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'Worldwide institution' plans abandoned

ICE news

ICE COUNCIL finally learnt last week that plans to create a 'worldwide institution of civil engineers' in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) have been abandoned.

The plan, revealed two years ago by then chief executive Mike Casebourne, aimed to give the ICE and ASCE's 200,000 members instant access to a range of information via the internet, a facility that it was hoped would attract half a million practising civil engineers worldwide (NCE 28 September 2000).

The aim was to enable members of the partnership to work easily anywhere around the globe, using a new international 'gold standard' qualification to gain international professional mobility.

Both parties invested around £500,000 to make the partnership happen, but fundamental differences between the institutions - the ICE has powers to accredit engineers whereas the ASCE does not - have proved insurmountable.

'It is true that the excitement generated then does not exist today, ' ICE vice president international Doug Oakervee told Council. 'They [the ASCE] had the idea of a gold standard worldwide accreditation scheme, but we already have a gold standard in MICE. This was a hiccup in their thinking.

'We continue to make progress, but we have a long way to go to find detailed ways in which we can work together, ' said Oakervee.

The ICE is instead focusing its international efforts in China and Russia, where membership continues to grow. There are now over 350 members of all grades in Russia, with a further 15 professional reviews carried out in Moscow last month.

Egypt is also identified as a growth area, and an ICE office will be opened in Cairo this month.

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