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Ethics and Engineering for the public good

16 June 2022
6.00pm – 7.30pm AEST
Theatre A, Colombo Theatres, UNSW Sydney
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The Global Water Institute and the Faculty of Engineering at UNSW are pleased to present this panel discussion on Ethics and engineering for the public good.

Please note, attendance to this event is available face-to-face only.

The discussion will explore how ethical thinking is required in helping engineers and technical professionals navigate the day to day realities of their projects and contribute to a sustainable and just society.

Some engineers are finding new ways to work with civic organisations, moving from background technical briefings to direct collaboration, and we will explore whether these methods can be applied more widely across the engineering industry.

What models have been successful or less successful in allowing engineers to work on projects for the public good?

What are the barriers facing individuals and organisations from collaborating?

Are current codes of ethics sufficient to support and encourage engagement or is more practical guidance required?

The UNSW Global Water Institute focuses on research to drive equitable water management and ensure just and sustainable outcomes for towns, agriculture and the environment. The UNSW Faculty of Engineering, ranked number 1 in Australia, has a particular interest in what current and future generations of engineers need to do develop ethical solutions to the problems faced by society, including water, infrastructure, digital advancement and energy security. This panel discussion is part of a series of events focusing on engineering ethics at UNSW.

Opening comments:

Professor Robert Care, UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Robert Care will provide opening comments prior to the panel discussion. Robert is a professor of professional practice in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW. Robert has enjoyed a career spanning almost 50 years, many as a leader within global consulting group Arup, that has taken him all over the world. His commitment to the community is reflected in his deep involvement with the global charity Common Purpose (currently Chair of Common Purpose Asia Pacific), and also as Chair of RedR Australia – a not-for-profit organisation who send qualified engineers to disaster zones worldwide. In 2019 he launched, with others and now chairs the Committee of the Community of Practice for Humanitarian Engineering (within Engineers Australia)


Professor Abby Kinchy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Abby Kinchy is a sociologist, working in the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. Her research examines the relationship between science and democracy, with two main objectives: 1) to illuminate how science shapes politics and policy making, and 2) to understand changing forms of public participation in the making of science and technology. Kinchy's research and teaching focus on topics relating to agriculture, ecological sustainability, and environmental justice. Most recently, Kinchy's research has focused on the politics of "citizen science"--public participation in scientific research. Her current NSF-funded project, Nuestros Suelos/Our Soil, explores how citizen science could help urban communities to identify heavy metal contamination in soil and to advocate for solutions. She previously led the NSF-funded Watershed Knowledge Mapping Project, which examined the practices and politics of environmental monitoring in the context of shale gas development, or "fracking."

Dr Kirsty Howey, Environment Centre of the Northern Territory
Kirsty Howey has over 15 years of experience in environmental law, research and practice in the Northern Territory. She was a native title, land rights and environmental lawyer for over a decade, including acting as instructing solicitor for traditional owners in landmark legal proceedings challenging the approvals of McArthur River Mine. She has a PhD from the University of Sydney investigating the intersection between Indigenous institutions, the environment, the state and development in northern Australia, and has published widely in these areas. She was a board member of the Environmental Defenders’ Office (NT) from 2013 to 2019, including three terms as Chair. She is an adjunct research fellow at the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University, and on the editorial board of the Australian Environment Review.

Jemilah Hallinan, Environmental Defenders Office
Jemilah joined EDO in Sydney in 2006. As Outreach Director she is responsible for the development and delivery of the EDO Outreach Program, which encompasses both community and professional programs. Jemilah provides legal advice to the community on a wide range of planning and environmental law problems and has written extensively on topics such as planning, mining and private conservation. She also lectures in planning and environmental law at several universities in Sydney.

Gabrielle McGill, Arup
Gabrielle McGill is a Chartered Engineer with over ten years’ experience working in the engineering sector, she is also completing her MBA in Social Impact at UNSW. She has a deep understanding of the engineer’s role in development with experience. She has provided both advisory and technical engineering services on projects that deliver essential services such as water, wastewater, and transport to communities in Australia and the broader Pacific region to wide range of clients including government, community, NGOs, contractors