FAQ for Social Impact Projects


Social Impact Projects give students the invaluable opportunity to apply sustainable and innovative technologies to help solve problems in disadvantaged communities, both in Australia and across the globe. Students can engage directly with communities, building relationships as much as they are building engineering solutions.

The benefits gained by students are extensive, from soft-skill development, international travel to the unique opportunity to work with not-for-profits and government agencies.

Humanitarian Engineering is the application of engineering to meet the needs of communities and in particular focuses on appropriateness and sustainability. It covers a spectrum of activities from disaster response and preparedness to long-term sustainable community development, within Australia and overseas. It is a complementary skill to existing engineering disciplines.

Humanitarian engineers analyse and design infrastructure and appropriate technology to support the well-being and welfare of individuals and communities in disadvantaged circumstances. Their work is undertaken through partnership and engagement with those in need to identify solutions that are wanted, appropriate and sustainable. This includes communities in low and middle-income countries, as well as marginalised or remote communities in Australia. 

Check out our UNSW Humanitarian Engineering page HERE!

Social Impact Projects is one of four pillars that sits under The ChallENG Program framework. 

The other pillars of The ChallENG Program are:

We offer a huge range of Social Impact Projects for you to get involved in!  Visit Social Impact Projects to explore what’s on offer.

After participating, our students have experience in practical, real-world engineering projects and are equipped with the skills and competencies to make a valuable industry impact from the onset. Learn about the other benefits of joining by visiting the Social Impact page.

Currently, these projects do not count for course credit but you could have the opportunity to qualify for a Non-Traditional Industrial Training placement if your project is pre-authorised. 

There Humanitarian Engineering courses that you can look into during your undergraduate degree at UNSW, check out the UNSW Humanitarian Engineering webpage for more details on elective courses available. 

Great! We would love to hear from you! We are always looking to take on new projects within the Social Impact pillar of The ChallENG Program.

Please reach out to us by emailing challeng@unsw.edu.au with your new project idea and we will take you through the next steps!

Application and Team Formation

Undergraduate UNSW Engineering students are welcome to apply for an existing project or submit a new project idea to The ChallENG Program team by emailing challeng@unsw.edu.au for more details!

Students must have good academic standing to be considered.

1. Visit a Student Project page here.

2. Download the application form found on the page.

3. Send a filled out form to the email address found on the project page.

The project team members will go through an application process and be chosen by the existing team project leaders and Academic Advisor(s). The organisational structure of the team will vary for each project and the skill-set required!

The ChallENG Program team and/or Academic Advisors, current team leaders can remove team members from projects if they feel they have broken the eligibility requirements or acted inappropriately in a way that is contrary to the interests of the team and UNSW.

For reference, you can read more on the UNSW Student Code of Conduct.

If it comes to the attention of your Academic Advisor and/or The ChallENG Program team that a project is negatively impacting your studies, the ChallENG team reserves the right to get an update on your academic standing/performance and assess if you can continue working with the project.

No student may hold membership in a project while under suspension from UNSW.

Industrial Training

Some of the Social Impact Projects are pre-authorised for a Non-Traditional Industrial Training placement. It is not guaranteed that all students that engage within the Social Impact Project will be eligible for Industrial Training. 

For more information on pre-authorised Social Impact Projects or Humanitarian Engineering projects you can check out the FAQ section of the UNSW Engineering Industrial Training website or email eng.wil@unsw.edu.au

* The Engineering World Health Summer Institute Program qualifies for 45 days of Traditional Industrial Training. 

For some Social Impact Projects, you may be eligible for Non-Traditional Industrial Training credit. You need to belong to a team for at least two terms and meet certain criteria signed-off by your Academic Advisor who is a certified engineer. Depending on your role within the team, you might be eligible for 15 or 30 days. 

* The Engineering World Health Summer Institute Program qualifies for 45 days of Traditional Industrial Training. 

Resources and Support

There are a lot of resources available to prepare for your travel via the UNSW Global webpage.

Additionally, The ChallENG Program Team will work with you on these requirements of your specific project.

Have you ever been in one of our UNSW MakerSpaces?

Almost all of the projects within The ChallENG Program come to life in our Makerspace Network at UNSW Sydney! You have the opportunity to up-skill through workshop development training and digital badging credentialing. Click HERE to access the online hub of tutorials, information and classes on how to make, fabricate and create!

If you are a project within the ChallENG Program, you may have access to project storage on campus from your Academic Advisor or designated school. Project storage space is limited on campus, but we will do our best to accommodate.

The ChallENG Program is here to support the growth of projects within the program and funding will be determined during the time that the project is approved.

If your project received funding from The ChallENG Program, the UNSW Finance Policy applies and purchases will need to adhere to the purchasing requirements within the Faculty of Engineering.

Please note that the funds can only be used for parts and materials in direct relation to building the project or travel costs for competitions. Funds are not given directly to students; they remain within a UNSW Faculty Project account.

Funding from The ChallENG Program is limited each year so projects may have to consider securing other sources of funding such as grants, scholarships, sponsorships and donations.

Special Consideration is available in some circumstances for students participating in projects. This needs to be completed before you register for courses, and it is up to the individual student to arrange this with their Academic Advisor for the project and the specific Course Lecturer beforehand. UNSW Special consideration procedures apply.

You can refer to the following estate management page for working safety on campus: www.estate.unsw.edu.au/security/your-safety

If at any stage you feel unsafe or need to find support regarding an incident that may have occurred during your participation in a project, you can notify your Academic Advisor or The ChallENG Program team as soon as possible.

Additionally, you can also visit student.unsw.edu.au/wellbeing.

All students participating in teams are expected to comply with the UNSW Student Code of Conduct.

The ChallENG Program reserves the right to modify, add policies, and hold students accountable for abiding by such policies. The University reserves the right to hold groups or individuals accountable for inappropriate actions not specifically listed in these standards.