Symposium 3: Sustainable Global Wellbeing
18 - 20 September 2017, Oxford, UK

The third Royal Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering for Development symposium took place at the Oxford Union, Oxford University from 18-20 September 2017.

Participants gather outside the Oxford Union at the close of a successful third Frontiers of Engineering for Development symposium

Symposium Theme: Sustainable Global Wellbeing

The Event chairs

Professor Jennifer Whyte

Jennifer is the Laing O’Rourke / Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Systems Integration. Her research focuses on infrastructure projects, systems approaches to their design and delivery, and the digital transformation of infrastructure.

Based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London, she is Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.

She is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE); she was a Shimizu Visiting Professor at Stanford University in 2015; and she is co-curator of the World Economic Forum Engineering and Construction transformation map.

Professor David Clifton

David is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford, and a Governing Body fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He is a Research Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. His research focuses on the development of 'big data' machine learning for tracking the health of complex systems.

His previous research resulted in patented systems for jet-engine health monitoring, used with the engines of the Airbus A380, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Since 2008, he has translated his work into the biomedical context for healthcare applications. He has worked on the world's first FDA-approved multivariate patient monitoring system, and systems that are now used to monitor 20,000 patients each month in the NHS. 

Professor Clifton was recently awarded a Grand Challenge award from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which is a personal award that provides long-term strategic support for nine 'future leaders in healthcare'.

Symposium Sub-Themes

1. The Future of Global Health

Session co-chair, Louise Thwaites, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh City: Louise is a Clinical Research Fellow based at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Ho Chi Minh City where her research interests include improving management of critically ill patients in resource-restricted settings

Session co-chair, Maoyi Tian, The George Institute for Global Health, China: Maoyi’s main research areas focus on mHealth and healthcare technology for chronic disease prevention and management. He received his BEng from University of York and his MSc from University of Oxford. He graduated with his PhD of Biomedical Engineering from University of New South Wales in Australia


  • Walter Karlen, ETH Zurich
  • Million Mufata, University of Malawi
  • Ajay Vamadevan, Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC), India
  • Li-Qun Xu, Research Institute of China Mobile

2. Sustainable Cities and Infrastructure

Session co-chair, Ana Mijic, Imperial College London: Ana is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Water Management at Imperial College London. She has a first class degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Before commencing her MSc, Ana worked at the same University as a teaching assistant in Fluid Mechanics and Hydrometry. She obtained a masters degree with distinction in Hydrology for Environmental Management from Imperial College London in 2009 and a PhD in Earth Science and Engineering in 2013. Ana’s research interests are focused on systems modelling and full-scale experiments to develop water management strategies for sustainable development. She leads the IAHS Panta Rhei programme Working Group on Energy and Food Impacts on Water. She is also leading the Imperial College London initiative, with partners, to address the issue of groundwater infiltration into urban infrastructure

Session co-chair, Rodrigo Velasco, Universidad Piloto de Colombia: Rodrigo is an Architect and M.Eng in Computational Design. He has over 15 years of experience in the use of new technologies in sustainable construction. His professional career includes teaching and research work at various universities, and several international publications. Currently, in addition to his work a researcher at Universidad Piloto de Colombia he is director at Frontis3d.


  • Neil Carhart, University of Bristol
  • Priyanka Jamwal, Ashoka Trust (ATREE)
  • Tse-Hui Teh, University College London
  • Brittany Harris, Buro Happold

3. Innovation for Sustainable Development

Session co-chair, Jim Watson, UK Energy Research Centre: Jim is Director of the UK Energy Research Centre and a Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Sussex. He has 20 years’ research experience on climate change, energy and innovation policy. He is a member of the Global Challenges Research Fund strategic advisory group and the UK government’s fossil fuel price projections panel.

Session co-chair, Marialena Nikolopoulou, Kent School of Architecture: Marialena is an architectural engineer specialised in environmental design. She is Director of the Research Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment at the University of Kent. She has extensive experience in managing large collaborative research projects funded by different national and international funding bodies on sustainability, comfort in complex environments, energy in the urban environment and environmental quality. She is author of over 100 publications including co-author of the revised 2015 CIBSE Guide A, Chapter A1 “Environmental Criteria for Design” and Chair of Chapter A8 “Health Issues”.  Her work has received awards from diverse bodies (International Society of Biometeorology, Royal Institute of British Architects) 


  • Paolo Bombelli, University of Cambridge
  • Vanesa Castan Broto, University College London
  • Sukumar Natarjan, University of Bath

Event Materials

Attendee welcome pack and agenda (690.17 KB)

Collaboration materials - Linking up (111.21 KB)

Collaboration materials - Making connections (58.60 KB)

Participant and Chair biographies (892.46 KB)

Session abstracts (373.23 KB)

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