24 Jul 2024

Winners of the Engineering for People Design Challenge revealed by Engineers Without Borders UK

People Design Challenge

Engineers Without Borders UK, part of an international movement putting global responsibility at the heart of engineering, has announced the UK and Ireland winners of the Engineering for People Design Challenge 2023/2024.

The Engineering for People Design Challenge this year was organised jointly by Engineers Without Borders UK and South Africa, in conjunction with educators. The awards are open to first- and second-year undergraduates as a mandatory part of their degree course and 1 in 4 engineering students in the UK currently participate. The aim is to encourage budding engineers to broaden their awareness of the social, environmental and economic implications of their engineering solutions.

Participants this year were asked to consider the engineering challenges arising in the rural village of Pu Ngaol, situated in the forested hills of Mondulkiri Province in eastern Cambodia. In a new twist, they were given access to an interactive map so they could immerse themselves in the challenge location.

Beating tough competition from 36 participating university teams, the winning entry was SIPS, a solar-powered water filtration system, from University College Dublin. The winners receive the Grand Prize of a £2000 educational bursary.

Tom Whitehead, Programme Manager for Engineers Without Borders UK, commented: “This project demonstrated comprehensive understanding of the community’s concerns, challenges and aspirations. The judges were particularly impressed by the students’ deep consideration of the local context and their use of renewable energy and repurposed materials.”

Second prize went to University College London for their innovative rice husk briquetting machine, which utilises waste by-products to provide less-polluting cooking fuel. Judges praised its potential to be adopted by other rice-growing populations around the world.

The Peoples’ Prize, which was voted on by the public, went to Heriot-Watt University for Terraform, which tackles the erosion of dirt roads using a sustainably sourced Geocell system.

The runner-up and the People’s Prize winners each receive a £500 educational bursary to share between their teams.

Community collaboration

The design brief for the Engineering for People Design Challenge is developed in collaboration with a different community partner each year, to ensure a holistic view of the community being presented.

John Kraus, Chief Executive Officer of Engineers without Borders UK said: “The design challenge aims to tackle real problems facing real people around the world. The interactive map, coupled with testimonies from the villagers of Pu Ngaol, encouraged some truly inspiring engineering solutions from the students this year. These awards are a testament to the power of engineering education to create socially conscious engineers who are prepared to tackle real-world problems.”

Now in its thirteenth year, the Design Challenge has been delivered in South Africa, Cameroon, the UK, Ireland and the USA, to more than 80,000 students.

Explore all of this year’s innovative solutions on CrowdSolve.

For more information please visit: https://www.ewb-uk.org/upskill/design-challenges/engineering-for-people-design-challenge/