Starting this September, Telecom SudParis will be enhancing its training to fully incorporate ecological transition issues. The challenge is to train "cybersecurity," "video game" and "AI" engineers who are aware of the environmental implications of their innovations, and better respond to the urgent needs for environmental skills in the labor market.
Pollution generated by computer servers, the race for the latest cell phone model, the real and hypothetical dangers of 5 G – digital technology is often cited as a cause of environmental problems. Yet, with its immense potential for ecological transformation, it is actually part of the solution. According to several reports*, digital technology could reduce global CO2 emissions by 15 to 20% by 2030.
Responsible digital engineer: an innovative career to meet the challenges of climate change
Telecom SudParis trains hundreds of engineers specialized in digital technology every year, so it has a key role to play in building responsible digital technology. That's why, starting this September, the engineering school has decided to introduce 120 hours of training dedicated to sustainable development in its required first-year core curriculum, equivalent to 4 ECTS – the points system for recognizing degrees throughout the European Union – out of 60 required credits. Students who wish to go further may enroll in a special "Environment" program offered as an option.
Scientific tools behind the notion of ecological transition
A far cry from greenwashing, this new course has been developed with the entire educational team and reflects a commitment to empower students to contribute actively to environmental sustainability.
What is the purpose of studying networks within an environmental context? How can probabilities contribute to sustainable development? What are the rules for more frugal, less energy-intensive programming? Through serious games and visual approaches such as the climate fresco, students will address these questions from the beginning of their studies through two modules, "Climate and Energy" (60 hours) and "Responsibility, Ethics and Controversies Surrounding Transitions" (30 hours). In addition to this training, students will study responsible research (30 hours) throughout their first year.
"Our former curriculum already included a unit dedicated to the philosophical and sociological aspects of sustainable development. Now, we're expanding this approach by introducing modules on energy/climate issues," explains Emmanuel Monfrini, Deputy Director of Education.
Accelerating the environmental transition with the "Environment" course offered through the Integrate chair
The optional "Environment" program is based on high-level engineering training, specialized in digital technology, combining expertise in computer science, networks, data science, physics and images through an "environmental" approach. This ranges from ("smart") ecological optimization to changing individual practices. Hands-on projects and 9 to 10 months of internship experience will complete the two modules, "Digital Technology and Energy Consumption: Taking Action, from Processors to Software" and "Environmental Risk."
Ecological transition at the heart of the new curriculum
As Emmanuel Monfrini explains, "Students must be able to forge their own personal ethics in relation to environmental issues. That's why we've developed a charter for engineers, to build responsible digital technology, based on ten commitments, including abandoning digital technology if its negative impacts on the environment are too great."
Of course, industry and the labor market are also a central focus of Telecom SudParis' educational shift. "Today's students must be able to list environmental skills on their resumes."