AbstractMulti-university student design competitions can be very effective in achieving desired learning objectives relating to the engineering design process, teamwork and leadership skills, and design communication. These interdisciplinary projects provide a highly motivating engineering challenge, and develop valuable practical skills. Students are typically involved for more than one year, so they experience more than one significant design iteration. Furthermore, the self-managed teams use informal mentorship and apprenticeship to develop technical and leadership skills. It is important that these projects be student-directed, with faculty in an advisory role only. In order to incorporate these projects into the design curriculum, innovative assessment methods may be required.