Seminar Series: Teaching Humanitarian Engineering, An Australian perspective

Humanitarian Engineering is a rapidly growing field of research, practice, and education in Australia. Ten Australian universities have launched programs or courses in Humanitarian Engineering over the past five years and each year hundreds of engineering students join overseas trips to learn about Humanitarian Engineering practice.

When: December 9, 2020, 6 PM ET

In this seminar, Dr. Tanja Rosenqvist and Dr. Nick Brown, lecturers in humanitarian engineering at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia and the co-leads of RMIT’s Humanitarian Engineering Lab share their experience developing Humanitarian Engineering into a field of research and practice at this university. Join this seminar to learn about: How Humanitarian Engineering is defined in Australia, taught at RMIT University in Melbourne and why Humanitarian Engineers are the engineering equivalent of a GP.

E4C’s Seminar Series features academic laboratories researching solutions to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The world’s cutting edge research deserves a platform with a global audience. Join us for presentations of new findings from investigative teams around the globe each month. And researchers, we welcome your applications to take part in the series. Please send an email to


Dr. Tanja Rosenqvist is a lecturer (assistant professor) in Humanitarian Engineering at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia and co-leader of RMIT’s Humanitarian Engineering Lab. Tanja believes technology can play a vital role in solving or amplifying the most pressing societal challenges of our time. Her research explores the (un)sustainability of global engineering solutions and the role participatory and co-design approaches in global development. She has conducted qualitative research in low-income communities in the Asia-Pacific region on topics related to the unsustainability of community and household-based water and sanitation services. She is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Humanitarian Engineering and the 2019 Young Water Professional of the Year in New South Wales Australia. She completed her transdisciplinary PhD in Sustainable Futures at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney and holds a B.Sc. Eng. and M.Sc. Eng. in Design & Innovation from the University of Technology Denmark.

Dr. Nick Brown is a lecturer (assistant professor) in humanitarian engineering at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia and co-leads RMIT’s Humanitarian Engineering Lab. Nick is passionate about inspiring, equipping and empowering engineers to meet community aspirations and desires both in Australia and overseas. Nick’s research is wide-ranging but centres around the application of design, technology and education for social change. Nick’s projects include low energy cookstoves, post-disaster emergency shelters, earthquake resistant building materials, water and sanitation in challenging contexts, diversity and inclusion in engineering education and experiential learning. Nick is the Domain Leader of the Humanitarian Engineering Community of Practice; focusing on defining competencies and education practices for humanitarian engineering in Australia. Nick studied at the University of Edinburgh in the UK for both his masters and doctorate degrees in civil and environmental engineering.


Dr. Jesse Austin-Breneman is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 from MIT. He also holds a S.M. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a B.S. in Ocean Engineering also from MIT. Previous to his academic career, he worked as a development engineer in Peru, working with rural communities on alternative business opportunities and with local doctors’ groups on medical device development. He also spent two years as a high school mathematics teacher in Boston, MA. He currently is the director of the Global Design Laboratory. The group focuses on developing design processes and support tools to help multi-disciplinary design teams think at a systems-level when performing complex system design tasks. This includes investigating the best way to incorporate system-level interactions between stakeholders in emerging markets into the design decision-making process.

Comments from the Community


  1. ep says:

    I appreciate the topic, but we should walk the talk with respect to sustainability also in the digital sphere. This is sometimes not trivial, but the various reasons including involvement in human rights violations, Zoom is not an acceptable platform for people who care.

  2. cat.kutay says:

    Maybe hard to find in IT sphere companies aware and compliant in this area.

  3. sindiletotoba says:

    Good day i really appreciate this opportunity by warm hands actually this might be my first step to explore the word mechanical engineering.

  4. nixonkioko71 says:

    Hi during the covid period am working on a touch less hand washing station for use in a rural setting school your assistance in ideas and more leads will be appreciated

  5. sindiletotoba says:

    Good day well i would like to appreciate your work and education that you provide for the people.

  6. ukwigizep says:


    It is of my great pleasure to gain all of these knowledges and skills that i will continously get from various trainings and presentations that you give us.
    I really appreciate it and thank you very much.

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