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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Abdur Rahman, Wolfson College, 2013-14

Abdur Rahman did his MPhil from ESD in 2014. Rahman joined Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and Leadership for Enviornment  And Development (LEAD) Pakistan in December 2014 as the Associate Coordinator for Resilience Programme. His focus areas include Technology Policy and Management, Project Management and Micro-Economics, Policy and Governance, Development, Infrastructure and Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Environment and Climate Change. His thesis for MPhil was on Sustainable Agriculture and Food security covering climate change, water, energy and land axis. He also completed an MBA from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan and a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. He worked in Mobilink Pakistan from 2007 to 2013 and left as a Regional Team Lead to pursue further studies in the United Kingdom. Following his studies, he served as an intern in the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms (Pakistan). Throughout his academic and professional career, Abudr Rahman has volunteered for various causes in UET Volunteer Movement, Mobilink Volunteer Society and Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.

Dissertation title:

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Pakistan

Students report:

I got to know about this course in 2011 when I first applied for this course. It is worth mentioning here I got admitted to this course for three consecutive years but couldn’t join the course before 2013 for multiple reasons.  I was chasing this course as a lot of infrastructure was damaged by wide spread flood in Pakistan. The damage due to October 2005 earthquake still remains unattended. The world donors were helping people to reinstate that damaged infrastructures but I wanted to participate as an engineering manager who will help resolve such problems. I was fully convinced that sustainable development is vital to the society. It shapes our understanding of our social systems and responsibilities towards public welfare. The great attraction of a career in this subject lies in that it will allow me to play a part in the planning and the building of a future society of our country, which is not only richer, but better. Another reason for me to pursue advanced education abroad was to attain a fuller knowledge of the engineering policies and their specific principles and applications in the developed countries. They tell us what a country could experience in the process of industrialization, and give new meanings to the concepts of public interests and developments. I believe my contributions in developing the infrastructure will be critical and helpful.

My time in Cambridge and the ESD course changed my life significantly. From hard core engineering profession, I have moved to development sector and working with Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and Leadership for Environment And Development (LEAD) Pakistan. I am coordinating projects in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. I am regional focal person for gender, operations and private sector and developing CDKN’s strategy on them.

Apart from above mentioned activities, I have launched Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) at national level in Pakistan, India, Nepal and at Sub-National level in Lahore (Pakistan), Kolkata & Dehradhun (India). These launch events were well attended by senior government officials, IPCC authors from different countries and media representatives. The events were well covered by national media in respective countries and helped to start debate in these developing countries to learn from AR5 and integrate these learning in development projects. Furthermore, I have been involved in developing climate change policy for one of the provinces of Pakistan. I am developing first ever climate change web portal in the country which will provide database and a platform to debate on climate change issues. I also have been giving lectures and trainings to different government officials on Sustainable Development.

My further short term career goals include to get admitted in PhD in coming years and have couple of sustainable start-ups which will enable me to work independently in development sector.


Photo Credit: Adbur Rahman

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.