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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Meena previously studied for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Queen Mary’s University of London. Before joining the course, she spent four years working in London for AECOM (previously URS corporation), as a building services engineer. Her role involved working on building retrofit design, asset management and building services engineering across residential, commercial, and public sector developments in the UK. During this time, her interest in sustainable development increased. She joined the 2018 cohort as part of a sabbatical from her career.  



Dissertation title: Socio-economic Analysis of Urban Sprawl Patterns and Air Pollution at the Urban Fringe in Developing Megacities: An Urban Ecosystems Valuation Analysis, with a Case Study of Delhi

Student's report:

Why did you do the ESD MPhil?

During my time in the construction industry, I was exposed to many unsustainable practices, including the impacts of high urban density and how fossil fuel-based energy systems continued to be at the forefront of design. With the increasing shift in climate urgency, the demand for renewable energy and sustainable solutions was increasing. This led to my strong desire to be a part of making a positive impact on the work I was delivering. To achieve this, I realised I needed to gain more knowledge in the sustainability sector on a broader scale. I longed to better understand how both top-down influences together with bottom-up approaches can strategically contribute toward sustainable development holistically, in the wider context of policy and planning. I came across this course through researching various postgraduate courses and institutions. I felt that this course best supported my ambitions, whilst already having a few years in industry. In addition, I attended the open day and had a chance to meet the core teaching staff, which overall greatly encouraged me to apply.

How did it help you?

The course equipped me with key skills to critically approach engineering problems holistically to deliver sustainable solutions, this was via the core principles of systems thinking. In addition, I gained a greater insight into the methods of building sustainable ecosystems which can thrive to support nature, the economy, and society. I further gained a better grasp of how policies are coordinated and implemented and what makes them effective for delivering positive change.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the course was being able to hear from a range of industry experts and having such a diverse cohort which built a great sense of camaraderie. It was also wonderful to have the opportunity to work on a consultancy-led project helping to support their ambitions and gain essential experience towards strengthening our careers within the sustainability sector.

What are you doing now?

After the course, I returned to my previous employment at AECOM in London where I began working more heavily on low-carbon solutions across buildings and city planning. I thereafter continued in my current position at ICF consultancy, a management consultancy firm which works at the interface between technology, sustainability, and policy. In my current role it has been a privilege to lead on supporting the delivery management of a range of UK and EU Government policy initiatives on behalf of BEIS, FCDO and EU DG Reform cutting across international development, energy efficiency, nature-based solutions, circular economy, and decarbonisation.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.