Innovation Academy

The overall winner of the annual competition and Innovation awardees are given the opportunity to take part in internships supported by Engineers without Borders (EWB) and Development Technology in the Community (DTC) staff from TU Dublin. Internships typically last three months depending on the intern’s availability.

Our Innovation Academy is currently sponsored by Arup and Bentley Systems.

During this time, students receive expert advice and guidance from EWB and DTC staff; a chance to work with and receive mentorship from staff of international humanitarian organisations; access to a wider professional support network and financial support to purchase materials required for prototyping.

The Innovation Academy internships are a unique and extremely valuable opportunity to build professional networks and develop skills and knowledge important for students’ future careers.

In the words of one of our Academy graduates, Conall Casey:

Previous Innovation Academy Projects

Modified Airdrop System

2015 Winning Design

The AirDrop System is a device which can extract & harness moisture directly from the air, by adapting and modifying a technology which was developed in Australia for crop irrigation. This technology can be designed in a low-tech, low-cost way which can be produced and utilised by communities in areas of irregular or unpredictable rainfall. The assembly involves a large plastic vertical axis windmill which rotates an intake fan. This collects and directs water particles towards a condensation coil at its centre. Collected water is then diverted to a tank underground.

Biochar Kiln

2016 Winning Design

The Biochar Kiln was developed to help small-holder farmers increase their food security through low-tech agricultural technology. The kiln can be manufactured locally with minimal training, skills and materials, and is designed to burn available organic waste material to create a nutrient dense fertiliser. This fertiliser can be used in agriculture to improve soil quality, retain additional moisture, and improve overall yield.

Since winning WTINE in 2016, the Biochar Kiln team has evolved into Farm Social, a social enterprise which continues to develop a portfolio of open-source solutions to assist smallholder farmers all over the world.


2017 Winning Design

LifeLid is a pocket-sized, battery powered device which produces chlorine from salt and water. The device is designed to easily screw onto any standard bottle. A salt water solution is put into a standard bottle. The device is attached & switched on, and a current starts to turn the solution to chlorine through the process of electrolysis. The chlorine produced can be used to kill bacteria, helping to purify drinking water or disinfect surfaces in homes, schools or medical centres.

TIDE Menstrual Toolkit

2018 Winning Design

The TIDE toolkit allows women to be in control of their own menstrual health – no matter where their home is. The kit includes underwear and reusable fabric pads, which can be washed in the container itself, giving an added element of privacy to those who are using shared taps or washing areas.

The pads themselves are made from layered fabric: upper cotton jersey, middle bamboo fleece (absorbency), and lower polyurethane (leak resistant). The fabric contents of the kits can be made locally through community workshops and basic training. The overall aim of the project is to encourage discussion amongst men and women to help reduce the stigma around menstruation and sanitation, empowering women and girls to regain control of their own menstrual health.

The TIDE toolkit was a national runner up in the prestigious James Dyson Award in 2018.


2019 Winning Design

Chaleur is a simple, low-cost heating and drying device that helps to keep people warm and comfortable and can dry essential clothing items. It is designed to be used in refugee camps and informal settlements. The device consists of a small metal structure which holds small tea-light candles inside. It is shaped in such a way to safely & efficiently transfer heat from the hot air produced by the candles onto the contact area.

The project is currently under further development in the Innovation Academy.

Black Soldier Fly Farm

2020 Winning Design

The Flyco Black Soldier Fly farm uses easily attainable parts to create an efficient source of protein for livestock and poultry while also producing a rich compost and fertilising spray for crops on a farm.

The use of Black Soldier flies and their ability to replenish themselves makes this source of food a plentiful and renewable commodity which requires very little maintenance and thrives off failed crops, expired meat and vegetables and faeces that are commonly found around the farm system.

The farm toolkit is accompanied by an educational toolkit, a booklet, used to inform farmers and others living in rural areas about how to grow, maintain and harvest the Black Soldier larvae. The toolkit can be used to create a personalised Black Soldier Fly (BSF) farm using available materials.

The BSFF is currently in proof of concept and testing developmental stages in the Innovation Academy.

Scroll to Top