Everything began in 1997 with a policy plan at the Technische Universiteit in Delft (Delft Technical University) to integrate sustainable development in their education. It was the start of a five-year programme at the TU Delft with the final high-point in 2002, when the very first ‘Engineering Education for Sustainable Development’ (EESD) conference was organised.
Other colleagues in Europe and across the globe started showing interest in this theme. The plan was conceived to organise a new, bi-annual EESD-conference: UPC Barcelona (Spain) was the hosting university in 2004, a consortium of education and research institutes travelled to Lyon and Saint-Etienne (France) in 2006, the TU Graz (Austria) collaborated with other universities and organisations to organise the conference in 2008 and it was the turn of Chalmers University in Gothenburg (Sweden) in 2010.
At that time it has been decided to organise a three to four-yearly conference on the European continent with an interim EESD-conference on a different continent. The University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) took the leading role for the EESD2013. In the spring of 2015, the University of British Columbia (Canada) hosted and organised the ‘Engineering Education for Sustainable Development’ conference (EESD2015).
Called by the initial organisers, the Institute for Sustainable Development organised EESD2016 (4-7 September 2016, Bruges, Belgium), in collaboration with local academic organisations and institutes.