Canadian Humanitarian Initiatives Committee

collaborative technology addressing humanitarian needs


Student Design Competition, 2010-2011 – FAQ



What is the HIC humanitarian student design competition?

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a Canadian college or university. It brings together Canadian students and mentors from academia or industry to the dynamic environment of technology and innovation for development. The team must be led by an IEEE student member who will be in good standing at the time of submitting the final project repport; other team members can be enrolled in different disciplines.

How does it work?

Teams of students enrolled in Canadian colleges or universities need to submit a project proposal to the organizing committee via e-mail with the following information: team member names and emails, team name, name of mentor and email, description of project proposal in AT LEAST 100 words and AT MOST 200 words.

Once accepted, semifinalists will be selected based on a progress report due by February 18 2011. A final report, to be submitted y April 1 2011, will be judged based on innovation, quality, completeness, practicality and complexity; the determinant factors being innovation and practicality. Note that teams with graduate students will have their score handicapped to make it fair for undergrad student. Points will be awarded to teams showing their designs running on WE CARE’s system at CCECE.

What are the prizes to be won?

Cash prizes will be given. At the moment: first prize, CND$1000; second prize, CND$700; third prize, CND$300. These top three teams will receive travel grants and complementary conference registration for the Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE); at this conference, they will be asked to show their designs on the solar suitcase during a tutorial session. An abstract of the winners’ work will be published in the IEEE Canadian Review magazine.

Who can participate in the contest?

The competition is open to students enrolled in Canadian colleges. The students are responsible for all of the R&D activities and the creation of the working model or prototype.

  • Teams are required to have a mentor
  • Mentor can be a professor from the institution where team is enrolled
  • Teams can alternatively have a mentor from industry
  • Teams will have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 members
  • There is no limit on the number of teams from a given institution
  • There are no entry fees

What is the timeline for the contest?

Proposal submission: January 14, 2011
Accepted projects announced: January 21, 2011
Detailed progress report: February 18, 2011
Semi-finalists announced: February 25, 2011
Final detailed report: April 1, 2011
Finalists announced: April 8, 2011
Winners announcement: May, 2011 at CCECE


What is expected in the project proposal submission?

Project proposal submissions are due on Friday January 14, 2011:

  • The name of the team and mission statement
  • The name and email of all team members and mentor
  • Problem statement: What problem it solves? Or, what feature does it improve?
  • Measure of success: How will you know you have achieved your goal?
  • Proposal: describe your project in AT LEAST 100 words and AT MOST 200 words
  • Use template available in this website:PDF version (MSWORD, OpenOffice versions available)

What is expected in the project progress report?

Project progress report due on Friday February 18, 2011:

  • The report should be clear and simple
  • Detailed description of the work done by the team on the project
  • It include the work distribution among the team members
  • It should also include design module details and source codes
  • Simulation reports are expected with the project design files
  • A project completion timeline should also be included.
  • Detailed explanations of protocols or external interfaces should not be included, unless absolutely necessary for the understanding of the design; if included, they should be very brief.

Can teams from universities not in Canada participate?

Yes, but the organizing committee does not guarantee international teams the same level of support as Canadian teams due to lack of resources and volunteers. Also, travel grants to CCECE will not be adjusted for travel from abroad.

Is it necessary to limit design to parts of the WE CARE Solar systems?

Yes, this is a mandatory requirement to remain in the contest. WE CARE has agreed to make the details of their “solar suitcase” platform available to us as Open (Source) Hardware. All designs shall follow an Open Source approach, and designs are expected to become part of the Open Source platform in this competition.

Are there some suggested features for the WE CARE Solar system?

  • Simplify installation
  • Create collection of DC devices
  • Enable use of Lithium Ion battery
  • Enable use of electric tool batteries
  • Optimize charge controller
  • Improve serviceability and cost
  • Improve enclosure
  • Innovate connectorization
  • Enable Recycling & sustainability

What is the evaluation grid to be used?

The evaluation gird to be used is:

  • Innovation -> 15
  • Design Specification (report)  -> 25
  • Solution Completeness -> 10
  • Design  Practicality -> 25
  • Design Complexity -> 10
  • Design working in H/W -> 10
  • All-undergrad team -> 5