The Open UniversitySkip to content

Engineering for Development as Borderland Activity

Robbins, Peter; Wield, David and Wilson, Gordon (2020). Engineering for Development as Borderland Activity. Engineering Studies (Early Access).

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Accepted Manuscript)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download until 8 December 2020
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The paper aims to build understanding of the recent growth of interest in engineering for international development as an emerging focus of new knowledge, practice, and community development. In the paper, we create a borderlands approach to studying the activities referred to as engineering for development and development engineering. These activities take place in “borderland” spaces where new approaches are being tried out through creative engagement of networks and communities willing to integrate social as well as technical knowledge and practice. We analyze four cases, selected as exemplars of engineering for development, from a large data set of case studies to demonstrate the socio-economic impact of research. We found evidence of important and original engineering, which showed paradigmatic shifts in engineering knowledge and practice. There was ambivalence inside the engineering community about engineering quality, mixing pride in the building of new paradigms with modesty about whether new knowledge and practices were “real” engineering. These findings provide evidence that engineering aimed at global development offers an exciting new “borderlands” approach to engineering that warrants further study.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetThe Open University (OU)
Keywords: Engineering and development; borderlands; engineering knowledge; practices; communities
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Development
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: International Development & Inclusive Innovation
Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Institute for Innovation Generation in the Life Sciences (Innogen)
Item ID: 68392
Depositing User: David Wield
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2019 12:29
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2019 16:37
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU