National Academy of Engineering Introduces New Suite of Initiatives: Focus on People, Systems, and Culture


Tue, August 10, 2021

Washington D.C., August 10, 2021 —
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is launching a new programs portfolio as part of its 2021-26 Strategic Plan, set to release later this month. The new programs target interlinked objectives across the guiding themes of people, systems, and culture.

The new thrust primes NAE to amplify its work and impact in identifying and informing the frontiers of engineering theory, practice, and policy; increasing engineering talent through a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; instilling a culture of ethical and environmental responsibility in engineering; and improving capabilities and competencies for complex systems engineering.

“The new direction of NAE programs reflects the expanding influence of engineering in our society, and the need to expand public awareness of engineering’s contributions to society,” said NAE President John L. Anderson. “With this new portfolio, NAE will promulgate the value of an engineering mindset for business, government, and daily life in support of its core mission: advising the nation.”

“The fresh program focus will drive industry and global engagement to envision engineering practices that transcend technology,” said NAE Executive Officer Alton D. Romig, Jr. “The new initiatives will be devoted to fostering capabilities, competencies, and character in both educational and professional environments, and cultivating a more welcoming profession for a variety of aspirants and participants.”

The new program Practices for Engineering Education and Research (PEER) will conduct studies, workshops, and other activities focused on equitable and inclusive engineering education and related research at the precollege and higher education levels. This program will consider the entire educational system, contextual influences on that system, and how elements of the system affect each other. PEER will bring together researchers and practitioners in engineering education and publish analyses to guide change.

Cultural, Ethical, Social, and Environmental Responsibility in Engineering (CESER) will help expand the understanding of how cultural, ethical, social circumstances, and the natural and constructed environment affect the practice of engineering. It will promote consideration of these elements through its studies and workshops and engagement with engineers, educators, industry leaders, professional societies, government entities, and the public.

Inclusive, Diverse, and Equitable Engineering for All (IDEEA) will conduct outreach programs designed to encourage youth, their families, and the educational community to explore and engage with engineering. Opportunities will be designed to support equitable and inclusive involvement in engineering and, among other programs, will include EngineerGirl—an internationally recognized NAE outreach effort, now in its 20th year, that engages middle- and high-school girls in learning about the exciting opportunities of engineering and introducing them to inspiring role models.

The Forum on Complex Unifiable Systems (FOCUS) is a multistakeholder initiative to advance understanding of complex technical and social systems and to identify unifiable approaches to better manage them. The forum will explore both perennials and frontiers of complexity in health, security, democracy, urbanization, and infrastructure, research and education, the economy, transportation, the environment, modern work, and civic life. It will publish concise perspectives with ideas, insights, and topical commentaries to guide executive decision making.

NAE’s programs will continue to support collaborative activities, such as studies and workshops, with its sister academies of sciences and medicine, the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering, Chinese Academy of Engineering, and International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences.

“We hope to inspire an engineering identity and responsibility beyond individual work and purely technical interests,” said Guru Madhavan, senior director of NAE Programs. “These initiatives will build on NAE’s track record in shaping engineering for people, systems, and culture to also focus on the people, systems, and culture of engineering.”


Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the welfare and prosperity of the nation by providing independent advice on matters involving engineering and technology, and by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and public appreciation of engineering.

Brandon  Green
Contact Brandon Green
Communications/Media Specialist
National Academy of Engineering
Guru  Madhavan
Contact Guru Madhavan
Norman R. Augustine Senior Scholar, Senior Director of Programs, and Director, Forum on Complex Unifiable Systems (FOCUS)
@BioengineerGM , National Academy of Engineering