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Discover the impact of engineering through real-world sustainable development projects.

The EWB Challenge Series enables more than 10,000 students each year to build professional engineering competencies and contribute to social impact.

Centre for Appropriate Technology EWB Technology Challenge EWB Research Challenge

The EWB Challenge Series is delivered by Engineers Without Borders Australia in collaborations with our partner organisations across the world. Community-identified project briefs, supporting resources, and live stakeholder engagement opportunities present a clear pathway for students to develop future-fit professional skills and personal engineering vision. These flexible programs support the tertiary sector in the delivery of curriculum-integrated and career-relevant applications to theoretical study.

A scoped design brief, supporting resources, and a series of EWB engagement points structured to support first year professional skills development and innovation for sustainable development.

Live project briefs to enable the application of technical skills and development of a human-centred engineering approach, directly linked to EWB’s Community and Technology Development spaces.

A series of adaptable, impacted-oriented research briefs framed around the SDGs and EWB’s work. A supported program engaging individual students or whole courses to inform and influence research agendas and projects.

“"The EWB challenge as a whole has opened our eyes to humanitarian engineering and the positive impacts it can have on communities. We have been challenged to step outside of our own culture and create a design solution that would be viable in a different community to our own. From this experience, our team is now able to move forward to other projects recognising that engineering is more than just creating a design; it’s about utilising communities’ strengths, combined with engineering principles to provide a solution that will improve a person’s life in some small way."”

Charles Sturt University
EWB Challenge Showcase 2016 award winners

““The EWB Challenge offers a wide range of interesting real-life projects that stimulate enthusiasm in my students. The comprehensive resources provided by EWB support students’ understanding of clients’ needs and their design of human-centred solutions, while allowing me the time to scaffold student learning in the design process and associated professional practice. Introductory talks from visiting EWB staff and the Discussion Forum managed by people who have been on the ground with the communities inspire my students and make the Challenge real. Selection for the showcase in Melbourne provides a goal and is a tremendously exciting achievement for students.””

Elizabeth Yong
University of Adelaide

“"My passion for EWB stemmed from a desire to use engineering knowledge for social good. EWB demonstrates that it is possible to be both a humanitarian and an engineer. I'm also appreciative of the human-centred design process that EWB employs, as it focuses on the needs of the community that technology is being designed for, rather than what technical experts think is best for the community (which can be problematic)… In engineering you can get bogged down with the practicalities that come with studying a technical degree. But we have the ability to shape the world around us. My advice: don't lose sight of why you do what you do. Engineering is at its core, humanitarian, and about making the world a better place. Being empathetic, dropping our preconceptions and applying our skills for positive impact should be the norm!"”

Rumana Asif
Monash University Chapter, National Office Summer Volunteer 2018-19

“"Before learning about EWB I was not sure I wanted to continue studying engineering. After doing the EWB challenge and joining the UQ Chapter I quickly learnt that engineering was so much more than maths and a computer screen. I have been given amazing opportunities to develop not only as a future professional after learning about sustainability and the human aspects of the industry like community consultation but also as an individual by giving me the chance to take on leadership roles and connect with a strong network of like-minded individuals. Engineers Without Borders has had a profound impact on my life and I will proudly carry the values of the organisation throughout my future career."”

Chloe Lahiff
University of Queensland

““I picked up a lot of project management skills, such as managing different stakeholders in this project. I also learnt to be a lot more proactive, and the frequent meetings I had with them increased my confidence in articulating my thoughts. It also broadened my horizons in engineering education, and led to a better view of how engineers can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through non-technical skills.””

Wenqian Gan
University of Sydney, 2018 Research Program participant

Over 10 Years of Engineering Education

The EWB Challenge Series is embedded into the curriculum of universities across Australia and New Zealand. The EWB Australia team closely collaborates with university academics as well as course tutors, faculty, and students, to ensure education offerings are valuable, exciting, and readily adapted to suit a variety of course structures. EWB Australia engages with universities through strategic university partnerships, university partnerships, and program delivery partnerships based on the depth and breadth of activities. 

At EWB Australia we know long-term community partnerships are vital for the development of equitable, sustainable, and scalable solutions to complex sustainable development challenges. The EWB Challenge Series strongly integrates and aligns with EWB’s community and technology development work across Australia, Southeast Asia, and other regions.

Since the EWB Challenge was piloted with universities in 2007, EWB Australia’s engineering education programs have engaged with more that 100,000 students at all levels of a degree. Students have been presented unique opportunities to explore and develop broad professional engineering skills through engaging with authentic, real-world project briefs with the potential to lead to positive community impact.