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 2021/2022.

Water filtration unit designed for water taps, created from bamboo shoots

The 2021/22 Design Challenge, held in partnership with Engineers Without Borders South Africa and the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT), Australia, was centred on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities' relationship to their land.

Participants were required to consider the ongoing impacts of colonisation and Indigenous conservation efforts to maintain the intimately linked concepts of ‘Country and culture’: to preserve ancient knowledge systems, prevent wildfires and protect biodiversity and unique ecosystems, while also noting the link between engineering design, ‘appropriate technology’ and people’s ability to survive, thrive and flourish in remote landscapes. 

Beating tough competition from a total of 8,000 participating university students, University College Dublin impressed the judges with their concept, Tapatapment, developing a water filtration unit designed for water taps, created from bamboo shoots. They receive a grand prize of a £2,000 educational bursary. Judge John Kraus, CEO of Engineers Without Borders UK, said: "Tapatapment perfectly represented the ethos of the design challenge. Addressing a practical problem by using materials that are easily accessible, effective and provide a sustainable solution for the local community.”

Innovative design for Rammed Earth Housing

With their innovative design for Rammed Earth Housing, the team from the University of Strathclyde secured the runner-up spot. Judges praised the team’s understanding of communities needs and local material availability.

Taking the Peoples’ Choice Award, which was voted on by the public, was the University of the West of England with their vision for the implementation of a food cooling system. Both the runner-up and the People's Prize winners will receive £500 educational bursary each to share between their teams. More than 10,000 students have been involved in the 2021/2022 challenge internationally. Now in its 11th year, the unique competition engages first and second-year university students to consider the social, economic and environmental impact of their engineering by inviting them to propose a solution that could be applied to a real-life problem affecting people on a global scale. To date, more than 60,000 undergraduates have undertaken the Design Challenge across Cameroon, South Africa, the UK and Ireland and the USA. To see the full list of entries, visit: