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Coffee Talk -"Bridging the gap between social sciences and civil engineering", by Irene Josa

Published: 05/06/2019

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019. Time: 15h.

Place: C1-110 Seminar Room, C1 Building UPC Campus Nord, Barcelona


Interdisciplinary research is fundamental. Expanding communication across fields and forming groups of diverse researchers might lead to new scientific fields which are capable of breaking knowledge barriers and therefore finding possible new and innovative solutions that otherwise would not be found. The formation of these interdisciplinary studies can paint more expanded pictures of the world around us.

However, until the present, engineering and social sciences have been set aside as separate scientific areas and research concerning the intersection between both of them has been really scarce. Decisions taken by engineers have, in very limited occasions, considered the participation or opinion of citizens, which are, actually, the ultimate users that would have to benefit from such decisions. The emergence of concepts such as socio-engineering indicates the growing relevance of connections between social and engineering/technological disciplines. Social studies of engineering have been showing the importance of understanding sociology when it comes to successful engineering. In the same way, technology and infrastructures are shaping the social world by enhancing connectivity (both physical and digital), comfort and mathematical methods such as sustainability or prioritization assessments.

Having said this, the main objective of the coffee talk is to try to is to see how engineers could fill this gap by addressing a reconceptualization of both social sciences and civil engineering from which a sociotechnical field will stem. This can help engineers to be able to make decisions critically, perceptively and more realistically.


Irene Josa holds a MSc in Civil Engineering from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and a MSc in Structural Engineering from Tongji University. She is currently a PhD candidate from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona). Besides, in order to better approach her research topic, she started a MSc in Human Rights (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).

Her doctoral studies focus on the analysis of infrastructures and civil engineering from a social perspective, with the main objective of being able to include systematically social aspects in the design of infrastructures. Additionally, the advances made in the understanding of the social side of civil engineering are intended to be used to improve the education of civil engineers. 

IMPORTANT NOTE! From March 2019 registration is mandatory. The access is open and free, but it is necessary to register before attending. Please, fill in the following form if you want to attend the seminar.

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