Engineering’s role in international development and disaster relief celebrated in top 200 influential projects that shaped the world

Engineers without Borders (EWB) UK and the RedR UK have been announced as two of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) top 200 influential people and projects, past and present, which illustrate how civil engineering has shaped the world and transformed people’s lives for the better.

RedR UK was founded in 1980 by civil engineer Peter Guthrie, following his own volunteer experience where he was the only engineer helping to provide water, sanitation and shelter in a camp for 40,000 Vietnamese refugees. 1,800 RedR UK members in 88 countries now work with the UN and aid organisations in times of crisis, including helping coordinate humanitarian action in Mosul, Iraq, and setting up water, hygiene and sanitation programmes for refugees escaping from South Sudan.

Founded in 2001, EWB UK has sent volunteers to work with communities across Africa, Asia and South America on everything from clean water and sanitation to renewable energy and public building projects. For example, EWB engineers have helped install small household wind turbines to generate electricity in off-grid communities in Playa Blanca, a fishing village in northern Peru.

To mark the ICE's 200th anniversary, and to support Government's Year of Engineering, the Institution is highlighting 200 inspirational and world-changing projects from around the world. Nominated by the ICE's members and selected by an expert panel, the chosen projects illustrate the breadth and depth of civil engineering's impact. A select number of the 200 projects are being unveiled each month, revealing the full list by the end of 2018. February's projects also include the Channel Tunnel, Coventry Cathedral and the Severn Crossings.

Nathan Baker, Engineering Knowledge Director at ICE, said:

"Our research has shown that the majority of both adults and young people don't know what a civil engineer does and most can't identify a single UK civil engineering project. The truth is that civil engineering directly transforms people's lives and EWB UK and RedR demonstrate just how vital that work can be.

"With the world facing unprecedented challenges, such as climate change and the pressures from a rapidly growing population, there has never been a greater need for civil engineers. By celebrating projects such as EWB UK and RedR UK as part of 200 People and Projects, we hope to inspire the next generation to join the profession and make a difference."

Martin McCann, Chief Executive of RedR UK, said:

"RedR UK is proud of its longstanding relationship with the Institute of Civil Engineers and is honoured to be named as one of the top 200 influential projects as part of ICE's 200th Anniversary. RedR UK was founded by an engineer in 1980 and engineers remain at the heart of what we do. Engineering skills and approaches are at the centre of our training, and engineers provide essential funds and expertise to our activities. We know that engineers do more than just rebuild houses after a disaster. Disaster preparedness and disaster response are complex and challenging environments but from the delivery of the most basic needs to the highest posts, it is civil engineers and their clarity of thought and commitment to excellence that makes a difference."

EWB UK and RedR UK join the 200 projects which will be published throughout the year on the What Is Civil Engineering? pages of the ICE website. What is Civil Engineering? will not only host these projects but can also be used as a career guidance tool for those hoping to pursue a career in civil engineering. Once inspired by the projects being produced each month, there is comprehensive advice and guidance on how to become a civil engineer no matter what level of education someone has, or what stage in their career they have reached.

This platform has been designed to help promote the career of civil engineering after it was revealed that only 45% of adults know what the career entails and only 35% of young people could tell you what a civil engineer does.