GEDC Airbus Diversity Award

Applications will open in 2018

 2017 Shortlist | Past Recipients| Evaluation Criteria| Terms & Conditions

The BIRDS Satellite Project from the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan and represented by Taiwo Tejumola was selected as the 2017 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award Recipient. The Project trains graduate students from developing countries in using cost-effective innovative systems engineering to execute a comprehensive two-year satellite project, with the long-term goal of equipping them to commence a sustainable space programme in their respective home countries. The other two runners-up included the Discover Engineering Programme at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering in Canada and the Women in Engineering Programme at he University of New South Wales in Australia.

Representatives from the three finalist projects presented their initiatives to a jusry of industry experts and distinguished guests, as well as 200 international engineering education leaders gathered for the 2017 GEDC Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada. The three finalist projects were evaluated on the basis of the impact of their work, evidence of generating results and the possibility to be scaled-up. The winning project was awarded US$ 10,000, and the runners up US$ 1,500.

“One of the Award criteria is for projects with the potential to be successfully replicated in other institutions and countries. All three of our 2017 finalist projects have made a significant impact in increasing the diversity of students pursuing engineering studies, and my hope is that my fellow GEDC members will be inspired to initiate similar projects in their home institutions and in their countries,” said Peter Kilpatrick, McCloskey Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, USA, and Chairperson of the GEDC.

BIRDS Satellite Project represented by Taiwo Tejumola selected as the winning project for the 2017 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award in Niagara Falls, Canada

Speaking at the Award Ceremony, Taiwo said that "The BIRDS Project team at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan appreciates this recognition. Our collaborative programme provides a unique opportunity for young engineers to compete in today’s global market, teaching specialised waste-minimising systems engineering models, developing core skills and building a supportive peer network. The project also creates a sustainable pathway for participants to implement training initiatives in their home countries, further contributing to the diversification and globalisation of engineering skills”.

Now in its 5th edition, the Award was developed in partnership between the GEDC and Airbus, and this year was granted UNESCO patronage. It aims to shine a light on successful projects which have encouraged more people of all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering. Diversity has become an increasingly prominent metric for business success, with 69% of executives rating diversity and inclusion an important issue in 2017, up from 59% in 2014 (Deloitte, Human Capital Trends, 2017)

“Diversity is a cornerstone of our business and an indispensable component for our continued success,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, upcoming Executive Vice President (EVP) of Engineering Airbus Commercial Aircraft, member of Airbus’ Diversity and Inclusion Steering Board, and Patron of the Award. "Diversity is not just important; it’s part of Airbus’ DNA. We are committed to further encouraging and enabling all types of diversity to maintain a high level of innovation in our industry. Our partnership with the GEDC is one illustration of this commitment, as we work together to identify successful projects like the one that has just been awarded to develop our next generation of diverse global engineers.”

For the 2017 edition, 45 projects were submitted, from 18 countries and 39 institutions.

From left to right: Peter Kilpatrick (GEDC Chair 2015-2017 and McCloskey Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, USA), Marie Paule Roudil (Director of the UNESCO Liason Office in New York, USA), Jean-Brice Dumont (incoming Executive Vice President of Engineering Airbus Commerical Aircraft, France) and Taiwo Tejumola (Project Manager for the BIRDS Satellite Project at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan).


2017 Shortlist

2017 Recipient

BIRDS Satellite Project - JAPAN

Kyushu Institute of Technology

The BIRDS Satellite Project trains graduate students from developing countries in using cost-effective innovative systems engineering to execute a comprehensive two-year satellite project, with the long-term goal of equipping them to commence a sustainable space program in their respective home countries. The collaborative program provides a unique opportunity for young engineers to compete in today’s global market, teaching specialized waste-minimising systems engineering models, developing core skills and also building a supportive peer network. The project also creates a sustainable pathway for participants to implement training initiatives in their home countries, further contributing to the diversification and globalization of engineering skills.



Discover Engineering Programme at the Schulich School of Engineering - CANADA

University of Calgary

Discover Engineering is a teaching initiative used to introduce secondary level students to engineering. 25 trained student facilitators, primarily from underrepresented groups themselves, lead engineering career workshops for Grade 11 and 12 students. The program goal is to increase the diversity of future University of Calgary students; helping students to develop a deeper understanding of engineering, introducing them to the wide range of career paths, and demonstrating how engineers solve problems in society. Additionally, Discover Engineering serves as a teacher learning opportunity, so that educators can provide students with informed career advice and incorporate engineering topics into the classroom.

Discover Engineering Programme


WIE: Women in Engineering Programme - AUSTRALIA

University of New South Wales

The Women in Engineering (WIE) Programme aims to break down barriers and raise awareness of Engineering opportunities for women; improving recruitment and retention of female engineers through outreach, scholarships and opportunities at all academic levels, from school student to professional engineers. The program delivers a comprehensive range of workshops and activities targeted at changing the image of engineering among female students, parents, employers, and teachers. Also focussed at raising awareness amongst industry, and helping companies achieve their diversity goals and transformations. Alumni and industry partners are engaged as speakers, mentors and sponsors. The project’s mission is to address gender imbalance and create a strong community of support and guidance for engineering students at a national level.

Women in Engineering Programme at the University of New South Wales
The Donofrio Scholars Program - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Syracuse, University

The Donofrio Scholars Programme aims to improve the retention and graduation rates of women and minority groups in engineering and computer science by providing a cohort-based experience throughout their undergraduate studies and a paid internship at the end of their first year at college. A secondary goal of the project is to prepare students to achieve their goals of job placement or enrollment in graduate school upon completion of their degree, through mentorship and special access to career development schemes. The program incorporates best practice and research experience and motivates students by demonstrating the real-world applications of their coursework.


