COVID-19 Update - 08 September 2020

Students Share £3,000 Prize for Innovative and Sustainable Solutions to Global Design Challenge

First-year students in Engineering and Informatics shared a £3,000 prize fund after coming up with creative and sustainable solutions to major issues facing communities in rural India.

Around 450 Engineering, Informatics, and Product Design students took part in The Global Design Challenge (GDC) during inter-session week, working in interdisciplinary teams of five to tackle real-world sustainable development problems faced by the rural communities of Tamil Nadu in southern India.

The winning team, featuring Tala Haddadin, Cara Griffiths, Matthew Meyers, Lee Richards and Sophie Court, designed an inexpensive, compostable sanitary towel made of cotton, potato, and tapioca, to help women stay in work and school and reduce the stigma of menstruation.

Such was the quality of the entries that prizes were given to three innovative entries – one more than had been originally planned.

The three teams will now be supported by GDC organisers Prof Ann Light, Dr Chang Wang, and Dmitrijs Dmitrenko to submit their design reports to the Engineering for People Design Challenge. A grand final, organized by Engineers Without Borders UK, will take place in London on June 14.

Prof Light, Professor of Design and Creative Technology, said: “We saw three stand-out designs at the end of the week. These were projects that could be put to good use immediately, responding sensitively to people’s circumstances and local environmental impact. We had been planning to give two prizes, but when we saw the ideas that we had to choose between, we decided to award all three teams a prize.”

Runners-up Alexander Coetzee, Dani Fayad, Joshua Harwood, Haotian Jiao and Gabriel Robson developed an idea to adapt petrol tuk-tuks to use electric batteries at a fraction of the cost of buying a new vehicle to reduce pollution and increase take-up of electric transport.

The highly commended team of Gemma Hill, Molly Brown, Arya Diznabi and Guohao Yan created a recyclable paper and cotton face mask to offer better protection from pollution.

The Engineers in Business Fellowship sponsored the event and provided the £3,000 prize fund for this year’s Global Design Challenge Winners.

GDC winning team member Cara Griffiths told organisers that the sponsorship really encouraged participants to develop a competitive edge and have a strong desire to come up with the best possible solution.

A prize-giving ceremony and celebration party for the winners was held at the Future Technologies Laboratory earlier this month and was led by Professor Jonathan Bacon, Head of School of Engineering and Informatics, who spoke highly of the winning designs.

Dmitrijs Dmitrenko, a Teaching Fellow at the School of Engineering and Informatics, who has facilitated the workshops of the winning team, said that he was impressed by the quality of the solutions delivered by the students.

Published courtesy of the University of Sussex