Contextualising capabilities for public safety in undergraduate sustainability engineering education

Orana Sandri, Sarah Holdsworth, Sarah Maslen, Jan Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainability in university curricula remains important for equipping graduates from all disciplines with capabilities to respond to complex social, economic, and environmental challenges in their future professional roles. Situating sustainability learning within disciplinary contexts is needed for learners to apply sustainability theory to their future professions. Furthermore, developing capabilities is important to enable graduates to act in differing professional contexts. In response to these needs, this paper contextualises safety as part of sustainability in undergraduate engineering studies by exploring the complementarity between professional capabilities for safety in engineering and key capabilities found in sustainability education literature. The paper draws on findings from interviews with 41 pipeline engineers undertaken to build an understanding of differing views on engineering capabilities necessary for safety decision making. The results show synergies between safety and sustainability capabilities in the context of engineering practice and the opportunities to contextualise safety within sustainability in engineering education. From a safety perspective, given the expanding sustainable development agenda, there is an opportunity to increase education for public safety in engineering curricula within the scope of sustainability education and to shift learning from competencies to capabilities-based outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-472
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Issue number3
Early online date1 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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