The Donofrio Scholars Programme at Syracuse University
eVOL9: Engineering Volunteers for Rising 9th Graders - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

eVOL9 aims to promote an awareness and understanding of engineering in rising 9th-grade students in Tennessee and surrounding areas. The project engages with pupils through a week-long residential experience, introducing the various fields and career opportunities within engineering through lectures and practical projects. Parents and teachers are also given coaching and support to develop a deep understanding of the academic, practical and financial considerations and the intricacies of the engineering college application process. A unique feature of eVOL9 is the curriculum, which intricately balances skill acquisition, design ingenuity, and projects depicting engineering in everyday life.

eVOL9: Engineering Volunteers for Rising 9th Graders 
JCP - Community-based Project Programme - SOUTH AFRICA

University of Pretoria

The JCP programme introduces engineering students to the concept of social responsibility, promoting an awareness of citizenship and application of key skills in a diverse society through community engagement initiatives. The compulsory programme requires the students to work with partner organizations in the various national and international communities for at least 40 hours, addressing specific needs, completing practical assignments and reflecting on their experience. JCP successfully coordinate and consolidate campus-community partnerships to ensure sustainability community service and already facilitated the learning and assessment of 18000 students who worked in 5000 diverse groups on a variety of projects.

JCP - Community-based Project Programme 
Passeport Ingénieur - FRANCE

Passeport Avenir

Passeport Ingénieur is an educational initiative which promotes equal access to scientific and engineering studies for young people from underprivileged backgrounds. Volunteers from the project’s network of partner organizations work closely with teachers and students at high school and diploma level. They aim to foster ambition, promote wider participation in engineering studies and raise awareness of alternative paths into higher education. Since its launch in 2015, Passeport Ingénieur has helped provide more than 7,300 students from all over France with key skills tutoring, targeted workshops and a network of professional and financial support.

Passeport Avenir 
SABES: STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

John Hopkins University and Baltimore City Public Schools

SABES aims to provide support for students aged 8-11 in under-resourced urban school districts in the USA that disproportionately enroll racial and ethnic minority students. This educational initiative promotes a wider uptake of technology and engineering studies through the implementation of instructional best practices and by pioneering new approaches, such as student-driven engineering projects. Working with schools and community-based organizations, the project engages students in the engineering design process via exploration and showcase events, increases awareness of STEM career opportunities and available support, and also coaches teachers whilst expanding their content knowledge. SABES has been supported by the US National Science Foundation.

SABES: STEM Schievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools 
Serving Underrepresented Students of an Indian Tribal Region - INDIA

R.C. Patel Institute of Technology

The R. C. Patel Institute of Technology, Shirpur has served tribal and girl students of the adjoining tribal belt through a long-term program. The program included initiatives such as creating awareness about engineering in K-12, bridge programs, assisting financially, and training in soft skills. The program also utilized research-based instructional strategies such as project-based learning and ability grouping. Further, the program facilitated employability in a global market and entrepreneurial careers. The program has resulted in an increase in the percentage of tribal and female student’s enrolment and their academic and professional performances, and will be followed by the second phase.

Serving Underrepresented Students of an Indian Tribal Region 
Texas A&M Engineering Academies - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M Engineering Academies facilitate unique and innovative co-enrolment partnerships with select two-year institutions across Texas. Their aim is to encourage wider participation in engineering degrees for underrepresented student minorities. Ultimately, the goal is to recruit, retain and graduate a more diverse student body, and to increase access and cost-effectiveness while transforming the educational experience. Campus engagement events embedded in the program help students develop an institutional and professional identity and adapt to the academic and social environment at the university. The project also works with remote students, providing ongoing academic and professional support and advice.

W.O.M.E.N. - Women's Outreach in Materials, Energy, and Nanobiotechnology - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Cornell University

The W.O.M.E.N. project is an outreach program introducing economically disadvantaged families from rural upstate New York to career pathways in science and engineering. Graduate students and professors work collaboratively with the target students and their parents in laboratory activities and information sessions. This hands-on experience encourages their interest in engineering studies and equips them with vital knowledge around career paths, college applications and key skills. The project’s goal is to widen participation in engineering studies, creating critical opportunities for women to experience and be inspired by engineering.

Women's Outreach in Materials, Energy and Nanobiotechnology 

Past Recipients

Yacob Astatke

2016 Recipient

Morgan State University

United States of America

Fadi Aloul

2015 Recipient

American University of Sharjah

United Arab Emirates

Marita Cheng

2014 Recipient



Ana Lazarin

2013 Recipient

Wichita State University

United States of America


Evaluation Criteria

The Award Committee will be looking for candidates who have made an impact in bringing diversity and inclusion to engineering education using available resources. Candidates must be able to demonstrate that their initiatives have generated, or are generating, results. Candidates are encouraged to submit ideas with the potential to be replicated elsewhere, or developed on a bigger scale.

We encourage potential candidates to review the application form to fully understand what the Award Committee is looking for. This includes:

  • Description of the initiative(s), including the origin, approach, implementation and stakeholder involvement.
  • Documented evidence of what was actually done.
  • Clear explanation of the candidate's/team's contribution to the initiative and role throughout the project.
  • Impact of the initiative, relative to the resources available to the candidate, with qualitative and quantitative examples of how the impact has been measured.
  • Transferability, including how the initiative(s) could be leveraged for greater scope or reach, or transferred for use in another environment
  • Evidence of the potential to continue and develop the work further.

Terms and Conditions

Click here to read the full Terms and Conditions for the GEDC Airbus Diversity Award (external link).

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