EWB Challenge

Today’s university students will be entering their careers in a rapidly-changing world facing complex global challenges and must be introduced to the skills required to navigate this complexity from the day they begin their study. Future technical professionals must be enabled to explore and grow a broad skill set alongside an understanding of the role they might play in the addressing the interconnected social, environmental, and economic challenges facing our world.

The EWB Challenge program enables university academics to build the competencies of first-year students in areas such as professional practice, design processes, and sustainable development theory through engagement on real-world project briefs integrated into the curriculum.

Project briefs are brought to life by engagement opportunities with EWB staff and volunteers, along with interactive website resources through which students can dive deeply into a project context. The materials on the EWB Challenge website, including a monitored discussion forum, support students as they develop creative, appropriate, technically-sound design proposals.

New to the program and interested in learning more? Head to the ‘Get Involved’ page!

or CLICK HERE to download the 2021 Program Outline

How it works

Each year EWB Australia partners with universities and a different community-based organisation to develop and deliver the EWB Challenge Program. By participating in the EWB Challenge, students are presented with a fantastic opportunity to design creative solutions to real-world, community-identified projects. Representatives from the partner organisation are invited to view the top student work at a Showcase event, and all ideas are shared back with the potential for future development.

The EWB Challenge Program is open to students enrolled in a primary year university course registered to participate through EWB Australia. Courses in either semester one or semester two, as well as multidisciplinary courses with students from outside of the engineering faculty are welcome to participate. The EWB Challenge Program is a flexible platform, which can be adapted to a variety of course structures with the support of the EWB team.

At the conclusion of each academic semester, universities may nominate student reports for external review and entry into the awards process. Each university may nominate up to four team submissions across the academic year. Based on feedback from our external reviewers, one outstanding team from each participating university will be invited to present their work at a Showcase event to representatives from EWB, our community partner organisations, and members of the engineering and international development sectors. Awardees are announced at an awards ceremony following the presentations. All submissions will be compiled by the EWB team and shared back to the community partner organisation.

Available Program Activities

The annual EWB Challenge registration fee is between $8,500 – $14,000 AUD + GST for universities based on participating student numbers, the number of participating semesters/trimesters, and in-person EWB engagement. Registration is applied once per year and provides access to the following points of program engagement:

In addition to the above components of the EWB Challenge, registration fees support the administration and staff costs associated with the program and on-going engagement with our community-based partners. This ensures appropriate and respectful partnership development, including the sharing backand further investigation of student ideas.

EWB Challenge Program Aims

Engineers Without Borders Australia is working toward the goal of a transformed engineering sector where every engineer has the skills, knowledge, experience, and attitude to contribute to sustainable community development and poverty alleviation.

The EWB Challenge program aims to contribute to this broader goal by working at the university level to enable change within the engineering curriculum. The program is helping to shape future engineers by working to the following objectives:

Future-Fit Graduate Attributes

EWB supports the integration of authentic project-based work into undergraduate courses with
international and domestic, social, cross-cultural and sustainability dimensions. The program is
designed to develop engineering graduate attributes specified by the national accrediting body
Engineers Australia:

In addition, the program sets the scene for students to develop 9/10 skills the World Economic
Forum believes are essential for the future:

In parallel to key competency development, the EWB Challenge design brief and supporting
resources provide our university partners the opportunity to align with and contribute to the
Sustainable Development Goals through curriculum

Our Community Partners – links to supporting real-world impact

The EWB Challenge provides EWB Australia’s community-based partners and programs with a
valuable pathway for connecting with the global engineering and design sector.

EWB Australia works collaboratively with our community-based partner to identify projects for the
design briefs that suit student engagement and support. Connecting with universities through a
platform like the EWB Challenge is an opportunity for programs and community partners to source
innovative, creative ideas and research for a broad range of projects of interest to them.

At the completion of each semester, ideas generated through student projects are workshopped
with EWB Australia and partner staff and volunteers, to investigate how appropriate and inspiring
outputs might be integrated into current or future areas of work.