Universities with highly demanding engineering programmes must intensify their internationalisation activities significantly if they want to keep pace with the ever increasing dynamics of economic globalisation and the growing complexity of challenging worldwide value-added chains.

This is the interim finding of the first comprehensive study on the future of engineering education, currently being compiled by eight renowned top international universities in the scope of the Global Engineering Excellence (GEE) initiative, instigated by Continental.

In November of last year, Continental started the Global Engineering Excellence initiative in close cooperation with top universities to study the perspectives and social position of engineers as well as their education and impact on the performance capabilities of economies, and to draw conclusions from these findings.

The results compiled to date indicate that increasing economic globalisation does require changes in engineering education.

The professors involved in the project uniformly concluded that, as a consequence, a tight intermeshing of the research and development departments is also essential in a global society in which value added chains and distribution channels are permanently expanding and changing.

"The trends in a globally networked economy must be reflected in the education concepts at universities," said Profesor Bernd Widdig from MIT in Massachusetts, calling for "close coordination and intensive cooperation between the engineering and science branches - at a worldwide level."

Prof. Reiner Anderl of the Technical University of Darmstadt, which is heading the study, summed it up by saying that "the goal can only be a globally-oriented engineering programme."

The research team feels that it is up to the universities themselves, the companies and, last but not least, those bodies in charge of educational policies to attain this goal. A call for action and recommendations are to be presented on 10 November at an international press conference in Frankfurt.