Welcome to the Academic Forum!

This platform is available to academics from across the world who deliver design challenges in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Ireland, Kenya, Nepal, South Africa, Uganda, UK and the USA.

To access the discussion platform simply click on the word discuss above.

By co-delivering our Design Challenges you are providing an incredible opportunity to enhance the learning experience of your students. To support that delivery, we hold a relationship with a minimum of one academic per participating university and provide training and guidance to up-skill.

Academic Events

As part of our academic community, you are invited to join us at our community leaders training events which are hosted bi-annually.

In April we host our Inspiring Community Leaders event series intended to engage, inspire and influence Chapter committee members and the academics who run our Design Challenges. This event provides space to celebrate your achievements from the last academic year as well as feedback, reflect, and plan for a purpose-driven year ahead.

In August we host our Building Community Leaders event series which is intended to prepare you for the year ahead, learning more about the Engineers Without Borders UK movement and by preparing for the Design Challenges you will deliver. You will also have an opportunity to meet members from our wider community where you can share ideas and learn from one another, building strong collaborative networks.

Specific details of these events will be provided nearer to the time.

A project-based learning approach

The design challenges that we co-deliver follow a Project-Based Learning pedagogy. Whether delivered online or in person, this method provides engineering students a safe place to gain a deep understanding of their impact, in addition to practicing fundamental skills that are essential to the profession.

For more guidance on how to run a design challenge as well as exercises designed to fit each stage of the design process find our Project Based Learning Guide here.


The Engineering for People Design Challenge is delivered in partnership between Engineers Without Borders South Africa, Engineers Without Borders UK, and Engineers Without Borders USA. This international Design Challenge educates students on the environmental, social and economic impact of their design ideas.

This year Engineers Without Borders South Africa, UK and the USA partnered with EcoSwell to develop the design brief remotely, which is set in Lobitos and the neighbouring town of Piedritas in Peru.

The Design Challenge is embedded within the first or second year of an undergraduate engineering degree and culminates at the Grand Finals at the end of the academic year. In total we have 45 universities partaking, reaching over 8,500 students globally.

Useful resources

We have developed a set of leaflets to aid you in explaining the Design Challenge to both staff and students:

To help communicate what is involved in the Engineering for People Design Challenge to your supporting team we have created an introductory video for staff.

To sign-in to the online resources, first, your university must be registered to participate. Once registered, staff and students must use their university email address i.e. [email protected] to sign in at engineering-for-people.org. We have provided a step-by-step guide to signing in which you may wish to share with your students.

Read the Engineering for People Design Challenge University Guide for further guidance on support on offer and learning outcomes for students.


Guidance and information on student submission can be found here.

The national student submission portals at the bottom of the student submission page are password protected to ensure that only the teams who have been selected by their academic can submit.

Password: Engineeringforpeople

Please only share this password with the teams that are eligible for submission to the reviewer stage.


Launched in September 2019 through a partnership of Engineers Without Borders UK and the Efficiency for Access Coalition, the 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 during a Masters degree. We have collaborated with universities in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nepal, 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 200 students, across 20 universities and 3 continents, and 19 industry members all collaborating together 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.

Reading List

We have pulled together a reading list to inspire you while delivering our Design Challenges.

Access reading list

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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Efficiency for Access Design Challenge

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge is a global, multi-disciplinary competition that empowers teams of university students to help accelerate clean energy access.

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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.

Read more