Engineering for Humanity

From New York’s first subway and FM radio to DNA sequencing platforms, sophisticated climate modeling and advanced bioreactors, Columbia Engineering innovations have revolutionized industries and advanced society.

Today, Columbia Engineering continues to bring our engineering impact to the service of humanity, and we are dedicated to the pursuit of a greater vision of engineering that captures our unique commitment to research and learning to find solutions to global challenges. Columbia engineers are a force for the future, connecting disciplines and departments across the entire school to create a more sustainable, healthy, secure, connected and creative world.

The Five Types of Humanity

Sustainable

Preserving our planet while advancing the quality of life for people around the globe is one of the most urgent challenges facing society. New and interdisciplinary ways of thinking are required to accelerate essential breakthroughs, from mitigating and reversing climate change to providing water and energy for a rapidly expanding population.

Secure

From economies to power grids, complex systems underpin our global society. To enhance production and function, and to manage the inherent risks, we must better understand, model, design, predict, control and optimize the dynamics and behavior of such systems—both natural and human-engineered.

Healthy

The global life expectancy of our species has doubled since 1900. As health and wellness practices become more personalized, precise, interactive and holistic for both individual patients and entire populations, technical advances will be critical to optimize care and ensure medical resources for underserved communities.

Connected

Technology is enabling an exponential increase in connectivity, as well as an explosion of data into all spheres of life. Harnessing that potential to improve the human experience requires progress in many areas—including new algorithms for data security and verification and new methods to ensure transparency, ethics and equity.

Creative

Engineering is an essentially creative field, marked by an emphasis on immersion and exploration. What’s more, the tools and techniques we discover propel creativity and ingenuity in other fields. As we develop makerspaces and promote connections across backgrounds and disciplines, we create an environment where innovation flourishes.