive)

Wendy Attwell works on the development and maintenance of the EPC’s Royal Academy of Engineering funded Engineering Ethics Toolkit, to which she has also independently contributed a case study. She has a BA (Hons) and PGDip in Literature from the University of Hertfordshire.  


University of Bath

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Ultra Group

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.



Kings College London, Royal Academy of Engineering, Aston University

Dawn Bonfield is a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at King’s College London embedding entrepreneurship skills into undergraduate engineering qualifications, and empowering students to use their engineering skills to address the SDGs through teaching, project work, and competitions.

She is also Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at Aston University teaching professional skills, ethics, sustainability, global responsibility, inclusive outcomes, and ESG to MSc and Degree apprenticeship students.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and sits on the Education and Skills Committee, as well as the Africa Engineers Steering Group, and is UK representative of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations, and incoming President of the Commonwealth Engineers’ Council.

She is also a Fellow of IOM3 where she sits on the Sustainable Development Group.


Professor Mike Bramhall
TEDI-London

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Jude Bramton
University of Bristol

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Emma Crichton 
Engineers Without Borders UK

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Andrei Dragomir
National University of Singapore, University of Houston 

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Claire Donovan
Royal Academy of Engineering 

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Kathryn Fee
Queen’s University Belfast

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Nina Fowler
Uppsala University

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Patric Granholm
Ă…land University of Applied Sciences

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.

Martin Griffin
Knight Piésold Consulting

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.

Isobel Grimley

Engineering Professors’ Council

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor. 


Alison Gwynne-Evans
University of Cape Town

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor. 


Dr. Sarah Jayne Hitt SFHEA
Engineering Professors’ Council, NMITE, ENU (Project Manager for the Engineering Ethics Toolkit)

Sarah Jayne Hitt, Ph.D. SFHEA specialises in the integration of the arts, humanities and social sciences within engineering education, especially focussing on ethics and communication.

She has served as project manager for the EPC’s Ethics and Sustainability Toolkit initiatives, is Transferable Skills Lead for the Centre for Advanced Timber Technology at NMITE and is Visiting Professor in the School of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University.

She has led national and international workshops on interdisciplinary learning and teaching and worked with academic and industry partners on various engineering education initiatives. She has recent publications in the International Journal of Engineering Education and The Journal of Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education.


Cortney Holles
Colorado School of Mines  

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Irene Josa
University College London

Dr. Irene Josa is a Research Fellow at the Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering Department at UCL. She is currently working on environmental and social life cycle assessment of circularity strategies in construction. Irene holds a BSc and MSc in Civil Engineering, a MSc in Human Rights and a PhD in Construction Engineering.

She is interested in interdisciplinary research at the intersection between engineering and socio-environmental systems. She believes in sustainable engineering as key for making this world a better place by improving people’s quality of life and solving several of today’s most important global challenges. She is also an EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Sarah Junaid
Aston University  

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador. 


Steven Kerry
Rolls-Royce

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor. 


Konstantinos Konstantis
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens  

Konstantinos Konstantis is a PhD Candidate at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. The title of his dissertation is “Contextualizing the Emergence of Engineering Ethics”. He has a Master’s degree in STS and he has also graduated from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens.

He is a Visiting Student (January 2024 – April 2024) at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge and he was the 2022 Elizabeth & Emerson Pugh Young Scholar in Residence at the IEEE History Center. He is also an EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Gill Lacey
Teeside University  

Dr Gill Lacey is a Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering, MIEEE (2012), MIET (2017). Her focus is low carbon technologies, especially Smart Grid and the effect of EV charging on networks. She runs courses around decarbonising the electricity grid and renewable energy, together with entry level 3 courses designed to equip students with the relevant skills for undergraduate engineering. Partnerships with industry, such as offshore wind installers, community energy charities and local entrepreneurs, make the courses relevant, interesting and aspirational.

She is passionate about sustainable technologies; with rooftop solar, domestic storage, and a driver of electric vehicles for ten years, this is more than a job, it is a way of life. She is also an EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Professor Thomas Lennerfors 
Uppsala University

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor. 


Diana Martin
UCL

Diana Adela Martin is a Senior Research Fellow in engineering education based at the Centre for Engineering Education, University College London. She is also the co-chair of the SEFI Ethics SIG, a Europe board representative in REEN-Research in Engineering Network, and associate editor of The European Journal of Engineering Education and Science and Engineering Ethics. Diana’s research focuses on pedagogical and theoretical aspects related to engineering ethics, societal responsibility and sustainability. She is also an EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Darian Meacham
Maastricht University

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Dr. Sandhya Moise
University of Bath

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Onyekachi Nwafor
KatexPower

Onyekachi Nwafor is a seasoned professional in the field of renewable energy and energy transition, with a strong passion for sustainability and driving the transition towards a low-carbon economy. He is currently the CEO of KatexPower. His expertise includes designing and implementing solar PV systems to provide clean and sustainable energy services to off-grid and underserved communities.

