Engineering Ethics – Phase 4 plan

For both the Engineering Ethics and Sustainability toolkits, the strategy for promotion and dissemination will focus on 3 priorities:

a.     Build awareness of the toolkit by highlighting the need/problem and the resource/solution;  

b.     Build understanding and engagement by helping educators to know and use the toolkit; 

c.     Motivate action by getting others to advocate for and champion the toolkits, and to submit further resources. 

We can break this down into the following outputs and activities for the Engineering Ethics Toolkit:


Output or activity


  • Privately commissioned
  • Impact study.


  • This study will inform the further enhancement of the Ethics Toolkit, determining where attention should be prioritised, and will influence the ongoing development of the Sustainability Toolkit.
  • Run a dedicated workshop session (~half day).
  • This workshop will be developed/delivered in partnership with other Toolkit contributors.
  • Funding would be required to support travel. 
  • SEFI Ethics SIG (Special Interest Group)
  • Collaborate on a webinar workshop series which would feature an Ethics Toolkit resource per session, encouraging attendees to become familiar with, use, and then report back on integrating the resource.
  • EPC would work in collaboration with Ambassador event lead/co-chairs and Toolkit contributors to develop/deliver these.
  • Present a paper on the impact of the Ethics Toolkit (via data/testimonials). 
  • Funding would be required to support travel. 
  • Our proposal was accepted after a very competitive submission process and ASEE is the world’s largest conference of engineering educators with a very strong Ethics subcommittee.
  • Advance HE
  • PEIs
  • Sponsorship
  • Continuing professional development. 
  • Feedback from users of the Ethics toolkit suggests a demand for an ongoing programme of professional development opportunities for both toolkits, potentially with sponsorship, or in partnership with leading organisations in the CPD field for the HE sector. This is unlikely to be fully realised in a year, but a trial programme would be developed and piloted.
  • Educators and other stakeholders need to understand where and how changes can be made in the curriculum to embed ethics and sustainability, so that they can fully engage with the toolkit resources and delivering system change.
  • PEIs accreditation committees
  • Integration with accreditation.
  • Reach out to the accreditation committees of the PEIs in order to establish what they need to help them better understand our resources and how they relate to the accreditation process of HEI courses.   
  • The toolkits need to address the needs of accreditors as well as educators.
  • Through the accreditation committees of the PEIs a framework will be established to help them better understand the toolkit resources and how they relate to the accreditation process of HEI courses.
  • This could even involve developing training modules or short courses for accrediting personnel.
  • Ethics Ambassadors
  • Toolkit contributors
  • Develop, produce and publish further Toolkit content.
  • Continued support for systems of expanding the toolkits, including commissioning, creating and compiling resources, a network of reviewers, and a fast-track process from review to publication of content.

New content to be informed by:

  • RAEng’s Ethics report (see below).
  • Requests from academics.
  • Pitches from contributors.
  • Ethics Ambassadors
  • Expand, strengthen and publicise the community.
  • Continued support and guidance for the Ethics Ambassadors community and extension into a Sustainability Ambassadors community to ensure the toolkits become an ongoing, regular component of engineering teaching and highlighting excellence in integrating ethics and sustainability.
  • EPC leads
  • Ethics Ambassadors leads
  • Toolkit contributors
  • Run a rewards and awards scheme for Toolkit contributors.
  • E-badges for contributors, that can be used on their email, website and other communications.
  • Awards for highest quality content and most popular content.
  • Award to help an educator/institution embed ethics in a module or course.
  • Media
  • HEIs
  • PEIs
  • Other media and institutions
  • Continue to promote and disseminate the Toolkit. 
  •  Expand into unexplored areas such as engineering podcasts/social media/student unions etc.
  • HEIs and engineering staff
  • PEIs
  • Other interested parties
  • Workshops (in person).
  • A roadshow (taking workshops to various HEIs or other locations).
  • This will either be run by the EPC and Ethics Ambassadors, or via a CPD provider.
  • EPC
  • Ethics Ambassadors
  • HEIs
  • PEIs
  • Other interested parties
  • A self-study module.
  • Whereas the Ethics Explorer provides various routes to learning, this will be a number of linear modules, available online.
  • This will either be devised and run by the EPC and Ethics Ambassadors, or via a CPD provider.
  • External provider




  • Build a portal.
  • To maximise impact and effect change globally, the toolkit materials should not be confined to the EPC website. While this may be the ideal place for this content to reach UK engineering academics, a wider audience in other stages of education and internationally can be reached by developing a bespoke portal allowing the toolkits to reside and be updated on the EPC website, through an API on other sites (including RAEng’s own), and on a dedicated URL such as “engineeringsustainability” which would rank more highly on internet searches.
  • This is unlikely to be realised within a year, but funding is needed until the next phase of Siemens support is likely to be available in Q3 of 2024.
  • Siemens may also be able to provide technical support in kind.

