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About Us

The Engineering for Human Rights Initiative (EHRI) is a collaborative venture between UConn’s School of Engineering (SoE) and the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute (HRI) that addresses human rights implications of the most significant challenges in engineering and technology.

Engineering for Human Rights is defined as a paradigm that draws on a universal set of principles to shape ethical obligations and the norms of the engineering profession to mitigate risk, enhance access to the benefits of technology, and redress harms resulting from engineered products or processes, based on five fundamental principles of Distributive justice, Participation, Consideration of duty-bearers, Accountability, and Indivisibility of rights (Chacon-Hurtado et al. 2023).

The Initiative involves 60+ faculty affiliates across departments within the SoE and in UConn’s School of Medicine, School of Social Work, Law School, School of Business, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and College of Agriculture, Health & Natural Resources. Globally recognized for our efforts at mainstreaming human rights into engineering education and research, we train undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and industry partners through courses and research collaboration with UConn colleagues and international partners. 

The EHRI has six key research areas: 1) Water, Health & Food Security; 2) Product Design, Manufacturing, and Supply Chain Management; 3) Community Planning, Resilience, and Justice for a Changing Environment; 4) Engineering Education and Accessibility Rights; 5) Engineering Substances and Process Sustainability; and 6) Cybersecurity, Privacy and Human Vulnerability.

Research Clusters


Upcoming Events


Read about Past ENG-HR Events

Bringing Politics into Engineering Education

Bringing Politics into Engineering Education

October 17, 2023 | 12:00pm - 1:30pm | Dodd Center 162

Led by Desen Özkan, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Organized by the Engineering for Human Rights Initiative.

While engineering has been taught to depict engineering methods as neutral and objective, there is little evidence that engineering exists outside the political sphere. The curriculum is an opportunity to instill sociotechnical ways of thinking such that students can bring their whole selves into the field. Sociotechnical engineering education refers to an engineering paradigm that values the social, political, and economic considerations just as much as the technical (Cech, 2013).

In this talk, Dr Özkan will describe a qualitative research project that examines the experiences of minoritized engineering students enrolled in a sociotechnical curricular revision. She will then describe an engineering project that emphasizes the social, economic, and political contexts into a case of engineering decision-making for an offshore wind project in Connecticut. Ultimately, political engagement in engineering is not new and reflects the changing sociopolitical landscape (Wisnioski, 2012). By depicting the curriculum as sociotechnical, engineering educators can adapt to the changing climate in ways that attract and inspire people who historically have been excluded from engineering. 

Register to attend: https://events.uconn.edu/human-rights-institute/event/52905-bringing-politics-into-engineering-education

The Sustainable Clean Energy Summit: Decarbonizing Society and the Grid

The Sustainable Clean Energy Summit: Decarbonizing Society and the Grid

October 4, 2023 | 9:00am - 4:00pm | Student Union

Organized by University of Connecticut and Eversource Energy Center.

The summit will bring together academic, utility, industry, municipal and legislative experts to discuss the shifting energy landscape and will feature final presentations from six student-led research teams as part of the Eversource-sponsored Clean Energy and Sustainability Innovation Program (CESIP). See more information from the School of Engineering here.

Register to attend: https://uconnuecs.cventevents.com/event/ee786f33-aa19-417b-8acc-ca343d95c2fd/summary


“We, the Data” Book Talk with Author Wendy Wong

"We, the Data" Book Talk with Author Wendy Wong

October 3, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm | Dodd Center 162 (with Zoom modality)

Led by Wendy Wong (University of British Columbia), author of We, the Data: Human Rights in the Digital Age. Organized by the Economic & Social Rights Group (ESRG) with Co-sponsors: HRI Data Hub; UConn Business & Human Rights Initiative; Engineering for Human Rights Initiative; UConn Law; Dept of Computer Science & Engineering.

A rallying call for extending human rights beyond our physical selves—and why we need to reboot rights in our data-intensive world. Our data-intensive world is here to stay, but does that come at the cost of our humanity in terms of autonomy, community, dignity, and equality? In We, the Data, Wendy H. Wong argues that we cannot allow that to happen. Exploring the pervasiveness of data collection and tracking, Wong reminds us that we are all stakeholders in this digital world, who are currently being left out of the most pressing conversations around technology, ethics, and policy. This book clarifies the nature of datafication and calls for an extension of human rights to recognize how data complicate what it means to safeguard and encourage human potential.

Register to attend: https://events.uconn.edu/human-rights-institute/event/51822-we-the-data-a-book-discussion-with-author-wendy

Contact Us

UConn School of Engineering and the UConn Human Rights Institute. Learn more about how we are making human rights an integral component of effective engineering practice. For more information, please contact us.

Davis Chacon Hurtado, Ph.D.


Assistant Research Professor for Civil and Environmental Engineering and Human Rights Institute

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
405 Babbidge Road, U-1205
Storrs, CT 06269

E-mail: davis.chacon-hurtado@uconn.edu
Fax: (860) 486-6332

Shareen Hertel, Ph.D.

Professor for Political Science & Human Rights

Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut
365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1024
Storrs, CT 06269-1024

E-mail: shareen.hertel@uconn.edu
Tel: (860) 486-4129  Fax: (860) 486-3347

Michael Rubin, Ph.D.

hr-Rubin_Michael_pic jpg

Assistant Research Professor for Human Rights Institute

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
405 Babbidge Road, U-1205
Storrs, CT 06269

E-mail: michael.a.rubin@uconn.edu
Fax: (860) 486-6332