The problem

A report published by the IET found that 93% of UK engineering companies with a sustainability strategy do not have staff with the skills to fulfil it. Simultaneously, the building and construction sector is responsible for 38% of global emissions. With the 2030 deadline for meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals looming time is running out to upskill those who can enact positive change.


If you are participating in the Engineering for People Design Challenge, sign in here.

Sign in

A solution 

The Engineering for People Design Challenge takes a project learning approach to support students in understanding their impact as engineers on both people and the planet.

To do so effectively, we work in collaboration with a community partner to produce a real-world design brief that is shaped by insights and reflections through interviews with the local community. Previous partners have included Makers Valley in South Africa, EcoSwell in Peru, Centre for Appropriate Technology in Australia and Govan Community Project in Scotland.

Inspired by the EWB Challenge run by Engineers Without Borders Australia, the Engineering for People Design Challenge is run in partnership by Engineers Without Borders South Africa and Engineers Without Borders UK. Since starting in 2011, the programme has reached over 60,000 students across Cameroon, Ireland, South Africa, the UK and the USA.

“The Engineering for People Design Challenge provides students with a taste of what it is like to be an engineer, requiring them to make links between the core engineering theory that they have studied and the context in which they will be working.”

Alasdair Coates, Chief Executive, Engineering Council

With thanks to our partners

Part of the curriculum

We work with educators to run the Engineering for People Design Challenge as part of the curriculum for first and second year undergraduates, making it a mandatory part of the degree course.

In the UK, the initiative contributes to the Engineering Council Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (i.e. AHEP4) by requiring multidisciplinary teams of students to demonstrate an understanding of the design process and broaden their awareness of the economic, legal, social, ethical and environmental implications of engineering alongside technical skills.

The competition

The highest scoring student teams from each participating university are entered into the nationwide Grand Finals. During the event, industry and community judges score the students on their consideration of the social, ethical, environmental and economic impacts of their design for prizes.

Want to learn more?

If you are an educator, student or a potential partner we would love to give you more information on this impactful programme.

Download the promotion pack and get in touch at [email protected].


We are stronger together. Through strategic partnerships with organisations that share a commitment to ensuring a safe and just future for all, we can drive lasting and effective change. 

Read more

Awarding UK and Ireland student solutions

On Friday 17 June, we concluded the 2021/22 UK and Ireland Engineering for People Design Challenge at PEARL, UCL in Dagenham. Find out who walked away with this year’s awards and learn more about the winning designs.

Read more

Crucial, not soft skills

With research indicating a major skills gap in engineering, Dr Jonathan Truslove investigates how we can ensure current and future workforces are equipped with the crucial skills required to meet global challenges.

Read more