A story of change

Over 20 years, we have inspired tens of thousands of people to put global responsibility at the heart of engineering practice.

Our programmes have shown what can be achieved, and we are as determined as ever to ensure that engineering plays the fullest possible role in meeting the needs of people and planet.

– John Kraus, Chief Executive

We have achieved so much, together.

We are enabling over a million hours of experiential learning each year.

With almost 20,000 individuals and 64 universities participating in our design challenges each year.

We have upskilled almost 100,000 people in globally responsible engineering.

Through our programmes and tools, such as our Global Responsibility Competency Compass and virtual experience programme.

We are driving systems change in engineering education and practice.

By collaborating with others to create resources that will unlock untapped potential within engineering, such as our Reimagined Degree Map.

Celebrating in style

To mark this important milestone, we’re delivering a 12-month campaign exploring the 12 competencies of globally responsible engineering identified in our Competency Compass. Each month, you can expect thought leadership content, ranging from panel discussions to video interviews to articles, focussed on one of the 12 competencies.
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Discover the competencies

A look through time

Explore the history of Engineers Without Borders UK through our video timeline below.


The start of a movement

Engineers Without Borders launched when a group of engineers gave their time and their skills to help people in Ethiopia during the famine of the early 1980s.

In 2001, a group of students at University of Cambridge were inspired by one of the founders of Engineers Without Borders Canada, and set up the organisation in the UK.

Hear from founding member, Tom Newby, about the start of the UK movement.



A shift in gears

Engineers Without Borders UK became a registered company and charity in 2004, but the big shift came in 2006 when we went from being a group of volunteers to having permanent professional staff.

Hear from former Chief Executive, Andrew Lamb, about this important shift in gears.



Our global impact

From 2004-2019, we provided the opportunity to deliver pro-bono engineering support around the world, increasing access to clean water, improved sanitation facilities, reliable energy resources and resilient built environments.

Hear from Member-Elected Trustee, Milly Hennayake, about her experience participating in an Engineers Without Borders UK international placement.



Launching the Engineering for People Design Challenge

In 2011, we began to make an impact on the UK’s education system. Our award-winning Engineering for People Design Challenge prepares students, the engineers of the future, to become globally responsible engineers.



Engineering change

In 2016, we launched our five year ‘Engineering Change’ strategy, which introduced globally responsible engineering and our intention to transform engineering so that it benefits everyone.

Hear from Emma Crichton, Innovation Director at Engineers Without Borders UK, about this important milestone.



A new approach

In 2019, after delivering over 200,000 hours of pro-bono engineering we took the decision to end our international placements. They remain an important part of our history and the journey we went on to evolve into the movement we are today. But the number of people they’ve helped either directly, or indirectly, is relatively small compared to the size of the global challenges we face.

We took time to assess our work and realised that we can positively affect many more lives by using our influence and educational programmes to encourage change on a much larger and strategic scale. As such our focus has moved from running individual pro-bono projects to creating systemic change.

Our 2021-2030 strategy provides a strong, persuasive plan to put global responsibility at the heart of engineering, ensuring a safe and just future for all.



A message of hope

Today, Engineers Without Borders UK continues to grow in size, reach, impact and ambition. We are now focused on reaching the tipping point where global responsibility becomes integral to the way all engineering is taught and practiced.

Hear from Chief Executive, John Kraus, about our current focus and his hopes for the future of the movement.

Hear from the movement

My involvement with Engineers Without Borders UK has given me perspective on what engineers are for and how we should operate. It’s shaped my entire engineering career.

Brittany Harris, Founder of Qualis Flow

Engineers Without Borders UK are always driving students to think globally and consider that it’s not just the immediate, physical infrastructure that needs to be factored in – but the ongoing life of a project to the people and places it serves.

Milly Hennayake, Chartered Civil Engineer at Arup

It used to be that you were persuaded as a young engineer that these were the only companies worth applying to. So you’d find yourself in a row making a missile or something similar. This happened to me. Then Engineers Without Borders UK came along and changed my path.

Nav Sawhney, Founder of The Washing Machine Project

This partnership [with Engineers Without Borders UK] gave KDI the skills and capacity to deliver complex projects in some of the trickiest working conditions.

Joe Mulligan, Founding Principal of KDI

Working with Engineers Without Borders UK really reinforced the need to have engineers that are trained to understand that the decisions they are making and the things that they are doing impact the planet.

Dr Sarah Peers, Group Head of Sustainability at Spirax-Sarco

Engineers Without Borders UK brought me into contact with people from many different disciplines. This exposed me to viewpoints outside the narrow sphere of my engineering degree, which was invaluable.

Isha Kulkarni, Senior Associate at RMI India

A special thanks to our strategic partners