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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Felipe Repetto, St Edmund’s College, 2014-2015

Felipe is a Chilean Civil Engineer graduated from Universidad Técnica Federica Santa María in Valparaíso, Chile.

He has worked on developing ports solutions and coastal infrastructure projects in Santiago. Simultaneously he has been involved with NGO’s supporting and fostering projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dissertation title: Present and future challenges of infrastructure projects in the coast of Chile. Supervised by Prof. Peter Guthrie.

Approved to be included in Proceedings Ports 2016, ASCE.

Student's report:

I undertook this specific MPhil to find a way to upgrade my engineering background with the engagement with community and environment I adhere within my work in NGO’s. One of the experiences that strengthened my resolve to learn about sustainable engineering practices occurred in February 2013, when I was immersed for one month in a Mozambican community involved in a social project. I was shocked to learn that due to massive coal projects being held in the Province of Tete, there were high rates of pollution, social discontent and a high possibility the communities would be displaced from ancestral lands.

Reading the MPhil showed me new and wider perspectives. It gave me tools to understand problems better and accepting complexity when providing infrastructure solutions to society. It was a great opportunity to network with very interesting people from many different cultures and to share with extraordinary classmates. Professors, fieldtrips, activities and projects plus college and town life are what make Cambridge unique.

Back in Chile I joined back PRDW Consulting Ports and Coastal Engineers. Many would think same job no change. However, every time there’s something related to sustainability I’m in, and that’s getting more and more common. Also, I’m working in a new consultancy service to embed sustainability at project definition stage.

Before leaving I taught some courses at university, and this term I’ll launch for the first time a course on Sustainable Development for students on their last undergraduate year.


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.