Professor Annlizé Marnewick advocates for sustainability in engineering design and development

The professorial inauguration for Professor Annlizé Marnewick took place on Wednesday, 12 July 2023 at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Prof Marnewick, Head Of School: Postgraduate School of Engineering Management in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), addressed dignitaries including the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ, Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi and the Executive Dean of FEBE, Professor Daniel Mashao, and invited guests.

The topic of her address “A requirements engineering perspective on digitalisation and sustainability challenges” explored the responsibilities of engineers to ensure a sustainable future through the impact of technological advancements.

More research on sustainability in engineering

Her review highlights that integrating sustainability in requirements would require more work, resources and time upfront.

“As engineers, we are inspired to utilise the opportunities that technology and science afford us to address major societal challenges in a sustainable manner and not exceed or damage earth’s natural capacity. The technological systems and solutions developed by engineers transform how societies work, live and interact,” stated Prof Marnewick adding that in the development of products, systems or software, the requirements inform the design.

She continued: “As engineers, sustainability should be a critical concern when we approach the development of systems, software or products. However, research indicates that sustainability is not prioritised during the design phase.”

Prof Marnewick explained that in order to consider sustainability at all levels, from the strategic through to the operational, it is key to introduce it as a requirement upfront for early implementation consideration.

Technical industry experience and leadership

Prof Marnewick is a registered professional engineer, holds a BEng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a BSc honours in Applied Mathematics. She achieved her master’s in Engineering (cum laude) at the UJ, where she also obtained her doctorate in Engineering in 2013.

Her technical industry experience of more than 15 years allows her to lead the school and the postgraduate education of future engineers with depth and insight. She worked as a requirements engineer and business analyst in the architecture, design and implementation of several high-profile system and software engineering projects.

Only 9 years into an academic research career, Prof Marnewick has authored and co-authored no fewer than 50 conference papers and 35 journal articles, published in prestigious journals like IEEE Engineering Management and high-impact factor journals like the International Journal of Project Management.


[L-R]: Professor Daniel Mashao, Professor Annlizé Marnewick and Dr Mpoti Ralephata

Prof Marnewick’s commitment to student and professional development

The established academic, experienced engineer and project implementer states that she finds her meaning and purpose in the individual and professional development of students. Six doctorate and 146 master’s students have graduated under her guidance as postgraduate supervisor. She continues to take great pride in the important work of delivering engineering graduates who are ready and able to be the real-world business problem-solvers of tomorrow.

She concluded: “Design in the engineering and built environment influences more than half of the global climate-changing emissions. As engineering educators, the question cannot be: is sustainability important enough to integrate in every project or design when we facilitate learning for our students? Instead, it should be: how can it be integrated? We must report on what works and what we have learnt.

Organisations will only allocate resources if external drivers pressure this change.  But when we deliver graduates to society asking the right questions and integrating alternative views and sustainability thinking when they design, the change will start.”

A brief response by Professor Paul Mativenga from the University of Manchester and Distinguished visiting professor at UJ, followed the address.

Watch the inauguration here

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