The WTINE Challenge

What is Where There Is No Engineer (WTINE)?

“Where There Is No Engineer – Designing for Community Resilience” is a design initiative coordinated by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Ireland and the Development Technology in the Community (DTC) Research Group in TU Dublin.

In 2021, EWB Ireland has created a new strand to the WTINE competition: Design Opportunities. Our design opportunity is an Ecosan Sanitation Opportunity, focused on frugal WASH innovation. We are working with Indian partners FIN, Friend In Need India Trust, on this opportunity for the location of Kameswaram in India but the technology is valid for many countries. It links closely with the WTINE theme of self supply water and sanitation but also links with our themes of climate resilient infrastructure, community participatory health and food security.
Our location based challenge remains focused on Zambia and our partners in Kabwe, Zamda Ireland.”

Each year we work with one of our development partners around the world to present participants with the opportunity to design creative solutions to real world problems.

It provides participants with the opportunity to learn about design, teamwork and communication through real, inspiring, sustainable and cross-cultural development projects.

The program design is not limited to any particular discipline and contains a number of innovative teaching and learning methods.

Why Take Part in WTINE?

The uncertainties of climate change along with challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will demand new approaches. Graduates will be required to identify, define and solve problems at the boundaries of traditional disciplines. This will require graduates to be:

“Where There Is No Engineer” is a design program to achieve the above learning outcomes.

How is WTINE run?

The program is open to technical and non-technical disciplines. The program can be delivered within a specific course module, through one of our EWB College Branches or with a company as a unique CSR initiative for employees.

Students participating in the program are introduced to the design process and experience of what it is to be a professional using real life practical problems from a developing country. This requires background research into the demography, geography, culture and economy of a country they are likely not familiar with, along with the particular challenges of implementing a project.  This gives students a unique perspective on how they can help solve global challenges in their profession.

EWB and the DTC Research Group hold a series of workshops with participants including a:

The best teams from each participating college are invited to participate in the National Finals. The overall project winner has the opportunity to travel to the program country to work with our development partners. There are also a number of innovation awards to allow researchers to develop their concepts further.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, all workshops are now delivered online with internships taking place remotely. EWB and DTC can provide a range of online learning resources to assist students.

When is WTINE run?

The design initiative is delivered in a flexible manner to suit your needs. It can be run over one or two college semesters with National Finals taking place in May/June every year. Participation in the initiative opens in October every year.

The WTINE Themes

Each year we develop a set of design briefs with our development partners around the world, based on the real life challenges faced by communities within a specific country. These challenges are complex and our post-climate change world introduces new levels of complexity that professionals must learn to navigate. Students are challenged to innovate and develop solutions and products which are appropriate to the people and the environment. Student teams participate in interactive workshops to design, build and test their concepts. The design brief is based on a set of six global development themes, each linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
The design brief is based on a set of six global development themes, each linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Each of these themes links to a primary SDG goal as shown below:

Climate Resilient Infrastructure
Self-Supply Water and Sanitation
Community Participatory Health
On and Off (Micro) Grid Energy Systems
Food Security
Climate Resilient Infrastructure
Self-Supply Water and Sanitation
Community Participatory Health
On and Off (Micro) Grid Energy Systems
Food Security

Each theme explores the relationship between People, Technology and the Environment. We usually partner with communities for a few years. We are currently partnered with an organisation in Kabwe, Zambia called Zamda Ireland which runs the emergency shelter and school Sables Nua for local children. We are also working with an Indian organisation Friend In Need India Trust to deliver our WASH innovation design opportunity.

The programme is open to students and professionals across the disciplines of engineering, design, architecture, urban planning, science, business, social science, arts and media. Students participate over the course of a semester, or shorter timeframe if preferred by the university, and present their concepts to EWB and DTC judges at the end of the class group’s participation.

The strongest projects are shortlisted to compete at an annual National Final and students submit written project proposals for review, explaining how their design works.

The best teams then showcase their innovations at the National Finals, where the winning team is sponsored to travel to the selected country to work with the community. The overall award is sponsored by an EWB industry partner. The EWB Innovation Academy also works with a number of teams to develop their concepts to prototype design stage through Innovation Awards sponsored by our partner.

The initiative is supported by a range of flexible learning resources which empower lecturers to challenge the next generation of professionals to be problem solvers and innovators and to contribute in a practical way towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • For more information on the “Where There Is No Engineer” (WTINE) competition, the Sustainable Development Goals and case studies relating to the WTINE themes, you can access the WTINE handbook here

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