On January 14th 2020, City's School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering (SMCSE) hosted its first National Symposium on Developing Socially Responsible STEM Professionals.
The event provided a platform for a broad variety of academics, government leaders and industry professionals to discuss the role of ethical behaviour in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) on society and the environment, especially given the critical importance of training the next generation of STEM professionals to be more socially responsible.
SMCSE has published a Symposium report (July 2020) which covers the many topics and issues treated during the event, such as professionalism and 'giving back'; sustainability; evidence of social responsibility; smart cities and trust building; social responsibility and social value.
SMCSE Dean, Professor Rajkumar Roy, who proposed the idea of the symposium and envisages City being a leader in this field, said the challenges identified in the report are also relevant to the coronavirus pandemic:
"We need more socially responsible STEM professionals and we need to develop tools that engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians can more holistically use to evaluate their decisions, using a measure of social value. This report intends to show several different applications and perspectives regarding the development of socially responsible professionals in STEM. The keynote speakers, panels of experts and participants were drawn from industry, academia, government and professional institutions. The challenges identified are most relevant during this COVID-19 period. I believe that a more ethical STEM market will make the UK a more attractive country in which to work and operate."
Importantly, the report issues the following calls to action:
- Set up a National Engineering Policy Centre to improve the communication between the engineering community and policy makers;
- Establish the need and the will to get social responsibility into course curricula;
- Set down Data Ethics standards for engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists;
- Assign leaders to drive the Socially Responsible Professional and Ethics agenda
Next year's National Symposium on Developing Socially Responsible STEM Professionals will be held on January 12th 2021 at City, University of London.