The Engineering X Safer End of Engineered Life (SEEL) mission has appointed its first cohort of SEEL Champions, individuals in 11 different countries working in a range of industries, sectors and disciplines who are leading projects to improve the way we dismantle and dispose of engineered products and structures.
The Champions are all determined to effect change and help raise awareness of the need to plan for end of engineered life and prevent harm to human health and the environment by finding better ways to decommission and dispose of the world's vast diversity of human-made artefacts, which now exceeds our planet’s living biomass.
From assessing the environmental impact of the disposal of medical devices in a UK hospital to the problems of decommissioning coal-fired power stations in South Africa, and the global legal, environmental, security, and safety implications of digital data ‘eternity’, the Champions are tackling a wide range of urgent challenges.
Also addressed by some champions is the open burning of solid waste, identified by the SEEL mission in its 2021 Global Review on Safer End of Engineered Life as requiring urgent global action, which was discussed for the first time at COP26 and is now a topic on the agenda of the UN High Level Climate Champions.
The full list of SEEL Champions and the challenges they are addressing are:
Safer End of Engineered Life (SEEL) Champions will be part of a global network of experts, learning from each other, the wider SEEL programme and beyond. Through the programme, they will receive a tailored package of support including networking opportunities, communication and other resources.
Professor William Powrie FREng, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southampton and Chair of the Engineering X Safer End of Engineered Life programme, said: “Whenever anything is built, we need to think about how it will eventually be ‘unbuilt’ and disposed of, so that at the end of its engineered life it does not cause harm to human health or to the environment. We are identifying and connecting individuals and organisations who are already championing safety at the end of engineered life, bringing them together and providing the support they need to achieve a greater impact. The support needed will vary between individuals, topics and regions; hence we are adopting a flexible and adaptive approach.”
Dr Ruth Boumphrey, Director of Research at Lloyd’s Register Foundation and member of the SEEL programme board, said: “Often new products and structures are designed and manufactured with very little thought about what happens when these things are no longer useful—the ‘end of engineered life’. This is unsafe and unsustainable. The people who work at the end of engineered life are often overlooked and undervalued, and many work in unsafe conditions. Lloyd’s Register Foundation are proud to be supporting a diverse group of inspiring champions from around the world who are committed to shining a spotlight on these issues and improving safety across a wide range of sectors and geographies. It’s our privilege to support their work.”
More information about the champions and their projects can be found here.
1. Engineering X is an international collaboration, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, that brings together some of the world’s leading problem-solvers to address the great challenges of our age. Our global network of expert engineers, academics and business leaders is working to share best practice, explore new technologies, educate and train the next generation of engineers, build capacity, improve safety and deliver impact.
Engineering X Safer End of Engineered Life is a five-year programme that seeks to address the global challenge of improving safety related to decommissioning, dismantling and disposal of products and structures at the end of their life. Its objectives are:
2. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
3. Lloyd’s Register Foundation is an independent global charity with a unique structure and an important mission: engineering a safer world. We reduce risk and enhance the safety of the critical infrastructure that modern society relies upon in areas such as energy, transport, and food.
Our vision is to be known worldwide as a leading supporter of engineering-related research, training and education that makes a real difference in improving the safety of the critical infrastructure on which modern society relies. In support of this, we promote scientific excellence and act as a catalyst working with others to achieve maximum impact. We meet our aims by awarding grants, by direct activity, and through the societal benefit activities of our trading group, which shares our mission. Through our grant making we aim to connect science, safety and society by supporting research of the highest quality and promoting skills and education.
Media enquiries to: Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. +44 207 766 0745; email: Pippa.Cox@raeng.org.uk