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2023 Ethics in the Engineering Profession report key findings and recommendations mapped to the Engineering Ethics Toolkit outputs and future activities

Key findings or recommendations Output or activity Notes 
  • Key Finding 1: “…one-third of engineers and technicians report that the work they undertake makes them feel ethically compromised.“ 
  • Key Finding 2: “There is evidence many engineers and technicians feel dissuaded from raising concerns in the workplace. …More than one-third of engineers and technicians report that the culture in their organisations discourages raising bad news…”
  • Recommendation 3: “Clearer guidance on how to raise concerns…[is] needed.”


  • Guidance article: How workplace culture affects ethics and the practice of acting ethically.  
  • How to raise ethical concerns in the workplace. 

Explicit guidance on: 

  • Good practice in raising or addressing concerns; 
  • Whistleblowing: your duties and your rights; 
  • The human challenge of raising concerns: the Bystander effect/diffusion of responsibility/lack of experience or confidence/fear of reprisal. 
  • Whilst some of our current case studies allude to this, it would be useful to have stronger and more explicit guidance.  
  • Guidance for educators, handouts for learners, on good practice for raising concerns if they feel ethically compromised.
  • Assemble a page of external resources on whistleblowing, starting with to create a short guide. 
  • Key Finding 4: “There is a greater gap between the relevance and preparedness scores engineering firms ascribe to risks in their supply chain. The growing importance of human rights was recognised by many companies in interviews but did not appear in the top 10 ethical risk areas in terms of relevance.” 
  • Guidance on addressing issues that are seen as less important. 
  • A case study on supply chain that overlaps with the Sustainability Toolkit. 
  •  A classroom activity examining which ethical issues are seen as more or less important and why. (Similar to the activity used at our SEFI workshop.) 
  • Key Finding 5: “Professional engineering institutions are beginning to explore ethical issues, but often in a piecemeal and unsystematic way.” 
  • Key Finding 6: the professional institutions are not an effective channel for communications on ethics to engineers and engineering technicians, or the broader UK engineering community. Only a minority of PEI members and registrants engage with their professional institutions in a meaningful way after registration. There are also an estimated three million individuals working in engineering roles in the UK who have no affiliation with any professional engineering body.”
  • Recommendation 4: “Create and support links between PEIs and employers”  
  • Engagement with PEIs. 
  • Resource pack aimed at PEIs. 
  • Training for the accreditors that answer to the PEIs who go out to evaluate HE programmes. 
  • Resource pack aimed at employers. 
  • Explore CPD and sponsorship/partnership opportunities. 
  • Key Finding 6: “Sizeable numbers also report that they are asked to take unacceptable shortcuts (35%) and accept situations they would characterise as professional or ethical misconduct (40%).” 
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion: “A number of interviewees commented on matters of neurodiversity and colleagues on the autistic spectrum.”  
  • Assemble a page of external resources relating to a breach of a code of ethics/conduct. 
  • Ask educators what resources they use, and what have they already created, and link to it (or encourage them to submit to toolkit if their own resources are appropriate and open source). 
  • Tie in with neurodiversity work.
  • PEIs’ views on ethics in the profession: Key findings:Modern slavery & human rights were not on the radar of most PEIs, with a particularly low perceived importance rating for members and employers.
  • Specific guidance on teaching/discussing modern slavery and human rights within engineering.  
  • Assuming that educators might not have a deep enough understanding of the issues that our case studies address, produce a bullet point guide, with relevant internal and external links.  
  • Recommendation 1: “training and engagement to build awareness of and alignment with the Statement of Ethical Principles… throughout the engineering sector as a whole.“ 
  • Guidance article. Deconstruct and examine the SoEP; suggest discussions and activities for teaching it; link to case studies that specifically reference it (Engineers and Public Protest, and others). 


  • Recommendation 1:Partner with firms to promote the principles amongst their engineering workforce in order to reach those who are not professionally registered. Consider developing training modules that can be delivered within firms or other membership organisations covering the principles of ethics for an engineer.”
  • Recommendation 2: “Promote and develop ethics-related continuing professional development (CPD).” 
  • Engagement with PEIs. 
  • Resource pack aimed at PEIs. 
  • Resource pack aimed at employers including guidance on how they might use our resources to train staff. 
  • Resource pack aimed at individual engineers (those not professionally registered) including guidance on ‘how this is relevant to you/how you can use this resource’. 
  • Explore CPD and sponsorship/partnership opportunities.  
  • Recommendation 7: “Ensure all ethics programmes consider how to support SME engineering firms.”
  • Case studies dealing with SMEs falling behind in ethics/compromising values? 
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