Welcome to the Academic Forum, a space for the academics who deliver both our Engineering for People Design Challenge and Efficiency for Access Design Challenge to communicate.

This platform is available to academics from across the world, including Bangladesh, Ireland, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, UK and the USA. Simply click on the word discuss above to access the forum.

What programmes do academics run?

Each university which is co-delivering our design challenges, provide an incredible opportunity to enhance the learning experience of their students. We hold a relationship with a minimum of one academic per participating university and provide training and guidance to up-skill academics and support their delivery to students. Academics provide feedback each year, helping to shape the programmes development.

For more guidance on how to run a design challenge find our Project Based Learning Guide here.


Engineering for People Design Challenge (2011-Present)

Each year, Engineers Without Borders South Africa, UK and USA work with an international partner organisation to produce a series of engineering briefs based on real world challenges faced by the local community. This year, the design brief is developed with Makers Valley, Johannesburg, South Africa.

We collaborate with 38 universities in Ireland, South Africa, the UK and the USA reaching over 7000 students. This competition is open to all undergraduate students up to their penultimate year, who will be developing incredible solutions they think will make a difference to people’s lives, livelihoods and have a positive impact on the environment Makers Valley.

Read the Engineering for People Design Challenge University Guide here.


Efficiency for Access Design Challenge (2019)

Launched in September 2019 Efficiency for Access Design Challenge is embedded within the curriculum and is open to students who are in the final year of their Bachelor or Masters degree. We have collaborated with universities in Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda and the UK this year to:

  • Raise awareness and inspire student engagement in the off-grid sector.
  • Forge strong relationships between universities, their students and industry.
  • Promote talent and innovation in the off-grid appliance sector globally.

With over 90 students, in 20 teams, across 9 universities and 3 continents, and 9 industry members all collaborating to in the off-grid appliance sector, we are incredibly excited to see what innovations are created!

Read the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge University Guide here.

Young man putting up a poster on a display board

Engineering for People Design Challenge

Embedded in the engineering curriculum of 6,500 first and second year students, this challenge allows students to investigate and respond to real-world problems at an early stage in their education. It ensures that the human and social impact of engineering forms a foundation to their learning and that they develop the skills they need to operate and innovate in the complex global workplace.

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Figure sitting in building

Efficiency for Access Design Challenge

A unique opportunity for more than 80 students in either the final year of their bachelor’s, or a master’s degree to be linked to industry to help accelerate global energy access. Starting in September 2019, university students from three continents are working to improve appliances that provide critical energy services such as refrigeration, cooling, and communications.

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Launching the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge

This challenge provides an opportunity for students to help accelerate global energy access. Students from Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda and the UK will be supported by nine off-grid industry partners through webinars, mentoring and feeding back on submissions.

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