Mapping the CDIO Syllabus to the UNESO Key Competences for Sustainability
Paper in proceeding, 2019

In this paper a framework of key competencies for sustainability defined by UNESCO is used to evaluate the relevance of the CDIO Syllabus for promoting engineering education for sustainable development. The evaluation is performed in two steps. First, topics, terms and concepts in the CDIO Syllabus that corresponds to the different UNESCO key competencies are identified. The second step is a qualitative discussion where areas of strong mapping are highlighted and aspects that could be better visualized or strengthened in, or added to, the Syllabus are identified. Differences in definitions of various concepts between the CDIO Syllabus and the UNESCO key competencies and the overall relation between the two frameworks are discussed. It is concluded that the CDIO Syllabus is rather well aligned with the UNESCO framework, however several opportunities (not to say needs) for strengthening the Syllabus in relation to the key competencies are identified. The UNESCO key competencies are found to be useful instruments for scrutinizing and updating the CDIO Syllabus. Other opportunities for knowledge and methods transfer between the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) domain and the Engineering Education domain are identified. The paper is proposed to be used as basis for updating the CDIO Syllabus into a version 3.0 for maintaining its relevance in a changing world.

key competencies

sustainable development

Standards 1-3, 5, 7-9


CDIO Syllabus


Anders Rosén

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Kristina Edström

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Audun Gröm

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Lena Gumaelius

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Peter Munkebo Hussman

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Anna-Karin Högfeldt

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Meeri Karvinen

Aalto University

Marko Keskinen

Aalto University

Maria Knutson Wedel

Undergrad and masters education

Ulrika Lundqvist

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Reidar Lyng

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Johan Malmqvist

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Product Development

Mads Nygaard

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Martin Vigild

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Thomas Fruergaard Astrup

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

The 15th International CDIO Conference
Aarhus, Denmark,

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories



Areas of Advance


Learning and teaching

Pedagogical work

More information

Latest update