Please could you provide a brief history of your career to date?

I currently work as a Researcher in Climate Risk and Sustainable Finance at the University of Cambridge where I support the research team on investigating ways to mitigate climate change, biodiversity loss, and inequality through sustainable finance. I am also an Affiliated Researcher at UCL where I lead a project on the benefits of off-grid solar energy on local economic resilience in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Prior to my current research roles, I completed a MSc in Engineering for International Development at UCL. Alongside my studies, I worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Oxford, focusing on sustainable energy transitions in SSA. Before moving to the UK, I worked in Thailand as a Sustainable Energy Consultant at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where I supported the development of energy and climate change mitigation strategies across the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to this, I also worked as a Renewable Energy Consultant at Mott MacDonald, providing technical advisory services to financial institutions and designing utility-scale solar energy projects in the same region.

Please could you describe how you first got involved with Engineers Without Borders UK?

My passion for addressing socioeconomic challenges through engineering initially stems from volunteering for local climate organisations in Canada and getting involved with various university societies, in particular Engineers Without Borders McGill Chapter, as I was looking to complement my engineering studies. Moreover, I wanted to learn more about ways youth, especially young engineers, can directly drive positive change outside of the classroom. Collaborating with other students from diverse backgrounds who share the same passion for a more sustainable, resilient future had a profound impact on my career development and inspired me to apply my engineering skills in the development field.

What made you apply for the trustee role?

The role of globally responsible engineering is becoming more prominent than ever in addressing local and global challenges, and I want to directly support this movement and the growth of Engineers Without Borders UK community who are advocates for transforming the culture of engineering for the better. Throughout my career of working in projects intersecting engineering, climate change, and sustainable development, it has been essential to collaborate and build relationships with stakeholders from all levels and sectors in order to integrate their perspectives and create holistic solutions. I hope to bring these experiences to the organisation and together drive the mission forward.

What are you most excited about in your new role as a member-elected trustee? 

I am very excited to collaborate with all the members and discuss various ideas to enhance Engineers Without Borders UK so that we can collectively realise our mission! Personally, I am also looking forward to learning more about their leadership, experiences, and ways they embed global responsibility in their community.

What do you hope to see the organisation achieve during your time as a member-elected trustee? 

As the new 2021-2030 strategy provides a clear, comprehensive plan to effectively put global responsibility into the heart of engineering, I hope to see a significant increase in commitment from across the engineering community (companies, universities, professionals, and students) and as a result see more engineers creating solutions that are sustainable and equitable. I also would like to see an Engineers Without Borders Chapter in every university across the UK and have all engineering students participate in our design challenges at one point during their studies.

What is your vision for the engineering sector by 2030? 

Global challenges like climate change require engineering solutions that include perspectives and inputs from stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and all levels. My vision for the engineering sector by 2030 (hopefully much earlier) is for global responsibility to become a norm in engineering studies and practice and is at the core of decision-making processes so we can ensure a safe and just future for all.

Are you interested in becoming a trustee? Explore the current vacancies available on our board

Akaraseth Puranasamriddhi, a Researcher in Climate Risk and Sustainable Finance