Embedding of ESD in engineering education: Experiences from Chalmers University of Technology
Journal article, 2012

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on methods developed, within a three-year Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) project at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, to achieve a higher degree of embedding of ESD in engineering programmes. The major emphasis is on methods used, results achieved and lessons learned from the work. Design/methodology/approach – The basic idea that methods and activities were built on was that the only way to achieve long-term changes is to increase the motivation and capacity of lecturers and program directors to perform the required changes. Findings – Activities that were developed and tested focused on coaching discussions and on workshops for teachers, gathering teachers from one programme at a time. These activities aimed at starting learning processes in individuals. Special care was taken into keeping the feeling of responsibility and initiative in the faculty members within the programmes. A special “resource group” of experienced ESD teachers was available as support for programme directors and lecturers. Originality/value – The methods reported on are further developments of a method that has been used in Delft University of Technology (the Individual Interaction Method) in the Netherlands. The experiences from Chalmers are discussed in such a way that they provide useful insights for others aiming at similar changes at university.

Individual interaction method

Education for sustainable development


Sustainable development






Engineering education

Group interaction


Magdalena Svanström

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemical Environmental Science

Ulrika Palme

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Maria Knutson Wedel

Chalmers, Materials and Manufacturing Technology, Surface and Microstructure Engineering

Ola Carlson

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Electric Power Engineering

Thomas Nyström

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Design and Human Factors

Michael Eden

Chalmers, Architecture

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

1467-6370 (ISSN)

Vol. 13 3 279-292

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies

Pedagogical Work

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

Learning and teaching

Pedagogical work



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