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  • From Feb 15 2021 onwards please register at edu.ewbchallenge.org. This website domain is not active for new students or volunteers in Semester 1. Thanks

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.

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.

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

or CLICK HERE to download the 2021 Program Outline


Available Program Activities

The annual EWB Challenge registration fee is between $8,500 - $14,000 + 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:

  • The EWB Challenge Design Brief – an outline of the priority areas and projects identified by community representatives and our partner organisation are presented througha detailed design brief available in pdf form and on the EWB Challenge website.
  • Supporting resources – including written content, interviews, data, photos,videos, and interactive site walkthroughs to assist with a developing understanding of the contextwhere the EWB Challenge is based.
  • Introductory workshop for academics – option to attend a pre-semester workshop for course coordinators and tutors covering: an introduction to context and projects, background on the community partner organisation, appropriate technology and EWB’s human-centred engineering approach, and opportunities for academics to share ideas around what the EWB Challenge looks like in the classroom. Generally delivered by region and can be customised for participants.
  • Introductory presentation or workshop for students – at least 1 presentation or workshop session can be delivered by an EWB member and/or slides provided to the course coordinator upon request.
  • Student access to the EWB Challenge discussion forum – monitored by EWB staff through the semester to support student questions around project context
  • External review of top student reports – up to four reports may be submitted to the EWB Challenge for external review by professionals in the engineering industry
  • Opportunity for attendance at the EWB Challenge Series Showcase – the top student team from each university will be invited to represent their university at the EWB Challenge Series Showcase at the end of the year.

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:

  • introduce first year university students to concepts of human-centred engineering through working on real-world projects
  • inspire university students to gain an increased awareness of the role of engineers and technical professionals in society
  • support EWB community-based partner organisations through project scoping and resource development, access to student design ideas, and the sharing of knowledge and resources with universities internationally

Where 'humanitarian engineering' refers to a people-centred, strengths-based approach to improve community health, well-being, and opportunity.