Abstract: This chapter will look at the relationship existing between the changes in the engineer’s role and the economic and social changes in society at large. Our investigation will be based on survey data at the European level, and will seek to answer a major question: who is the modern engineer and how does he deal with social issues.
After a brief historical overview, the main causes for what is sometimes called “engineering decline” will be analyzed: nowadays many aspects of this profession appear to have changed and engineering, having lost its former social role, seems to be less interesting and appealing to young people. Special emphasis will be put on the connection of this phenomenon with the more general crisis of scientific vocations.
Finally, a proposal to solve this problem will be considered.