11.07.2012 - Natural Sciences Sector

Connecting with the next generation of innovators at Farnborough International Airshow Futures Day

The Farnborough International Airshow is one of the largest, most diverse gatherings of the international aviation community. Dedicated to groups of young people aged 11 to 21 from schools, universities, and youth groups, its Futures Day will offer activities to 10,000 students that showcase global aerospace innovations and demonstrate how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects can have a direct impact on the world. In addition, the students will have the opportunity to discuss aviation careers with experts, such as pilots, engineers, NASA and ESA astronauts, industry leaders, and university representatives.

Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural, will participate in Futures Day and take part in the expert panel entitled “Innovating for a sustainable future – the sky’s the limit?” on 13 July 2012. The expert panel, hosted by Airbus, will discuss:

  • the importance of innovation including sustainable development,
  • the need to inspire, attract, invest in, nurture and retain the right talent,
  • how business and academia can work together to better equip students for tomorrow’s world, and
  • the exciting opportunities for the next generation of talent in shaping a more sustainable future.

Ms. Kalonji will be joined by Gregor Dirks, Chief Innovator of Airbus Innovation Cell, Jem Stansfield, Inventor and Television Presenter, and the session will be moderated by Dan Thisdell, Business Editor for Flight International.

The panellists will speak to 200 international students, who are interested in the future of sustainable aviation and want to know more about how they can make a difference. All invited students have indicated an interest in the Airbus Fly Your Ideas global student challenge, a competition where students develop new ideas for a more sustainable aviation industry. This year, student proposals must address energy, efficiency, affordable growth, traffic growth, passenger experience, or community friendliness concerns in the aviation industry.

In May 2012, UNESCO granted patronage to the Airbus Fly Your Ideas challenge, part of the Future by Airbus programme with a vision of sustainable air travel in 2050. In this new relationship, UNESCO and Airbus are committed to working together to make connections between industry and academia that promote the importance of engineering for sustainable development, encourage young people to pursue careers in STEM disciplines, and cultivate innovative solutions as a result of international, multidisciplinary teamwork.




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