Challenge 1

Feeding 10 billion people in a changing climate

How can we sustainably provide affordable, accessible nutritious diets for future populations?

1 in 10 people worldwide are suffering from hunger and nearly 1 in 3 people lack regular access to adequate food. Added to that, 2.2billion people around the world are overweight or obese and 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. The climate crisis is affecting the weather patterns farmers have relied upon for centuries to grow the crops that form the basis of our food security, and land use is becoming more challenging due to expanding human infrastructure and the need to prevent biodiversity loss.


Engineering plays an integral role in the provision of food all over the world. From the technology involved in designing new crops, improving irrigation and soil quality, to harvesting and processing machinery, and packaging and distribution chains, the engineering involved in getting food from farm to plate has the potential to deliver better quality food, more efficiently, more affordably, more equitably and more sustainably than ever before.


With the global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, 

How can we sustainably provide affordable, accessible nutritious diets for future populations?


Make sure your design is consistent with the theme of World Engineering Day 2023: Engineering innovation for a more resilient world.


This challenge have been produced by Engineers Without Borders International


Global Goals

Sustainable Development Goal

This challenge primarily supports the achievement of UN SDG 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

45% of deaths among children under 5 are linked to undernutrition. 149.2 million children under 5 (22% of all children) are stunted (low height for weight) and will suffer lifelong consequences to their physical and cognitive development and health as a result. We must learn how to provide nutritious food more equitably so that no one is left hungry or at risk of life long diet related health impacts. At the same time, most of the world’s population now live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

Participants may nominate additional SDGs that are addressed as part of their solution.

Learn more


No country meets recommendations for healthy diets, nor is on track to meet nutrition targets. Diets worldwide are far from being healthy and have not improved over the last decade. Fruit and vegetable intake is still about 50% below the recommended level of five servings per day that is considered healthy. Legume and nut intakes are each more than two thirds below the recommended two servings per day. In contrast, red and processed meat intake is on the rise and almost five times the maximum level of one serving per week, while the consumption of sugary drinks, which are not recommended in any amount, is going up as well. 

To complicate the issue:
Conflict, COVID-19, the climate crisis and growing inequalities are converging to undermine food security worldwide.

One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally.

Global food demand has significant environmental impacts: generating more than a third (35%) of all greenhouse emissions, driving nitrogen and phosphorus loading of the environment polluting waterways and causing algal blooms, accounting for 38% of global land surface use, 70% of freshwater withdrawals and 90% of deforestation.

Examples & resources

Addressing the issue

Addressing this issue requires understanding local and global issues. For example, overuse of fertilisers not only drives environmental damage but is expensive, reducing farmers’ incomes; more resilient crops are needed and/or more effective and precise fertiliser application. In many hot, humid climates, lack of fast access to reliable, affordable cold chains means many farmers watch their crops rot before they can get to market. In parts of Asia and South America, fresh groundwater supplies are becoming depleted, so alternative water supplies are needed. Across the African continent there are alleged to be significant untapped shallow depth groundwater resources but current technology is too expensive to unlock this potential.

  • Low cost, easy to use soil analysis to improve precision application of fertilisers


  • Adapting drip irrigation systems to also include fertilisers; so called ‘Fertigation’


  • Solar powered community scale cold storage units


  • Solar powered groundwater pumps


  • Scaled up drying, pickling or other preservation techniques to increase food lifetime


  • Developing crop strains resilient to drought, pest attacks etc


  • Drones / small robots monitoring crop health, and delivering precision application of fertilisers and pesticides


  • Vertical and urban farming


  • Plant based meat alternatives


  • Digital transformation in the food industry


  • Protecting and improving crops with nature based solutions rather than artificial


Submission Steps

Submissions are due by January 22nd 2023 (midnight CET)

You and your team will need to:



Register on the submissions portal


Create an entry and complete the submission form


Upload your 5-min video submission

Additional Information

Submission Guidelines

This guideline has been designed to support the development of an engineering solution that demonstrates a considered response to one of the engineering challenges and also how one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are advanced through engineering.

The success of an engineering project depends on much more than just the technical feasibility of the initial concept but also consideration of human factors, environmental context, cost and economic benefits, etc., are very important to the successful implementation of any innovative and ‘technically-sound’ idea.

Below are a series of considerations we recommend you factor into your solution to ensure it is appropriate to the context where it is to be implemented. You might ask yourself these questions a few times throughout the development process – it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers right away! How can you build on your original idea, to improve it each time?

