Every other week, we follow a student from one of our Interdisciplinary Thesis Labs. This week: Antony Joseph Valiaveetil, master student Management of Technology at TU Delft from our Circular Aviation Lab organised together with NLR.
As part of this lab, I am involved in the improvement of Aerospace Engineering education to make young engineers more aware of the environmental impact of their work and design.
I am Antony Joseph Valiaveetil, a 2nd year student pursuing a Master’s degree in Management of Technology (MoT) from the Delft University of Technology. I have a background in Aerospace Engineering and almost three years of work experience prior to setting out on this incredible journey to engineer for the planet. I am currently working on my thesis as part of the Circular Aviation lab which is a subset of the Interdisciplinary Thesis Labs, powered by the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) Centre for Sustainability. As part of this lab, I am involved in the improvement of Aerospace Engineering education to make young engineers more aware of the environmental impact of their work and design. In a very crude way, I am trying to influence a sustainable/circular mindset in BSc aerospace engineers before they are subject to the critical requirements of the aerospace/aviation industry.
My research involves the adaptation of aerospace education so that I can identify the various obstacles which prevent the industry from thinking of the environmental footprint aspect in their work. Hence, in essence, I am carrying out an Action Research on 1st year bachelor students who undertake a design course under the guidance of Prof. Michiel Schuurman, my supervisor. The topic is as follows: ‘What obstacles exist within the aerospace engineering technical mindset that prevent the implementation of more sustainable or circular practices? How could the education of engineers be developed’. As the topic stitches aerospace, education and social sciences (interdisciplinary), I was motivated to be a part of it. My primary supervisor, Prof. Robert Verburg, keeps me driven to generalize my research findings so that all technical faculties of the TU Delft can benefit from my work.
The previous session of our lab was an in-depth lecture given by Professor Steven Truxal who is Professor of Air and Space Law at Leiden University. It involved the various intricacies associated with regulation and policy of sustainability in aviation. This session inspired me to look at incentivising novel technologies (like patents) by ensuring that they have aspects which address the environment if they should be granted. While this is just a fleeting thought, I envision such changes to live up to the aviation industry’s climate pledges and to keep sight of 1.5 degree pathways by 2050.