EWH Virtual Innovation Exchange

Current project

Project Snapshot

Engineering World Health (EWH) is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to inspire, educate, and empower the biomedical engineering community to improve health care delivery in the developing world. Beginning January 2022, in collaboration with UNSW, EWH will be offering a virtual design program that will bring together students from UNSW in Australia with students from either Cambodia or Uganda. The course will focus on low-resource design and engineering for healthcare in an international setting. Participants will work in international teams to collaborate on design challenges specific to healthcare in Cambodia or Uganda.

Project Information

Projects Available:
(1) UNSW - Cambodia Virtual Exchange
(2) UNSW - Makerere Virtual Exchange

Duration: 5 weeks

Dates: January 3 – Feb 4

  • Week 1: January 3 - 7 will be introductory and 100% remote
  • Week 2 - 5: January 10 - February 4 will be face-to-face on Campus in the Kirby Makerspace

Expected Time Commitment: 7 hours per day, 3 days per week

Cost: $865 AUD deposit will be required prior to commencing this project. Upon successful completion, this deposit will be refunded in full.

Criteria: Current engineering student (UG or PG) in good standing at UNSW Sydney.

Capacity: 50 UNSW students - 25 in the Cambodia program and 25 in the Uganda program, matched with students from each country.

If you have any additional questions or require financial assistance, please contact A/Prof. Lauren Kark (lauren.kark@unsw.edu.au).

Student Information

The EWH Virtual Innovation Exchange is an amazing opportunity for you to explore the concepts of biomedical design, collaboration, ethics and entrepreneurship, within the realm of engineering for low-resource environments.

Find out more

Engineering World Health (EWH) is a US based non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire, educate, and empower the biomedical engineering community to improve health care delivery in the developing world. Since 2004, EWH has recruited skilled engineering and science students (undergraduates and graduates) and provided in-depth training for the installation and repair of hospital equipment in low resource countries. The training is based on a curriculum developed by EWH in partnership with the Duke University Developing Healthcare Technologies Laboratory.

An important part of the EWH’s programs is cultural immersion. By bringing together students from Australia, Uganda, and Cambodia, EWH will facilitate a cross-cultural experience under circumstances in which travel is impossible. Students will learn about and then conceptualize design needs for low-resource hospitals and health care providers. While we cannot place students in-country, we can replicate the experience of learning about needs, finding solutions, and working cross-culturally. The motivation to train students to work on diverse multinational teams is to prepare them to innovate appropriate designs for cultures that are different from their own experiences.

Students who participate in meaningful global study experiences will be better prepared to apply their knowledge and skills to designing innovative products.

The virtual exchange activities will guide participants through a design process over five weeks with their integrated multi-national team.

The teams will meet virtually roughly two hours per week with the team facilitator for synchronous activity. Project deliverables will be collectively completed following templates provided. The ideas and solutions will be student-led. The facilitator will help participants to coordinate the completion of the self-directed learning modules before meeting times so that the team is prepared to fully participate in the group tasks.

In the asynchronous learning portion of the exchange, participants will be asked to review 5 learning modules and complete the readings, reflective exercises and self-assessment activities on a schedule corresponding to the design exercises that will be coordinated with the virtual team.

Learning modules and activities are subject to change prior to the start of the program as materials are further developed. An official course syllabus will be provided to students following acceptance into the program.

The learning modules are:

M1 - Global Health Technologies

Team Building & Communication

The participants will be assigned a team and facilitator. This meeting will focus on team roles and responsibilities. Project goals and expectations will be explained. Groups will cover intercultural communication and how to communicate with each other during the program.

Challenges to Global Health

Teams will broadly discuss barriers to medical technology in low-resources areas. Teams will be introduced to 3 challenges to global health. These may include oxygen concentration, sanitization, and the medical equipment supply chain. Students will asynchronously go deeper into challenges via Google Classroom.

M2 - Conceptual Design

Design Concept, Stakeholders & Features

The team will select a design challenge focus area. Teams will begin to investigate project stakeholders and necessary design features as well as explore use of the Makerspace for their project.

M3 - Functional Architecture

Functional Architecture, Specifications 

A systems engineering approach will be used to take the student concepts to an engineering design, taking into account the use cases and lifetime management. 

Case Study, Guest Speakers 

Teams will explore a low-resource design case study; cultural, political, social context; cultural, political, social issues. Teams will receive outside input on their designs from partners of EWH. Students will hear from individuals working in healthcare environments globally. 

M4 - Technical Feasibility

Technical Feasibility, Design Alternatives

Facilitators will guide the student design by providing expertise or materials. Simulations, prototypes, or drawings can all be used to evaluate the technical feasibility of the design approach. Multiple approaches or design alternatives are encouraged. 

M5 - Global Design Case Study

Specifications, Summary, and Presentation 

Teams will summarise their work in a 1-page written report and 5-minute video presentation that explains the health benefit, intended users, and their design.


There will be a culminating virtual conference where all the teams will participate with their facilitators and the educators. The prepared videos will be played, and then there will be a short question and answer sessions where teams can learn from each other. The project presentations will be archived.

Facilitators will work directly with the teams and act as design project mentors. The project ideas will be student-led, while mentors may act as technical consultants. These facilitators will either be a full-time engineering staff member from Engineering World Health or an engineering consultant with significant background in low-resource healthcare. Facilitators will work to integrate the use of Makerspaces provided by UNSW to further enhance the curriculum.

The EWH Virtual Innovation exchange has been pre-approved for 15 days of Non-Traditional Industrial Training

Undergraduate students who would like to complete 15 days of Industrial Training through the EWH Virtual Innovation Exchange are eligible to apply after receiving an offer of acceptance into the program. 

Postgraduate students are NOT eligible to receive Industrial Training.

For further enquiries, please contact the WIL-ENG team at eng.wil@unsw.edu.au.

      UNSW students will be expected to prototype their designs, and will have access to the Makerspace Network throughout the duration of the EWH Virtual Innovation Exchange. A small budget will be provided for students to prototype their device.

      UNSW Making

      Team Academic Advisor