Featured News JCU Welcomes Engineers without Borders

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Fri, 8 Dec 2023

JCU Welcomes Engineers without Borders


First-year engineering students from Australia and New Zealand  are at James Cook University in Cairns as they compete to solve engineering challenges.

JCU and TNQ Drought Hub are hosting the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Challenge Showcase.

JCU’s Professor Allan Dale said more than 10,000 first-year university students across Australia and New Zealand participate in the EWB Challenge each year.

“Students work in teams to develop a solution to challenges identified by EWB Australia’s community-based partners,” said Professor Dale.

In 2023 the community-based partners are the Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation and for the first time a 2nd country community-based partnership with Pu Ngaol Village in Mondulkiri province in Cambodia.

Chanrika Keo, Program Support Officer in Cambodia said Pu Ngaol village is home to a remote, Indigenous community.

“They have faced many challenges such as access to water for agriculture, water storage, lack of agriculture tools and access to sanitation. In spite of these challenges, many community members don’t want to leave Pu Ngaol,” she said.

Students were tasked with finding solutions that addresses issues such as agriculture, water supply and storage and sanitation and hygiene. In Cairns the students were tasked with designing solutions to assist the Yirrganydi people with caring for country.

Professor Allan Dale, said it’s great to be able to host EWB showcase.

“The ability to work with Traditional Owners to hear their concerns and issues firsthand and then be able to design on-ground solutions is invaluable,” he said.

The finalist from 12 university teams from Australia and New Zealand will pitch their solutions for Pu Ngaol and Yirrganydi country at JCU’s Ideas lab at Smithfield on Friday 8th December.

This is the 2nd time the showcase has been held in Cairns with last years the team with the most outstanding design project pitch during the Showcase going to Griffith University - Catching Kunyarra.

The team designed a noise insulating motor cowling that aims to reduce noise and vibrations from crocodile monitoring boats, featuring an insulating layer made from sustainably sourced sugarcane bagasse.

On Friday the 8th the student pitches and judging will be held at the Ideas lab, JCU beginning at 10:00 AM for the morning session and 1:00 PM for the afternoon session. During the student pitches, there will be parallel workshops lead by EWB Australia. Before the awarding ceremony and closing, Dr Samantha Horseman will provide a 30-minute tour of the Ideas Lab.


Jennifer McHugh
E: jennifer.mchugh1@jcu.edu.au