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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 in Complex Environments

Dates: 23 November – 6 December 2024

Location: Siem Reap

Price: $4200

Applications close 30 August.


Engineering in Complex Environments

Dates: 20 January – 2 February 2025

Location: Siem Reap

Price: $4200

Applications close 4 October.

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 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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