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Humanitarian Design Summit

Travel overseas and learn how to work with real communities through human centered design and development approaches.
Upcoming SummitsDownload Info Pack

The EWB Australia Humanitarian Design Summit is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an immersive learning experience outside the classroom. Over 14 days, you’ll push your boundaries, gain insights into best-practice community development, and appreciate the role engineering plays in creating positive change. You won’t come back the same person (in a good way).

Humanitarian Design Summits are two-week professional experiences that provide student participants with experience in:

  • Humanitarian engineering skills and insights
  • Appropriate technology best-practice
  • Designing in resource constrained environments
  • Working with community and clients on needs analysis and problem definition
  • Evaluating solutions including maintenance, materials and cost
  • Rapid prototyping and development
  • Client engagement and communication
  • Cross-cultural engagement, teamwork and project management.

Participation in the Design Summit program is secured by your deposit and program fee, which varies between programs (up to $4500). You can find out more about inclusions in the information pack.

Students attending the EWB Humanitarian Design Summit program may be eligible for financial assistance through their university. Common methods of funding Design Summit participation include:

For university specific information, see our ‘EWB Design Summit Eligibility, Work Experience, Academic Credit & Funding Guide‘. We aim to keep this up to date however things do change, so contact your university’s study abroad or global mobility offices for complete and latest information.

Check the eligibility requirements for specific funding options. Some funding will only be available if the Design Summit counts towards mandatory work experience or or other credit requirements.

Terms and conditions are available here.

Participants on the Design Summit will undertake more than 80 hours of full-time engineering work experience during the two-week program. That is, ten days of full-time equivalent experience that meets the requirements of Australian university engineering courses that are accredited by Engineers Australia.


Living and working in the heart of a community, you’ll gain more than just professional skills and a deep understanding of what it means to be an humanitarian engineer. See how the Humanitarian Design Summit has been a life-changing experience for some of our past participants.

Students to date


Upcoming trips


Engineering for Impact in Complex Contexts

Dates: 24 June – 7 July 2024

Locations: Dili, Raliaco and Gleno

Price: $4500

Limited to students from ANU, UTS, RMIT and The University of Adelaide.

Applications now closed.


Engineering in Complex Environments

Dates: 24 June – 7 July 2024

Location: Siem Reap

Price: $4200

Applications now closed.

Become a Design Summit Academic Fellow

We are currently accepting Expressions of Interest for Design Summit Academic Fellows!

Design Summit Academic Fellows will have the opportunity to build their experiences of humanitarian engineering through engaging with local community partners and facilitating the student design process. Academic Fellows will play a key role in supporting students through the design process.

The role of Academic Fellow is a significant personal and professional development opportunity. You will gain experience in facilitation, humanitarian engineering and development practices, leadership, pastoral support, logistics and exposure to EWB’s overseas work.

“We were lucky enough to become a part of the family. Observing and helping in day to day tasks such as cooking or farming gave us an insight into the inventiveness of our communities. As a result, the human centred design process and strength based approach made its way off the paper and became apparent in front of us through talking, doing and observing.”

Rameen Hayat Malik

Engineering student and Design Summit Samoa participant.

Our Facilitators

A truly unique and authentic learning experience is enabled by working with experienced facilitators and mentors alongside communities and local development organisations. It results in two-way knowledge sharing, practical work experience and positive community outcomes.

Lara Hunt
Lara Hunt
Regenerative Development, Mechanical & Building Services Engineering

Lara’s background is in mechanical and building services engineering, specialising in energy efficiency and passive design solutions for leading consultancy firms. As a Regenerative Development practitioner, Lara facilitates through her passion for living systems design, permaculture, and with respect of the Indigenous knowledge of place. Her work explores how projects, communities and environments emerge and evolve together.

Celia Boyd
Celia Boyd
Social Enterprise, International Development, Women's Empowerment

Celia’s work focuses on project management, evaluation and impact measurement, and women’s economic empowerment. She’s worked in challenging contexts including Kenya and Papua New Guinea. Now based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, she is the co-founder and Managing Director of a social enterprise supporting women to scale their micro-businesses using a market-based approach to development. 