Onyekachi is also the membership manager for Western Africa at the Global Waste Cleaning Network, advocating for environmental protection and waste management. With a background in electrical engineering, green energy, and climate finance, he is also a certified energy transformation expert. He has actively participated in various international conferences and workshops, where he shares his knowledge and experiences with industry experts and institutions. He is also an EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Professor Raffaella Ocone OBE FREng FRSE
Heriot-Watt University

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Professor Chike Oduoza
University of Wolverhampton

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Ahmet Omurtag
Nottingham Trent University

Dr Ahmet Omurtag is a researcher based in the Engineering department at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. He has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University and post-doctoral training in computational neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He was director of research and engineering working on device development at Bio-Signal Group. Ahmet’s current research focusses on using electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to understand the brain bases of cognitive load and motor expertise.  


Goudarz Poursharif CEng SFHEA
Aston University

Dr Goudarz Poursharif is the Associate Dean-Education for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) at Aston University. He is a Chartered Engineer member of the IET, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Practitioner of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.

He is the Chair of Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment’s Birmingham Steering Group and the Chair of Sustainable Development in Teaching working group at Aston University. His two main passions are education and engineering for a sustainable development, so since 2012, Goudarz has combined his two main passions by embedding Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the Engineering curricula of both University of Sheffield and Aston University as well as working directly with industry to upskill their sustainability skills.

He has funded the Engineering for People Design Challenge at Aston University and co-led the development and implementation of MSc Sustainable Engineering Aston University. He is also an EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Alasdair Reid
Edinburgh Napier University

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Johnny Rich
Engineering Professors’ Council (Chief Executive)

As well as his role with the EPC, Johnny Rich is well known across the higher education sector as a high-profile commentator on policy issues as well as the chief executive of student advice and outreach organisation Push, as a consultant working in education and careers, and as an author.

Before joining the EPC, Johnny has already worked on many issues of concern to our members. Over the past 25 years, he led Push’s research – such as on drop-out rates and student debt – which has had direct impacts on policy.

Johnny’s thought leadership, such as his papers for a graduate levy and a national access fund (2018) and on employability (2015) for the Higher Education Policy Institute, have been influential throughout the sector. Policy issues are also a significant part of his consultancy work, along with communications. His clients have included the European Commission, HEFCE, U-Multirank, as well as many universities, recruiters and charities.

He’s a regular speaker at conferences, awards and in schools. In 2013, his novel A Human Script was published.


Elizabeth Robertson
University of Strathclyde

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Neil Rogers
Independent Scholar

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Professor Manuela Rosa
Algarve University

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. J.L. Rowlandson
University of Bristol

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Karin Rudolph
Collective Intelligence

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Ekaterina Rzyankina
University of Cape Town

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Paola Seminara
Edinburgh Napier University

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Yann Serreau
CESI

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Matthew Studley
UWE Bristol

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Professor Mike Sutcliffe
TEDI-London

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Fiona Truscott
UCL

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and Co-Chair of the EPC’s Ethics Ambassadors community.


Jonathan Truslove
Engineers Without Borders UK

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor.


Dr. Nicola Whitehead
University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Natalie Wint
UCL

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and Secretary of the EPC’s Ethics Ambassadors community.


 

Associate Professor Scarlett Xiao, PFHEA
University of Hertfordshire 

Scarlett is an associate professor in learning and teaching at the University of Hertfordshire.  She has been recognised as a Principal Fellow of Advance HE through her sustained achievements in strategic leadership in learning and teaching and her proactive support of others to enhance their practice.  Scarlett was awarded several learning and teaching grants nationally funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the National HE STEM Programme.  With her track record and active contributions to engineering education, Scarlett has been awarded a highly commended Vice-Chancellor’s Award for enhancing the quality of the student experience and the success of our graduates. She is also an EPC Ethics Ambassador.


Dr. Yujia Zhai
University of Hertfordshire

Engineering Ethics Toolkit contributor and EPC Ethics Ambassaor.


 

 

What health and safety, environmental, and legal policies affect offshore wind farms? If they are in the open sea, which country’s laws are applied? Who is responsible for maintaining ecosystem health in the open sea? How are harms identified and mitigated?

These are some of the questions posed in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Balancing safety, costs, and the environment in the inspection of wind turbine blades.

This case study is based on a genuine challenge raised by a multinational energy company that operates an offshore wind farm in the North Sea. It involves three professional engineers responsible for various aspects of the project to negotiate elements of safety, risk, environmental impact, and costs, in order to develop a maintenance plan for the wind turbine blades.

We’ve provided this and other case studies – which include classroom activities and additional resources – for you to use and adapt in your teaching. We also have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you in your teaching, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

 

You’re a biomedical engineer working for a company that develops Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) for specialised applications. You have designed a BCI that can measure brain activity non-invasively and assess the job-related proficiency of a person. What are the physical, ethical, and social difficulties that could result from the use of devices that have the ability to directly access the brain and decipher some of its psychological content such as thoughts, beliefs, and emotions?

