Engineers Without Borders launches 2020 challenge

Engineers Without Borders UK is teaming up with its South African and USA counterparts for the Engineering for People Design Challenge 2020.

engineers without borders

Now in its ninth year, the competition invites first and second-year university students to propose an engineering solution that could be applied to a real-life problem affecting people on a global scale. The 2020 Challenge focuses on Makers Valley, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. Due to rapid population growth and economic inequality, the area is facing housing shortages, inconsistent access to electricity and water and problems with waste collection. Students will be challenged to work with the community to design potential solutions that address these key issues.

Academics from participating institutions will review their students’ submissions, with the top five from each university going forward to be judged by industry volunteers. Winners from individual universities will then be invited to present their solutions at the Grand Finals in London, with the overall winner awarded a £2,000 educational bursary.

engineers without borders

“Our real-life design project provides a platform for students to truly understand how to develop engineering skills with a globally responsible mindset and place people at the heart of their designs,” said Emma Crichton, head of Engineering at Engineers Without Borders UK. “We are thrilled that our award-winning Engineering for People Design Challenge is reaching a wider audience with students participating from South Africa, UK, Ireland, UAE and the USA.

“We have already visited half of the currently participating universities, meeting thousands of students around the world. The perspective they bring is invaluable to understanding how we need to continue to improve engineering education to serve the needs of all people and our planet. We look forward to welcoming even more students onto the Challenge and sharing their passion for ensuring that every person globally enjoys the same right to dignified living conditions.”

For more information on the Engineering for People Design Challenge 2020, visit