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Efficiency for Access Design Challenge

The Efficiency for Access Coalition, supported by Engineers Without Borders UK, has created the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge, a multi-disciplinary competition addressing energy access for 3rd and 4th year university students. The Challenge aims to build further academic capacity in the area of off-grid appliances, as well as to forge beneficial partnerships between universities, researchers and industry.

Improvements in the energy efficiency and affordability of many off- grid appliances is still needed before large scale take-up, and increased energy access, can be realised. By bringing together and inspiring university students, the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge’s goal is to foster innovation in the off-grid appliances sector and overcome the technological barriers that limits market expansion in this area.

The first year of the competition started in September 2019 with participating teams from eight universities in the UK, Kenya, Uganda and Bangladesh. Students are competing on design and innovation projects related to a series of off-grid appliances and supporting technologies, in connection to other innovators and users of off-grid appliances.

The first round of the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge will culminate in June 2020 at the Grand Final, where students will pitch their projects to a panel of experts, who will recognise the best projects from across the competition on criteria such as improved efficiency, affordability, inclusivity, market-readiness and innovation.

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge aims to expand from September 2020 onwards. It is expected to stimulate the off-grid appliances sector thanks to students’ innovative ideas, but also by increasing awareness of the sector in research and academia: the students of today are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

If you are a student or an academic and have any question about the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge or want to register for year 2, please contact [email protected].

If you are a company and want to be an industry partner for the competition, through giving webinars and mentoring teams of students, please contact [email protected].