This is one of the questions posed in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Neuroethics of brain-computer interfaces.

We’ve provided this and other case studies – which include classroom activities and additional resources – for you to use and adapt in your teaching. We also have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you in your teaching, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

“Encouraging students to engage with the ethical, moral and environmental aspects of engineering in any meaningful way can be a challenge, especially in very large cohorts… We have developed a debate activity which appears to work very well, minimising the amount of assessment, maximising feedback and engagement, and exposing the students to a wide range of topics and views.”

Our Engineering Ethics Toolkit guidance article Integrating a technical feasibility debate – a new approach to engaging students in ethics in engineering sets out an in-class activity that is appropriate for large sections and can help to provide students with opportunities to practise the communication and critical thinking skills that employers are looking for. 

This article should be read by educators at all levels in higher education who wish to integrate ethics into the engineering and design curriculum, or into module design and learning activities.

We have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you as you expand your understanding of engineering ethics, and begin to embed it within the curriculum, and an Ethics Explorer to get you started. We also have a library of case studies, for you to use and adapt in your teaching.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

You are an electrical engineer working as a technical consultant in an international organisation aiming to transform the global energy system to secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. The organisation is invited by the federal government of Nigeria to implement the country’s new Energy Transition Plan and you are given the task of creating a comprehensive decarbonisation roadmap and presenting it at the stakeholder meeting. How do you go about this?

This is one of the questions posed in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Developing a decarbonisation roadmap.

We’ve provided this and other case studies – which include classroom activities and additional resources – for you to use and adapt in your teaching. We also have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you in your teaching, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. 

What are the legal issues relating to machine condition monitoring? What ethical codes relate to data security and privacy? What responsibilities do engineers have in developing these technologies?”

These are some of the questions posed in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Protecting data in an auto parts production facility.

This case study involves an engineer hired to develop and install an Industrial Internet of Things online machine monitoring system for a manufacturing company. It incorporates a variety of ethical components including law and policy, stakeholders, and risk analysis. 

We’ve provided this and other case studies for you to use and adapt in your teaching. We also have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you in your teaching, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. 

“Universal and inclusive co-design of the built environment and transportation systems must be seen as an ethical act in engineering.”

Our Engineering Ethics Toolkit guidance article Universal and inclusive co-design of the built environment and the transportation systems espouses the belief that “Every citizen must have the same equality of opportunities in using spaces because the existence of an accessible built environment is fundamental to guarantee vitality, safety, and sociability.”

If you want to learn more about this subject, this is a great place to start. This article should be read by educators at all levels in higher education who wish to integrate social sustainability, EDI, and ethics into the engineering and design curriculum or module design.

We have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you as you expand your understanding of engineering ethics, and begin to embed it within the curriculum, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started. We also have a library of case studies, for you to use and adapt in your teaching.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

 

You are an engineering consultant working for a commercial heat pump company. The company handles both the manufacture and installation of heat pumps. You have been called in by a county council to advise and support a project to decarbonise both new and existing housing stock. How do you go about this?

This is the dilemma presented in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Feasibility of installing heat pumps at scale to reach net zero.

This case study offers students an opportunity to practise and improve their skills in making estimates and assumptions. It also enables students to learn and practise the fundamentals of energy pricing and link this to the increasing issue of fuel poverty. Fundamental thermodynamics concepts, such as the second law, can also be integrated into this study.  

We’ve provided this, and other case studies, for you to use and adapt in your teaching. We also have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you in your teaching, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

Have you used our Engineering Ethics Toolkit in your teaching? We want to hear from you!

February 2022 saw the launch of our Engineering Ethics Toolkit, with a range of case studies and guidance articles available to help engineering educators embed ethics into their modules and curriculum.

In March 2023 we published further guidance articles and case studies, as well as enhancements on some of the classroom activities suggested within our original cases. June 2023 saw the launch of the interactive Ethics Explorer, which replaced the static engineering ethics curriculum map from 2015.

More and more engineering educators are telling us that they use these resources, and are finding them invaluable in their teaching. A brave few have contributed blogs, detailing their methods of using and adapting our case studies and classroom activities, and giving an honest appraisal of their own learning curve in teaching ethics.

We’ve heard about leaning in to your discomfort, first time fear, and letting students flex their ethical muscles.

We would love to publish more of this type of content. We want to hear your experiences, good or bad, along with tips, potential pitfalls, what you added to our content in your teaching, and what you and your students got out of the experience. If you have students who are enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts, we would love to hear from them too.

We’d like you to send us your blogs and testimonials, whether that be a couple of sentences or paragraphs, or a full article with diagrams, or anything in between.

You can submit your blog post or testimonial here, or email Wendy Attwell to discuss your submission first.

We look forward to hearing your experiences.

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