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The Efficiency for Access Coalition and Engineers Without Borders UK are delighted to collaborate on the delivery of the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge. The Challenge is funded by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation. The Efficiency for Access Coalition is coordinated jointly by CLASP and Energy Saving Trust.

To provide sustainable energy for all, we urgently need to enhance the efficiency and affordability of high performing appliances. The Challenge invites teams of university students to create affordable and high-performing off-grid appliances and enabling technologies.

By bringing together and inspiring students, the competition aims to foster innovation in the off-grid appliances sector. It also seeks to help address barriers that limit market expansion in this area. Furthermore, the Challenge seeks to forge beneficial partnerships between universities, researchers and industry partners at a global level. In this way, it will further strengthen academic capacity within the off-grid sector.

To find out more review the Challenge Brief. The Challenge Brief is the guideline document for students and includes information about different technologies to inspire students when thinking about what they want to work on, as well as the assessment framework their final submissions will need to consider.

How to use CrowdSolve  

Welcome to this year’s CrowdSolve platform, where you can upload your projects and collaborate with the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge community. 

Struggling with a particular part of your design? Post a question and receive support from fellow students who may have faced similar issues. 

Like an idea that another team has come up with? Let them know! 

Attended a webinar and want to talk with other students about what you have learned? Continue the conversation on the event thread!

This platform contains three workspaces:  

General Workspace 

  • Who’s invited: Participating students and Challenge alumni, academics, mentors, reviewers, and the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge team. 

  • Information will be shared about the activities that are part of the Challenge, such as webinars and events. Participating academics and students will be able to discuss the activities as well as share relevant information and research.

Concept Note Workspace

  • Who’s invited: Participating students, academics, mentors, reviewers and the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge team.

  • Student teams will upload their concept notes to this area, and receive feedback from reviewers. (Please see details on the process below)

Final Submission Workspace

  • Who’s invited: Participating students, academics, mentors, reviewers, judges, the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge team and the public.

  • Student teams will submit their final project (a 4000-word report and 3-minute video) .

  • This workspace will become active in March when we will include more details about the final submissions, the pitching sessions, and the Grand Final.  

Concept note submission

Student teams should submit their concept notes at any point from September onwards. They are encouraged to submit concept notes within one month of the kick-off workshop. 28th February 2022 is the final deadline to submit concept notes.

Concept notes should outline what students plan to focus on and should be no more than four A4 pages. Students will be provided with a template for their concept notes. These provide a crucial opportunity for the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge team to provide any feedback about how students plan to approach the problem they want to work on, and provide curated support through a relevant industry mentor. Students will not be assessed on their concept note and it will not be used to decide whether the team can participate or not. When they submit their concept notes, students also sign up to the Challenge’s Terms and Conditions.

How to submit the team’s concept note:

  1. Download the concept note template.

  2. Fill out the template ensuring that you take the time to answer all of the questions, and save the document as a PDF. You only need to submit one concept note per team. 

  3. To submit your concept note, please complete this form and upload your concept note as a PDF. 

    • It is very important that all of the team members' details are included in this form as they will receive an email asking them to sign and agree to the Challenge’s terms and conditions. All team members must sign the terms and conditions to be able to participate in the Challenge.

  4. Once teams have submitted their submission form, there will be an automated email containing the unique team number assigned and will prompt the recipient to upload their concept note to CrowdSolve. The email will contain a suggested text that can be used to upload the concept note to CrowdSolve.

  5. Concept notes will receive feedback from reviewers posted as a comment on the CrowdSolve post within one month of the concept note being submitted. Reviewers will have an assigned CrowdSolve ‘badge’ that they can be identified.

  6. Teams that have requested a mentor will be introduced to their mentor on CrowdSolve.

Final Submission 

Participating student teams are required to submit a 4,000-word report and 3-minute video by 15th April 2022. More details on how to submit will be released closer to the time.  Student teams have to: consider the technological context, research the needs of their end-user, and include a business case. More information can be found in the Challenge Brief.

Grand Final  

All students and universities participating in the Challenge will be invited to the Grand Final. This event will include many opportunities for networking between students and specialists from the off-grid appliance industry, and the chance to showcase some of the submissions from the year. It will also include presentations from off-grid industry experts and engaging panel discussions. During the Grand Final, we will also present teams with gold, silver, and bronze awards. In addition, many experts and investors from the sector will be invited. 

We will release more details about the Grand Final in March 2022.


By taking part in the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge, teams agree to share their solutions under an open-source Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0. Teams shall own the Intellectual Property of their work, however, they will agree to provide Engineers Without Borders and Efficiency for Access Coalition permission to use the ideas for a wider benefit.

Contact us

If you have any queries or questions, please contact eforachallenge@est.org.uk 

Efficiency for Access Design Challenge