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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 have uploaded their concept notes to this area, received feedback from reviewers and been introduced to their mentors. This workspace will be active and open for comments and sharing ideas from experts but also from different teams. Have a look at the projects students are working on and share comments, relevant links and insights.

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 upload their final designs and receive feedback from reviewers (see details below). Student teams are encouraged to promote their designs publicly as they compete for the People’s Vote, more details on this will be made available in late April.

Final Submission 

Student teams should submit their final submission at any point from March onwards. Student team’s should submit their project – a 4,000-word (maximum) report and a three-minute video by 18:00 BST Friday 15 April 2022. Other supporting documentation can be attached to your submission, if deemed useful. These could include posters or documentation of your prototypes. 

How to submit your team’s final submission:

  1. To submit your final submission, please complete this form and upload your report as a PDF and your video in an MP4 format. Only one submission per team. 

  2. Once your team has completed the submission form, you will receive an automated email prompting you to upload your report and video to CrowdSolve. The email will contain a suggested text that you can use to upload the report to CrowdSolve.

  3. Final submissions will receive feedback from reviewers as an email directly to your team by Wednesday 11 May 2022.

  4. Reviewers will be using the assessment framework found at the back of the Challenge Brief to assess and score your submissions.

  5. All participating teams will progress to the pitching stage between 18 and 27 May. We will be providing more information on the pitching process in mid-April. 

People’s Vote

The People's Award allows anyone to vote for the design they think best meets the assessment framework criteria found at the end of the Challenge Brief. Only one vote per person. To vote, simply review the teams’ submissions in the Final Submission Workspace and vote on which team you think best meets the criteria by clicking on the “Vote here” link below.

The team that receives the highest number of votes will win the People’s Award which will be announced at the Grand Final.


Voting will close on 21st June 17:00 BST

Pitching Sessions

Each team will deliver a 10-minute pitch virtually to a panel of judges. Pitching sessions will take place between 18  and 27 May and your team will be contacted to inform you of your slot. We would encourage you to consider the feedback from your submission when developing your pitch. 

To help prepare you for your virtual pitching session, we will be hosting ‘Storytelling’ workshops on 20 and 21 April for one representative of each team to attend. This session will look to increase your personal impact through the medium of storytelling. If you’re looking to develop your confidence and competence in ‘presenting’, then this workshop is one in which you’ll benefit from and afterwards. The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge team will reach out to you to inform you of the slot available to your team. 

Additionally, a second workshop for all the participants is scheduled on Thursday 5 May to focus on pitching skills. The invitation will be published on the General Workspace. 

Grand Final  

This year’s Grand Final will give an in-depth look into the future of the solar appliance sector. Participants in the event will be able to:

  • See some of the amazing and innovative student submissions we have received this year

  • Hear from students about their experience and future opportunities for collaboration

  • Listen to industry experts during our panel exploring how early career professionals can influence sustainable growth in the solar appliance sector

And much more!

The Grand Final event will be hosted on Thursday 23 June 2022 at 10:00am – 12:00pm BST.


Register here

Check your local time


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. You can read the full Terms and Conditions of the competition here.

Contact us

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

Efficiency for Access Design Challenge