Engineers without Borders Australia
Engineering is at the forefront of development. It is critical to improving community health and well-being – engineers have a social responsibility.
So, what is humanitarian engineering? It is the application of appropriate technologies and engineering solutions to benefit and empower disadvantaged communities. It involves working with communities by providing technologies and education in areas such as water, energy and infrastructure, with the aim of reducing poverty.
UNSW partnership with Engineers without Borders Australia
UNSW is pleased to announce that we have recently formed a partnership with Engineers without Borders Australia (EWB).
EWB is a member-based not-for-profit organisation with 10 years' experience in creating systematic change through humanitarian engineering.
Engineers without Borders Australia work in partnership with local organisations and communities to improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, energy, education and more.
What does the UNSW-EWB partnership mean for our students?
Engineering students have the opportunity to take part in the EWB Challenge, a design project that allows first year students to create innovative solutions to real world problems and support communities through EWB's links with a partner organisation overseas.
At UNSW, the EWB Challenge is run as part of the first year course – Introduction to Engineering Design and Innovation (ENGG1000). In preparation for this year's EWB challenge, UNSW academics and researchers gathered to discuss humanitarian engineering teaching strategies with Jenny Turner, EWB Challenge Coordinator.
There is also opportunity to engage with EWB via the EWB Research Program, 'Ideas Unleashed', generally this would be undertaken as a final year Honours project. David Balzarolo, a UNSW Honours student, currently participating on the research program, talks of his experience:
"The EWB research project has been a great way for me to utilise my engineering skills for real life applications. It has the potential to be used to improve the quality of life of people living in developing countries. My chosen topic is on the increasing water quality and sanitation issues in disaster relief applications. During my research I have found that this project is a way for me to give back to the community. I have been involved with EWB for most of my student life and I believe that is an awesome experience for anyone who has interest with humanitarian engineering. I highly recommend taking up one of the numerous available research topics."
Throughout the year, opportunities and events relating to EWB and humanitarian engineering will be advertised to enrich the undergraduate experience for those who are passionate about humanitarian engineering. We also encourage these students to consider joining the UNSW EWB Chapter. Chapters bring together EWB members into a group and hold regular meetings. For more information on the chapter, email us here.
EWB Honours Research Projects
Are you interested in undertaking a research project with EWB for Honours in 2016? A list of available research projects is here. You will need to find a member of academic staff at UNSW who is willing to supervise you for your chosen topic. Then, you must complete an expression of interest and submit it to EWB. Priority will be given to students who can demonstrate a passion for humanitarian engineering. For further information, contact Dr Fiona Johnson, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Humanitarian Engineering Articles
Engineers without Borders Steering Committee
An EWB Steering Committee has now been formed and has the following members:
- Dr Judy Hart, School of Materials Science and Engineering
- Dr Rita Henderson, School of Chemical Engineering
- Dr Fiona Johnson, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Dr Lauren Kark, School of Biomedical Engineering
- Dr Ivan Perez-Wurfl, School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
- Rebecca Brown, UNSW EWB Chapter President