Global Development Teams - Global Engineering Program - Purdue University

What are Global Development Teams?

Global Development Teams, or GDT, provide the opportunity for students and faculty to engage in high-impact international projects. GDT combines international cultural exchange with service-learning projects that address grand challenges to provide real-world, full-cycle design experiences and raise global awareness. Teams work to identify real-world problems to be addressed over the course of an academic semester.

Elements of a GDT

  • Local logistical and engineering support (partner organizations, such as NGOs, government organizations, or academic institutions)
  • Global Engineering Programs support, including: financial assistance, travel and logistical arrangements, and contacts with the partner organization
  • Technical advisement
  • Quality control and accountability

Contact GEP for more information

Global Development Team Application

Watch for the 2015 Global Development Team applications to apply here.

For the new Tanzania Counterfiet Drug Analysis GDT application Apply here: Global Design Team Application.


This team designed and implemented a method for water purification using slow sand filtration. Research continues on disinfection methods and economical design production. The team works with community educators in Barbosa, Colombia to improve use and distribution of filters.
This design team worked with Moi University to provide potable water for a school in Eldoret, Kenya. The team developed, tested, and installed a reactor to disinfect and remove fluoride from the water supply.
International Water Management Institute (IWMI) partnered with this design team to develop a software tool which aids farmers in the planning of irrigation and water management systems near Accra, Ghana.
The Directorate of Water Management in Orissa, India engaged this design team in research to identify ways to remove high fluoride concentrations from irrigation water supplies.
With the American University of Beirut’s Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, this design team contributed to the design of rooftop water harvesting systems and the collection of surface water for agricultural purposes.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and this design team aim to provide a design for an earthen dam and complementary water treatment system to provide water for agricultural and potable purposes for a community in rural Tanzania.
Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG) and Birzeit University partnered with this design team to assess the state of water resources, and identify creative methods for better water management in various communities in the West Bank.
Timmy Global Health worked with two Purdue design teams to develop a portable, and rugged fetal heart rate monitor for use in rural Ecuador. They also offered solutions for transporting computer equipment in conditions of the Amazon.
In partnership with FEVI (a non-profit organization dedicated to intercultural education and community service), this team works to upgrade an existing community center and educational facility in an indigenous community in Ecuador. The longterm project goal is to design and construct a new community center that provides additional classroom space for the children of the community.
In partnership with the African Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (ACREST), this team designed and implemented a 60kW micro-hydroelectric turbine to supply an off-the-grid village in rural Cameroon with clean, renewable energy. This design team will continue research on turbine optimization, civil works, power distribution, economic assessment, and social impact related to this energy scheme.
This design team partners with students at the University of Jordan to explore bioprocessing methods for olive pomace. Research continues on identifying methods for converting olive processing by-products to heat for industrial processes and, potentially, for home heating and cooking.
This design team partners with the African Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (ACREST) to design and fabricate utility vehicles for rural Cameroon. This practical utility platform (PUP) offers opportunities throughout Africa for affordable and sustainable labor-saving mechanization, tillage, planting, harvesting, food processing, and transportation of products and people.

Sponsors and support for GDT

Costs are shared by all, including the students themselves. Purdue University’s Global Engineering Program, together with the stakeholder community, partner organizations, corporations, School/Department Heads, and academic partners work together to achieve positive, sustainable interaction with stakeholder communities while utilizing the technical skills and competencies of the students, employees, and volunteers involved in the project to address specific challenges within the community for mutual benefit of all. 

How to get involved

Students: Global Development Teams include undergraduate and graduate students from disciplines both within and outside of Purdue’s College of Engineering.  While student recruitment typically happens in September, opportunities for involvement may be available throughout the year.

Faculty: The Global Development Teams require faculty leaders to advise, teach, and lead students.  GEP welcomes your ideas for new global service-learning courses.

Community: Organizations (companies, NGOs, etc.) interested in engaging in, or sponsoring, a GDT are essential to the program.