First year engineering students

First Year Engineering students reach the national finals of the Engineering for People Design Challenge

05 July 2022

A group of LSBU first year students were selected for the 11th annual National Finals of the Engineering for People (EfP) Design Challenge hosted by Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK), held at PEARL, UCL in Dagenham. In 2021/22, the competition reached over 10,000 students from 38 different universities in the UK and Ireland. The award-winning Challenge has been delivered in Cameroon, South Africa, the UK, Ireland and the USA to over 60,000 students since 2011.

Each year, EWB-UK work with a programme partner to create a real-world design brief based on problems that people in their country are facing. These challenges are framed around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The LSBU students were shortlisted to pitch their innovative concept to solve engineering problems faced by residents in Cape York, Australia.

LSBU’s Meghan Ayers, Benaiah Demdam, Jamie Costello and Kyle Axon, students on the BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering and BEng (Hons) Advanced Vehicle Engineering course, secured their place in the semi-final for their innovative community-based project to reduce food waste via the production of canning machines.

The project also aimed to stimulate local economic growth as well as reduce food waste. The concept incorporates the use of recycled materials and minimal energy requirements to produce. It has the potential to be made entirely by hand and is low cost due to the manufacturing considerations made by the team. The food that is preserved, is safe to be eaten during times of food insecurity in the community and can be transported easily. Upon obtaining a license to sell food, local people can also sell their canned foods for additional income.

The team of LSBU students presented to a panel of esteemed judges, including Jon Prichard, Chief Executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and Chair of the Engineers Without Borders UK Board of Trustees; Dawn Bonfield MBE, and Akaraseth Puranasamriddhi, University of Cambridge and UCL.

Alessio Corso, LSBU’s Senior Lecturer in LSBU’s School of Engineering, said: “Adaptability is vital in this new world, post-pandemic. Our engineering students’ resilience, and strength to continue with their studies after the past two years, has proven to me that they’re all able to adapt. This isn’t an easy thing to do, so I am immeasurably proud of how our students have managed to change, learn and develop through this design challenge.

“It’s through adaptation, as situations worsen and improve, that we can really see the best solutions to global challenges arise. Our students have shown first hand that we’re at our strongest when we build each other up and work together. They have inspired me through their work ethic and the way that they got through to the national finals through hard work and a positive approach. It’s been an honour for me to be alongside them through their project.”