Womens Community Hub wins National Design Challenge Prize
The annual competition is organised by Engineers Without Borders UK, a charity dedicated to inspiring the engineering community to serve all people and our planet better than ever before.
Over 6,500 first and second year students from universities across the UK and Ireland participated in the competition. The Grand Finals, held at the IET in London on 14th June, saw the top 37 teams pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges, with a team of four Civil Engineering students from our school winning the Grand Prize of a £2,000 educational bursary.
The brief focused on the communities located in Tamil Nadu in India, where the vast majority of people still live in rural areas where the population is steadily increasing. Students were challenged to rethink rural life and propose interventions that underpin aspirational lifestyles and address the impacts of poor water and sanitation provision, a lack of waste management, limited transport and digital infrastructure and unreliable energy provision.
Our students wanted to improve the position of women in rural communities by designing a place where they could spend time and learn new skills in a safe environment. The building materials, including bamboo and cement stabilised soil, were easy to source locally and the team tested them in practice during the design phase to ensure their suitability. The judges were impressed by their comprehensive approach to the challenges outlined in the brief and commitment to creating a solution that would grow to benefit the entire community.
“It feels incredible to have won the Grand Prize,” said Lydia Williams. “Taking part in the competition was a really positive experience, from start to finish. We learnt so much about the importance of sustainable design and engineering, while also developing our skills in key areas such as teamworking, brainstorming and problem solving.”
“The Engineering for People Design Challenge is a real force for change,” added Charlotte Sutherland. “The global nature of the competition provided real insight into some of the major problems that the world is facing. On a personal level, taking part really helped to boost my confidence, especially when it came to project presentations.”
Tom is the Course Director for all undergraduate Civil Engineering courses at the University. Tom has been with the University since 2007, delivering lectures across many modules. Tom now specialises as a civil engineering management lecturer.