Most effective technical solution for the context

  • Is the technical solution the most appropriate and effective for this context? Take the time to show what alternatives were considered and why you are proposing this solution as the most appropriate. What was the process you went through to determine this idea was the best one? How have you demonstrated the technical feasibility of this solution?
  • How might you construct and/or implement the project? Is your solution one that considers local capacity for ongoing management, repair, and maintenance? As much as possible, does your solution or system proposal align with locally available expertise?

Environmental sustainability outcomes

  • What Sustainable Development Goal does your solution idea contribute to? How? Are there any relevant indicators that might be useful to incorporate into your submission? Have you considered the carbon footprint of your proposed product or system?
  • What impacts, both positive and negative, will your solution have on the local environment? What measures would you propose be put in place to mitigate any negative impacts?
  • Consider the long-term sustainability of your project proposal. What is the life-cycle of your project or solution? What measures could be put in place to ensure either successful continuation into the future or a successful end-of-life process?
  • Have you considered the use of locally available materials that are contextually-appropriate and environmentally-friendly wherever possible? Transportation of project materials and availability of materials which might be required for future maintenance are a significant consideration for projects in many locations. Where might your proposed materials be sourced from?
  • Have you considered the resiliency of your solution to climate change and disasters?

Engagement of key stakeholders

  • Who are the individuals, organisations, or networks who might be impacted (positively or negatively) by your idea? What might these impacts be? Now think again, is there anyone you haven’t included?
  • How would you propose a project implementing team engage and consult these stakeholders throughout the project? Think about the initial solution right through to implementation. What avenues are there for community members to become involved? What form(s) of community engagement might be required for your particular solution?

Are there any ethical considerations – such as adverse impacts to the environment, economy, social inclusion, culture, community, resource use, that warrant consideration?

  • Incorporation of cultural and social factors, specifically the integration of indigenous knowledge or practices
  • Does your solution align with and/or celebrate the cultural and social practices of people who live and work in your project context?
  • If relevant to your proposal area, what might Indigenous-led solution look like?

How has your team utilised digital tools, for example to develop models of your proposed solution as part of the solution. Also how the team has utilised ICT in the process of putting forward your submission.

Cost estimates and economic and non-economic benefits

  • What is an estimated cost of the project? Think about the ‘capital expenditure’ (initial cost to start) and ‘operational expenditure’ (ongoing costs over time), which might include materials, implementation costs, operation/program delivery costs, and maintenance costs. What trade-offs might you be making in your cost assumptions? 
  • Are there are any potential economic and non-economic benefits to community stakeholders which could result from the project?

Based on the International Engineering Alliance Global Graduate Attribute and Professional Competencies Profiles.


Considering the proposal presented to you, evaluate whether the submission demonstrates the following engineering competencies.


  • Engineering Knowledge: Breadth, depth and type of knowledge, both theoretical and practical applied in developing the solution.


  • Problem Analysis: Level of thoroughness in examining the problem and developing the solution.


  • Design/ development of solutions: The extent to which the solution is original and extent to which the solution uses new and emerging technologies.


  • Investigation, research and ongoing learning: Breadth and depth of investigation, literature research and
    Experimentation applied in developing a unique and innovative solution.


  • Extent of use of digital tools and new technologies: The extent to which digital tools such as modelling, Computer Aided Design and Drawing etc. have been used to develop the solution.


  • Contribution to UN SDGs: Contribution to sustainable development and description of the UN SDGs that are addressed by the solution.


  • Consideration of broad ethical issues: The ethical issues that are addressed by the solution in terms of impact on the environment, different parts of society and economy and how the team has addressed ethical issues such as diversity and inclusion and how potential adverse impacts have been mitigated and positive impacts celebrated.


  • Individual and Collaborative Team work: Examples of how the team collaborated to successfully develop the proposed solution and description of the broad range of diversity elements (gender, age, ethnicity, physical abilities, location rural/urban) in the team.


  • Communication: Examples of how the team was resourceful in communicating with each in developing the proposal as well as the effectiveness of communicating the proposed solution.


  • Project Management and funding for the solution: Level of project management and estimated cost of solution with suggestions for financing the proposed solution.


Graduate Attributes that are addressed in the solution, referencing the International Engineering Alliance Graduate Attribute and Professional Competency (GAPC) Framework


Maximum Score per Category 4


Score: 0 – Not Addressed

Score: 1 – Limited attempt to address

Score: 2 – Some success in addressing the various elements

Score: 3 – Good attempt to address the element

Score: 4 – Addressed very effectively

In 2023, the hackathon has a single submission round. Participants will have the opportunity to make their official submission within 2 weeks of the Hackathon Challenge announcement (9 – 22 Jan 2023).
Submission is a 5-min video presenting their solution, along with a short-written element, detailing elements of their entry.