COVID-19 Update - 08 September 2020

Birmingham City University

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During the academic year 2019-2020 second year, Birmingham City University’s (BCU) engineering students worked in interdisciplinary teams to develop solutions to the challenges faced by the community of Makers Valley in Johannesburg, South Africa using the Engineering for People Design Challenge from Engineers Without Borders.

Normally, an exhibition is held where students present their solutions and working prototypes to fellow students, academics and industry representatives, but this was not possible this year due the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead students developed videos which explained the context, the proposed solution and business case. Through a comparative judgement marking exercise where academics, students and industrial partners viewed and assessed the videos, BCU hosted an online film show and awarded the top three prizes.
First Place Winner: Group 11 - Mohammed Suweef, Mechanical Engineering; Molly O’Neill, Mechanical Engineering; Jack Billingham, Electronic Engineering and Alexander Dummer, Automotive Engineering - £1,500 Engineers in Business Prize

The focus point of the project is to create an infrastructure to implement a self-sustainable organic waste management system through composting. The aim is to help the local community of Makers Valley, Johannesburg through education to benefit the local economy and environment by reducing landfill, with the ultimate goal to improve their quality of life.

This winning team was invited to compete in the grand finals of the faculty Innovation Fest, where they presented their business pitch live to an online panel, with a large online audience. The team came third in this competition, competing with PhD students.
Second Place Winner: Group 8 - Jake Buswell, Mechanical Engineering; Benjamin Wines, Manufacturing Engineering and Mustafa Adan, Mechanical engineering - £1,000 Engineers in Business Prize

Group 8 designed a solution for the Impi brewery and the issues it has with relying on the national grid in supplying them with a reliable and sustainable source of energy (electricity). This is, in turn, affecting its business as it relies heavily on electricity in the process of brewing its beers through the design of a solar water heater.
Third Place Winner: Group 29 - Aarif Karoliwala, Mechanical Engineering; Muhammad Alam, Mechanical Engineering; Vladislav Ivanov, Automotive Engineering and Keanan Bradley Cooper, Mechanical Engineering - £500 Engineers in Business Prize

This group designed a solenoid and air release value to reduce the significant loss of non-revenue water throughout the infrastructure in Makers Valley. This low-level seepage becomes significant due to the critically low levels of water and miles of pipelines.

Positive Feedback

The Engineers in Business (EIB) prize really excited and motivated the students to produce their best work. Supporting the academic endeavour of developing these professional skills for engineers with industry focus, that they are really important and recognised by EIB gives further weight to the teaching and inspires the students.

Laura Leyland, Associate Professor, Birmingham City University