International Design Project - How can you realise a technical idea across borders?


International Design Project - How can you realise a technical idea across borders?

The International Design Project is a joint venture between Leibniz Universität Hannover and Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. It gives German and Russian engineering students the opportunity to work together to design and build a prototype product of their choice and builds upon the long-standing Strategic Partnership between the universities.

All aspects of the project take place in the English language and the programme is structured to enable students to develop their technical English skills within a relevant professional context.

Each project team consists of students from both Hannover and St. Petersburg. A creative working atmosphere gives team members the freedom to experiment with their own ideas, develop a concept in detail and decide how their prototype should actually be built. As they start to build the prototype, they learn that reality does not mirror theory. Materials have real costs and limitations, and the use of tools requires skill and forethought. Unexpected problems must be solved by careful thought and the use of people’s individual strengths – an experience which makes the participants better engineers and colleagues.

Learning to communicate effectively across languages and cultures is central to the project. The need to share ideas and take decisions immerses the students in technical English and demonstrates its importance. Throughout the project, each team describes and illustrates their progress, starting with brainstorming and ending with an evaluation. These texts and sketches motivate the students to find the specialist vocabulary needed to describe their own work, developing their ability to learn English independently. As the project nears completion, each team expands these materials to tell the story of their prototype in a chapter for a project book.


  • February-March 2017: Idea and concept generation
  • 1-9 April 2017: Student teams meet and begin construction in St. Petersburg
  • April-August 2017: Continuing construction and development in both cities
  • 22-24 August 2017: Teams meet to assemble prototypes in Hannover
  • 25-27 August 2017: Prototypes exhibited at Maker Faire Hannover


Applicants should be current students with good English skills and a strong interest in engineering and product design. A grant is available for travel to St. Petersburg. To apply, please send a letter of motivation written in English together with a curriculum vitae, transcript of records and copy of your passport to Christopher Tidy at The closing date is 15 January 2017.