Andrew Kumar
Andrew Kumar
Anthropology, Social Enterprise, Product Development in Emerging Markets

Andrew brings together his experience as an anthropologist and social entrepreneur to develop clean technology in developing markets. Andrew brings a high level of business acumen to his work and his approach is human centered, market led and data driven. His work has taken him across the world, to sub-saharan Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. 

Lyndal Scobell
Lyndal Scobell
Community Engagement, Environmental Management

Lyndal is a dedicated community engagement, development and communications professional who has worked with regional and remote communities in Far North Queensland for over 20 years. She brings a diversity of experience to the program including work with refugee communities, disaster recovery and workshop facilitation with remote Cape York Aboriginal communities.

Claire Dixon
Claire Dixon
Engineering, Facilitation, Human-Centered Design

Claire is an experienced designer and engineer, with specialist skills in human-centred design, facilitation, innovation and stakeholder engagement. She has over 15 years of national and international experience across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She’s currently an Engineer in Residence at the Swinburne University Engineering Practice Academy.


Ian Cunningham
Ian Cunningham
Consulting Engineer, Strengths Based Approaches

With a background as an engineer, Ian has explored the interface between the technical and social side of engineering throughout his career. He has worked in Indonesia, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka with EWB and is currently researching the role of strength-based approaches supporting the motivations of community-based water committees in Malawi.

James Ayres
James Ayres
Sustainability Communications, Strategic Leadership

With a background in Sustainability Communications, Filmmaking and Journalism. James is passionate about the movement to creating a socially and ecologically sustainable world. He is currently teaching a Master’s of Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability in Sweden and writing his PhD researching the competencies and qualities required by individuals and groups to address the global challenges of sustainability. 

Tanja Rosenqvist
Tanja Rosenqvist
Sustainable Design, Innovation, Water & Sanitation

With more than 10 years’ experience, Tanja uses human-centred design to explore and solve complex social and societal challenges, from the unsustainability of urban sanitation services in Indonesia to informal employment in Montenegro. She holds a PhD in Sustainable Futures and is a Lecturer in Humanitarian Engineering at RMIT.

Matt Dorfstaetter
Matt Dorfstaetter
International Disaster Management

Matt Dorfstaetter is an international disaster management professional, specialised in the fields of business transformation, operational intelligence, risk/security management and humanitarian programming. Having worked and researched in various countries, he has a track record of embedding outcome-focused solutions, typically within the government sector and international non-profit organisations.

Our Community Partners

The EWB Design Summit partners with local non-government organisations to promote and facilitate two-way knowledge sharing. Together with our community partners, we strive to facilitate meaningful and lasting change through a shared learning experience.

Three Sisters Nepal

Three Sisters is a women-owned company that specialises in providing female guides and assistants for various tours in Nepal and the region. They were established in 1994 and since then have trained over 2,000 female guides. They have established an NGO called Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN), providing training to women so that they may have the skills to determine their own future. For more information visit Three sisters.

Timor Unearthed

Timor Unearthed

Timor Unearthed is a Dili-based company that facilitates educational travel programs and tourism development projects in Timor-Leste. Founded in 2017, Timor Unearthed programs provide opportunities for local tourism workers to gain training and practical experience in the tourism industry, which is a key industry for Timor-Leste’s sustainable development plan.

Cambodian Rural Development Team

CRDT is a not-for profit organisation that operates locally within Cambodia. It was founded in 2001 as a voluntary university student initiative and a strong focus on the environment, water and sanitation, food security, income generation and renewable energy. CRDT has been able to support thousands of families in need, with many development projects completed in partnership with international aid. For more information visit CRDT.

Design Summit Stories

Meet our Futur-neers: Chelsea Hayward 19 May, 2022 - Feature image: Chelsea picking coffee beans in Railaco, Timor Leste during her time volunteering as a mentor on a Humanitarian Design Summit trip in July 2018. Nurse. Farmer. Social worker.… read more
Student research leads to award-winning thesis 9 December, 2020 - In 2019, as a final year Systems Engineering student at the Australian National University (ANU), Liam Highmore was accepted into EWB’s Research Challenge – the final-year offering in the EWB… read more
EWB wins award for engineering education excellence 9 December, 2020 - The Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) has recognised EWB and its University partners team for engineering excellence for the Humanitarian Design Summits in the Engineering Education Engagement category. The… read more

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