NEW YORK — The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI), the German Association of Engineers, announced a collaborative sustainability research effort focused on applying new technologies to combat climate change in a project called “Decarbonization through Digitalization.”

Together, the pair will investigate approaches engineers can take to mitigate climate change in both the German/European and U.S. contexts. The research will center on fossil fuel dependency, both in terms of the various geopolitical drivers that affect the issue, and the role major corporations play in actively addressing the problem.

Launching in August, the six-month project will involve four graduate-level or early-career professionals — two American and two German — to serve as Fellows. Over six months, the Fellows will conduct collaborative research, work with mentors from the ASME and VDI networks, and join a global network of more than 200 past and current ASME Engineering for Change (E4C) Fellows, learning cross-cultural skills and interdisciplinary approaches while building their professional networks.

At the conclusion of the Fellowship in early 2023, Decarbonization through Digitalization research results will be published on the Engineering for Change platform and disseminated jointly by ASME and VDI. In addition, progress reports will be published in real time.

The ASME-VDI collaboration is an extension of ASME’s existing E4C Fellowship program. Since launching in 2014, ASME has awarded more than 200 E4C Fellowships to early-career engineers from more than 40 countries. Half of all E4C Fellows are women, who are significantly underrepresented in the engineering community. The annual E4C Fellowship cohort includes more than 50 graduate-level engineering students and early career engineers who pursue a wide array of impact projects, all of which address one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The E4C Fellowship commences in November 2022 and concludes in April 2023 with publication of their research findings.

“Harnessing next generation engineering talent to address critical climate change challenges is one of the ways ASME fulfills its mission to advance engineering for the benefit of humanity,” said Tom Costabile, P.E., executive director/CEO of ASME. “Working together with VDI reflects the international nature of the challenge and unites leading engineering professional societies in a concerted effort to help decarbonize the atmosphere through digital technologies.”

Ralph Appel, managing director, VDI, said: “The global challenges we are facing require international cooperation. Collaborating with ASME gives VDI the opportunity to especially support our students and young professionals in their competence development as well as their intercultural and networking capabilities. The skills honed through these Fellowships will also better equip them to help successfully implement decarbonization efforts in the future.” 

The E4C Fellowship is one of more than a dozen philanthropic programs supported by the ASME Foundation, which funds initiatives aimed at empowering next generation engineers by increasing equitable access to the engineering profession and helping to build a more sustainable future. For more information, visit or